Looking for the perfect European island getaway? Malta is calling your name! The list of things to do in Malta starts with beautiful azure waters and picturesque beaches. It ends with a sensational seafood dinner gazing out over awesome architecture. Malta is set to deliver all of that, and more.
Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea the gorgeous archipelago known as Malta is bound to impress even the most jaded traveler.
Malta boasts an abundance of stunning natural attractions. From sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters to amazing grottos with picture-perfect formations, the water lover in you will be in heaven.
Architecture buffs can enjoy the photogenic streets of either the old or the new capital city. During our visit we snapped over a thousand photos…and we could have taken more!
History fans can visit the numerous impressive churches scattered all around Malta, and explore exciting artifacts from the Neolithic Age.
Foodies while absolutely dive into diverse culinary treats with flavors from around the world. And the seafood will blow you away.
We’re not kidding, there really IS something to do for just about anyone visiting Malta.
The archipelago is made of of three major islands. The largest one is officially named Malta, and you will probably spend most of your time here. The two smaller inhabited islands of Gozo and Comino, and around a dozen uninhabited islets, make up the rest of the archipelago.
There are many awesome places to visit on the islands. To help you plan your itinerary out we’ve put together a list of some must-see attractions in Malta. We will get into those in a moment. Let’s talk about some basics of WHEN you should visit Malta first.
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11 Essential Things to Do in Malta
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As the capital city of this island nation Valletta is a photogenic city to say the least. We took countless photos while walking around Valletta, and could probably take hundreds more.
As the 2018 European Capital of Culture Valletta offers a wide range of attractions, sights and activities to travelers. Filled with gorgeous buildings, narrow little streets and meticulously tended gardens this urban area is a visual delight.
Walking around and taking it all is is essential to understanding Malta. We highly recommend exploring this area of the city while taking numerous breaks in its many cafes or bars.
If you’re into quirky museums, then you’ll probably love to discover the treasures of both the toy museum and the postal museum. Visit the colorful gardens between the Old City walls or simply wander away from the tourist area and discover the charm of Valletta in the underrated corners of the city.
Explore the grandiose St. John’s Co-Cathedral, an homage to the Knights of Malta or immerse yourself in one of the numerous local festivals held year-round.
If you’re visiting Malta in February then the Carnival in Valletta is an absolute must! Make sure to add it to your list of things to do in Malta!
The Barrakka Gardens
Visiting the stunning Upper Gardens should absolutely be on your list of things to see in Malta.
In addition to the riot of color the garden makes for a great viewing platform. The numerous vantage points of these gardens offer pristine views. You can gaze out across the ‘Three Cities’ of Malta, and take in epics sights of the Grand Harbor.
If you are anything like us your camera will over heat during your time here. The gardens are a great starting point for further exploration of Valletta, so don’t miss out!
Fort St. Elmo
The impressive fortification of Fort St Elmo guards the mouth of Malta’s harbor. It has done so for centuries, and stands as a testament of the trials this island has faced throughout history.
You can take a guided tour, or visit the fort on your own. We reckon history buffs will have a wonderful time walking the ramparts, and looking our over the harbor. We sure did!
San Anton Gardens
Avid fans of botany will certainly appreciate a short and cool visit to the lovely San Anton Gardens, situated right at the heart of the main island of Malta. With a vast collection of plants from all over the world, it was opened to visitors in the early 19th century and has continuously added to its impressive assemblage of plants ever since.
San Anton Gardens lies in the vicinity of the Palace bearing the same name, the official residence of the President of Malta.
The Garden is open daily from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM (June-September) and from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM (October-May) and is free of charge to the general public.
Things to Do in Malta – Visit Marsaxlokk
If you’re in search of the typical, postcard-perfect view of Malta, then Marsaxlokk is the place to be! A traditional fishing village in the south eastern part of the main island, this quaint little place is beloved by tourists thanks to its lovely scenery.
The neutral-colored buildings serve as the perfect backdrop to the turquoise sea water dotted by a myriad of colorful, vibrant fishing boats still very much used by locals. Although there isn’t too much going on in Marsaxlokk, the trip is still worth it for a nice walk in the village or a chill picnic at Pretty Bay Beach.
Things to Do in Malta – Blue Grotto in Malta
One of the most iconic Maltese sights, Blue Grotto should absolutely be on anyone and everyone’s must-see list. The term actually refers to a handful of gorgeous sea caverns located at the southern tip of the main island. The crown jewel of the cave complex is the stunning arch. It can be admired both from the mainland and from the inside via a boat trip. Make sure not to miss it!
If you’re feeling adventurous, you might also want to try your hand at snorkeling, scuba diving and even rock climbing. Since you’re in the area, check out the small inlet in the vicinity known as Wied-iz Zurrieq, or simply order some fine seafood and admire the scenery from one of the many terraces found here, boasting panoramic views.
Dive the Sunken HMS Maori
Speaking of snorkeling, Malta is blessed with blue clear water which is perfect for snorkeling and diving.
The islands are surrounded by some cool reefs, natural and man made. One of the more famous artificial reefs is the HMS Maori. This sunken WW2 vessel lays on the sea floor at around 14 meters below the surface.
The sunken ship is a great spot for beginners to learn how to dive due to its easy access and relatively shallow depth. If you want to get PADI certified in Malta you will likely visit this historic wreck.
Things to Do in Malta – Visit Mdina
The walled town of Mdina lies at the center of Malta and has served as the country’s official capital through some of its most tumultuous times, from the antiquity to the Medieval Era.
This fortified gem is a true haven for photographers, featuring a handful of artsy palazzos, photogenic gates and majestic churches. It’s as if you stepped back in time and everything stayed the same as it was 500 years ago and every modern element has been made to fade into the surroundings (even the traffic signs are decorated stylish wrought iron details, we kid you not).
You can even check Mdina out on a full day walking tour that includes lunch and covers the history, culture, and main sites of the city!
Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and Gnejna Bay
These three bays come one after the other, lying on a generous sandy stretch in the south-western part of Malta. The most popular and largest of the three is Golden Bay. It is easily reached by car and public transport, so it tends to be quite crowded at times. A quieter alternative is Ghajn Tuffieha, located further south of the previous beach.
If you really want to hide away from the world, then Gnejna Bay, the most underrated of the three, is the place for you. Don’t forget to admire the majestic sandy hills located between the latter two beaches!
One of the quirkiest tourist attractions in the entire country, Popeye Village is actually a film set built in 1979. Locals have preserved it in impeccable shape, added a few fun activities to it, thus turning it into one of the most profitable and most-visited sights in all of Malta.
The colorful fishing village imitation is like a mini theme park, where you can wine, dine, go on boat tours or just simply walk around and take photos. The entrance to Popeye Village will set you back €14.50 in peak season and a whopping €10.50 in low season.
Things to Do in Malta – Ghadira Bay, Mellieha
The longest sandy beach of Malta, Ghadira (also referred to as Mellieha) Bay is the most favored beach on the island among tourists and locals alike. Thanks to its size, it rarely becomes as crowded as smaller beaches and is located in the vicinity of numerous restaurants, shops, bars and clubs for your entertainment. There’s a local diving site at the westernmost point of the beach, whilst on the east you’ll find one of the main ports where the ferry to Comino docks.
Ggantija Temples, Island of Gozo
If you head over to the island of Gozo for a day trip, make sure you include the Ggantija Temples in your itinerary. Claimed to be older than the Egyptian pyramids, the temples of Ggantija will surely not disappoint. These amazing temples were constructed between 3600 and 3200 BC and are quite impressive in size.
To see the temples you’ll need to pay a €6.00 entrance fee and if you want to check out the Ta’Kola Windmill as well (built in the 18th century), you’ll have to cough up an additional €3.00.
Dwejra Bay, Island of Gozo
Since you’re already on the island of Gozo, don’t hesitate to get to its western edge, where the majestic Azure Window stood before it collapsed last year. But even without the famed arch there’s actually plenty to see in this area.
The Inland Sea is an extraordinary dive site, but even if you don’t want to go under, the small seawater lagoon with a large arch serving as its backdrop is still an impressive sight.
The Blue Hole is another fantastic diving location and a great place to take some fine Instagram pictures. Last but not least, the gorgeous Dwejra Bay is an amazing site in itself, not to mention the photogenic Fungus Rock located in its vicinity.
Blue Lagoon, Island of Comino
Last but not least, let’s not forget about the small island of Comino. With a population of three people (yes, you’ve read that correctly), we can barely say that this is the third inhabited Maltese island. You can reach it either through cruises or via water taxis – the latter is a more budget-friendly option.
The island’s highlight is the dreamy Blue Lagoon. The shallow azure waters for which this lagoon is named are warm enough to swim in late into the off season. During the summer months hundreds of visitors flock to the lagoon on a daily basis. And understandably so, this IS a little slice of Maltese paradise.
No matter when you visit the Blue Lagoon is an essential Maltese attraction.
When to Visit Malta
If you want to partake in Malta’s many water activities while basking in the hot sun we recommend visiting between May and late September. This is pretty much high season for the island, and you will encounter loads of tourists exploring the island. The plus side is enjoying a ton of time in the water. If water based activities and tan lines are your thing, visit Malta in the summer.
If you want to explore the natural beauty of the island without swarms of tourists getting in the way we highly recommend visiting Malta in its off season. You’ll find smaller crowds and reduced prices. That’s pretty great, right?
With daytime averages between 13 and 19 C (55 – 66 F), the weather between November and March is actually pretty comfortable. This is an ideal time to explore Malta’s architecture, and gorge on food. Sure the weather won’t be balmy and tropical, but that will only make exploring the beauty of the island more appealing.
Decide what you want to get out of your trip to Malta and pick accordingly. We reckon you will have a good time no matter when you visit. Now, here are 11 highlights from Malta which should be on everyone’s radar.
Where to Stay in Malta
Family Accommodation in Malta
If you are visiting Malta with your kids on a family vacation look into the Seashells Resort in the town of Bugibba.
Seashells offers visitors a sort of cruise ship atmosphere, with all sorts of offered activities to keep the kids busy in the pool while parents soak up some sun (and juicy cocktails). The resort has multiple restaurants and pools to relax in. Its waterfront location makes the Mediterranean easily accessible for an invigorating swim, or for all sorts of water sport activities.
Even if you aren’t traveling with children Seashells could be a good place to stay for a few nights while exploring the northern part of Malta and its beautiful beaches.
Luxury Accommodation in Malta
If you have a larger travel budget for your visit to Malta strongly consider pampering yourself at The Palace Hotel, a 5 star luxury accommodation catering to those with a passion for the finer things in life. Lounge on the hotel’s roof with a refreshing drink while dipping in its infinity pool, enjoy meals at its various restaurants, relax in their incredible sauna and spa, and sleep snugly in one of their lavish rooms.
The Palace Hotel might not be a fit for everyone’s travel budget when visiting Malta. But if you can afford we highly recommend you book a couple of nights while exploring Sliema!
Boutique Accommodation in Malta
Explore the historic and beautiful district of Valletta for at least a day or two while in Malta. You will probably want to stay in Valletta overnight to get the most out of your experience, and The Saint John boutique hotel makes for a very trendy and cozy home away from home.
This hotel’s excellent location makes exploring the neighborhood easy as pie. Its elegant ambiance and super comfortable rooms will give you a wonderful place to rest your weary feet. Plus, the staff at The Saint John will make you feel like royalty.
What more could you ask for?
Best Hostel in Malta
Malta’s first boutique hostel, Two Pillows Boutique Hostel, is located in the heart of popular Sliema. The hostel’s location gives visitors easy access to beaches, nightlife, shopping, restaurants, cafes, history, and culture. The hostel offers guests a wide range of accommodation options, from spacious dorms to luxurious private apartments.
Two Pillows isn’t a party hostel. It is one of the best hostels in Malta for couples, backpackers, solo travelers. It’s also a great choice for families looking to socialize with other travelers. If you have a small travel budget this pretty hostel is our recommendation.
There you have it folks, things to do in Malta. We really enjoyed our time on this unique island in Europe, and you probably will too! As always, travel well, and we’ll see you on the road.
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Sponsorship Disclaimer: Thank you to AX Hotels for hosting us during our stay in Malta. All opinions expressed in this article are purely our own.