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It comes to us all at some point during every holiday. You reach a point where the end of your trip is in sight and realise that you’ve not bought any presents for your friends and family back home. More importantly, you’ve not snaffled anything for your own mantelpiece to serve as a memento of your trip.
So, it’s time to hit the souvenir shops but on Malta there are so many to choose from, where the heck should you start? Well, the answer to that in the main is fairly easy because the majority of souvenir shops on Malta sell the same old stuff.
That’s why it pays to take your time, look and shop around and seek out the special bits and bobs that are available. Or at the very least, make sure you’re getting a decent price on the stuff that is widely available.
Popular favourites with a Maltese flavour that often find themselves stuffed into tourist’s suitcases include: filigree jewellery, hand-made Malta lace, distinctive brass Maltese door-knockers and glass ornaments, not to mention the many books, t-shirts, hats…etc.
If you’re one of the more discerning visitors – and we assume you are as you’re reading this excellent website - then a good place for quality, hand-crafted Maltese souvenirs is the Ta’ Qali Craft Village. This is a small collection of shops in the middle of the island (next door to the National Stadium) where local craftsmen create and sell unique artefacts or items.
Here you can often see the craftsmen at work producing anything from hand-blown glass, which is a speciality on Malta to metal work, lace (another speciality), fabric, pottery, furniture, jewellery… and so on. The list, though not endless, is quite a large one!
Bargain souvenirs can be found at the Marsaxlokk market, which operates every day and includes a famous Fish Market on Sundays. Here, stalls sell household items at budget prices like hand-made lace and crocheted tablecloths, novelty t-shirts, candles and other home decorations. The stall-keepers are a friendly bunch with most having a good grasp of English. This comes is very handy when you start to haggle!
A craft genre that is particularly popular with tourists is filigree jewellery. These intricate items are produced with traditional techniques that have been employed for centuries. Malta lace is yet another age-old product popular with visitors to the island. It is made by hand, the designs are stunning and it makes a very classy gift.
Until fairly recently you’d often see (especially in Gozo) Maltese women sitting outside their house, creating exquisite pieces of lace. Sadly, this appears to be a dying practice but lace is still made here in workshops on the island. Check the quality though because there are cheap imitations on sale in some shops and stalls.
Getting to the Craft Village is simple by car, as it’s not far from Attard on the main road down to Mdina next to the National Stadium. This is well signed from most places on the island. There are also plenty of bus routes that stop at the village, as does the Sightseeing Bus.
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