There are so many things to do and see in Malta, that one article wouldn’t be enough to cover everything. Cultural heritage, history, beaches, diving, water sports, and nightlife are only a few of the wonderful and exciting things Malta has to offer.
This is a comprehensive list of the best things to do in Malta. Use it to plan your trip, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to cover everything in 3 or 4 days. One week in Malta would be the minimum time required for a proper exploration of this Mediterranean archipelago.
Main Topics of Best Things To Do in Malta
- Where is Malta? Is Malta an Island or a Country?
- How To Get to Malta
- How To Get Around in Malta
- Best Things To Do in Malta
- 1. Visit Marsaxlokk
- 2. Take a Boat Trip to Kalanka Bay, St. Peter’s Pool & Other Golfs near Marsaxlokk
- 3. Visit Fort Delimara
- 4. Buy Fresh Produce from Tulliera Farm
- 5. Visit Mdina & Rabat
- 6. Visit the Catacombs of St. Paul, St. Agatha & St. Cataldus
- 7. Stroll through Valetta or Take a Walking Guided Tour
- 8. Visit Casa Rocca Piccola
- 9. Visit Fort St. Elmo & The National War Museum
- 10. Visit the Lower Barakka Gardens & Upper Barakka Gardens
- 11. Ride the Barakka Lift
- 12. Walk around the Three Cities: Vittoriosa (Il-Birgu), Senglea (L-Isla) and Cospicua (Bormla)
- 13. Visit the Gardjola Gardens
- 14. Take a Boat Trip to See the Three Cities from the Sea
- 15. Walk on the Beachfront Promenade in Sliema & St. Julian’s
- 16. Go on a Pub Crawl in Paceville Area
- 17. Visit the Blue Grotto
- 18. Visit the Megalithic Temples of Malta (Tarxien, Hagar Dim, Ġgantija, Mnajdra, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Borġ In-Nadur, Ta’ Ħaġrat, Misraħ Għar il-Kbir)
- 19. Visit Ghar Dalam Cave & Museum
- 20. Visit the Limestone Heritage Park & Gardens
- 21. Go on a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour (or Three)
- 22. See the Sunset at Singita Miracle Beach
- 23. Go Surfing in Ghajn Tuffieha Bay
- 24. Go Diving at the HMS Maori Wreck
- 25. Go on a Snorkeling Tour
- 26. Take a Segway Tour
- 27. Visit Dingli Cliffs
- 28. Take a Day Trip to Gozo
- 29. Enjoy the Blue Lagoon
- 30. See the Sunrise
- Where to Stay in Malta
Where is Malta? Is Malta an Island or a Country?
Located 80 km south of Sicily, in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is both a country and an island. Malta the country consists from an archipelago that includes Malta the island, and a few smaller islands such as Gozo and Comino. Malta and Gozo are the only inhabited islands.
Smaller, uninhabited ones include Manoel Island, Dellimara island, Cominotti, Filfla, Fessej Rock, Fungus Rock, Għallis Rock, Ħalfa Rock, Large Blue Lagoon Rocks, Selmunett Island, Mistra Rocks, Sala Rock, Xrobb l-Għaġin Rock, Taċ-Ċawl Rock, Qawra Point / Ta’ Fraben Island, Small Blue Lagoon Rock, Large Blue Lagoon Rock, and Ta’ taħt il-Mazz Rock (info source: Wikipedia).
How To Get to Malta
There are direct flights to Malta from many cities in Europe. Regular airlines and low cost operators such as Ryanair and Wizz Air connect the island of Malta to a wide array of European countries.
Regular ferry services connect Malta to Sicily.
The Malta International Airport is located in the town of Luqa, about 10 km south-west of Valetta, Malta’s capital city.
How To Get Around in Malta
Renting a car is probably the best way to make the most out of your time in Malta. Other options include using the public transport (buses), taxi services or Bolt.
There’s no Uber in Malta, but Bolt is a great alternative (which I also use in my home city)
You can get almost everywhere on Malta and Gozo by public transport. Buses run at good frequencies and many of their itineraries have overlapping segments, so you won’t have to wait for too long to hop on a bus.
The downside of using buses is that journeys take quite a long time. For instance, getting from the airport to St. Julian’s Bay takes about one hour by bus, but only 20 minutes by car.
Best Things To Do in Malta
My intention is to provide you with a wealth of options to spend quality time in Malta. This bucket-list could probably fill two weeks of your time.
Feel free to choose whatever suits you and create the ideal Malta itineraries for your trip.
1. Visit Marsaxlokk
Marsaxlokk is a traditional fishing village known for its harbor, buzzing with colorful fishing boats, and its Sunday market. I’ve visited Marsaxlokk twice, but never on a Sunday. Even so, I loved the vibe of this village. To learn more about the village and to see more photos, check out this Marsaxlokk article.
In Marsaxlokk you can see fishermen at work, cleaning their fishing gear, painting their boats or repairing their nets. You can have lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants by the waterfront. Make sure you check their ratings and reviews first, as not all of them are good.
The harbor area offers great photo opportunities, as it hosts hundreds of colorful fishing boats floating on the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean sea.
2. Take a Boat Trip to Kalanka Bay, St. Peter’s Pool & Other Golfs near Marsaxlokk
Boat trips are among the top things to do in Malta. The shores of the island boast numerous coves, bays and scenic cliffs.
Taking a boat trip from Marsaxlokk allows you to explore several golfs in the area such as St. Peter’s Pool, Kalanka Bay, Il Hofra z-Zghira, Il Hofra I-Kbira.
During summer you can also enjoy a nice swim in some of those bays.
If you find St. Peter’s Bay too busy for you, head over to Kalanka bay, which is a lesser-known but also beautiful swimming spot nearby.
I visited these coves on a boat trip, but they are accessible on land, as well. Just do your research to see where you can park your car or to find out the bus schedules.
3. Visit Fort Delimara
Fort Delimara is currently undergoing restoration works. Nevertheless, part of it is open to the public.
The guide leading the tours of Fort Delimara is savvy and fun. He gave us a comprehensive presentation of the fort, a glimpse into the life of the people operating the cannons.
4. Buy Fresh Produce from Tulliera Farm
Tulliera Farm is an awesome example of sustainable farming. It is a pleasure to see chicken roaming around freely, happy goats munching on fodder and inquisitive kids jumping around like crazy.
The shop on Tulliera Farm is a great place to buy cheese, honey, salt and various kinds of chutney among other produce. You can check out the Tulliera Farm website for more information and for buying some indigenous and authentic products online.
5. Visit Mdina & Rabat
Mdina, also known as The Silent City, is a walled city and the former capital of Malta. Located in the middle of the island and adjacent to Rabat, Mdina has a population count of about 300 souls.
Wandering the narrow streets of Mdina is a delight in itself. Nonetheless, you can try to search for a few of the top points of interest in Mdina such as Vilhena Palace, Archbishop’s Palace, Palazzo Falson, Palazzo Inguanez, Palazzo Testaferrata, Palazzo Mangion’ and Palazzo Santa Sophia.
You can also try to find the two Game of Thrones filming locations in Mdina. It’s a small city, so it won’t take you very long.
Museums in Mdina include The National Museum of Natural History, Domus Romana, and the Cathedral Museum.
6. Visit the Catacombs of St. Paul, St. Agatha & St. Cataldus
The Catacombs of Saint Paul are located in Rabat. You’ll see lots of street signs pointing to this site, as it is the largest of its kind in Malta.
The Catacombs of St. Paul are very interesting, as they used to serve as burial ground back in the Punic, Byzantine and Roman times.These underground cemeteries are also solid evidence of the early presence of Christians in Malta.
Archeologists and anthropologists have found various clues about funeral customs and practices. The underground tunnels and burial chambers are lit, but you could use a flashlight to read the explanations on the display signs.
Near St. Paul’s Catacombs you’ll also find St. Agatha’s Catacombs, crypt and museum, and St. Cataldus Catacombs.
7. Stroll through Valetta or Take a Walking Guided Tour
Valetta is Malta’s capital. It is a beautiful city albeit small.
Even if you don’t want to visit any museum, wandering the narrow streets of Valetta will bring you joy. You’ll love the colorful doors and matching balconies, the creative door knockers and the views.
Don’t expect to find huge parks or gardens like in other cities in Europe. Valletta consists mainly of stone buildings and streets, forts, harbors, boats and cars.
Buses aren’t allowed inside the city. There are special decks nearby the fort where you’ll find buses to and from other settlements on the island.
Click here to get a 3-hour walking tour of Valetta at the price of today, Friday, June 2nd 2023.
If you’re into food, you may want to check out this Valetta street food and culture walking tour.
For a more adventurous exploration, book a Segway tour of Valetta here. Segway rides are always a lot of fun, you can take my word for it.
8. Visit Casa Rocca Piccola
This privately-owned palace in Valetta counts more than 50 rooms and several exquisite collections of furniture, art works and silver, as well as an impressive collection of antique costumes.
You can either visit the museum on a guided tour or at your own pace, using the Audio Tour App on your phone. Most rooms are accessible by wheelchair
Click here to buy your ticket to visit Casa Rocca Piccola from Civitatis.
Click here to buy the Casa Rocca Piccola ticket from Viator.
Click here to visit the official website of Casa Rocca Piccola.
9. Visit Fort St. Elmo & The National War Museum
Beautifully restored, Fort St. Elmo stands tall at the tip of Valetta, overlooking the harbor and the Three Cities on the opposite shore. The fort hosts the National War Museum.
This is a must-do for all history buffs, as it covers the history of the Maltese islands from the bronze Age to modern times. Allow a couple of hours for this activity.
10. Visit the Lower Barakka Gardens & Upper Barakka Gardens
Both the Lower and the Upper Barakka Gardens are excellent vantage points for photography.
These gardens are fitted with benches for you to sit in the shadow, listen to the birds singing and resting your eyes on the magnificent scenery of the harbor.
11. Ride the Barakka Lift
The Barakka Lift connects the Lascaris Wharf to the Upper Barakka Gardens.
This is the fastest way to get from the grand Harbour to Valetta City. It can save you quite a lot of climbing.
12. Walk around the Three Cities: Vittoriosa (Il-Birgu), Senglea (L-Isla) and Cospicua (Bormla)
Can you believe that Vittoriosa dates back to the time of Phoenicians? Later on, the Knights of St. John chose Vittoriosa as their home and made it the capital city of the island.
The Tree Cities are fortified. The settlement contained by these surrounding fortifications is also known as Cottonera or Civitas Cotonera.
Allow half day to walk around the Three Cities. You’ll need this time to enjoy the architecture and the views.
13. Visit the Gardjola Gardens
Located in Senglea (one of the Three Cities), Gardjola Gardens offer a scenic panorama of Valletta, Fort St. Angelo and the Grand Harbour.
Gardjola Gardens are small, but worth a short break. Here you’ll see the “eyes and ears” of Malta, on a watch tower.
14. Take a Boat Trip to See the Three Cities from the Sea
Check out this cruise that starts from Sliema and takes you to Valletta and the Three Cities.
If your hotel is in Sliema, that’s one good reason to board a cruise in order to take advantage of the amazing photo opportunities it will offer.
15. Walk on the Beachfront Promenade in Sliema & St. Julian’s
Sliema is one of my top recommendations for first visitors to Malta.
The beachfront promenade is the perfect place to jog or to walk in the morning or in the afternoon. I’ve been here in April and there was not a lot of people. I imagine it gets busier during the high season, but it still remains a pleasant spot.
I liked very much the Ta’ Xbiex waterfront, just between Msida and Gzira, with its marina and its beautiful villas. This is where many embassies are
16. Go on a Pub Crawl in Paceville Area
Paceville is chocked full with bars, pubs and restaurants. This is where the most animated and vibrant nightlife is.
I took a bus to Saint Paul’s Bay one evening, for comparison, but almost all lights were off and streets were empty and silent. If you’re in for night fun, Paceville, Balluta Bay or St. Julian’s are exactly what you need.
17. Visit the Blue Grotto
There are three ways to visit the Blue Grotto by land: by car, by public transport or by hop on hop off bus (the South route). You’ll be able to see the grotto and to take some photos of it from the cliffs nearby.
If you want to see the Blue Grotto from close and to explore some of these sea caves, you have to take a boat trip. There are tours from Valetta, but I’d rather go to the Blue Grotto viewpoint by taxi or bus, and then get a local boat service.
Blue Grotto is one of the best places for snorkeling and diving in Malta.
18. Visit the Megalithic Temples of Malta (Tarxien, Hagar Dim, Ġgantija, Mnajdra, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Borġ In-Nadur, Ta’ Ħaġrat, Misraħ Għar il-Kbir)
The prehistoric temples in Malta are on the UNESCO Heritage list of monuments.
You can visit them one by one, using public transport or hop on hop off buses. The more efficient alternative is to book a special tour that includes such temples.
Check out this 5-hour tour that includes Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and the Ghar Dalam cave and museum in Malta.
For the Ggantija Temples, you’ll need a Gozo tour like this one, here.
19. Visit Ghar Dalam Cave & Museum
Check out this 5-hour tour that includes Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and the Ghar Dalam cave and museum in Malta.
My time in Malta was limited, so I had to leave some of these activities and things to see for another time. Ghar Dalam was one of them.
20. Visit the Limestone Heritage Park & Gardens
This former limestone quarry is the best place to learn about ancient stone cutting techniques and tools.
The park and the gardens are nice. The stone sculpting demonstrations and the farm animal park are two good reasons to visit the Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens with your children.
21. Go on a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour (or Three)
There are two companies that operate hop on hop off bus tours in Malta. Their itineraries are split in three: North Malta Tour, South Malta Tour, and Gozo Tour.
I took the South Malta tour by Malta Sightseeing. I’ll review it in a separate article. For now, click here to read more about the South Malta tour and to book your ticket at the price of today, Friday, June 2nd 2023.
I’m not a big fun of such touristy stuff but I see hop on hop off tours as a good way to identify the main attraction points of a destination, in order to add them to my bucket list.
22. See the Sunset at Singita Miracle Beach
Singita Miracle Beach was the highlight of my trip to Malta.
Located in Ghajn Tuffieha bay, in a perfect sunset spot, this beach club is the place to be if you want to enjoy a romantic dinner, a special celebration, or a drink with a view.
I visited Singita for a sunset aperitif party organized by Traverse Events with the support of Visitmalta.com.
I fell in love with this beach club at first sight.I highly recommend you to visit it, even if it’s only for a brief photo session.
23. Go Surfing in Ghajn Tuffieha Bay
I’m not into surfing or other water sports. However, I’ve seen many surfers in Ghajn Tuffieha.
According to this surf forecast website, Ghajn Tuffieha is a rather inconsistent beach break. It works best when a Northwest swell combines with an offshore wind direction from the East.
Just make sure you check the surf conditions before you go.
24. Go Diving at the HMS Maori Wreck
Diving is another cool thing to do in Malta. The many World War II wrecks around the island make Malta such an exciting diving destination.
The HMS Maori Wreck is a shallow dive. You can do it from the shore. Click here to see more details about this dive.
25. Go on a Snorkeling Tour
Do you want to see fish in the sea but can’t dive? Go snorkeling instead!
Being claustrophobic doesn’t mean you can’t have underwater fun. You can do your research and go snorkeling by yourself, you can take a boat tour with snorkeling and swimming stops, ore you can go on a snorkeling tour.
Click here to book a snorkeling tour around Malta islands.
26. Take a Segway Tour
Riding a Segway is such an experience! It is safe and fun, and it allows you to explore new places much faster than by walking.
My Malta Segway adventure consisted from a tour of Dingli Cliffs. In the beginning I was afraid to make any move. After a while I got so comfortable on my vehicle that I was able to hold my camera and to film with a fairly steady hand (or so I thought, at least).
Click here to book a sunset Segway tour of Dingli Cliffs.
If you prefer a tour of Valletta, check out this one.
27. Visit Dingli Cliffs
Located on the Western coast of Malta, Dingli Cliffs are the highest point of the island. You can get to Dingli Cliffs by bus, taxi, Uber or Bolt. This is a 30-minute drive from Valetta. Buses take about 50 minutes to get there.
According to Lonely Planet, these cliffs were named after a Maltese architect, Tommaso Dingli who lived in that area.
Dingli Cliffs is one of the best sunset and stargazing spots on the island. It is exposed, so it can get very windy. If you carry a camera, you’ll need an extremely sturdy tripod to take good photos.
28. Take a Day Trip to Gozo
Gozo is the smaller and less developed sibling of Malta island. Its natural beauty and laid back atmosphere make Gozo a great destination for nature lovers.
If you’re in Malta and you can spare one day, check out this Gozo day trip that includes a visit to Ggantija Temples.
To find out more about life on Gozo and the main attractions of the island, check out this website of a US journalist living in Gozo.
29. Enjoy the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of the iconic places to see in Malta, a spot that attracts millions of tourists. You can’t come to Malta and not want to see the Blue Lagoon.
Here you can swim and snorkel in the azure water, you can go for a banana boat ride, you can take a kayak trip around the lagoon or you can visit St. Mary’s tower.
The beach at Blue Lagoon is partially rocky. It gets crazy busy in the summer, so brace yourself for that.
If you only want to take in the beautiful scenery, to relax and to take some great photos, check out this sightseeing cruise.
If you’d rather do your own thing, take the ferry from Cirkewwa (on the island of Malta) to Comino.
30. See the Sunrise
I’m not an early morning person, but I fancy photographing the sunrise every once in a while.
In the photo below, the sun rises just between the dome and the tower of the Valletta Cathedral. How cool is this?
Many thanks to Michael Thomas from @londonviewpoints for the sunrise timelapse workshop in Malta, part of the Keyframe 23 conference I had the pleasure to attend.
Where to Stay in Malta
For beaches, choose the north of Malta island or the smaller and more tranquil island of Gozo.
For nightlife and blue hour photography, choose Sliema, St. Julian, Paceville or Gzira.
For city life, history and overall exploration, choose Valetta or the Three Cities.
I stayed in St. Julien’s, at Plaza Regency Hotel on the waterfront street (Tower Street). Click here to see the prices and the availability at Plaza Regency for your desired period.
The location of this hotel is excellent and the rooms are recently renovated. Nonetheless, don’t book a one-person room, because those rooms don’t get any natural light. Their windows are opaque and they point onto a narrow and dark shaft. If possible, get a room with sea view, as those are great.
As you can see, there are so many things to do in Malta that you may need several weeks to cover everything on the above list.
In addition, there are many museums I haven’t mentioned, many coves and cliffs, as well as several scenic hiking trails. History, culture, outdoors and adventure are all good reasons for you to add Malta to your destinations bucket list.
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