12 of the Best Things to See and Do in Malta
Looking for Malta’s top places to see and visit? Here we share our best things to see and do in Malta!
The Maltese archipelago includes Malta, Gozo and Comino, lies right in the middle of the Mediterranean. With Malta being the largest of the three islands, it has a lot to offer from culture, beautiful beaches, stunning views and backdrops, glorious weather all year and packed full of history.
There are numerous things to do and see on Malta and wonderful sights to explore … enough to keep you occupied for at least a week. For a day trip, why not head over to the quieter neighbouring islands of Gozo and Comino. If you’re a thrill seeker, why not try your hand in scuba diving or rock climbing.
Malta packs glorious variety in its small archipelago - Lonely Planet
Having had the chance to visit this beautiful island twice over the past few years, we’re sharing our top places to visit in Malta.
1. Day Trip to Gozo
Gozo is a vast contrast to it’s sister island Malta. The first thing you will notice is how rural and green the island is, with many rustic stone buildings scattered cross the island. Explore the wonderful coastline, historical sites and the quiet bays and hidden coves.
The most famous attraction was the Azure Window, a natural arch 28m high, which appeared in the famous TV series Game of Thrones. Unfortunately the arch collapsed in March 2017 due to heavy storms.
We spent the day exploring Gozo on quad bikes. We were looking for something fun and this is definitely a unique way to see the main sights of Gozo. If you’re not confident with quad biking, there is an option to share.
2. Visit Popeye Village
Popeye village is one of Malta’s main attractions to visit. Wander around the village which was used as a set for the ’80s movie ‘Popeye’. The set is located just two miles away from Mellieħa and is made up of 19 wooden buildings. Nowadays, the set has been converted into a tourist attraction where you can experience an amazing adventurous day out and meet Popeye and all his friends. Great entertainment and fun for the whole family.
3. Take a stroll along the beach
Malta has such a variety of beaches from golden soft sand to rocks and lagoons. The popular large sandy beaches are Golden Bay, Mellieħa Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha, located north of the island. Our favourite beach is Ghajn Tuffieha – here it’s less crowded and offers soft golden sand between your toes. There’s also a little café selling snacks, treats and offers sun loungers for hire too. For those looking for a larger beach, Golden Bay is a short walk from Ghajn Tuffieha. Try and stay at the beach and watch the sun go down to capture that perfect sunset shot.
Tip: There’s around 100 steps to get down to the beach. Parking is available on the access road. There’s a direct bus from St. Julians No.225 and journey time is around an hour.
4. Explore the Silent City, Mdina
Mdina (also known as the Silent City) is an ancient walled city, located south west of Malta. Mdina is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This small town is steeped in history, filled with medieval architecture and historical sites to visit.
Explore the narrow streets and visit the churches, St. Paul’s Grotto, catacombs and The Roman Villa. Did you know that Mdina was once Malta’s capital city? What you will notice is that no cars are permitted in the city, except for those who live there and deliveries.
Mdina is also famous for the main entrance appearing in the TV Series ‘Game of Thrones’. Different areas of Malta and Gozo have also appeared in Game of Thrones.
We highly recommend stopping at one of the cafés for some tea and cake, with views overlooking Malta. You an easily spend half a day exploring Mdina. However, there a few hotels if you wish to stay.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta, the main hub of the island full of hustle and bustle. It is also the smallest capital city in Europe and another UNESCO World Heritage site rich in history and Baroque style buildings and located on a peninsula between the two harbours; Marsamxett Harbour and Grand Harbour. The narrow streets are filled with small cafés and cute little shops. The city is easily accessible by foot. There are many sights to visit including St. John’s Cathedral and the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
Visit the Grand Harbour which is one of the worlds most majestic ports and separates Valletta and the historic towns Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa. It plays a very important role for Malta and is the major port for cargo ships.
Tip: Catch the ferry which runs from Sliema to Valletta. Price: €1.50
6. Spend a day on Comino & Blue Lagoon
Comino is situated between Malta and Gozo, and is the smallest island in the Maltese archipelago. Comino is very tranquil compared to Gozo and Malta – there are hardly any cars on the island and only one hotel. This island is perfect for those who love rambling and water sports. You’ll notice how picturesque Comino is with its protected nature reserve, wild flowers and the sparse amount of buildings on the island. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, then spend a day here to relax.
The Blue lagoon is located by the west coast of Comino and is famous for its azure blue clear water. It’s total paradise here with the beautiful azure blue water. The clear water is great for snorkelling and diving. It’s the main tourist attraction for Comino.
Tip: It does get super busy here during the Summer months. Recommend to visit the Blue Lagoon early in the morning to miss the crowds. To get to the Blue Lagoon, you can catch the ferry from Malta (Cirkewwa) and takes around 20 minutes. Or take a day trip to the lagoon.
7. Visit the Blue Grotto
A visit to the wonderful Blue Grotto is a must when in Malta. You’ll find the Blue Grotto off the south coast of Malta, opposite the little islet of Filfa. The Blue Grotto is a complex system of 7 caves with a huge arch 30m high, produced by the natural elements and the waves. The omplex of caves include the Cat’s Cave, Honeymoon Cave and Reflection Cave. This natural beauty appeared in the film ‘Troy’, which featured Brad Pitt.
The Blue Grotto got its name when a British soldier thought the area was similar to the Grotto Azzura in Capri. The water here is incredibly blue and very clear. On a sunny day, the sky reflecting off the white sand bed produces a vibrant cobalt blue water. Also the walls of the cave mirror the purple, orange and green off the flora underwater.
Tip: A boat trip is the best way to reach the Blue Grotto. The best time to visit the caves is early morning till midday in order to see the colours in the caves.
8. Watch the sunset at St. Julians
From Sliema, walk along the promenade towards St. Julians where you’ll find many restaurants around the bay. Sit back and watch the sun go down with a cocktail in hand. Spinola bay is our favourite spot to watch the sunset and there are also a few restaurants with terraces, offering beautiful views over the bay.
9. Fort St. Elmo
Fort St. Elmo is located at the tip of Valletta and offers wonderful views of the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour. It was built in 1552 as a five star shaped fort to defend the ports of Malta and played a significant role in the Great Siege of 1565. The National War Museum can be found inside the fort and shows the history of the Maltese islands. The original George Cross can also be seen in the museum.
10. St. John’s Co-Cathedral
This magnificent Roman Catholic cathedral is located in the capital city Valletta. The cathedral was built in a Baroque style, with marble floors, ornate statues and the vaulted ceilings were decorated by a Baroque artist. It was built between 1572 to 1577 for the order of the Knights of St. John.
As you step inside, you’ll notice how much gold there is from floor to ceiling and the vast amount of detail of the artwork inside the cathedral. The well-known painting ‘The Beheading of St. John the Baptist’ by Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, can be found in the Oratory.
11. Discover Marsaxlokk
This small, colourful fishing village is situated south east of Malta and is the second largest port in Malta. Spot the colourful traditional Luzzu fishing boats (painted in green, red, blue and green) bobbing along in the port. The eye of Osiris is painted on the front of the boat to protect the fisherman when they’re out at sea.
Why not stop and taste the fresh fish and delicious seafood in the many restaurants which line the promenade. Sunday is very popular here and can get fairly busy if you wish to buy the fresh catch at the Fish market. Swordfish and Blue fin tuna are the most popular fish in Malta.
Tip: The market is open everyday from 08:30 to 4pm. The Sunday fish market is open in the morning till 1.30pm.
12. Walk along the Dingli Cliffs
Dingli Cliffs are located on the West coats of Malta and is the highest point in Malta, at 253m above sea level. The top of the cliffs offers spectacular panoramic views of the sea and the amazing landscape. The small St. Mary Magdalene chapel can be found nearby marking the highest point of the island. The cliffs stretch from Bahrija to the Blue Grotto. Take a walk in the early evening to enjoy beautiful views of the sunset.
Best Time to Visit Malta
Malta boasts around 300 days of sunshine, making Malta a great place to visit all year round. July and August are usually busy, so we would recommend visiting during May. We found May to have warm weather and perfect to go swimming and sunbathing on the beach. The Winter months are a lot cooler and brings a few days of rain.
Suggested Day Trips
Have you visited Malta? What are your top things to do?
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