Things to Do in Malta
Lovers of azure blue waters, beautiful beaches, awesome architecture, and sensational seafood will find days upon days of awesome things to do in Malta.
Looking for a European island getaway? Malta is calling your name!
Located right at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily, the gorgeous archipelago known as Malta is set to impress. Regardless of your interests and the purpose of your visit, chances are you’ll find quite a few awesome things to do in Malta.
Malta boasts an abundance of natural attractions, from sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters to interesting grottos with picture-perfect formations. Architecture buffs can enjoy the narrow, photogenic streets of either the old or the new capital city, whilst fans of religious edifices can visit the numerous, impressive churches scattered all around Malta. Historians can explore exciting artifacts from the Neolithic Age, while foodies can delve into diverse culinary treats with flavors from around the world.
The archipelago itself is made up of a larger island, officially named Malta, two smaller inhabited islands (Gozo and Comino) and around a dozen even smaller uninhabited islets as well. Be meticulous when choosing the exact dates of your visit, because Malta can actually get pretty crowded during the peak summer season (not to mention the extreme heat). We’ve already discussed the advantages of visiting Malta during off season, however if you don’t want too much rain during your stay May and September might be the best months to travel to the island.
Once you’ve established your travel time, booked your tickets and get all excited about leaving, it’s time to plan your visit. There are many awesome places to visit on the islands, some more amazing than others, so to help you out we’ve put together a list of some must-sees. However, let’s talk about some basics first.
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 and loads of tourists exploring the island as well.
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, reduced prices which is great, right? If you prefer a mild climate and pleasant breezes over hot days where you cannot wait to hide away in the shade from the frying rays of the sunshine, then low season is definitely the ideal choice for you. With daytime averages between 13 and 19 C (55 – 66 F), the weather between November and March is actually pretty comfortable.
Sure the weather wont be balmy and tropical, but that will only make exploring the beauty of the island more appealing.
Without further ado, here are 11 highlights from Malta which should be on everyone’s radar (from North towards the West):
11 Things to See and Do in Malta
Things to Do in Malta – Explore Valletta
The capital city of this island nation, Valletta is a photogenic city to say the least. Filled with gorgeous buildings, narrow little streets and meticulously tended gardens Valletta itself offers days of exploration to the curious visitor. The current European Capital of Culture (in 2018), Valletta offers a wide range of attractions, sights and activities to travelers.
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 do-to list!
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. But the crown jewel of the cave complex is the stunning arch, which can be admired both from the mainland and from the inside via a boat trip.
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.
Things to Do in Malta – 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 – 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, I kid you not).
Things to Do in Malta – 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, 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!
Things to Do in Malta – Popeye Village
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.
Things to Do in Malta – 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. A UNESCO-protected area, 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.
Things to Do in Malta – 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, where the water is shallow and warm enough that you can leisurely swim in it even in November! During the summer months the small beaches on the coast of the lagoon can definitely get crowded, so this place is enjoyed best in low season.
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, and 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, and 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, but rather the best hostel in Malta for couples, backpackers, solo travelers, and families looking to socialize with other travelers while staying in a beautiful space. If you have a small travel budget, this is the place for you.
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. As always, opinions expressed are completely our own.