Top 10 searches by UK tourists when visiting Malta

With Malta welcoming large numbers of UK tourists each year, we examine the most searched-for locations to find the country’s most popular destinations with holidaymakers

Every year millions of tourists visit Malta, whether it is for some well-deserved rest and relaxation in the shoulder months of May, June and September, or sunbathing in summer, or walking in the spring countryside.

With its wide range of activities and inviting climate, Malta is an all-year-round holiday affair — which means big business. 

Tourism in Malta began to grow in the mid-1960s, enjoying continued expansion through the following decade. In the 1980s, however, Malta saw its visitor numbers temporarily dip — largely due to a decrease in tourists from the country’s largest market, the UK.

Data from the country’s tourism body, Visit Malta, taken in 2019, put the total tourist spend at a whopping €2 billion per year. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 these figures will likely have seen a significant decline over the last two years, whilst recovery, despite being almost guaranteed, will likely take some time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, tourists from the UK account for the vast majority of those visiting the country, with more than 500,000 travelling for a slice of paradise each year, and staying an average of seven days.

According to Statista, Malta ranks 15th on a global list of places UK tourists visit for holiday, with Spain and France topping the list. 

The reasons for visiting Malta are numerous, though the country’s history, culture and sheer beauty — not to mention its welcoming atmosphere of warmth and relaxation — are likely key contributing factors. 

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Indeed, the real question may be, "why wouldn’t British holidaymakers wish to come to Malta?". With its great hotels, fine dining, piercing blue skies and three hundred days of sunshine per year, you'd be hard-pressed to find somewhere better!

We were interested to find out what UK tourists searched for online when planning their trip, and the number one places they choose to visit and stay. So, like all good modern journalists, we asked Google, who handily gave us monthly figures for the most searched-for places in Malta by folk from good old blighty.

Here are the top ten areas searched for by UK residents as ranked by Google, listed according to the number of searches:

1. St Julian's (41,300) 

This popular holiday spot ranked number one in searches, which is hardly surprising given its charming port, golden beaches, great restaurants and quality accommodation.

2. Gozo (25,800)

British holidaymakers certainly seem keen on either visiting or staying in Gozo — little wonder, given the peace and solitude available on this picturesque island.

3. Sliema (22,300)

Taking the bronze medal is Sliema, and who could resist the allure of the area’s waterfront charm combined with the vibrancy of its great restaurants and fabulous shopping.

4. Mellieha (20,500)

The fourth most searched area for UK residents is the stunning hilltop village of Mellieha, a favourite with both locals and tourists alike. With Malta's largest sandy beach, laid-back atmosphere and ineffable charm, Mellieha is a magnet for those seeking some serious chill time.

5. St Paul's Bay (19,300)

The halfway marker in our top ten is marked by St Paul's Bay on the Malta’s north coast. Historically a fishing village, its development over the years has appealed to the country’s thriving tourist market. Quieter than some of the surrounding towns, a sunset walk along the promenade here is hard to beat.

6. Blue Lagoon (18,000)

The biggest surprise for number six, is that it’s number six. Malta's most famous natural attraction takes your breath away every time you see it, and it's impossible to see those crystal-clear waters and not want to reach for the snorkel set.

7. Diving Malta (12,100) 

Number six on our list leads us beautifully to number seven, with Brits looking to explore the clear waters and amazing reefs and wrecks Malta has in abundance.

8. Qawra (11,300)

Snuggled in-between St Paul's Bay and Bugibba is Qawra, a classic UK holiday destination well suited to families, with plenty on offer and a great starting point for those wanting to explore the rest of the island.

9. Knights of Malta (8,300)

The Knights gave us one of the world's most instantly recognisable symbol in the Maltese Cross. Their allure and legacy remain very much part of the UK holiday experience, with Brits looking to culturally immerse themselves in the order’s courtyards, gardens and palaces.

10. Mdina (6,400)

One can't fly the approximately 2,000km from UK to Malta without seeing one of Europe's finest examples of an ancient walled city and where the apostle St Paul lived following his shipwreck — something which should be a major tick on anyone's wish list when visiting.

Let's hope the UK's ongoing love affair with this beautiful island continues to go from strength-to-strength as the world settles into the new post-pandemic period.