Today, driving behind a van stuck in ‘the tunnels’, I idly read the advert on its back doors for a recent DJ set here in Malta. As we edged along the Regional Road, bumper to bumper despite the holiday season and fewer people driving to work, I spotted numerous billboards with events plastered on them. Summers on the Maltese Islands are very busy; rarely is there a night, weekdays let alone weekend, that doesn’t see a double or treble billing of events – international scene DJs, bands and revival bands, along with a burgeoning crop of local groups’ gigs.
But while the islands are heaving with visitors, many of us locals travel the other way this time of year, leaving Malta in search of time out. Often that means grabbing tickets for an event in some European city while we’re sightseeing. In fact, one of the most useful portals I’ve come across for looking up events, gigs, concerts and theatre is aptly called The Big Ticket Shop and for good reason too as it covers most major European cities offering discounted prices and specials offers, and not just for your typical concert either. Because, of course, some of us are traveling with kids on family holidays and need to look up, as I did the other day, various attractions I know have daunting ticket queues this time of year.
Portals like this are a one-stop shop for all manner of events and attractions from stately homes to theme parks and what are now known, I learnt, as ‘experience days’. I doubt there’s a family holidaying from Malta to London that hasn’t been to Madame Tussauds or seen Les Miserables! Pretty darn useful then to plan and book the entire itinerary at usually discounted prices from one evening’s session online. I can’t describe the self-satisfied pleasure I had once in bypassing the queues at The Tower of London to zoom in using the pre-paid ticket gate.
In Malta, we’ve one main local ticketing site as well as venues’ own online systems to help us plan and beat the somewhat smaller entrance gate queues: ticketline.com.mt is the one you’ll be directed to most when looking up venues and gigs. While online booking is still somewhat limited in scale in Malta, you’ll find main events such as the recent Creamfields series and a host of theatre and musical events, as well as tickets for some local museums and attractions.
Maltapass.com is a useful one-stop if you’re sightseeing on the Islands and know you’ll be visiting multiple attractions during your stay. Its one-, two- or three-day passes offer you free entry to over 40 of the most popular attractions, museums and sites around the Maltese Islands as well as a free sightseeing bus ride and a Grand Harbour cruise. In addition, holders can benefit from discounts at a variety of places including restaurants, shops and water sports centres, and on airport transfers with selected suppliers. If you buy online while holidaying here, the pass can be delivered to your hotel, or posted to your home. It’s usable over a 12-month period, so could be useful for longer-stay visitors too.
If you know of other useful online ticketing agents for Malta, drop us a comment, and also about your experiences of using the local systems. Some can be a bit clunky still and need a phone call to negotiate, we find!