From handmade treasures to gourmet souvenirs, shopping in Malta is one of this beautiful archipelago’s many pleasures. Maltese artisans create intricate filigree jewellery and handcrafted wine goblets, while the island’s natural bounty produces delicious olive oil and local wine. Here are our favourite gifts to pick up while shopping in Malta.
Gozo is famed for its lace making. Take a stroll through one of its sleepy villages and you’re bound to encounter a local woman with a bristle of bobbins weaving some fine guipure. Known as bizzilla, Maltese lace has been a cultural pastime since the days of the Knights of St John, and intricate samples, from coasters and bookmarks to table centrepieces, can be found in boutiques and markets across the archipelago.
It’s not such a great leap from finely knotted silk threads to precious metals. When shopping in Malta, keep a lookout for the fine filigree jewellery that the island’s gold and silversmiths are famous for. Valletta is a good place to start, with a flurry of boutiques on St Lucia’s and Merchants Street displaying an enticing variety. As in most bizzilla pieces, the Maltese Cross is a popular motif.
With its indigenous grapes bottled into some spectacular local vintages, and a wealth of olive groves dating back to Roman times, Malta has plenty of mementos to stock a pantry with. Bidni olive oil is a particular highlight, harvested for centuries in the local town of Bidnija. Light on the tongue, it offers a distinct, grassy aroma that marks its superiority.
For those brave souls who are willing to run the gauntlet of getting a delicate item through airport security, there are some stunning pieces of Maltese glass for sale across the archipelago. The glass workshops in the crafts villages have plenty of items to choose from, and you can even watch while the glass is being blown. Alternatively, you can take a trip to Mdina Glass in Valetta, which has a wonderful range of glasswork on offer, from paperweights and perfume bottles to elegant vases.
Malta is home to a flock of prolific vineyards, with Delicata and Marsovin each harvesting the island’s native grapes alongside more popular New and Old World varieties. For a local red, Gellewza is a fruity, light variety, while Girgentina is a very drinkable white.
Ta’Qali Crafts Village
Sprawled across a Second World War RAF airfield, the Ta’Qali Crafts Village might not look like the most promising site for artisanal local crafts, but don’t let its appearance deceive you – this is without doubt one of the best places for shopping in Malta. Don’t miss the demonstrations held in the village or the opportunity to buy some beautiful pieces directly from the artisans.
Ta’Dbiegi Crafts Village
After exhausting the stalls at Ta’Qali, head over to Gozo to check out its local craft village, Ta’Dbiegi. Offering an impressive selection of handmade products, from pottery and metalwork to leather handbags and wallets, Ta’Dbiegi is located in the oldest town on the island, worth a visit if only to soak up the antique charm.