The Maltese islands are rich with artisanal treasures, from delicate lace and filigree jewellery to hand-spun pottery and traditional Maltese glass. A gold mine of gifts and souvenirs, we’d recommend setting aside some time to do a little shopping in Malta. Whether perusing Maltese crafts at the Ta’Qali Crafts Village, or heading off to one of the incredible Maltese markets that crop up across the archipelago, there are some stunning items to be found – just grab your wallet and follow your feet.
The island of Gozo, for example, is a hotspot for lace making; you can catch a glimpse of this ancient handicraft just by taking a walk around the island – many of the local women weave right on their doorstep. Lace making – or bizzilla as it is known locally – has been a fixture in Malta since the 16th century, back when the Knights of St. John were kicking around, so it has a pretty impressive pedigree in these parts. You can find some beautiful pieces to take home in the local shops on the island, or head over to the Ta’Qali Crafts Village for a larger selection of Maltese crafts.
Filigree jewellery is another flourishing craft to search out when shopping in Malta. The gold and silversmiths on the islands are known for the quality of their jewellery, as well as the distinctive eight pointed cross that they incorporate into many of their designs. Start your jewellery quest in the stores on Merchants Street and St. Lucia’s Street in Valletta.
Found on a former RAF airfield from WW2, the Ta’Qali Crafts Village might not look like the most promising site for artisanal Maltese 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.
After exhausting the stalls at Ta’Qali, head over to the island of Gozo to check out their local craft village, Ta’Dbiegi. Offering an impressive selection of local products, from handmade pottery and metalwork to leather bags and wallets, Ta’Dbiegi is located in the oldest town on the island, so you can be sure to find some authentic items, all made on-site.
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.
Given Malta’s artisanal credentials, it’s probably unsurprising that the islands have their own dedicated craft shopping event. The Malta Artisan Markets take place several times a year, popping up in different locations each time. Offering an amazing array of traditional Maltese crafts, these markets are among the best places to go shopping in Malta.
If your trip doesn’t coincide with one of these shopping events, there are plenty of other Maltese markets that occur on a more regular basis, like the daily market in Gozo’s Independence Square, which sells everything from traditional Maltese food to artisan crafts and accessories.