Besides a pile of cash and loads of unforgettable moments, you'll also want to bring some souvenirs home from the Battle of Malta. Souvenirs form the backbone of every world travellers’ portfolio and if you haven’t got a rack (or a box in the back of the closet) full of worthless junk from everywhere you've been, you should start now.
Luckily, Malta is a paradise for souvenir hunters as you'll find a souvenir shop on almost every corner.
Here you will find the usual crap with the Maltese cross on it (key chains, cups, t-shirts, etc.) but there are also some more unique souvenirs from Malta which will remind you of your journey.
Or, bring something home for your parents, grandmother, spouse or children to show you were actually thinking about them while enjoying your poker holiday.
PokerListings’ senior souvenir consultants Thomas Hviid and Fred Guillemot are here to guide you through your Malta souvenir options.
The Maltese Cross
This Christian symbol, widely used worldwide (brands, football teams, etc.), is also the national symbol of the Republic of Malta.
You will find it everywhere, in every form, and on every little trinket you can imagine. But you can also go back to basics and buy a simple cross to put on your wall. Or as earrings, for example, since jewelry is also an old Maltese tradition.
Where to buy: Once again, you will find it in many shops. Aside from traditional souvenir shops that you cannot miss, you'll easily find some jewelry shops in Sliema or Valletta for better quality.
Price: Depends on a lot of factors, like the metal used.
A Luzzu Model
After the Maltese cross, the Luzzu is Malta’s unofficial emblem. These brightly colored fishing boats (blue, yellow, red or green) always have an oculus painted on them, supposedly for luck.
You can also find Luzzijiet with sails or motors, but the traditional Luzzu is a rowing boat - so pay attention when you pick yours. Luzzu replicas are made of wood, hand painted and usually made in Malta.
Where to buy: A lot of souvenirs shops sell them, including in Gozo (Rabat/Victoria).
Price: Allow €20-25 for a 27-cm boat (see picture).
The Malta Bus
Back in the days – actually just five years ago – Malta’s public transport system consisted of these charming busses.
Tourists loved them but they were not so charming for commuters as they were small and uncomfortable, not to mention massive air polluters.
The old busses are still a hallmark of Malta, though, and you will find models in many different versions and colours.
Where to buy: In any souvenir shop
Price: Around €10
The Maltese Door Knocker
Somehow these have survived the electric door bell and are still seen on many doors in Malta. The shape of the door knocker reflects the personality and taste of the owner, so you can get many different variations.
We especially like the fish-shaped ones.
Where to get: In various shops around Valletta, but if you want the classy ones go for an antique shop.
Price: From around €50 up to €600-700. Be aware that the expensive ones are made of brass and are quite heavy so you might have to add extra cost for overweight luggage.
The Knight of Malta Figurine
Malta was the home of the Order of Saint John for more than two centuries and you will still find much of their legacy today.
Much of Valletta was built by the Knights and the famous Maltese cross was actually the cross of the Order of Saint John.
You'll find these beautiful Knight figurines in almost every souvenir shop on the island.
Where to buy: A selection of figurines is available almost everywhere
Price: Tiny ones are around €10, bigger ones around €20.
Who to bring this back to: Note that our BOM trophies also feature a knight figurine so you might want to keep that trophy yourself and give a cheaper copy to someone else.
Opuntia ficus-indica liquor, a cactus from Mexico that is widely present on the islands of Malta.
Its prickly fruit, full of seeds, is hard to eat so you might as well enjoy its sweet taste as a liquor. It's very mild (between 20-25%) to drink before or after your meal.
You will find many different liquors in stores (with brands such as Zeppi’s and Ambrosia for example), including a very tasty honey one.
The one pictured is definitely the most traditional, sold under the name “bajtra” (in Maltese) or prickly pear.
Where to buy: Almost in every food store, in a lot of different packaging. You can also find some at the duty-free at the airport.
If you want to taste other flavors you can also buy a selection.
Price: Around €14 for a 70-cL bottle.
Lace might not be Malta’s best-known specialty but its quality (handwoven cotton lace) is renowned. Even the Maltese government is trying to maintain this tradition by teaching it in some girls’ schools.
If you want to buy something local (not Made in China) and help the local craftsmen, this is the ideal souvenir to bring back.
Where to buy: On the markets, like Marsaxlokk’s. You will find lovely little lace umbrellas to decorate furniture. You can also find some in some shops in Valletta.
Price: Depends on the objects and their size, but it’s never very expensive (e.g.: around €6 for a mini-umbrella).
The making of glassware is a fairly new craft in Malta but when Mdina Glass was set up in 1968 it sparked a whole new industry.
Nowadays you will find beautiful handmade glass vases, bowls, lamps, bottles, frames, plates – yes, basically anything you could imagine being made out of glass, all made in warm Mediterranean colours.
Where to buy: In almost every souvenir shop but do consider visiting the glassmakers’ workshops to see the glassware being made from scratch. Mdina Glass’ workshop is in Ta’Qali.
Price: From €10 to several hundreds of euros
Globigerina, golden limestone from Malta, is the rock that gives Malta its warm colors. And, little known fact, that’s where Malta gets its name (Malta is said to come from the Greek word “meli” (honey) and “melita” (bee)).
There are still many quarries where it is extracted and you can still find a lot of small objects made with it: Neolithic statues, decorative objects, etc.
Where to buy: In the Ta’Qali Crafts Village or directly in the limestone museum (Limestone Heritage) where you’ll learn more about it.
Price: Depends a lot on the size of the object. Worst comes to worst, a small candle holder in the airport will cost you between €5 and €10.
The Mela T-shirt
“Mela” is a word you will hear very often when you hear Maltese speaking to each other. Basically, in every sentence.
It can be translated to “so,” but can be used in multiple ways. “Mela” will e.g. also be the answer from the taxi driver (accompanied with a sigh) when you say you only have a €100 bill on you. Or when you ask a random Maltese if this is the way to the beach.
Souvenirs That Don’t Suck has made this awesome tank top which captures the spirit of the word.
Where to buy: From Souvenirs That Don’t Suck’s website or from their shop in Manwel Dimech Street in Sliema
Maltese Food and Drink!
If you still haven’t found something you like in this list, you can always go back to the typical people pleasers.
We are talking about the local specialties you can eat (or drink). If you have a lot of friends (and big luggage), you can even bring back a bit of everything.
So what’s good in Malta? Well, there’s cheese from Gozo, called "ġbejna" made with goat or sheep’s milk, often covered with pepper).
There’s honey, caruba syrup, nougat, “Imqaret” (date cookies), olive oil, tomato products (spread, etc.), spicy broad bean puree (“bigilla”), capers or even salt.
And wine of course! A lot of local producers sell very good wine thanks to Malta’s perfect weather.
Aside from the usual grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot), you can try two Maltese ones: Gellewza and Ghirghentina. The two most famous producers (whose caves you can visit, with tastings) are Delicata and Marsovin.
Where to buy/Price: Malta’s traditional products can be bought everywhere, even directly from the producers (such as Ta’Mena Estate in Gozo). However, we advise you to avoid waiting until you get to the airport where prices are outrageous.
More about Malta: 10 things you more than likely don't know about Malta