Fact: Over time, Malta has been ruled by The Romans, Arabs, Normans, Knights of St John, the French and The British.
Shopping is as popular in Malta as just about anywhere else. As the capital city, Valletta is the centre for many of the big name brand stores; however, there are shopping centres and markets throughout Malta.
In terms of large shopping centres, Malta has several. In Valletta, you will find large shopping complexes on Republic Street and Merchant's Street and you can also find sizeable shopping centres in St. Julian's/ Paceville, Bugibba, St. Paul's Bay, Victoria, Tas-Sliema, Mosta and Hamrun.
If you are not a fan of brands and high street shops and prefer a more authentic shopping experience, we can highly recommend a visit to one of the many open air markets in Malta. Given its relative isolation as a country, markets have always played an important role in Maltese life and are at the heart of the true Maltese shopping experience. Locals will go their to buy the sumptuous local produce, to meet friends and to socialise and catch up with gossip. For the tourist they provide an invaluable insight into Maltese life, some fascinating and unique gift ideas as well as some superb photo opportunities.
Deciding what to buy as a memento or a present for loved ones will be the toughest choice. Arts and crafts are flourishing once again in Malta as part of a resurgence of Maltese national identity and pride. Lace, basket-ware and knitwear are some of the more famous specialities but you can also buy art, jewellery (such as filigree silverware) and many other hand-made goods. Of course there are also many different food and drink items that you might want to consider finding room for in your suitcase. Locally produced sun dried tomatoes, olives, sheep and goats cheese and of course the many fine wines that are produced in Malta and Gozo.
Shops open from around 9.00am until 7.00pm with many stopping for an extended period at lunchtimes. In general, shops in Valletta have longer opening hours than elsewhere.