Shops and Shopping Malls – Markets – Crafts
Shopping is varied in Malta and their are various opportunities when it comes to amenities. Opening hours are usually between 9:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00, typically from Monday to Saturday. Time tables may vary slightly depending on the store, locality or season. For example in summer or in Christmas it is not uncommon for shops to operate on extended hours.
Outlets and shopping centres can be found in most towns and villages, but the foremost amongst these are Valletta; Republic Street and Merchant Street, where you may find all sorts of shops like jewellery shops, popular branded outlets and even vintage bazars. One of the oldest shopping complexes is also found in Valletta; Embassy Shopping Centre providing a recreational area, a cinema, a few coffee shops and well-known stores.
Sliema; people mostly frequent Tower Road and Bisazza Street, although many branded outlets are similar to the ones in Valletta you can find a wider selection of supermarkets and the biggest malls in Malta – The Point, which is located in Tigne and offers underground parking facilities. The Point is a large shopping complex which generally satisfies all the shopper’s needs, as you can find photography stores, bookstores, a supermarket, coffee shops and restaurants and many popular clothing branded stores which include; Debenhams, Massimo Dutti, Tommy Hilfiger, CK Jeans, Mango, Liu Jo, Lacoste, Nike, Guess, Armani Jeans, Springfield, and Trussardi amongst many more.
If your holiday locality is in Paceville and St. Julians, then the Bay Street Complex is the largest shopping plaza in the area which offers a varied mix of brands, boutiques, and restaurants. Bay Street is located in St Georges Bay and at the foot of the popular night life Mecca of Paceville.
In the centre of the Island,in between Lija and Mosta one finds the most recent addition to Maltese shopping centres; the Pama Shopping Village, which is currently the largest supermarket in Malta with various fast food restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets complementing the property.
Bugibba, Qawra, St Pauls Bay & Mellieha all have a variety of some small shops found around the town centre, although the variety is not extensive in terms of branded stores, one will find that all your holiday needs may be satisfied here.
Traditional open air flea markets are spread out around many Maltese towns. For instance you can find the market in Marsaxlokk mostly known for being a fish market, although other items are sold here such as clothes, hats, household items and other traditional products. Valletta provides a daily flea market which is probably the largest oudoor market and provides the opportunity of finding good bargains as a big range of products can be found here which include local food, clothes, antiquities, etc.
Fruit and Vegetable stores can be found in all the Maltese villages providing fresh local produce. You may also often see trucks selling goods by the main church or village square of the particular town; these are usually found during the mornings or early afternoons.
Local Crafts – The Maltese are very proud of their local crafts and have been experiencing a certain revival in the past few years. Many of the techniques have been practiced for centuries, therefore purchasing such crafts has not only a decorative or touristic appeal but rather a cultural value. Probably the best know is lacemaking which has very particular techniques; you may be lucky enough to spot out a woman calmly elaborating a piece of lacework right outside her doorstep. Yet you mostly find such pieces sold in different local stores, mainly in Valletta, Rabat and Mdina. Maltese silverware with its 15th century roots is also a precious patrimony and this craft is still carried out by professional silversmiths with the most popular product being the Maltese cross, edged on various items. You can find singular handmade products like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc. Cane work is also a popular local craft and local artisans still us an ancient technique inherited from the Egyptians. Wicker products include baskets, chairs or fishing traps. Glassware & Pottery has also taken off in recent years and you may find some beautiful works of art be it decorative or functional. One of the best known local businesses is Mdina Glass, known for its high quality and fine designs with a number of retail outlets found around the Maltese Islands. Pottery is one of the oldest crafts in Malta which dates as far back as pre-historic times. Nowadays, this industry makes all sorts of products which are useful for the household and obviously excellent souvenirs to take back home. An excellent place to find various pottery and glassware is the Crafts Village in Ta Qali.