Souvenirs can be pretty tacky at times, but apart from creating clutter around the home they do their job of bringing back those fond memories from travels past. And if you still haven’t started compiling that box of mementos, now might be the time to start.
Like it or not, Malta is a paradise for souvenir collectors. Souvenir shops abound, particularly in the tourist town of Bugibba. For those of you who detest souvenirs, fear not as some souvenirs are actually worth taking back home. Some are also consumable, so they won’t remain eyesores for very long.
Forget that whole lot of worthless junk—key chains, mugs, t-shirts and such. Here’s what you need to be packing into your luggage at the end of your holiday.
Maltese Glassware (Hand-Blown Glass)
This is probably one of Malta’s most popular souvenirs, and definitely the most luxurious and prestigious. So if you’re taking it away as a gift, you can rest assured you’ll be making a lasting impression. What’s also great is that these glassware items come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, plus a wide price range to boot (from €10 to several hundreds of euros). The only downside is that they’re fragile.
You can buy Maltese glassware in most souvenir shops, but do consider visiting the glassmakers’ workshops in Ta’ Qali Crafts Village (below Mdina) to see these marvels being produced from scratch. Three household names are Mdina Glass, Valletta Glass, and Phoenician Glass Blowers.
Luzzu Boat and Other Malta Miniatures
We just love these pocket-sized tokens. And if you’re a fan of all things miniature, these cute little versions of the traditional Maltese Luzzu boat, Maltese buildings and churches, and quaint farmhouses will certainly be up your street. Handmade replicas normally come in plaster or wooden versions, and are handpainted in the colours that justify their real versions.
And now, onto the yummy things that unfortunately—or fortunately—don’t last very long. Twistees are the savoury crisp snacks that are treasured and enjoyed by Maltese locals. In fact, they’ve been Malta’s favourite snack for the past 50 years. Why not dig into these baked rice-based snacks while you’re in Malta? We can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be tempted to take a couple of packets back home. Rightly so… they’re deliciously cheesy! You’ll find other flavours like smoked barbecue, chicken, and bacon. Our favourites? Definitely the cheesy ones, with the bacon coming in second.
Maltese Nougat (Qubbajt)
If you’re a bit of a sweet tooth, then you must try the Maltese nougat. Usually found at dedicated stalls during ‘festa’ time, as well as food stores or supermarkets, these blocks of sweetness are usually filled with nuts (mainly almond) and come in various flavours like vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, banana, orange, or mint. The best seller is the original.
Cactus Liqueur (Bajtra)
Finally, how about a drink? This popular Maltese liqueur made from prickly pear, a fruit that you’ll see on your Malta countryside walks, is a sweet and delicate (20-25% alcohol volume) drink that tastes of the actual fruit. Prickly pear fruit may be hard to eat, but you can still enjoy its taste when consumed as a drink. You’ll come across other liqueur flavours like Maltese honey and aniseed, but ‘Bajtra’ is the classic number one. Look out for the brand names Zeppi’s or Ambrosia in supermarkets and the duty-free shop at Malta International Airport.