malta tourist guides

Malta Tour Guide

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Suggested Tour Itineraries

The tours listed below can be customised to your specifications

Classic Tours

Half day tours.

  • Mdina, Hagar Qim Temples & Blue Grotto
  • Valletta & Birgu
  • Valletta & Mdina
  • Landscapes, Villages & Blue Grotto

Full Day Tours

  • Valletta, Marsaxlokk Village, Hagar Qim Temples & Mdina
  • Fortess Island 'Valletta, Mdina & Birgu'
  • Mdina & Central Highlights
  • Gozo Island Tour

Night Tours

  • Birgu by Night

Multi Day Tours

  • 2 Day Discover Malta & Gozo
  • 3 Day Discover Malta & Gozo
  • 4 Day Discover Malta & Gozo

Special Interest & Themed Tours

Short themed walking tours.

  • Valletta Walking Tour 'A Courtesan. A Knight. A Baker'
  • Birgu Walking Tour 'An Ancient Maritime Gem'
  • Mdina & Rabat Walking Tour 'Medieval & Roman Times'
  • Game of Thrones
  • Food Culture Tour
  • Megalithic Temples of Malta
  • Cities of the Knights
  • Sacred Island of St. Paul
  • Great Siege 1565
  • 2 Day Ancient Temples of Malta
  • 3 Day Ancient Temples of Malta
  • 2 Day Footsteps of St. Paul
  • 2 Day Trail of the Knights
  • 3 Day Trail of the Knights

Why book a private tour?

  • Malta tours are customised to your specifications and requirements
  • Pick up/drop off from hotels, cruise terminal, airport or private accommodation
  • Fully licensed and modern transport - cars, vans and coaches for any group size
  • Malta guided tours can include anything you like; culture, history, scenery, boat trips etc..
  • As intensive or relaxed as you like, paced to your requirements
  • Stop/Start as often as you like for great photo opportunities
  • Ideal tour options for singles, couples,   family, friends, work colleagues or your clients
  • Beat the queues! NO time wasting! Advanced entrance ticket purchase option
  • Try the delicious Maltese cuisine at good quality 'local' restaurants
  • Accompanied by a licensed tour guide with over 30 years of guiding experience
  • Genuinly passionate guide who wants to show you her beloved country and people

Customer Reviews

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About Malta

The Maltese Archipelago comprising of Malta, Gozo and Comino lie just 90 kilometres south of Sicily and 350 kilometres north of the African coast. They offer little natural resources but possess natural, deep and well-protected harbours and it was precisely for this reason why the different Mediterranean powers, whether for trade or for control, always desired to occupy these islands. The earliest settlement of the islands is believed to be around 5200BC, evidence of which can be found in natural caves such as Ghar Dalam (meaning Dark Cave), Skorba and Ta’Hagrat which where actually open air villages. Around 3600BC early man started to erect megalithic structures which brought about an incredible Temple building period. The main temples include Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, Tarxien and of course the largest free standing megalithic structure in the world, Ggantija. Other unique structures including the Hypogeum and the Xaghra Stone Circle indicate large necropolises catering for area communities. The Temple Culture came to an end around 2500BC. Throughout the years our islands have been occupied by a number of different civilisations. One of the earliest were the Phoenicians from Lebanon (Syria), traders who made good use of Malta’s excellent harbours. The Phoenicians were followed by the Carthaginians and during the Second Punic War 218BC Malta was taken over by the Romans. The most important event during the Roman period was the shipwreck of St Paul the Apostle as told in the Acts of the Apostles 27 and 28. Traditionally it is believed St Paul introduced Christianity into Malta. The main sites connected with the saint's visit include St Paul’s Grotto, San Pawl Milqi (Roman Villa), St Paul’s Shipwreck Church and St Paul’s Cathedral & Museum in Mdina. Other interesting sites related to Roman period include large complexes of tombs, ‘catacombs’ which were used by religious communities. Worth visiting are St Paul’s Catacombs and St Agatha’s Catacombs both in Rabat. The long Roman occupation lasted until 535AD when it finally fell under Byzantine rule, later under Arab rule and then Aragonese rule until the 16th century. In 1530 the Order of St John arrived in Malta, this was the start to a 268 year rule by the Military and Hospitaller Order of St John. During their time the Knights offered the islands security, medication and jobs. This was the start of a Golden era for the Maltese Islands. The Order settled in the harbour, in a small seaside village called Birgu. They built a magnificent line of fortifications to provide adequate defence in case of attacks such as the Great Siege of 1565 when the mighty Turkish Armada was defeated. They continued to fortify the harbour and on 28th March 1566 the foundation stone of the new city of Valletta was laid. They added magnificent palaces, theatres, churches and gardens all of which you can see today. Do not miss St. John's Co. Cathedral which was the conventual church of the Order, the Grand Masters Palace and the beautiful Upper Barraka Gardens from where you can admire stunning views of the spectacular harbour. Under the Order’s rule the Maltese Islands flourished however this came to an end in 1798 when in June of that year Napoleon’s fleet cast anchor off the islands and launched an invasion. In a few hours the Order capitulated and Napoleon entered Valletta. During his short sojourn of 6 days he issued rules and regulations which the Maltese were not happy with. In fact after a few months the Maltese rose up in revolt and asked the British for help. The French troops were blockaded inside Valletta. Two years siege followed until the French capitulated and the British took over Malta. The British took the islands into the 20th century, during which time there were two world wars, independence, formation of a republic and the closure of the British bases. The largest natural harbour in the Mediterranean was excellent for the needs of the British fleet so much so that it became its home port and major modern developments took shape. During the First World War Malta was nicknamed “nurse of the Mediterranean” but the Second World War was to be a completely different story. The day after Mussolini declared war on Britain and its allies in June 1940, Malta had suffered its first attack from the air. 16,000 tons of bombs fell on the island during the war, with a loss of 35,000 buildings and over 6000 casualties. In 1942 Malta and its people were awarded the George Cross by King George VI as an official recognition of the island’s courage. This cross is part of the national flag. After the war, the political situation changed drastically. The Maltese were asking for more representational government and a much more liberal constitution. This political work was to lead to the granting of independence from Britain on 21st September 1964. On 13th December 1974 Malta was declared a republic within the Commonwealth, thus retaining the connection with Britain. Five years later, on 31st March 1979, there was the final closure of the British base in Malta. Finally, for the very first time, no foreign troops were stationed on the islands.  Malta is a member of the United Nations and also of the Commonwealth. Moreover, in May 2004 it joined the European Union.

© 2013 - 2024 Joan Sheridan Freelance Tour Guide. All rights reserved.

Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Malta International Airport Guide

Best Hotels

Top Things to Do in Malta

Top Things to Do in Valletta

Best Museums

Adventurous Things to Do in Malta

48-Hour Itinerary

Must-Try Food

Best Restaurants

Your Trip to Malta: The Complete Guide

malta tourist guides

Malta, or the Republica of Malta, is an island nation in the central Mediterranean, located between Sicily and North Africa. It includes the main island of Malta (home to the capital city, Valletta), the smaller island of Gozo, and the tiny, barely populated island of Comino. Over the millennia, Malta's strategic position has made it a prized possession of civilizations, kingdoms, and regional powers seeking to control trade in the Mediterranean. As a result, Malta has a fascinating history, with influences of Roman, Arab, Norman, Spanish and British cultures, among others—seen especially in its historic cities.

Malta is also known for the waters that surround it—the Mediterranean Sea around Malta and its associated islands is clear, deep, and very popular with divers and snorkelers. For Europeans, Malta is a quick island getaway for warm weather, beaches, and history.

Planning Your Trip

Here are some basics for planning your trip to Malta.

Best Time to Visit:  Summers in Malta are hot, dry, and crowded, as July to September is peak season. To avoid the crowds but still be relatively sure of warm but not hot weather, the best time to visit is in the late spring to early summer, from April to June. By May, the sea is warm enough for swimming.

Language:  The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English. The former is a Semitic language with its roots in the Arab-Sicilian domination of Malta in the Middle Ages. Italian is also widely spoken on the island. Why most Maltese speak the Maltese language among themselves, you'll find that most also speak English, especially in hotels, shops, and restaurants.

Currency:  Malta is part of the European Union and uses the Euro as its currency  . No other currencies are accepted.

Getting Around:  Malta has an efficient public bus system that connects to the airport, cruise port, and most cities, towns, and tourist sites, including on Gozo. If you decide to rent a car, keep in mind that Malta adheres to British driving rules, meaning cars have their steering wheels on the car's righthand side, and driving is on the lefthand side of the road. Taxis are numerous and easy to find. Motor scooter and bicycle rentals are popular ways to get around, and a water taxi service carries passengers across Valletta's Grand Harbour.

Travel Tip:  Malta is small but densely populated and congested. In high season and at morning and evening rush hour, expect to spend some time sitting in traffic.

TripSavvy / Linda Strauta

Things to Do

Visitors to Malta mostly come for three reasons: history, the sea, and a fun, resort-like feel. You might pass a vacation here by visiting historical and archaeological sites one day, and beaches and swimming spots another. If you have the chance to get out on the water in a boat, whether it's a ferry, kayak, or chartered sailboat, don't miss it. In the evenings, the lively alleys of the capital city of Valletta are lined with open-air restaurants and bars.

Here are a few sights and activities not to be missed:

  • Visit historic cities and sites. Valletta, the fortified capital city of Malta, dominates the Grand Harbour. The 16th-century city was built by the Knights of Malta in high Baroque style and has a well-preserved historic center. The fortress city of Mdina was built by the Arabs in the 11th century and served as Malta's capital until the 1500s. The Megalithic Temples of Malta, including Ħaġar Qim and four others, are the oldest free-standing stone structures globally   and a combined UNESCO World Heritage Site. For some perspective: they predate the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, and Ireland's New Grange.
  • Get in the water. The islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino are ringed by dramatic rocky coves with stunningly clear water and a few sandy beaches. Top sandy beaches include Golden Bay Beach and red-hued Ramla Bay on Gozo. For swimming and snorkeling, On tiny Comino, the aptly named Blue Lagoon is famous for its otherworldly turquoise waters. On Malta, St. Peter's Pool has huge rock slabs for sunning in-between jumping into blue-green waters. From the beautiful swimming cove at Għar Lapsi, you can catch a boat to the Blue Grotto, the most famous of the many sea caves carved into the shorelines of Malta and Gozo.
  • Party into the night. Malta is a party destination, attracting young and old revelers to dine out, drink and socialize at top spots all over the island. In Valletta's Old Town, narrow, steep alleyways are lined with bars and restaurants that buzz with activity from early evening. In the combined area of Sliema, St. Julian's, and St. George's Bay, modern luxury hotels, beach resorts, and shopping, dining, and entertainment complexes draw revelers from across Europe and beyond.

For more on things to do in Malta, check our articles on the Most Adventurous Things to Do in Malta and the Top Things to Do in Malta .

What to Eat and Drink

As with Maltese history and culture, Malta's cuisine has been greatly influenced by the many cultures that ruled the islands over thousands of years. Most prevalent is the Italian influence—there are Italian restaurants and pizzerias all over Malta and Gozo. But the cuisine also has elements of French, Greek, Arabic, Spanish and British cooking. Rabbit is among the most popular dishes in the country, prepared any number of ways but most often in a stew, called stuffat tal-fenek . Pastizzi are savory pastries filled with peas or a ricotta mixture. Another only-in-Malta dish is ftira , a flatbread that is either stuffed with savory ingredients or served like a pizza, with cheese, vegetables and often, sausage or other meat. Lampuki pie is a local fish pie baked with potatoes, mint, and capers.

Both red and white wines are developed in Malta. White wines are crisp and dry, and include Chardonnay, Vermentino, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. Syrah and Merlot are two of the most commonly found reds on the island. Cisk is the local craft beer, and you'll find bartenders mixing up a range of international cocktails, including the ubiquitous Aperol Spritz.

Where to Stay

Where you base your stay in Malta depends largely on your interests. Keep in mind that the island is small and can be easily traversed by rental car or bus. Valletta, the capital city, has several important sights, is close to the airport, has a range of accommodation options, and is a good hub for exploring the rest of the country. Sliema, St. Julian's, and St. George's Bay have the largest concentration of luxury hotels, though there are less expensive options here as well. Families and couples come here for the beaches, and the younger crowd hits nearby Paceville for the nightlife. Quiet Mellieħa is favored by those who want to spend the majority of their time at the beach. Gozo is also much quieter and lower-key than the busiest parts of Malta and draws an older crowd looking for total relaxation and lots of time in the sun and sea.

Getting There

Small, easily navigable Malta International Airport (MLA) is the country's only airport. While there are no direct flights between Malta and the U.S., the airport is well-connected to Europe, the Middle East, and Russia. Air Malta, Alitalia, RyanAir, EasyJet, and Wizz Air are among the carriers with the most frequent flights in and out. The airport is about 10 kilometers from downtown Valletta and is connected to Valletta and the rest of the island by bus or taxi.

Gozo is only reachable by ferry or private boat, or charter. Ferries depart about every 30 minutes from the port at Ċirkewwa, on the northern tip of Malta, for the 25-minute ride to Gozo. Vehicle, foot, and bike passengers are welcomed on board.

Culture and Customs 

Malta ranks only behind Romania as the most religious country in Europe. And despite its reputation as a European party destination, its population is devout, with a wide majority identifying as Roman Catholic and attending mass regularly. When entering any church, be sure that your shoulders and chest are covered and that your legs are covered from the knees up—this goes for all genders.

In restaurants, tip about 5-10 percent of the bill. If a service charge has been added, you don't need to tip, though a euro or two extra for good service is always appreciated.

Money-Saving Tips

In terms of vacation costs, Malta falls right about in the middle of the rest of Europe—cheaper than destinations like Paris and Venice, but more expensive than Eastern Europe, for example. Here are a few ways to save money on your vacation to Malta:

  • Buy the Malta Pass. If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing in one day or a few days, the Malta Pass is a good investment. It includes admission to more than 35 top attractions, plus a sightseeing bus to get around on.
  • For meals, go casual. The Maltese snacks of ftira and pastizzi are cheap, handheld meals in themselves. They're sold, along with tasty sandwiches and pizza, just about everywhere, especially near beaches and other destinations where tourists gather.

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UNESCO, Megalithic Temples of Malta

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The Best Time to Visit Malta

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48 Hours in Malta: The Ultimate Itinerary

The 15 Top Things to Do in Valletta, Malta

The Top 10 Foods to Try in Malta

The 10 Best Restaurants in Malta

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Visiting Malta: what to know, how to drive, where to eat and more

Jun 3, 2022 • 6 min read

MDINA, MALTA - October 2018: Massive stone city entrance gate, ancient town of Mdina, Malta; Shutterstock ID 1634278489; your: Brian Healy; gl: 65050; netsuite: Lonely Planet Online Editorial; full: Things to know before Malta

Walks around historic cities like Mdina are a highlight of any visit to Malta; pack comfortable shoes Sun_Shine / Shutterstock

Compact, easy to get around and with a friendly English-speaking population, Malta is a relaxed and convenient destination filled with pleasures.

Taking note of a few pre-departure tips will make a trip to the Mediterranean’s smallest island nation even more enjoyable. Here’s all you need to know before your trip to Malta.

Book well ahead for Malta’s most amazing sight

A 5000-year-old subterranean necropolis only rediscovered in 1902, Malta’s Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is one of the country’s essential sights. As such, it’s extremely popular – and to protect the fragile, centuries-old interior, entry is limited to 80 people per day. Booking ahead online before arriving in Malta is highly recommended. Last-minute entry tickets, which also sell out quickly, are available the day prior for an additional charge of €15.

Pack a good pair of walking shoes

Malta is a great place to explore on two legs, especially around Valletta and in the hilltop walled city of Mdina . Note that both places involve plenty of steps and centuries-old cobblestones, and wearing a comfortable pair of walking shoes is recommended. If there’s a bit of rain, laneways and plazas can also become slippery, and are probably not best negotiated in a pair of sandals or flip-flops. Good walking shoes also come into their own when exploring clifftop hiking routes like Malta’s Park tal-Majjistral or the Xlendi Walk on Gozo. An effective sun hat and sunglasses are also essential to combat the heat of a Mediterranean summer.

Hit the ground running when exploring Malta’s fascinating food scene

As an island country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has a cuisine that’s been influenced by various cultures throughout the centuries. French, British, Italian – especially Sicilian – and Arabic flavors all overlap in the diverse food traditions here. Before leaving home, book a walking tour with Offbeat Malta Food Trails for when you first arrive in Malta. That way, you’ll be up to speed and armed with cultural and historical culinary insights as you explore local restaurants, island vineyards and food markets across Malta and its smaller sister island of Gozo . 

It’s also worth booking well ahead for popular Michelin-starred restaurants like Valletta’s Noni , especially during Malta’s busiest travel months from July to August.

A vendor sells traditional sweets at stall in the market of Marsaxlokk, Malta, Europe

Sign up for an International Driving Permit

Malta is an excellent destination to explore independently in a rental car, especially on the quieter roads of Gozo. Car rental prices are some of the lowest in Europe, and having your own ride offers more convenience and efficiency than relying on Malta’s extensive but sometimes slow bus service. As in the UK and most Commonwealth countries, drivers need to stick to the left-hand side of the road. Booking ahead for rental cars is recommended for visits in July and August.

Travelers from the UK and European Union countries can use their home driving licenses, but if you’re coming from a non-EU country you’ll also need an International Driving Permit (IDP). These are issued for a one-year period by local automobile associations in travelers’ home countries.

An overhead shot of curves on a mountain road in Malta, Europe

Bring your driving A-game

Especially when driving around Malta’s main urban conurbation (incorporating Valletta, Sliema and St Julian’s ), it’s worth channeling a confident approach to getting behind the wheel. Traffic is often very busy, and local drivers can regard indicators for signaling a turn as optional. Yielding (giving way) at roundabouts is also routinely ignored. Just drive with confidence (plus an added level of awareness) and you’ll be fine. 

Outside of Malta’s most built-up areas, driving is much less stressful, and having a car makes getting around Gozo and to Malta’s more remote beaches and destinations much easier. As a pedestrian, also never assume that local drivers will stop for you at pedestrian crossings.

Practice in-car safety

Malta has a very low rate of violent crime, but there are occasional reports of rental cars being broken into at beach car parks, especially if they’re adjacent to a more remote stretch of sand. Lock your car and don’t leave anything of value inside. Also take extra care with belongings when swimming and sunbathing on all beaches, as occasional opportunistic thefts do occur.

Learn a few words of Maltese

Everyone speaks English in Malta, but it’s still worth learning a few key phrases in the country’s national language (also known as Malti). Most closely related to the Arabic dialects of western North Africa, Maltese is Europe’s only Semitic language (other Semitic languages include Arabic, Hebrew and Amharic) and it’s also a language with a few loan words easily traced to their country of provenance. 

Here are a few key Malti words to assist you during a trip:

• merħba  (hello) • bonju  (good morning) • bonswa  (good evening)  •  grazzi  (thank you) 

Remember that Malta is a largely conservative country

With a strong Roman Catholic heritage, Maltese society remains largely conservative. Dress respectfully when entering a church – having a shawl to cover shoulders is a good idea – and hats and sunglasses should be removed. Away from the beach, cover up with a sarong and T-shirt, and note that topless and nude sunbathing is illegal. When meeting someone for the first time, a handshake is appropriate.

Expect a high level of health care

High-standard health and dental care is readily available, and Maltese pharmacists can give advice and sell a wide range of over-the-counter medications. Holders of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – available to citizens of the EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – receive free or reduced-cost health care while in Malta, and the country has reciprocal health-care agreements with Australia and the UK. Visitors from other countries should definitely have travel insurance.

Swimmers at Azure Window arch in Gozo, Malta, Europe

Look to the locals for swimming safety

The Maltese have a well-known phrase, “ Il-baħar żaqqu ratba u rasu iebsa ,” meaning “The sea has a soft belly, but a hard head.” While beaches are largely safe in calm weather, storms, windy weather and strong undercurrents can present danger, and locals advise never to swim in rough seas. Major beaches operate a flag system and have lifeguards on patrol from June to September. If there’s no flag system operating, or if you’re in doubt, ask a local about whether and where it’s safe to swim.

Be vigilant in nightlife areas

Fueled by alcohol, fights and drunken violence have been known to occur in nightlife areas, especially around the late-night clubs of the Paceville area. Keep your wits about you, even (or especially) after a cocktail or two.

Malta and COVID-19

As of May 9, 2022, wearing a mask in Malta is only mandatory on flights, or when visiting a hospital or aged care home. While not mandatory, the Maltese government still recommends masks be worn when attending large gatherings. 

Travelers no longer need to complete a digital Passenger Locator Form (PLF) but must present either a vaccine certificate, a recent negative PCR test or COVID recovery certificate upon arrival. See Malta’s Health Ministry website for the latest on COVID-19 regulations.

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Guía turística de Malta

The island of Malta has become a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean thanks to its combination of beaches , historic monuments and uniquely charming towns and villages . In this travel guide, you'll learn all about Malta and its two sister islands, Gozo and Comino .

Malta Travel Guide

  • General information
  • What to see and do
  • How to get to Malta
  • Where to stay
  • Where to eat

Why visit Malta?

Malta is an island of a thousand faces . In its little more than 300 square kilometres (115 square miles) you'll find unspoilt beaches and coves , parties  and a youthful atmosphere, megalithic temples, sea caves, and many more tourist attractions .

UNESCO has recognised the historical importance of Malta, which has three World Heritage Sites : the capital, Valletta ; the unique Hal Saflieni Hypogeum ; and the megalithic temples scattered throughout Malta and Gozo .

To get the most out of a trip to Malta, it's essential to learn about its exciting history as an enclave in the Mediterranean and to sample its cuisine , a fusion of Italian, Arabic and British dishes.

Malta's appearance today has also been shaped by the Knights of St. John , the oldest order in the world, whose mark is still present all over the island. Wandering through the narrow streets of Malta's Three Cities is the best way to travel back in time and soak in this Mediterranean island.

Where to start?

If you have limited time to travel around Malta, we recommend you start by discovering Valletta , the country's capital . This city, built by the Knights of Malta , is home to more than 300 tourist monuments , such as St. John's Co-Cathedral and Fort Saint Elmo .

Malta also has unique prehistoric constructions, such as the underground megalithic Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni temple and the temples of Ggantija , the oldest standing human construction in the world .

Still looking for accommodation in Malta?

Below, you can book hotels of all categories with a minimum price guarantee . Discounts can be up to 75% and payment is made directly at the hotel.

  • Hotels in Malta - Book online with a minimum price guarantee.

top activities

Comino Island & Blue Lagoon Cruise Explore one of Malta's most charming locations with this Comino Island and Blue Lagoon Cruise. You'll absolutely love it!

Pirate Boat Party in Sliema Bay Enjoy an unforgettable night out in Malta on this pirate boat party in Sliema Bay . There'll be a DJ playing music and an open bar onboard!

Popeye Village Ticket With this ticket to Popeye Village theme park , visit the film sets of this iconic Disney movie made this famous comic book character a household name.

This ferry will take you on an unforgettable trip on the Mediterranean Sea to explore the enchanting islands of Gozo and Comino !

The Malta Experience Show + Holy Infirmary The Malta Experience is an entertaining and educational journey through the extensive history of the Maltese islands . Also, tour the Holy Infirmary of Valletta.

Valletta Free Tour Uncover the rich history of the Maltese capital with a free tour of La Valletta ! Get to know iconic sites like St. George's Plaza and medieval houses.

Three Cities Tour Found to the East of La Valeta port, the towns of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea , known as 'The Three Cities' have a long cultural heritage.

Hagar Qim Temples & Blue Grotto Tour Discover the history of the Megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and be enchanted by the beautiful landscapes of the famous Blue Grotto on this unmissable tour.

Gozo & Comino Day Trip Looking for things to do in Sliema? This excursion to Gozo & Comino will take you to explore the most iconic spots of these two Maltese islands.

Mdina and Dingli Cliffs Day trip The walled city of Mdina is one of the most beautiful in Malta. Discover its charm on this excursion which also takes you to the famous Dingli Cliffs.

Free Tour of Mdina and Rabat On this free tour of Mdina and Rabat, we'll truly get to know the most authentic Malta, including its history, traditions and more!

Casa Rocca Piccola Ticket One of the must-see places in the historic center of Valletta is the Casa Rocca Piccola . With this ticket, you'll explore this 16th-century Maltese palace.

With this ticket to St. Paul's Cathedral, you can visit and learn about the history of one of the most famous monuments of Mdina as well the cathedral museum.

Gozo Day Trip As well as the beauty of its nature, the island of Gozo is known for its monuments and cultural heritage. Be seduced by its exotic landscapes on this excursion.

Gozo and Comino Islands Cruise Enjoy a day out at sea on this cruise to the islands of Gozo and Comino from Malta, two natural paradises of the Mediterranean.

Falson Palace Ticket Visit one of the oldest buildings in Mdina and learn all its history with an audio guide in English  and enjoy a tour of a house museum of medieval origin.

Marsaxlokk and Blue Grotto Trip Discover the picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk and the famous Blue Grotto on this trip to the hidden corners of the beautiful island of Malta.

Malta National Aquarium Ticket This ticket to the Malta National Aquarium will give you access to the facilities of this marine zoo to discover over 175 species!

The Malta Classic Car Museum is waiting for you with over 100 vintage cars that'll take you on a journey back in time to the golden age of motoring .

On this 4x4 tour of Gozo, discover one of the gems of the  Maltese archipelago . We'll see the capital, Victoria, the salt flats, & the limestone quarries .

Set sail on the Mediterranean for an unforgettable boat trip aboard a traditional gulet, or schooner, on this  Gozo and Comino Islands Cruise from Malta .

Comino Sunset Cruise An incredible Maltese sunset, the idyllic Blue Lagoon & beautiful sea caves all feature on our Comino Island Sunset Cruise. A magical evening awaits!

Malta Night Tour Valletta, Mdina and more... see Malta's beautiful monuments lit up by night on this night tour of the coast and the interior of the island.

Gozo Quad Bike Tour Join us on our  Gozo Quad Bike Tour for an adventure through the valleys and coves of the island. We'll ride a ferry from Ċirkewwa to get there.

Malta Coastal Cruise Let yourself be captivated by one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the Mediterranean with this cruise along the coast of Malta .

Gozo Buggy Tour If you're an adrenaline junkie looking for an unforgettable experience, join us on a buggy tour to explore all the charming corners of Gozo from Malta !

Valletta Street Food Tour Join us for a street food tour of Valletta and taste your way through the Maltese capital. Uncover local flavors and experience Malta through its cuisine!

Dinner with Folkloric Show in Mosta Spend an unforgettable evening enjoying a  dinner with folkloric show in Mosta . Don't miss this  magical night  filled with good food and entertainment .

Malta 5D Ticket With this Malta 5D ticket , discover the island's past while you feel like the main character in a unique cinematic experience. It's fun for the whole family!

The Farsons Brewery Ticket With this ticket to The Farsons Brewery , you'll learn about the brewing process of Malta's most famous drink with an audio guide. You'll also get to taste some!

Malta Discount Card If you've planned a trip to the islands of  Malta, Gozo and Comino  and want to  save money , the  Malta Discount Card  is perfect.

The Malta Multi Pass offers access to the main tourist attractions on the island . You can choose between a 3, 6, 4, or 7-day pass – it's up to you!

Valletta Walking Tour Tour the historic centre of Valletta with this tour taking in all the essential sights, as well as seeing The Malta Experience, a popular audiovisual show.

Valletta Cruise Discover Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour , the main ports in Valletta, sailing on board our cruise . An unforgettable trip around the Maltese capital!

Malta Hop On Hop Off Bus The Malta tourist bus is the best way to get to know the island's main points of interest. Enjoy this jewel in the Mediterranean from a different point of view!

Valletta Harbour Night Cruise On this night cruise through Valletta we'll see the illuminated buildings of Malta's capital city . Marsamextt and the Grand Harbour will amaze you!

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malta tourist guides

The World Was Here First

Malta Travel Guide: Plan Your Visit to Malta

malta tourist guides

Though one of the smallest countries in Europe by both area and population, the Mediterranean island nation of Malta is one of the most dynamic and interesting places to visit on the continent. Increasing in popularity year on year for international visitors, this Malta travel guide is meant to help you plan the perfect trip to this beautiful country.

Malta has far more to offer visitors than simply an amazing coastline and perennially warm weather. There are historic cities, beautiful landscapes, ancient Neolithic sites, wonderful wineries and far more. Planning a trip to Malta can be a bit overwhelming once you realise how much there is really to do and see in the Maltese archipelago.

If you’re looking to visit this amazing country and aren’t sure where to start, then make sure to browse through this guide in order to plan your perfect trip to this gorgeous southern European nation!

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Table of Contents

Planning a Malta Route

One of the most important things you need to work out when planning your trip to Malta is your route. Though the country is small in size, there is so much to see and do on the archipelago that it is entirely necessary to adequately plan out your time to ensure that you’re able to make the most out of this lovely destination.

Malta is a small but mighty destination and there are a number of different things that you need to know before taking off for this island nation. If you’re looking for the perfect itinerary through Malta or just want to find some tips to help you begin your plans, then check out the articles below to jump-start your Malta trip planning.

Mgarr Port on the island of Gozo

Malta or Gozo? Where To Stay In Malta

Crysyal Lagoon on Comino in Malta

The Perfect 7-Day Malta Itinerary

Ramla Beach in Gozo

10 Tips For Planning a Trip to Malta

Places to Visit in Malta

As mentioned already, Malta may seem small but there are countless amazing things to see and do on the island and its neighbouring islands of Gozo and Comino. Because of this, you need to make sure that you have a holistic view of all of the wonderful places to visit in Malta.

From sprawling vineyards to historic walled cities to crystal clear lagoons to ancient temples and burial grounds, Malta is a diverse and dynamic destination that packs so much into such a small area.

So whether you’re looking to spend your days swimming in the deep blue Mediterranean or wandering through the winding lanes of the countless historic cities (or all of the above), you’re going to need to check out some of the guides below to help plan your days.

These city and destination guides will take you by all of the top tourist sites and some more local haunts to ensure that you have the best time in Malta possible!

Victoria (Rabat) on Gozo

Is Gozo Worth Visiting? 10 Reasons To Go

Malta food

A Guide to Marsaxlokk and St Peter’s Pool, Malta

Malta to Gozo Ferry

How To Plan A Gozo Day Trip from Malta

View of Valetta from Sliema Harbour

One Day in Valletta Itinerary: What To Do in Malta’s Capital

Sliema is a popular place to stay in Malta

A Guide to Sliema, Malta: Top Things to Do

Maltese Balconies in Rabat

A Guide To Mdina & Rabat, Malta

Best Time to Visit Malta

Boasting over 300 days of sunshine, it can really be difficult to figure out the best time of year to visit Malta, however, the goal of this guide is to ensure that you’re able to plan the best trip for you!

Malta is located in the Southern Mediterranean sea, just south of the island of Sicily and to the north of Tunisia and Libya in North Africa.

Because of its location, it is one of the warmest places to visit in Europe year-round and a great place if you’re on the hunt for a bit of winter sunshine. However, it is worth noting that it isn’t always beach weather in the wintertime, though it is certainly warmer than the vast majority of mainland Europe.

If you’re thinking of visiting Malta in winter, then expect the average high to be around 16°C (about 60°F). December and January are the rainiest months with an average of 8 days.

So, while it is certainly a welcome change from the dreary cold you can expect in Northern or Central Europe in the winter, it still isn’t going to be a tropical paradise or really fitting for a beach holiday.

Conversely, the summer months are when Malta experiences its peak tourist season without countless visitors descending upon the island. During the months of June-August, expect temperatures to be HOT and don’t assume that you will find air conditioning everywhere, either.

Average high summer temperatures clock in around 30°C (about 86°F), but can get a fair bit hotter some months. This is also when crowds are at their greatest, as are prices for things like accommodation and tours.

If you can get the time off and your schedule allows for it, arguably the best time of year to visit Malta is in the autumn. The months of September and October, in particular, have temperatures that are incredibly pleasant (averaging around 25-28°C or about 77-82°F) and the water is also at its warmest of the year — absolutely perfect for all your swimming activities. Crowds are also noticeably fewer than those of the summer months and prices can be reduced, as well.

If you’re not able to visit Malta in the autumn, spring can also be an excellent option. Both water and air temperatures can be a little bit cooler than in the autumn months, with average highs in April and May ranging from about 20-24°C (68-75°F) and with a lot of sunshine to be enjoyed.

All in all, you can’t really go wrong with visiting Malta any time of year, but if you’re able, the absolute best time to visit Malta is arguably in the autumn months of September-October (November can be really nice, too!).

Cost of Travelling to Malta

Malta is often lauded as quite a budget-friendly destination, especially compared to a number of Western and Northern European destinations, however, it is far from being the most affordable place to visit in Europe.

That is not to discourage budget travellers from visiting, though, as if you are smart about where you spend your money and are aware of the average costs beforehand, Malta doesn’t have to be a budget-busting destination at all.

Accommodation in Malta is likely where you’re going to see the highest prices, but there are lots of ways to save money in this aspect without sacrificing privacy or convenience. For instance, staying in a private room in a local’s home from Airbnb is a great way to not spend too much.

Generally speaking, most activities and entrance fees in Malta are in line with other Southern European destinations and you don’t need to expect too high of prices. There are some archaeological sites, however, that do cost a pretty penny to enter so it can be worth making sure to factor this into your Malta budget.

If you want a detailed breakdown of the prices in Malta, then make sure to browse through the article below.

Read More: Is Malta Expensive? A Guide to Prices in Malta

Mdina, Malta

Maltese Cuisine

One of the best things about travelling full stop is sampling the local cuisine and trying new and delicious dishes, and Malta is no exception. Maltese cuisine is fresh, vibrant and surprisingly diverse, drawing from the countless influences that have impacted the archipelago over the centuries.

You will find some delicious seafood dishes that are both hearty and light simultaneously, including such delicacies like octopus in garlic and lampuki pie. Quite obviously, seafood does reign supreme in the Maltese isles, however, carnivores can find something to love here, as well. Countless dishes featuring rabbit, for instance, are quite common in Malta.

If you’re a fan of local pastry and fast food, then you will be thrilled with pastizzi , a small phyllo pastry that is typically filled with either cheese or mushy peas — the latter clearly being a harken back to the days when Malta was under British rule.

Malta is also home to some great wineries and unique grape varieties. In the past, Maltese wine was looked down upon by both tourists and locals, who would prefer the wines from Italy, however, a number of winemakers in recent years have been reclaiming the viticulture of Malta and have made some truly great vintages that are worth sampling when you visit Malta and Gozo.

If you’d like to know more about Maltese cuisine beyond what is covered in this guide, then make sure to browse through the article below so you know exactly what to eat and drink on your holiday!

Read More: A Traveller’s Guide to Malta Food & Wine

Fresh Pastizzi in Malta

Transportation in Malta

Malta is a small island nation where nothing is located more than about an hour from each other. That being said, however, there are a few considerations that need to be discussed when it comes to getting to and around this country.

Whether you plan to get around Malta by hire car or public bus and plan to arrive by plane or ferry, there are a number of things that you need to know in order for your trip to go as smoothly and hassle-free as possible.

Getting to Malta

As an island nation, you don’t really have a ton of options when it comes to arriving in Malta. In fact, your options are pretty much limited to either flying or taking the ferry from nearby Sicily.

If you choose the former option, which is by far the most common choice, then you will be happy to know that there are countless flights to Malta leaving from all over Europe and carried out by a number of different airlines.

You can snag quite affordable airfares to Malta from a number of European destinations on airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet and Wizzair and even the Maltese national carrier, Air Malta.

You can also arrive in Malta with a number of other regular airline carriers if you’re not fond of flying these budget picks. All in all, however, it is easy and affordable to reach Malta from just about anywhere in Europe.

If you’re coming from North America, it is worth noting that you’re going to have to make a connecting flight from somewhere in continental Europe as there are no direct flights from North American destinations to Malta.

There is only one international airport on Malta and it is located close to the centre of the island. Because of this, it really only takes about twenty minutes or so to drive from the airport to get to any of the major areas you may be staying, including Valletta, Sliema or even Golden Bay on the north of the island. You can easily grab a taxi from the airport to your accommodation and expect it to cost you around €15-20 or, alternatively, there are many buses operating from the airport to most major areas of the island.

If you take the ferry from Sicily to Malta, then you will be dropped off in the beautiful capital of Valletta. Here, it is easy to reach basically anywhere on the island, again, either by taxi or bus.

Getting Around Malta

As mentioned earlier, Malta is quite a small country and everything is located within close proximity of each other, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few considerations that need to be taken into account when it comes to getting around.

For instance, it is entirely possible to get around Malta relying solely on public transport. Malta has an extensive and easy-to-navigate bus system that will take you just about everywhere you may want to go on the island. The one drawback to relying on the bus to get around is that, in some areas, they can be infrequent and only leave once or twice in an hour and you need to make sure that you’re able to remain flexible.

The other convenient and somewhat fun area of public transport that you can take in Malta are the ferries. There are numerous ferries in Malta that can cut lots of time off of road travel and they are even a good idea if you have hired a car as they can be a lot quicker than driving sometimes.

The ferries to go between Sliema and Valletta and from Valletta to the Three Cities, for instance, cut a significant amount of time as they cut across the harbour and allow you to circumvent the longer drive around the peninsulas.

There is also a ferry from Cirkewwa in the north of Malta to Mgarr on the island of Gozo. This is the only way to get to Gozo from Malta and you can either ride it as a foot passenger or, if you have your own vehicle, you can bring your car.

Though it isn’t absolutely necessary, it can be a good option to hire a car while in Malta. This will give you the peace of mind and flexibility to not be reliant on the bus timetable and it will allow you to reach some further-flung areas of the archipelago that are more difficult to reach by public transport.

It’s worth noting that, as Malta is a former British colony, they do drive on the left side of the road. Just something to be aware of before you hire a car if you’re not used to driving on this side.

All in all, getting around Malta is not a difficult task and there are a few options that you can take to make it easiest for you!

Accommodation in Malta

Malta has been a popular tourist destination for many years, however, it has only been in the past few of those years that the attention has shifted from all-inclusive resort tourism to a more holistic type of tourism. Because it is so popular amongst visitors, there are lots of accommodation options available in the country to choose from depending on your needs.

Though it isn’t something we recommend because we always encourage staying in more locally run accommodation and spending your money in small businesses and supporting the local economy, there are a number of resorts, mostly congregated on the north of the island.

If you’re looking for a more local experience or aren’t keen for a resort but still want a bit of luxury, there are plenty of higher-end hotels in Malta in great locations. We, personally, think that basing yourself in Sliema or close to Valletta is probably the best area to stay while on the island of Malta and you will find no shortage of accommodation in these areas.

It’s worth noting that, due to its incredibly small size, hotels and other accommodation options in Valletta tend to be of the higher-end and more expensive sort. If you’re on a budget, it’s best to look outside of Valletta.

If you are a backpacker or are just looking for a convivial atmosphere while saving money, you will find that there are a handful of hostels on the island . Though Malta isn’t necessarily a top European backpacker destination, you do still have some options available to you if this is the type of accommodation that you’re after.

Another great money-saving option is to opt for a private room on Airbnb. If you’re splitting the costs between two people, this can often work out to be just as affordable as a hostel dorm with the added benefits of getting to know some locals and having a bit more privacy.

Private apartment rentals are also prevalent on Malta and Gozo and you can find a wide array of property rentals on the Airbnb platform that are sure to suit your needs.

All in all, you will find absolutely no shortage of accommodation options in Malta and you’re sure to find something that suits your needs and travel style.

Read More : 9 Best Areas to Stay in Malta

The fishing village of Marsaxlokk

Language in Malta

If you are an English speaker then you will have no problem communicating in Malta.

The country has two official languages, Maltese (more on that in just a minute) and English! Signage, announcements and all locals speak English at a native level and communication in English is never an issue.

The other official language is Maltese, which is an entirely different kettle of fish compared to English. A Semitic language, Maltese is more closely related to Arabic and Hebrew than it is to English. An interesting fact about the Maltese language is that it is the only Semitic language that uses the Latin alphabet, which just goes to show how many different influences Malta has seen over the centuries.

All in all, if you can speak English, then you will have absolutely no problem communicating in Malta as this is an official language and locals speak it fluently.

Traditional Pink Balconies in Mdina, Malta

Religion in Malta

Malta is a very Catholic nation with 84% of the population adhering to Catholicism. You will notice this culturally as there are many many churches to visit in Malta, countless saint days that are celebrated (especially in the summer months) and even a number of shrines and such dedicated to Catholic icons throughout the country. Malta also has one of the lowest numbers in Europe of people who identify as agnostic or atheist, at just 4.5%.

And while the vast majority of the Maltese people identify as Catholic, it is worth noting that this is, generally speaking, a cultural identity rather than a particularly religious one.

So, while Malta is an incredibly Catholic nation, it is more of a cultural identifier for most Maltese people rather than a fundamental belief system that the majority of people adhere to. Do expect many shops and businesses to be closed on Sunday, however — people do need a day of rest!

Hopefully, this Malta travel guide has helped you plan the perfect trip to this gorgeous Mediterranean island nation. Malta, Gozo and the small island of Comino have so much to offer visitors that it’s worth digging deeper and exploring as much of it as you can!

Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Malta Travel Guide

Last Updated: June 6, 2024

a view of the coast in Malta, lined by towering historic buildings near the harbor

While the country has seen a surge in tourism in the last few years (those British retirees were on to something!), it’s still pretty under the radar for most people.

Those folks are missing out. I loved my time in Malta . The tiny island nation boasts friendly people, ancient medieval towns and castles, warm weather, awesome food. and charismatic cities.

Owing to its unique position between Africa and Europe, Malta offers visitors an interesting cultural blend. As you explore, you increasingly notice the Italian, English, and North African elements in the food, language, culture, and architecture.

To top it all off, it’s relatively cheap compared to mainland Europe and the beaches and seafood here are excellent.

This travel guide to Malta will help you plan an epic and affordable trip there.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Malta

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Malta

a view of the coast in Malta, lined by towering historic buildings near the harbor

1. Explore Valletta

For Europe’s smallest capital, Valletta packs a big punch: it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 300 monuments. There’s plenty to see here! Walk the fortifications, wander around St. John’s Co-Cathedral, visit the history museum and the National War Museum, admire the plethora of churches, and dine out on the historical waterfront. Don’t miss the catacombs that were turned into a secret military base during World War II and the Cold War. One of the best things to do though is to just to stroll the narrow roads and alleys and let yourself get lost. If you want to take a guided walking tour of Valletta , they last about 3 hours and cost 20 EUR.

2. Wander Mdina

Mdina is a fortified city and served as the original capital of the country. Like Valletta, it has a beautiful cathedral to visit and lots of old backstreets and passageways to explore. Be sure to visit the nearby catacombs and ancient Roman houses while you’re here. Don’t miss the Knights of Malta museum if you want a quirky and outdated experience (I don’t think this museum has been updated in decades but it’s fun). There’s also the Dungeons Museum where they have recreated scenes from Malta’s long history (note: some of the scenes depict episodes of torture and crucifixion). Admission is 5 EUR. To learn more about the city, take a walking tour of Mdina . They last two hours and cost 18 EUR.

3. Hike a coastal trail in Gozo

The coastal trails in Gozo offer a few different routes around the island for anyone looking for some exercise and stunning panoramic views. All of the walks combine getting back to nature with a bit of exploring history as they take you through some amazing flora and fauna as well as charming towns and villages. If you can only do one, hike from Marsalforn to the (sadly now gone) Azure Window. Keep your eyes peeled for all the traditional salt pans in Xwejni that have been used to harvest salt over the centuries. Other great hikes to check out are the Xlendi Tower, which takes you to an seaside tower that was built in 1650 and the Ras in-Newwiela trail that ends and a stunning stretch of white cliffs overlooking the sea.

4. See the Tarxien Temples

Located near Valletta, this complex is made up of 4 megalithic structures. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to 3150 BCE. The temples were used for rituals, which may have included animal sacrifices and cremations and some of the walls still have prehistoric artwork on them including bas-relief sculptures and friezes depicting animals and spirals. While mostly ruins and rubble, it’s one of the best ways to learn about the history of the island. Admission is 6 EUR and the Tarxien Temples App has audio guides you can use to navigate your way around. You can also splash out on a private archeology tour if you really want to learn more.

5. Relax on the beach

If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to schedule some time for the beaches. Golden Bay, Mellieha Bay, and Peter’s Pool are all great places to soak up some rays. The water in Malta is super clear and a brilliant turquoise. Paradise Bay and Armier, on the northern tip, also offer gorgeous views of the island of Gozo. If you have time to get there, the beaches in Gozo are beautiful and don’t get quite as busy as the main beaches in Malta. There’s not always much shade so take plenty of sunscreen and water (although most have at least one place you can buy drinks and snacks). Whichever beach you go to, be sure to arrive early so you can beat the crowds.

Other Things to See and Do in Malta

1. attend the carnival.

Malta has been throwing its own version of Carnival every February for over 500 years! Celebrations are held all around the island during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, with parades, dancing, and costumes. Much of the population heads to Gozo for the weekend, so be sure to plan ahead as public transportation during that time can be a nightmare (more so than usual). Book your accommodation in advance because everything fills up!

2. Cruise around the island

If you want to get a different view of the island, take a ride around the coast. Tours usually stick to a certain region of the island and the more expensive trips include lunch. They cost from 20-30 EUR, last between 4-8 hours, stop off at a few beaches, and highlight some of the many shipwrecks around the country. Get Your Guide has a great full-day tour that covers all the highlights and gives you three hours of free time to explore on Gozo, if you want to go beyond the beaches.

3. Explore the Citadel

This fort was built by the British in Rabat/Victoria (this is the Rabat on the island of Gozo, not to be confused with Rabat on the main island of Malta). Known as the Cittadella or the Castello, it was built in the 16th century, though fortifications that have been found in this spot go back over 2,000 years (the area was settled in the Bronze Age). Inside, you can see the Cathedral of Gozo and the Bishop’s Palace, along with other historic buildings throughout the winding streets. Some of the damage you’ll see on the structures was actually from Napoleon’s troops in the 18th century, though a fair amount is due to the exposure to the elements. It’s free to enter and explore, with lots of little shops hidden down the alleys. For 5 EUR, you can check out the Visitors Center, the Nature Museum, the Gozo Archaeology Museum, Gran Castello Historic House, and the Old Prisons. The fort offers a great view of the city and surrounding area, making it a good place to come at sunset.

4. Go diving

Malta is surrounded by a plethora of shipwrecks that make for some great diving expeditions. The water in many places is incredibly clear so you have excellent visibility as you explore. Some of the most popular dive sites are the Um El Faroud oil tanker (it was sunk intentionally to act as a reef), the Double Arch cave in Gozo, and the Blue Hole (also in Gozo). You can also dive to see the fallen Azure Window (a famous rock formation that collapsed in 2017). A two-dive package starts around 90-120 EUR per person.

5. Hit the road

Most tourists who visit Malta never stray far from Valletta. If you want to really see the country, rent a car. There are lots of remote places to explore in Malta and a car gives you the freedom to do so. Considering the island is so small, you can just spend the day exploring the aging and battered towns that dot the island . You can find car rentals for as little as 20 EUR per day so it’s an affordable choice if you want to get away from the crowds and see the country beyond Valletta.

6. Relax in the Lower and Upper Barrakka Gardens

I love these gardens. Located in Valletta, on the southern side of the peninsula, they overlook the harbor and make a great place to watch the comings and goings of people and boats. They were created in 1661 as the private grounds for some of the knights that resided here. They were opened to the public in 1824 and are a relaxing nook of the city. Bring a book or a snack, grab a spot on a bench, and watch the world go by. The gardens are full of palm trees and there are different flowers and plants around based on the season. You’ll also see fountains and shaded spots to relax. Don’t miss the Siege Bell Memorial, which was built in 1992 to commemorate the 7,000 people who lost their lives during the Siege of Malta in World War II (the bells chime daily at noon).

7. Explore St. Paul’s Catacombs

Located near Mdina, these underground tunnels were used by the Romans as cemeteries up until the 4th century (and possibly as late as the 7th century). They were built in the 3rd century and are composed of over 30 different areas, 20 of which are open to the public. The entire network of underground passages covers 2,000 square meters. In one of the chambers, you’ll an ornate alter and the two large halls have pillars carved to look like columns. In the Middle Ages, the catacombs were used for religious worship, though they later just became storage areas until their re-discovery in the 1980s. They are an amazing thing to see. I loved them. Don’t miss them! Admission is 6 EUR.

8. Visit the Hypogeum

This is one of Malta’s most popular historical attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hypogeum was carved over 5,000 years ago and was an ancient temple/burial site in the Neolithic Age (over 7,000 bodies have been found here). It’s really cool and the displays provide lots of detailed descriptions and context. The halls, rooms, and passages were carved into three levels from the limestone under the city. In some of the chambers, you can see remaining frescos and other artwork carved into the rock. It is so popular during the summertime (and into the autumn) you need to book your tickets up to four weeks in advance. Admission is 35 EUR and includes a guided tour. It’s one of the best-preserved historical sites in the country and worth every penny. Don’t skip it! It’s just 15 minutes south of Valletta by car.

9. Visit the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is situated between Comino and Cominotto (i.e. between the main island and Gozo) and is the most iconic beach in the country because of its pristine white sand beach and turquoise water, which is some of the clearest in the world. It can get incredibly busy here on the weekend, so be sure to come early to stake out a good spot. There is a regular ferry service from Malta, however, if you want to visit from Gozo you need to take a private boat. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to the ferry from Valletta. Half-day catamaran trips to the Blue Lagoon costs from 25 EUR.

10. See the Marsaxlokk fish market

This market happens every Sunday morning. It’s a bit touristy and gets quite crowded but it’s the best place to buy fresh fish. You can find lots of other items such as fresh produce, honey, and other local goods here too. There are plenty of restaurants around (though you should expect to pay tourist prices here). Marsaxlokk is on the southern tip of the main island, about 25 minutes away from Valletta by car.

11. Explore Popeye Village

What started out as the film set for the quirky 1980 Popeye musical starring Robin Williams is now a large tourist attraction. You can explore the village, watch a documentary about its creation, and even play mini-golf. There are actors dressed as characters from the film walking around and interacting with visitors. This is a fun place to go if you’re traveling with kids. You can take boat rides, watch a silversmith demonstration, and bounce around on water trampolines. When the weather is warm, they offer boat rides around the area. Off-peak admission is 15 EUR while peak-season admission is 24 EUR.

12. See the Gozo Salt Pans

Lining the coast of Gozo, these salt pans have been in use for over 350 years. The traditional methods of harvesting salt have been passed down for generations, and even to this day you can find locals engaged in harvesting the crystals. There is salt for sale in shops all around the island (it’s a great souvenir to take home).

13. Visit the Three Cities

Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua trace their origins back to the Middle Ages and have been inhabited more or less since people arrived on the island. The Three Cities were also the original home of the Knights Hospitallers (a Catholic military order known as the Knights of Malta) and feature a lot of wonderful architecture and history. They aren’t as visited as other destinations on the island so it can be a good way to get away from the crowds. They’re just across the water from Valletta. Half-day tours of the Three Cities cost 36 EUR.

Malta Travel Costs

a view of the coast in Malta, lined by towering historic buildings near the harbor

Accommodation – Hostels outside the capital in St. Julian’s and Sliema cost 20-35 EUR per night for an 8-10-bed dorm. In Valletta, they cost around 60 EUR per night during shoulder season but can be double or triple during the summer months. Free Wi-Fi is standard, and a few hostels also offer free breakfast. If you want a private room, you’re better to book a budget hotel or Airbnb as you get more value for your money.

Budget hotels start at 65 EUR per night for a twin or double. In addition to basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, offer free airport shuttles or have pools. Some include free breakfast as well.

Airbnb is available all around the island and entire homes/apartments start in the 60-80 EUR range. Private rooms start at around 25 EUR. Most listings are around Valletta, Sliema and St Julian’s and in the south of Gozo. During the high summer months, expect prices to be about 50-100% higher, especially in July. If you’re visiting in the summer, book early.

Food – Malta has been conquered by many different countries over the centuries so it has a rather unique culinary history. Most of the food has strong Italian influences, though North Africa and Britain also play a culinary role. Rabbit stew ( stuffat tal-fenek ) is considered the national dish. Seafood is also common (it’s an island after all), with lampuki (mahi-mahi) being one of the main staples. Fish pie is a popular dish, as is kapunata , a Maltese version of ratatouille.

For food on the go, you can find pastizzi (a savory filled pastry) everywhere for less than 1 EUR. Fresh bread, cheese, and meats at the grocery store cost just a few euros if you want to make a simple lunch on the fly.

A meal of traditional cuisine at a restaurant or cafe costs around 15 EUR, while a multi-course meal at a mid-range restaurant with a drink and table service costs closer to 35 EUR. Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 9.50 EUR for a combo meal (yes, there are McDonald’s here).

Beer costs around 4 EUR (half that if you buy it at a grocery store) while a bottle of water costs 1.50 EUR. A latte/cappuccino is around 2.50 EUR.

If you plan on cooking your own food, expect to spend between 30-50 EUR per week on groceries. This gets you basic staples like pasta, rice, seasonal vegetables, and some meat or seafood.

Two of my favorite restaurants were Rising Sun and Suruchi.

Backpacking Malta Suggested Budgets

On a backpacker budget of 55 EUR per day, you can stay in a hostel dorm, cook all your meals, use public transportation to get around, limit your drinking, and do free or cheap activities like hitting the beach or visiting a museum.

On a mid-range budget of 135 EUR per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb, cook most meals and eat out occasionally at cheap fast food joints, enjoy a few drinks, rent a car to get around, and do more paid activities like boat tours or museum visits.

On a “luxury” budget of 245 EUR per day you can stay in a hotel, drink as much as you’d like, eat out anywhere you want, rent a car to get around, and do more activities like scuba diving and visiting Popeye Village. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

Malta Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Malta is one of the more affordable destinations in Europe but, during the summer months, it gets really expensive. To help you stick to your budget, here are some money-saving tips and tricks for visiting Malta:

  • Visit during the off-season – Malta (or at least Valletta) gets crowded in the summer and prices tend to rise (cruises stop here). If you want to save money and have a less hectic visit, visit during the off-season.
  • Cook your own meals – While restaurants aren’t overly expensive, eating out every day adds up. Try cooking your own meals to save some money. There are plenty of small shops and larger supermarkets (like Lidl) where you can grab basic staples for cheap.
  • Avoid supermarket produce – A lot of produce at the supermarket is imported (and thus more expensive). Search out local vendors who sell their produce at the side of the road or at small stalls in town. It’s cheaper and fresher!
  • Get the Malta Pass – This tourism card provides free entry to Malta’s top 40 attractions, making it worthwhile for anyone who plans on visiting a lot of sites. It also includes a free sightseeing bus (which is worth 20 EUR itself). You can get a 1-, 2-, or 3-day pass for 50 EUR, 80 EUR, or 100 EUR respectively. Buy it online before you go for the best price.
  • Take a free walking tour – There are a few tour companies in Valletta, such as Colour My Travel , who offer free 1.5-hour walking tours. You get to explore the area and learn about the local culture, history, and architecture from a local expert. It’s a great introduction to Malta and definitely worth doing. Just be sure to tip!
  • Redeem hotel points – You can sign up for a hotel credit card and use the points you earn toward accommodation when you travel. Most cards come with at least 1-2 free nights when you sign up, which can help you save a lot. Here’s a post that will help you get started with hotel credit cards . If you start earning points now, you’ll have plenty for your trip.
  • Skip the taxis – Taxis in Malta are not cheap. Avoid them as much as possible. If you do need to use them, get the eCab app. It ensures you get a reputable and reliable taxi (they are good for short distances while taxis are likely cheaper for longer journeys).
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink (though it tastes a little off). Bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Malta

While hostels aren’t plentiful, you can find them around Valletta. There’s a lot of budget hotels too. Here are some of my recommended places to stay:

  • Inhawi Hostel (St. Julian’s)
  • Two Pillows Boutique Hostel (Sliema)
  • Corner Hostel Sliema (Sliema)
  • Tritoni Valletta Boutique Hotel
  • Ddream Hotel

How to Get Around Malta

a view of the coast in Malta, lined by towering historic buildings near the harbor

In addition to the public buses, there are also hop-on/hop-off buses that have different routes around the country. These routes cover all the major sites on both islands (Valletta, St. Julian’s, Popeye Village, the former Azure Window, etc.). A day pass for a single route starts at 25 EUR with Hello Malta or 28 EUR with City Sightseeing. I’d skip this and just use the public bus.

Ferry – The ferry to Gozo costs 4.65 EUR and takes 25 minutes. Be sure to arrive in advance as it fills up fast. The ferry from Malta to Italy takes less than 2 hours and costs 50-80 EUR (depending on the time of year) EUR for a one-way ticket to Sicily.

Bike – You can rent bikes for around 15 EUR per day, though I’d be extra careful cycling outside of Valletta. Drivers here are aggressive and the roads are quite narrow.

Taxi – Taxis start at 5 EUR and cost around 2 EUR per kilometer. There are no Uber or Lyft here but you can download the eCab app as an alternative. It’s usually cheaper than taxis for short distances. However, if you’re on a budget, it’s best to just avoid taking them.

Flying – Flights from Malta to and from mainland Europe can be found for as little as 45 EUR if you book early. Ryanair is the most budget-friendly airline that flies to Malta so they are your best choice if you’re on a budget. Flights to and from Morocco and North Africa can be found for as little as 55 EUR per person (again, if you book early and are flexible). There are no domestic flights around Malta.

Car rental – Car rentals cost between 20-25 EUR per day for a small car. Just keep in mind that the cheapest rentals are manual transmissions so you need to be able to drive stick if you want to get around. The drivers here are also very aggressive and tend to see the rules of the road as suggestions rather than laws. Renters need to be at least 21 years old.

For the best car rental prices, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Malta

The best time to visit Malta is from June to August. The weather is the warmest then, with daily temperatures around 31°C (88°F). Not surprisingly, this is also the busiest time of the year so expect crowds and higher prices.

In August, as in much of Europe, many locals leave for their own summer holidays. A lot of shops and restaurants close, which can crowd the remaining places even more. But the weather is perfect and most tourist attractions stay open. If you choose to visit during the busy summer months, the Mediterranean Food Festival happens in August. This event features cuisines from around the world with cooking competitions, talks about sustainability, and displays by local artists. In late July and early August, you can also check out the Farsons Beer Festival, which is a totally free to enter. There’s plenty of live music, food, and beer.

The shoulder months of April-May and September-October offer a nice compromise of decent weather and fewer crowds. Expect temperatures around 25°C (77°F). Carnival is a major spring even and has been celebrated in Malta for more than 500 years. During the week leading up to Ash Wednesday (about seven weeks before Easter), there are masquerade competitions, parades, parties, and masked balls. In late April and early may there’s the Malta Fireworks Festival. There are incredible fireworks displays and competitions that happen over the course of these two to three weeks. In the fall, the island of Gozo puts on the Festival Mediterranea. This is a celebration of the arts that have been a part of Gozo’s culture for more than 7,000 years. There are operas, symphonies, poetry readings, and so much more.

The winter in Malta is chilly, with temperatures dropping to 10-15°C (48-60° F) — sometimes colder. Aside from attractions closing for Christmas, everything is open though some bus schedules change to reflect the lower number of visitors in the country. In short, it’s a perfect time to visit as long as you aren’t looking to hit the beach and don’t mind some windy sweater weather.

How to Stay Safe in Malta

Malta consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. Crime is rare, though it’s always a good idea to keep your wits about you. Petty theft can still occur so always keep your valuables tucked away and be mindful of your things while on crowded public transportation or while swimming at the beach.

When swimming, make sure you only swim in areas where there are other swimmers around. Riptides are common so it’s best to avoid secluded beaches unless you can be sure that it’s safe. Never swim when the sea is rough and never swim alone.

Drivers in Malta are on the aggressive side so take extra precautions when crossing roads, cycling, or renting a car. When taking a taxi, always wear your seatbelt.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe here. However, the standard safety precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). There are a lot of helpful solo female travel blogs on the web that can give you specific tips and information about a place that I can’t.

If you’re out hiking in the spring or autumn, be aware that it is hunting season (just for small birds).

If you rent a car, don’t leave any valuables in it overnight. Break-ins are rare but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Scams here are very rare here but you can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

If you experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Malta Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Malta Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Malta travel and continue planning your trip:

How to Visit Malta on a Budget

How to Visit Malta on a Budget

Malta: The Country of Half-Neglected Buildings

Malta: The Country of Half-Neglected Buildings

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  • Where To Stay
  • Transportation
  • Booking Resources
  • Related Blogs

malta tourist guides

Find Your Way Around

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How to get there

Send by e-mail, tourist information.

Need a bit of face-to-face help? That’s what our VisitMalta Tourist Information Centres are here for! Located in Valletta, Mdina, and other major tourist areas, you’ll always find a friendly face and the help you need to make the most of your trip to our Islands!

Please click here for the list of Tourist Information Centres in the Maltese Islands. 

Grumpy Camel

Slow travel & blogging, welcome to my malta travel guide.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about visiting the island. 

As a local, I share my top suggestions for things to do, places to stay, food to try, and more.

So, let’s dive right in!

Things to know about Malta

  • It's a bilingual country. Most people speak English.
  • Summers are really hot! The best time to visit Malta is between September and May.
  • We drive on the left.
  • We have a lot of public holidays and celebrations.
  • Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, so expect a lot of noise and traffic.
  • Food portions are huge!

Related Posts

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10 Things to Know Before Visiting Malta

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When is the Best Time to Visit Malta? A Local’s Advice

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20+ Insider Tips for Visiting Malta

Where to stay in malta.

for the nightlife and cafe scene

for the culture, history, and wine bars

for a quiet, romantic holiday

for the beaches and restaurants

for an authentic experience

Recommended hotels in Malta

Julina Boutique Living : a boutique hotel in the heart of Mosta with lush, Baroque-style decor, and a sun terrace.

Palazzo Bettina : a boutique hotel In Birgu, housed in a beautifully renovated 17-century palace.

Soleil B&B : an adults-only B&B in Gozo, housed in a traditional building with a swimming pool. 

Adelphi Boutique Hotel : a beautiful hotel located on a quaint street in Rabat, with a restaurant that serves traditional Maltese food.

Provicario : this B&B is housed in an old building in Victoria (Gozo), and offers stunning view of the citadel.

Casa Ricca : a family-run guesthouse in a restored palazzino in St. Paul’s Bay, with beautifully decorated rooms and a nice garden.

Things to do in Malta

  • Spend a day in Valletta
  • Visit Mdina at night
  • Enjoy a traditional meal in Mgarr
  • Go for a swim at Golden Bay
  • Visit the Hypogeum
  • Tour the megalithic temples
  • Take a day trip to Gozo
  • Go hiking in Dingli
  • Explore the old city of Birgu

Beautiful beaches

  • Paradise Bay
  • Ghadira Bay

Historical sites

  • Fort St. Angelo
  • St. John's Cathedral
  • St. Paul's Catacombs

What to eat in Malta

a savoury pastry filled with ricotta or mushy peas

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typically cooked in red wine and garlic, and served with potatoes

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calamari, octopus, lampuki, tuna, and other local fish

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Honey rings

kannoli, imqaret, helwa tat-tork, and other Maltese sweets

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What to pack for Malta

  • Pest repeller for mosquitos
  • Good walking shoes for Malta's uneven pavements
  • Stainless steel water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Microfibre sand-free beach towels
  • Polarised sunglasses for the unrelening sun
  • SPF sunscreen

More Malta travel guides & tips

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One Week in Malta: A Complete Itinerary

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Driving in Malta: A Survival Guide for Tourists

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Malta in October: A Complete Guide

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Visiting Malta in December (A Complete Guide)

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Staying at Palazzo Bettina in Birgu

Mdina | Where to stay in Malta

Where to Stay in Malta: Best Areas & Hotels

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Amazing Malta Tours (& Gozo Day Trips) You Cannot Miss

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10 Best Things to Do in Mdina, Malta

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Ultimate Malta Travel Guide: Everything you Need to Know to Plan your Trip

girl looking out over Valletta at U collection apartment

Ultimate Malta Travel Guide

I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been to Malta 5 times! It’s actually one of the most special places in the world to me because it’s where my husband and I had our first date. From my extensive Malta travel I was able to put together the Ultimate Malta Travel Guide.

When planning your ultimate trip to Malta keep in mind that Malta is not just one island–it’s three! The three islands are Malta, Comino and Gozo . I’ve broken down this guide by island to make your travel planning a breeze.

Where is Malta?

Malta is an archipelago of three islands, Comino, Gozo and Malta. The country is located in Mediterranean sea 421 miles from Italy and east of Tunisia in Africa. Malta is part of the European Union.

Know Before you Go

  • Currency: Euro
  • Official Language: Maltese and English
  • Best time to go: April, May, June
  • Electric: 230 volts at 50 Hertz, G prong (UK)
  • Drive on the left side of the road: British system
  • Tap water is safe to drink although the taste can be a bit off

Make sure to have cash on you as many restaurants, cafes, taxis will be CASH only.

Is Malta safe for travel?

As I mentioned, I’ve been to Malta multiple times and I’ve always felt safe! Malta was one of the first countries I travelled to alone because of it’s reputation as a safe travel destination.

Petty Crime

That being said, I did have my wallet stolen in Malta when I was on a night out in Paceville. By no means did this sway my view of whether or not it is a safe destination. Petty crime can happen anywhere and you should always take the proper preventative measures, even more so in nightlife hub.

Touristy locations like Sliema, St. Julian’s (where Paceville is also located) and capital city Valletta is where I would use extra precaution.

Road safety

Maltese drivers are known for being reckless so you may want to opt out of renting a car. I tend to leave the driving to the experienced  locals when I’m in Malta.

Is Malta expensive to travel?

Malta isn’t the cheapest country in the world to visit, but I certainly wouldn’t call it an expensive travel destination. By American and European standards it’s a pretty affordable destination, especially when you compare it to it’s neighbor, Italy.

I actually remember going out to one of Malta’s premier clubs and being shocked when I got my check. I recall getting two rum and cokes for a total of 5 euros, though that was a few years ago.

I found that out of all locations in Malta, Valletta seemed to be the priciest.

Public transportation is very cheap in Malta. (21 euros for a week bus pass)

In terms of food, you’ll find you can eat out for a reasonable price. There’s enough dining choices to keep the prices competitive and let your palate wander. A meal at a mid range restaurant will cost you about 15 euros, 3 euros or less for a beer or glass of wine. For a New Yorker, this is very cheap !

How to Get there

There a couple ways to travel to Malta. You can fly into Malta International Airport from most destinations in Europe. From the airport you can take the bus to most of the main locations on the island, pick up a hire car or get private transport.

The other way to get to Malta is by ferry from Italy or Siciliy. Catania, Pozzallo or  Salerno are where the ferries disembark.

Purchase your ticket online from Direct Ferries .

What is the best way to travel around?

Traveling malta by public transportation: bus.

I’ve used the buses quite a bit through out my Malta travel and they are pretty well connected. However, in some instances will take much much longer than driving and they aren’t always reliable. A week bus pass costs 21 euros which works on Gozo as well.

Traveling Malta by Taxi/Uber

Taxis are available, but can be on the expensive side. They should have set fares to certain locations between the airport and seaport. The last time I was there Uber did not exist but I do know of a company called eCabs which have their own app.

Renting a car is an option and will make getting around the island much quicker, however, it should depend on where you plan on spending your Malta travel time. Valletta, like some of the other popular locations, is a pedestrian friendly city with limited parking so having a car would be quite unnecessary.

Ferry Boats and Water Taxis

Ferry boats/taxis can get you from Sliema to Valletta or from Malta to Comino. This is the ultimate Malta travel vessel and I would take it whenever possible. There’s nothing like getting a sea view of the island and feeling wind in your hair!

Where to Stay in Malta

You have your choice of chain hotels, boutique or historic properties, Airbnbs or apartments. I’ve stayed in a handful of properties in Malta but my favorites are always the more unique and boutique locations.

Location wise, Sliema is one of my top picks. It has great access to public transportation and Malta tours with a promenade buzzing with people restaurants, cafes and bars. Valetta is a short, few minutes ferry ride across the Sliema Harbour.

If you don’t mind moving around, you could do a couple of nights in various parts of the island.

  • Ta Jolie is cute little B&B conveniently located near the Gozo ferry port.
  • Thirty Seven Hotel is an old farmhouse converted into a modern sanctuary.
  • Kempinski Hotel 
  • Murella Living
  • U Collection Apartments (Valletta) are beautiful modern  apartments, some with a view of the square.
  • Valetta Lucente (Valletta) Is an amazing restored property. The couple who run have put their soul into this place and it definitely shows.
  • Xara Palace Hotel (Mdina)
  • Hugo’s Boutique Hotel (Paceville)
  • The Palace (Sliema)
  • Two Pillows Boutique Hostel (Sliema)

u collection terrace at penthouse

Places to visit in Malta: Discover Gozo

Gozo is the farthest from the airport so if you’re interested in fitting all three islands into your Ultimate Malta itinerary it could be a good idea to start here. You’ll have to take a bus or taxi to the ferry port in Cirkewwa, Malta and once you get to Gozo you can either rent a car, taxi or take the bus around the island. I only spent 2 nights in Gozo and 1 of the days took a sightseeing bus to make the most of my time there.

Salt Pans in Malta

Salt Pans are something I’d never seen up close. It was really quite beautiful and lies right next to the sea (as I’m sure most sea salt pans do)! I met a man called Alfred there who sits just outside his sea salt cave. He told me the cave has been in his family for years and years.   I couldn’t quite tell if all the stories he was saying were completely true but it made me buy salt from him!   A decent size bag of sea salt was only 2 euros so it was a real bargain anyway.

Ultimate Malta Travel Guide

Alfred and I at his sea salt cave in Gozo

The Blue Hole/Azure window in Dwjera

This famous Azure window(featured on Game of Thrones) sat right next to the blue hole before it collapsed on March 8 2017 during severe storms.  However, this area is still worth a visit to this area. The blue hole is said to be an epic diving site. You can also snorkel or simply explore this part of the coast on foot.

Ramla Bay is a red sand beach in Gozo. There are not too many sandy beaches in Malta which makes Ramla Bay busy in the peak of summer.

Tal Mixta Cave + Calypso Cave

Tal Mixta Cave overlooks Ramla bay. It’s more popular cousin, Calypso Cave is starting to collapse and is now closed to the public. I would get here before it becomes very busy!

Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu Basilica

A gorgeous shrine built between 1920 and 1931.

Victoria/Rabat

The capital of Gozo, known for its Medieval Citadel. Explore the Citadel and take in the view from the top.

Wied Il Ghasri

Wied Il Ghasri is an epic place to go on a walk and marvel at the sea sneaking into the middle of massive cliffs. 

Ultimate Guide: Enjoy Comino and the Blue Lagoon

Comino is only 3.5 square kilometres in area. There is only one hotel,  Comino Hotel, and a few farmers that reside on Comino. Besides an amazing place to hike or camp for the night, there are also hidden coves to discover gorgeous blue water. You can spend a whole day here if you wanted and should! Do a hike around Comino island or rent a beach chair by the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is one of the top reasons people travel to Malta. Through it can get extremely busy, I do recommend it as an incredible place to visit on your trip to Malta.

When visiting the crystal clear lagoon, I suggest taking the earliest ferry you can to maximise your time with the least amount of people. From Gozo you can take the 8am water taxi for 10 euros return — it takes 15 minutes. If you’re coming from Malta, take the ferry from Cirkewwa or you can take a boat tour. There are plenty of options when choosing who to book with  for a full day’s tour.  These tours will also take you to some of the nearby caves and usually they give you snacks and drinks. (tours leave from various locations)

Food and drinks such as salads, burgers, fresh fruit, and cocktails are available to purchase on site.

Check out my guide on how to day trip to the Blue Lagoon for more information.

Umbrella at the Blue Lagoon, what to see in Malta

The Blue Lagoon, Comino

Ultimate Travel Guide: Explore Malta the Main Island

Malta is the biggest of the three islands and home to the smallest national capital in the E.U. by area. Malta has influences of many countries including the British. There is actually a high population of British retirees living here. Who wouldn’t want to retire to a place with 300 sunny days a year?!

Malta Travel Map

Malta Travel Guide : Places to visit in Malta

Upper Barrakka Gardens terrace

Capital City Valletta

Valletta is one of the most historical cities in Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980 and the main reason for many visitors Malta travel. In 2018 Valletta was recognised as the European Capital of Culture. It’s a treat to just wander the streets and discover every impressive alley, take in the atmosphere at a local cafe or try a traditional Maltese dish at one of the seasonal restaurants.

Enjoy Merchant Street in Valletta

Merchant Street runs through the city of Valletta and offers a range of shopping and architecture.

Marvel at the gorgeous St. John’s Co-cathedral

Go inside St. Johns Co-catherdral. A beautiful baroque church in the centre of Valletta. Entrance fee is 10 Euros per adult, 7.50 for seniors and students.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

The Upper Barrakka  Gardens overlook the Grand Harbour for some amazing views.  There is a canon fired everyday here at noon and 4pm as a saluting ceremony. This is one of the most beautiful locations on my ultimate Malta travel itinerary.

Fort St. Elmo

Fort St. Elmo is an impressive fort with panoramic views of the harbour. The fort hosts the National War Museum.

Sliema is a great place to base yourself as it’s cheaper than Valetta   with great access to the whole of the island.  There is a big bus terminal as well as a ferry dock. The water taxi which takes you right over to Valletta leaves frequently from Sliema and provides a beautiful view of the capital. One way on the water taxi costs 1.50.

The Seaside Promenade not only has transportation access, but plenty of restaurants and bars. There are rock pools known as the Roman Baths which have easy swimming  access. There are even build in ladder for convenience.

A sleepy fishing village with colourful boats and seafood restaurants lining the harbour. I loved taking pictures here.

St. Peter’s Pool is a beautiful lagoon 1.5 miles from Marzxlokk popular for cliff jumping snorkeling. You can walk to the lagoon from the village or get a taxi to drop you off. From the drop off point the walk is just a few minutes down to the pool. The other option is to get there by one of the traditional beautiful boats from Marzxlokk harbour, sadly this is also the most expensive option!

St. Julian’s

Paceville is the nightlife center of Malta. Touristy, loud and busy. This area isn’t for the faint hearted. Paceville is a short 5 minute drive from Sliema.

girl on edge of St. Peter's Pool, what to see in Malta

St. Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk

Saint Agatha’s Tower

A large watch tower in Mellehia said to have amazing sunset views. This is sadly one of the sites I didn’t get to. It is also known as the red tower for it’s lovely color. I cry at the lost potential of the perfect instagram shot here!

Popeye’s Village

Visit the picturesque location of the the film set for the 1980’s musical Popeye. They left everything up and you can now visit it as a amusement park with interactive fun. A nice alternative to your typical pleasure park.

girl in doorway surrounded by flowers

flower lined door in Mdina

Mdina is a beautiful ancient walled city. It’s another pedestrian only area and an incredible place to spend the afternoon. Above is me in Mdina at one of Malta’s Instagram hot spots. This pretty blue door with a vine of pink flowers gets a lot of attention from photographers!

I recommend having lunch at Fontanella Tea Room and soaking up the view. This is where my husband and I actually had out first date so its a bit of nostalgia for me! We wandered around the giant ancient walls and drank Maltese wine, I remember it being such a romantic date.

Dingli Cliffs

The highest point in Malta providing incredible sea side views. A known location for amazing sunsets.

The 3 Cities

The 3 cities of Malta are Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua. You can see them from the Upper Barrakka Gardens across the Grand Harbour. The cities have been gaining popularity in recent years with an emergence of new hospitality businesses.

Wied Iz-Zurrieq and the Blue Grotto

Wied Iz-Zurrieq is a village known for it’s sea caves, the largest and most famous being the Blue Grotto. You can get a great view of the grotto by sea or from view point located before the entrance of the village.

Eating, Drinking and Nightlife in Malta

This ultimate Malta travel guide wouldn’t be complete without telling about the food and drink scene. Malta has an interesting and eclectic cuisine influenced by a variety of cultures. Spain, Italy and Great Britain are just some of the countries that contributed to the flavors. They have a bit of a cafe culture and a passion for seasonal homegrown options.

Traditional Maltese Dishes

Here are some of the local dishes you’ll want to try!

  • Lampuki Pie (fish pie)
  • Stuffat tal-fenek (Rabbit Stew)
  • Bragioli (beef olives)
  • Kapunata (Maltese version of ratatouille)
  • Local Sourdough bread

Restaurants + Cafes

There are plenty of cute places to eat or enjoy a coffee. Cafe culture is definitely a thing in Malta and you’re sure to find somewhere nice to sit and people watch.

  • Medina (Mdina)
  • Rampina (Valletta)
  • Barracuda (St. Julian’s)
  • Ta’ Frenc (Gozo)
  • Cafe Berry (Sliema)
  • Fontanella Tea Room (Mdina)
  • Black Cat Cafe (Gozo)
  • Plough and Anchor Pub (Valletta)
  • Wild Honey (Valletta)
  • Cafe Society (Valletta)
  • Yaad 32 (Valletta)
  • Hole in the Wall (Sliema)
  • The Thirsty Barber (St. Julian’s)
  • Cafe Del Mar (St. Paul’s Bay)
  • Baia Beach Club (Mellieha)

Malta Music Events

  • Malta Music Week
  • Valletta Jazz Festival
  • Lost and Found Festival

Fun Malta Activities

Wine tasting.

Have you ever tasted a Maltese wine? Chances are, unless you’ve been to Malta that answer is no. The Maltese drink almost all of the wine they produce, with little making it out of the county. You’ll really be drinking local in this archipelago!

Here are some of the wineries you can go to for tasting experiences:

  • Tal-Massar Winery
  • Meridiana Wine Estate
  • Marsovin Cellars
  • Mar Casar Winery

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a main draw contributing to Malta travel.  The variety that you can see beneath the sea includes multiple wrecks and caves.

Horse Riding

There are a handful of places to ride horses in Malta and Gozo. All levels welcome.

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About the author: lauren mcgill.

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Been living in Malta for the last 25 years on and off. Your itinerary of Malta is true and comprehensive and all I can add is that if you go in June July August it can reach 40c we preferd September to December which was a nice balmy 20+ avoid January and February cold and stormy. I agree with you about coffee shop fanatella in mdina our favourite place for coffee and cake ?.

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That’s amazing! Malta is truly a special place. SO cool you like that coffee place too!

Thanks for reading and for your tips 🙂

Best, Lauren

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Home » Best Things to Do in Malta

Things To Do in Malta: 40+ Best Attractions and Activities

If you’re planning to visit the Maltese islands, there are more than enough fun things to do in Malta – from sightseeing to tourist attractions and more adventurous activities.

Here’s a comprehensive list of my best Malta travel tips to help you decide what to do in Malta!

Top 3 Things to Do in Malta

1. head to the stunning blue lagoon.

The stunning Blue Lagoon Malta at Comino island.

Malta’s most must-visit destination is on the tiny island Comino: Blue Lagoon Bay . Just northeast of the Maltese coast, this gem of a lagoon boasts the most sparkling azure-blue water, which will invite anyone into the water.

Head here for a lazy day of tanning, swimming and cocktails – and bring a snorkel set just in case; the marine life is exciting. The easiest way of getting there is by taking a boat trip, or tour . If you can afford it, a private boat tour is by far the best choice.

The best regular boat tour to the Blue Lagoon is one of Sea Adventure Malta , where you’ll head to the lagoon on one of their three boat options:

  • Large catamaran with slides – great for families with kids
  • Same large catamaran but at sunset ( highly recommended – much quieter experience!)
  • Smaller catamaran (“Sea Odyssey”)

More info and booking here.

I recommend taking a boat tour rather than organising everything yourself and taking the ferry, as it will save you hassle and also because it can be hard to find a spot to relax on the tiny beach near the Blue Lagoon.

If you’d rather have more flexibility, I recommend taking the iSeeMalta Coastal route . This hop-on-hop-off ferry works the same way as the buses, which allows you to hop on at different stops and hop off wherever you want.

For just an attractive price, you can get a day pass, with which you can head to the Blue Lagoon and back to your accommodation, wherever that is.

2. Explore the Blue Grotto

Taking a Blue Grotto tour is one of the best things to do in Malta!

The Blue Grotto is one of the most unique things to do in Malta. This is a must-visit, especially on sunny summer days when the Mediterranean seawater sparkles around the impressive rock cave formation in the south of Malta.

You’re taken inside the Blue Grotto with a short boat tour to admire the sunlight bouncing off the sandy sea floor onto the rocks above. Truly magical!

Combine it with a visit to Malta’s traditional fishing village, Marsaxlokk and its big market in this Blue Grotto and Marsaxlokk tour to make the most of your day.

3. Tour the famous Grand Harbour

One of the amazing views on most Valletta tours at the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

The absolutely stunning and fortified capital of Malta, Valletta, is a peninsula surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea – and the Grand Harbour . From Marsamxett Harbour in the west to the Three Cities and their harbours on the east side, all the surrounding areas have played a significant role in protecting the capital throughout the centuries.

You can cruise through Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour for just €20 with the iSeeMalta Grand Harbour cruise .

You’ll get the opportunity to imagine the rich history of the area as you visit the natural harbours on both sides of Valletta. This 90-minute hop-on-hop-off tour allows you to get on board wherever you are, as well as make several stops on the way. Flexible and enjoyable!

Buy Malta, Gozo and Valletta 2024 guide books from Malta Uncovered.

Check out my two guidebooks full of local knowledge and my best recommendations for your trip, and up-to-date for 2024 !

Malta & Gozo guide book Valletta : An Insider’s Guide to Malta’s Capital

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Top 5 Malta Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing Destinations

1. the capital city of valletta.

You can’t visit Malta without visiting its intriguing and gorgeous capital, Valletta. The city holds a centuries-long history and is filled with historical sites. It definitely needs to be on your list of things to do in Malta! Read more about Malta’s capital further down.

Valletta skyline at sunset.

2. St. John’s Co-Cathedral

Within Valletta, you’ll find the iconic Saint John’s Co-Cathedral . The Roman-Catholic co-cathedral dates back to 1577, and its interior is considered to be one of Europe’s finest examples of high Baroque architecture. Learn more about the cathedral in the Valletta section of this article.

The impressive view of the nave from the main entrance at the St. John's Co-Cathedral.

3. The walled city of Mdina

If you are interested in Malta’s history or want to visit its second-most impressive city, the ancient city of Mdina is bound to impress. The fortified city used to be Malta’s capital, and within its walls hides some of the most admirable art and architecture. Learn more about Mdina in the section below.

Mdina: One of the top sightseeing destinations and things to do in Malta.

4. Gozo: Natural beauty

Prefer nature over city life? Then, the smaller Island of Gozo is an absolute must. Malta’s sister island is a natural gem, with bountiful greenery and plenty of beaches to explore.

A lot quieter than the bustling island of Malta, the idyllic island will capture your heart if you love peace and serenity. Further down below, you can find more details about Gozo and how to get there.

The inland sea at Dwejra has a small pebbly beach and makes for a great spot to swim and snorkel.

5. Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

Malta is famous for its prehistoric buildings and remains, and one of the most impressive ones is the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. This underground burial site dates back to 4000 BC and was only discovered in 1902. Read on to find out more!

The Central Chamber of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

Visit Malta’s capital city of Valletta and its many museums

Valletta is a true gem of a place and an absolute must-visit. It’s one of my favourite places in Malta, and I always discover something new whenever I go there.

These are a few of the top places to visit and things to do while you’re there.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral

The jewel of Valletta is the St. John’s Co-Cathedral. A modestly designed exterior hides what’s inside: A jaw-dropping display of art, Baroque design, marble floors with large tombstones and several niches and chapels. To boot, its museum displays works by the world-famous late-Renaissance painter Caravaggio.

La Sacra Infermeria

The shallow staircase inside La Sacra Infermeria that takes you down to the main ward.

La Sacra Infermeria’s Great Ward was once Europe’s longest at 155 metres long. The entire Infirmary accommodated a total of 563 beds in 1787.

When visiting La Sacra Infermeria, don’t miss out on the Augmented Reality (AR) experience named ‘Reliving The Sacra Infermeria’. Interact with the history and its protagonists while being transported back in time with this innovative concept – a fun and educational experience for everyone.

There is also the Malta Experience, an audio-visual showing narrating the intriguing 7000-year history of Malta.

In just 45 minutes, you’ll grasp the country’s unique history, which will enrich your entire understanding of the islands, its people, and the places you’ll visit.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

The Upper Barrakka Gardens are a real serene treat in Valletta, hidden away in a corner of the city and offering a break from the bustling capital.

Take a stroll past the fountain and flowers, enjoy the amazing views of the Grand Harbour and grab a coffee while you enjoy some shade. You can also visit the Lascaris War Rooms while you’re here. It doesn’t get better than this!

The Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta.

Grand Master’s Palace

Right in the centre of Valletta, you’ll find the Grand Master’s Palace in all its majesty. The palace was built between the 16th and 18th centuries as the palace of the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, who ruled Malta.

Inside the Grand Master’s palace, you’ll find stunning artworks, heritage items, and old Maltese furniture. You can also visit the Palace State Rooms, located inside Grandmaster’s Palace, which is a very impressive attraction to admire as well.

Finish your visit with the Palace Armoury, which houses a huge collection of armour and artillery that belonged to the Knights of the Order of St. John and the Ottomans.

Lascaris War Rooms

Located under the Upper Barrakka Gardens, the Lascaris War Rooms are known as Malta’s best-kept secret.

The underground complex of tunnels and chambers housed the War Headquarters, which was used to coordinate the island’s defence during the Second World War. After that, the Lascaris War Rooms were used by NATO, and today, you can visit them as a museum.

Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck

One of Valletta’s oldest churches is the Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck, dating back all the way to the 1570s.

The story of the apostle St. Paul is described in the New Testament, and it is believed that his shipwreck on the island brought Christianity to Malta. Today, St. Paul is considered Malta’s spiritual father.

National War Museum at Fort St. Elmo

Check out the National War Museum as you explore Fort St. Elmo . With a superb collection of artefacts dating back to prehistoric times, this national museum provides a detailed overview of Malta’s important role in several wars, especially the Second World War.

The front gate at Fort St. Elmo in Valletta.

Casa Rocca Piccola

This unique attraction in the heart of Valletta is an impressive 16th-century palace of a Maltese noble family, and it’s clear from the second you step inside.

Casa Rocca Piccola is still privately owned by a noble Maltese family and lovingly taken care of, and the owners will happily show you around their beloved home.

The dining room at Casa Rocca Piccola.

MUŻA is an art museum located at Auberge d’Italie in Valletta, Malta, displaying works by Maltese and foreign artists representing the major European artistic styles

Formerly known as the National Museum of Fine Arts, it was located at Admiralty House between 1974 and 2016.

Today, it’s the perfect place to visit if you are into art and want to discover some of Malta’s iconic artists and want to learn about Malta’s history through the arts.

Valletta walking tours

Merchants Street, Valletta at sunset.

You can tour Valletta in different ways, either by yourself with my Valletta travel guidebook  (highly recommended, of course!) or with one of these well-reviewed walking tours:

  • Majestic Valletta – Half-day tour – If you only have half a day to see Valletta, fear not – you’ll be able to see the main highlights. This half-day Valletta tour takes you to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, St. John’s Co-Cathedral, and Grandmaster’s Palace without feeling rushed.
  • Night tour through Valletta, Mosta and Mdina – Valletta at night is a whole different experience, as people sit back and relax after a day of work. But it isn’t the only city that lights up after sundown, as Mdina and the Rotunda in Mosta shine just as bright. This night tour takes you to all three to give you the most magical Malta at night experience.
  • Private Valletta Guided Tour – If you prefer a private guide, this is one of the best options I usually recommend. You’ll be guided around by one of the most knowledgeable tour guides in Malta, who knows Valletta inside out. Apart from being able to book a date of your choice, you can also customise your itinerary, covering a half day (4 hours).
  • Valletta: Street Food and Culture Walking Tour If you want to indulge even more in Maltese culture, check out this tour.  You’ll discover the city’s main landmarks while savouring the island’s tastiest street food.
  • Valletta: The Dark Side Walking Tour – This night tour is slightly different. You’ll explore the most spectral and mysterious side of the city, with several commonly known ghost stories told at specific spots. Having seen centuries of war, occupation, and violence, that’s no surprise!

More info on sightseeing in Valletta here: Top 20 Things to Do and Places of Interest in Valletta

Admire the Natural Beauty of Gozo

If you have a day or two, I absolutely recommend visiting Gozo Island. The more natural and serene sister island to Malta offers peace and quiet and just as much history as the island of Malta itself. It’s definitely one of my favourite things to do in Malta!

How to get there

You can take the main ferry to Gozo from the north of Malta, in Ċirkewwa. Depending on where you are staying, it can take quite a while to get there – around an hour and a half from Valletta by local bus.

However, the ferry trip to take you across to Mġarr Harbour in Gozo just takes 20 minutes, and a return ticket is €4.65. Ferries go to and from Gozo almost 24/7, about twice per hour.

Another faster option (if you are located centrally) is the fast ferry from Valletta, which also arrives at Mġarr Harbour. The ferry is operated by Gozo Highspeed, charging €7.50 for a one-way ticket. The trip from Valletta to Gozo takes just under 45 minutes.

Just be aware that the vessels, although fast, aren’t recommended for people who get seasick easily!

The Gozo ferry departing from Cirkewwa in the North of Malta.

Take a day trip to Gozo

Tuk Tuk Gozo tour: A fun way to discover this beautiful island.

While public transport exists in the form of buses, the network isn’t known for its efficiency, and a rental car is almost always the better alternative if you’re set on discovering Gozo without help.

These are a few of the best options for day trips in Gozo :

  • A fun and exciting way to explore Gozo is on a Tuk Tuk tour . Cruising around in a traditional Tuk Tuk with a driver who knows the very best spots on the island, you’ll be sure you won’t miss a thing while enjoying the sun on the way. Each of these Tuk Tuks can carry up to 6 passengers, so it makes for a great option if you’re travelling with a group or for families with kids. Prices include hotel transfers and lunch! More info here: Gozo Tuk Tuk tours .
  • You can also get Quad bike tours with the same operator. These vehicles are for real adventurers and easily cover rough terrain, seating two people. More info here: Gozo quad biking .
  • Gozo is gorgeous, and if you have the time, I recommend going for at least one full day. This full-day Gozo tour lets you discover the stunning island and includes all the top attractions, and the price includes all transport and entrance costs.
  • This Gozo tour “with a difference” takes you to the lesser-visited spots on the island. Visit the Ġgantija Temples complex (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), hop on a trackless train and enjoy the Marsalforn, Qbajjar and Xwejni bays. You’ll get to see nature and history at once.
  • This is another great Gozo full-day sightseeing tour , taking you to the impressive Ta’ Pinu Basilica and on a train ride to the Cittadella in Victoria. Check out Gozo’s beaches and UNESCO World Heritage Sites at a relaxed pace.

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Wander around Victoria’s old town

Gozo’s capital, Victoria, is a small but lovely town with an authentic atmosphere.

Wander around to explore the little alleys, many churches and cosy squares, and make your way to a local coffee shop for a quick break or Maltese pastizzi (puff pastry).

You’ll also find amazing hand-made and original souvenirs in the stores around town.

Explore the Cittadella

In Victoria lies the majestic and ancient Cittadella, Gozo’s fortified city. This is a must-see, as it dates back to circa 1500 BC and is still home to many interesting sites and museums.

Take a nice walk around the city’s walls to see Gozo’s most amazing views, and check out the Old Prison to get an idea of what the Middle Ages in the capital were like.

Visit Dwejra and its Inland Sea

The inland sea at Dwejra has a small pebbly beach and makes for a great spot to swim and snorkel.

Few spots around Gozo provide as much natural beauty as Dwejra and its surroundings.

From the Inland Sea (a small bathing area surrounded by tall cliffs connected to the open sea) to Fungus Rock (once known for a rare species of fungi) and Dwejra Bay itself, peace and nature are one here.

It’s one of my favourite spots around the Maltese islands.

Fancy a visit to Gozo? Get more ideas here: 25+ Things to Do in Gozo .

Hop-on-hop-off buses and ferries

If you want to see most of Malta and Gozo but are short on time or simply enjoy being driven around with the flexibility to get off anywhere, check out the hop-on-hop-off buses and ferries by iSeeMalta .

The buses and ferries take specific routes, hitting almost all of the islands’ highlights, and you can decide where you want to stop and have a better look around.

Very convenient if you want your transport sorted and know where you want to go.

Go Back in Time at the Silent City of Mdina

Mdina main gate and ditch below.

Valletta is a historical city, but Mdina beats Malta’s current capital in terms of age and should definitely be in your list of things to do in Malta.

The island’s former capital, also known as the Silent City, dates back all the way to the 8th century BC when Phoenician settlers inhabited the town, which was then known as “Maleth”.

But even if you’re not a history geek, Mdina is an incredible city that you can’t miss out on. Sitting on top of one of the tallest hills on the island of Malta, Mdina is a small town surrounded by tall bastions and a large moat (which is nowadays a garden).

Although it’s a popular option among things to do in Malta, it rarely feels busy in its narrow streets and alleys, and there really is nothing like it. It’s as if you’re taking a step back in time – that’s how well-preserved the place is.

Once there, I also highly recommend paying a visit to the town of Rabat, which you can find on the doorstep of Mdina.

Tours of Mdina

Because Mdina has many stories to tell, getting a tour is a good idea. These are a few of the options:

  • Get a 2.5-hour walking tour of the highlights of Mdina and Rabat with an experienced local guide and learn about these towns’ fascinating history.
  • This full-day culture & history tour takes you to Mdina, as well as the Dingli cliffs, Catacombs, San Anton, Botanical Gardens, Presidential Palace, the Rotunda in Mosta and Ta’ Qali.
  • If you’d like to explore both Mdina and the capital, Valletta, after the sun sets (- a completely different experience), check out this popular night tour .

The best things to do and see in Mdina

St. Roque's Chapel painted ceiling in Mdina.

  • Speaking of food: Sample some local sweets paired with Italian coffee at Fontanella Tea Garden or enjoy lunch at Xara Palace  – Trattoria AD 1530 . You can also grab some of the tastiest pastizzi (savoury pastries with ricotta cheese or mashed peas) made in Malta at is-Serkin (just outside of Mdina, on the edge of Rabat – close to the Domus Romana – see below).
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral can be found at the heart of Mdina and is worth a visit. TIP: The small chapel of St. Roque around the corner is a little hidden gem which you can admire from inside during the day.
  • Palazzo Falson is one of the quirkier places to visit in Malta. The former home of a collector of antiquities, this ages-old house is full of old weapons, art and artefacts collected by its most famous resident Olof Frederick Gollcher.
  • The National Museum of Natural History is located in the stunning 18th-century Vilhena Palace, designed in the French Baroque style. From local geology to human evolution and from marine fauna to birds, you’ll discover everything there’s to learn about nature here.
  • The Domus Romana is one of the finest examples of Roman Empire remains found on the island of Malta. This museum, right outside Mdina, is known for its beautiful examples of Roman mosaic floors, forming part of what once was a Roman house.

Experience Malta as a Local at the Three Cities

Small street with steps in the Three Cities.

Walking around, you will take in the century-old architecture and hear the locals share daily gossip from their balconies over a te fit-tazza – a traditional Maltese cup of tea.

You’ll get the most out of the Three Cities by simply wandering around, having a taste of traditional Maltese food in one of the many restaurants, and taking in the views (and sun!) at the Grand Harbour.

Prefer a guided tour? I highly recommend this half-day tour (4 hours) which includes a harbour cruise by boat.

While you’re in the Three Cities, you can opt to visit these museums in Vittoriosa:

Fort St. Angelo

The main entrance to Fort St. Angelo.

When the Knights of the Order of St. John arrived in Malta, it wasn’t Valletta or even Mdina, which was their seat of power. It was Vittoriosa.

At the end of the peninsula of Vittoriosa, you can find the beautifully restored Fort St. Angelo, which was the home of the Knights and which played an important part in their victory during the Great Siege of Malta.

Apart from the impressive building and its fortifications, the museum inside its walls tells the story well.

It’s not just a destination for history buffs, families with kids also enjoy a visit to explore Fort St. Angelo.

Malta Maritime Museum

Surrounded by the sea, it’s no wonder that Malta has a rich naval history.

Covering over 7000 years, the Maritime Museum presents over 20,000 artefacts that represent traces of occupancy, conflict and change throughout the centuries.

Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Malta’s history is long and intriguing, so much even that three sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List , while another seven are on the Tentative List.

1) Valletta

Valletta's magnificent skyline at sunset: A memorable view on popular Malta tours and excursions.

First on the Inscribed list is Malta’s capital, Valletta, which is no surprise because the city is basically a historical open-air museum.

Built in the 16th century by the Knights of Malta, it’s one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, largely surrounded by impressive fortifications.

Despite intense bombing during the Second World War, a large number of centuries-old buildings have survived, and there’s something to admire at almost every corner.

Valletta is a destination in itself, and you can easily spend three days sightseeing there. A number of popular things to do in Malta can be found here, so you won’t get bored here.

2) The Megalithic Temples of Malta

The Ġgantija Temples as seen from above.

Seven of the several Megalithic temples that Malta is known for are recognised by UNESCO, and most are open to the public.

The most important temples were built between approximately 3600 BC and 2500 BC, and are impressive to visit. Although you could list them all on your sightseeing itinerary, my advice is as follows:

  • Visit the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples near the village of Qrendi, in the South of Malta. These temples are some of the best-preserved examples and are located next to each other. They also have an excellent visitors’ centre that provides rich information on the temples as a whole and the people who built them.
  • Alternatively, the ancient ruins of the Tarxien Temples are also a great option and a little more central on the island of Malta. The Tarxien Temples also have a small visitors’ centre, but more importantly, the remains of the temples are worth viewing.
  • Visit the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta if you want to get more detail on the subject and admire some of the unique artefacts found around some of the temples.
  • If you plan to stay in Gozo, the Ġgantija Temples should be on your to-do list.

3) Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

Another extremely impressive UNESCO World Heritage site to visit is the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, an underground Neolithic complex in use between 4000 BC and 1500 BC.

Discovered accidentally in 1902, it’s a popular sightseeing destination for history buffs and curious culture-seekers. In fact, I recommend buying tickets in advance from Heritage Malta if you decide to visit the Hypogeum.

Sample fresh seafood at Marsaxlokk

View of Marsaxlokk harbour

An island in the middle of the Mediterranean can’t go without a fishing hotspot, and Malta’s famous fishers’ village is Marsaxlokk , in the south of the island.

With picturesque, colourful luzzu (traditional Maltese fishing boats) all around the harbour and some of the island’s best seafood, you can have an amazing time in this tiny fishing village.

On Sunday mornings, there’s a famous fish market, selling anything from seafood and fresh produce to souvenirs and clothes.

Don’t miss out on the local cuisine, especially if you love fish, and wander around to spot the Marsaxlokk parish church.

Though Marsaxlokk is picturesque, it is also quite small, so the things to see and do are limited. That’s why I recommend taking this combo tour with the Blue Grotto , where you’ll be hitting the South’s highlights in one day.

The Blue Grotto and Marsaxlokk make for a great sightseeing combination, so make sure to see both!

Take the family to Popeye Village

Popeye Village is a must if you’re travelling with children, but the view is just as impressive even if you aren’t with the little ones.

The colourful village was built up against the cliffs in Mellieħa in 1980 as a set for the iconic Popeye film starring Robin Williams, so you might recognise it if you’re a bit of a movie buff.

If you’re on a budget or don’t feel like going inside Popeye Village, do go for a swim at the bottom of the cliffs at Anchor Bay.

This picturesque bay and its sparkling water lures down many tourists. It’s a great spot for snorkelling and diving, too, provided the wind direction is favourable.

Popeye Village is a great outing for families with kids.

Visit the Malta National Aquarium

If you love marine life or want to entertain the whole family, visit the Malta National Aquarium.

Discover the Mediterranean species that can be found all around the Maltese islands and plunge into Gozo and Comino’s waters.

But that’s not all – you’ll find history from the time of the Roman Empire, exotic species in the Tropical Oceans zone, and plenty of other interesting animals in the reptiles and amphibians area. Lots to see and learn!

The starfish-shaped building of the Malta National Aquarium in Qawra (at Ta' Fra Ben).

Explore Sea Life in the wild

Scuba diving.

Malta’s underwater life is rich, as you’ll find caves, reefs, and wrecks dotted all around the islands.

Some of Europe’s most impressive dive sites are located in Malta, Gozo and Comino, and with plenty of Mediterranean wildlife, there is always something interesting to see.

Gozo’s Blue Hole is one of the most stunning dive sites around the island, as you descend into a natural swimming pool and find yourself between caves and rock formations.

A good reason to visit Malta is that it is also a great place to discover scuba diving, get your license, or even further develop your skills by doing one of the more advanced courses.

These are a few recommended dive sites to check out:

Um El Faroud

A massive tanker, 115 metres, sunk to a depth of 31-35 metres as an artificial reef in 1995. Today, it is considered one of Malta’s best wrecks, with lots of marine life and plenty to explore. You need to be an advanced diver for this dive site.

Patrol boat P29 & Rozi

This East German minesweeper became a Maltese Patrol Boat in 1997 and sunk a decade later, after which it sits on a sandy bottom at 36 metres deep. Head to the north of Malta, Cirkewwa, to get a good look at the P29 and the Rozi wreck. You need to be an advanced diver for this dive site.

Santa Marija Caves, Comino

You can swim through the Santa Marija caves in Comino, where you’ll see stunning light reflections on the vertical walls and observe abundant marine life. This diving spot is for divers of all levels.

Inland Sea Tunnel, Gozo

Near the famous Blue Hole in Gozo, you’ll find the Inland Sea Tunnel, which is also an amazing dive site. Swim through the 80-metre-long tunnel from the Inland Sea to the open water and admire the light show that the sun and water create.

Marine wildlife

Malta’s cliffs, reefs and wrecks are home to many different Mediterranean marine species.

The ones you’ll likely come across underwater in Malta include groupers, amberjack, various bream, octopi, squid, flying fish, gurnard, stingrays, meagre, bogue, red mullet, parrotfish and the occasional moray eel.

Though there aren’t many big fish around the islands, a lucky diver might see tuna, dolphins and bonitos – but don’t get your hopes up too much.

Snorkelling

The best spots for snorkelling in Malta are those with crystal blue waters and plenty of rock formations and reefs for fish and little sea animals to hide in.

Fomm ir-Riħ Bay

This remote beach is a gem in itself, as not many tourists find their way there, but the underwater life might be even more impressive.

The sea is clean and clear, and there are plenty of fish, water animals and rock formations to spot.

St. Peter’s Pool

St. Peter’s Pool in the south of Malta is a popular natural pool where locals and tourists alike love to enjoy a long summer day. Besides cliff jumping, the area is ideal for snorkelling, as there are rocks, cliffs and beautiful fish species. You can get there either by car, on foot or by taking one of the boat tours from Marsaxlokk.

Blue Lagoon

Comino’s Blue Lagoon is perhaps Malta’s most famous spot for swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling. Remember that you definitely won’t be the only one here, but many would say the crystal-clear waters are worth it.

Check out the caves, beaches and inlets around Comino too, where you’ll find more marine life and fewer people.

Aerial view of Blue Lagoon Bay in Malta.

Head to one of Malta’s Sandy Beaches

Although it’s just a tiny rock in the Mediterranean Sea, there are a few beautiful sandy beaches around Malta to admire.

You can either visit these beaches by public transport or with a rental car or get a completely different experience by enjoying these beaches at sea: This Beaches and Bays Cruise by Sea Adventure Excursions is highly recommended .

You’ll sail to the first two of the beaches below (depending on the weather/sea conditions) on a catamaran, combined with a stop at the Blue Lagoon.

Want to just visit the beaches the old-fashioned way? These are my top recommendations!

Golden Bay Beach

Golden Bay and a Radisson Hotel perched on one of the surrounding cliffs

Golden Bay is Malta’s staple beach and definitely the place to go if you’re seeking a sunny day on a large, clean and comfortable beach.

Although it does get busy in summer, Golden Bay has access to all the amenities you might need – from toilets and kiosks to all the water sports you can imagine – and is easily accessible for anyone, whether you drive yourself or hop on a bus.

Especially on weekends, it’s also a popular beach for barbecues, and there’ll be a lively atmosphere.

Riviera Bay

Għajn Tuffieħa Bay - One of Malta's best beaches

Riviera Bay, also known as Għajn Tuffieħa , is my all-time favourite beach. It is situated right next to Golden Bay Beach, just a 10-minute walk away. It is lesser-known and therefore slightly less busy, but it’s also way smaller, making it quite crowded on summer days.

At this beautiful bay, you’ll find more surfers, stunning nature to explore and hike through, and one restaurant that offers basic meals.

Do keep in mind that you need to descend and ascend stairs to get there, so it’s not the most easily accessible.

St. Peter’s Pool isn’t a sandy beach but a beautiful natural pool near Marsaxlokk, in the south of Malta.

This natural swimming pool is popular for swimming and cliff jumping, but you can also do some amazing snorkelling here.

Head to the natural swimming pool from Marsaxlokk village and spend your day on the rocks while taking in the sun and the sea.

Experience the Festa

Festa celebrations with fireworks in Naxxar, Malta.

Maltese people know how to party, and it shouldn’t surprise you that they have plenty of local and national festa – feasts.

For each saint and event, there is a celebration, and towns typically have their own annual festa, too.

Check out this year’s festa calendar to see when and where there’s a festa around the time you’re visiting because it will definitely make your visit a unique one.

Visit the Mosta Dome

Perhaps Malta’s most impressive church (though the St John’s Co-Cathedral is hard to top) is the Mosta Dome, aka Rotunda . Built in 1860, this enormous rotunda is the third-largest unsupported dome in the world.

It survived a 200kg bomb falling through the dome without exploding during the Second World War, and today, it still proudly stands as one of Malta’s most impressive buildings.

The Mosta Dome or Rotunda is a church and major landmark in the centre of Malta.

Go Underground at St. Paul’s Catacombs

The St. Paul’s Catacombs, located on the outskirts of Mdina in the heart of Rabat, served as a burial ground during the Punic and Roman times.

The Roman-Byzantine catacombs complex consists of interconnected underground cemeteries, with more than 30 hypogea, used up to the 7th and 8th centuries AD. Definitely worth a visit if you’re a history buff!

Let yourself go: Malta Nightlife

Want to sample some of the local nightlife ? There are a few key options to go for.

1)   Paceville

If you’re a party animal, you can’t head to Malta without visiting Paceville. The town is Malta’s party hub, with a concentration of restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find it here. Brace yourself for cheap drinks and good times.

2) Join a boat party

Available during the summer months only, you can hop on a large boat for a sunset trip from Sliema with a DJ, drinks, games and a lot of fun. These boat parties in Malta are a really unique experience and a great way to cool down, dance and have a few drinks while taking in the scenes, enjoying the vibes and taking a dip in the sea at one of the stops.

Malta boat party

3)   Open-air clubbing

If you’re visiting Malta during the warmer months, you have to give open-air clubbing a go. The Gianpula complex on the outskirts of Rabat consists of 9 nightclubs, of which 7 are outdoor clubs, as well as rooftop lounges, pool clubs and festival arenas. With 200 parties per year, there is always something going on at Gianpula.

Alternatively, check out Uno , which is located on the edge of the Ta ‘Qali Crafts Village.

4)   Valletta

If you’d rather have a more laid-back night out, Valletta is perfect to spend your evenings. From good restaurants to classy wine bars and cosy pubs, you’ll find that there is always something going on. Check out the famous Bridge Bar for live jazz on Fridays and a drink on the ancient steps, or head to Trabuxu Wine Bar for a glass of local wine in a 400-year-old stone vaulted cellar.

Unwind in Nature

Dingli cliffs.

For some of Malta’s most stunning views, you need to visit the Dingli Cliffs in the south of the island – it’s Malta’s highest point. Spend an afternoon hiking along the beautiful coast and explore Dingli village’s surroundings before settling down to enjoy the sun setting into the sea.

From there, you’ll also be able to spot the small, uninhabited islet of Filfla.

Buskett Gardens

Buskett, also known as the Buskett Gardens, is Malta’s only woodland area, located in a valley in Siġġiewi – just east of Dingli and close to Rabat and Mdina.

The forest was planted by the Knights of St. John as a hunting reserve and is now home to the Verdala Palace – an official residence of the President of Malta.

San Anton Gardens

The San Anton Gardens are some of Malta’s loveliest gardens, with a large variety of gorgeous flowers and plants. Located in the central village of Attard, you’ll discover fountains, little ponds with ducks and turtles, and plenty of different flowers.

The garden and the San Anton Palace it belongs to were built by Grand Master Antoine de Paule, and the palace is currently the residence of the Maltese President.

Sample Maltese food

Whether you are into street food, traditional food or wine, tasting the local food is one of the best things to do in Malta.

Street food

You can’t say you’ve been to Malta if you haven’t sampled some of the islands’ delicious street food.

The country’s national snack is known as pastizzi – a hearty puff pastry traditionally filled with peas or ricotta cheese. Nowadays, you’ll also find different variations, such as chicken and Nutella.

Freshly baked pastizzi: A traditional street food snack in Malta.

You’ll find pastizzi in almost every town and on every street corner, but the best pastizzi in the country can be found in is-Serkin in Rabat, near Mdina.

If you’re up for a bigger meal, a traditional Maltese dish is rabbit stew. Locally known as stuffat tal-fenek (rabbit stew) has been a staple of Malta since the Knights of St. John, so it is both a cultural and a historical staple. Not to be missed!

For lunch, grab a ftira with a can of Cisk (local beer) at a local kiosk. This isn’t just your average sandwich – it is made of mouthwatering Maltese bread, topped with tomato sauce, tuna, fresh tomatoes, onion, capers, goat cheese, and olives.

Maltese wine

While Malta may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of wine tasting, the archipelago has a perfect Mediterranean climate, and local wineries know exactly how to make great wine out of indigenous grapes.

Visit the Marsovin Winery or the Meridiana Wine Estate to get a taste of Malta’s very best wines, or order La Valette while eating out.

If you can’t get enough of it, this wine-tasting day trip combines a visit to the historic Three Cities with Senglea, Vittoriosa, and Cospicua in the morning and a professional afternoon wine-tasting.

Decided on what to do in Malta or not quite sure yet?

If you need more inspiration, check out these carefully crafted itinerary guides:

  • Malta itinerary for 7 days/one week
  • 4/5 Days in Malta
  • 3 Days in Malta

Do you still have questions left? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Picture of About the Author: Edward Lansink

Edward is the Founder and Editor of Malta Uncovered and author of two guidebooks on Malta and Valletta.

As a tourist-turned-expat with Maltese roots, he knows the islands inside out and helps thousands of visitors enjoy a memorable trip every year.

Was this article helpful? Share it with your friends!

Just a small note regarding Golden Bay. One cannot use open fire (charcoal) BBQs on that beach; park rangers rightfully monitor the area, and you would risk a fine. Best that the article is updated. 🙂 Nonetheless well done for the article and ideas!

Thanks Chris, you’re right – updated it. Thanks for flagging! 🙂

Amazing blog! I won’t need to check any other travel blog/TripAdvisor – everything you need and more is nicely structured in this guide! Already booked my accommodation based on your tips. One question – are the Jeep safari trips in Gozo nice and relaxed or would it be a little wild? I’m traveling with a toddler and I’m not much into wild driving either 😉 Thanks

Hi Andra, you’re welcome and happy to hear it’s been helpful to you! It’s been a while since I went on one of those safaris but if I recall correctly they’re not the smoothest of rides. To be safe I’d contact whatever company you’re looking to use in advance though.

Very, very helpful guide. Thank you!

Glad it’s proven to be useful to you, Geraldine!

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Dre Roelandt

written by Dre Roelandt

updated 18.07.2024

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Malta has a population of around 514,000 people, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Comprised of three main islands—Malta, Gozo, and Comino—Malta has been influenced by various civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Romans, and British, achieving independence in 1964. Here’s our guide to picking the best area to stay in Malta for your next trip.

Best for first-time visitors: Valletta (Malta’s capital)

Best area to stay for couples: senglea, best area to stay in malta for families: birgu.

  • Best area for a beach holiday: St. Julian's

Best area to stay in Malta for luxury: Sliema

Best for cultural spots: mdina, practical tips for choosing the right neighborhood.

  • My recommendation: The Coleridge Boutique Hotel In Valletta
  • Location: Close to City Gate and Upper Barrakka Gardens
  • Pros: A walkable city with beautiful architecture, rich in history and culture with many restaurants, cafes, and shops
  • Cons:  Valletta can be crowded during peak tourist season, with limited beaches compared to other areas. Some may find it quiet in the evenings.

Valletta, the capital city of Malta , is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unique Baroque architecture. The honey-colored limestone buildings, adorned with colorful wooden balconies, create a magical atmosphere, especially during the golden hour. 

The overall vibe is one of unhurried Mediterranean charm. During the day, the streets of Valletta buzz with a mix of locals and tourists. In the evenings, the atmosphere becomes more relaxed, with people enjoying al fresco dining and leisurely walks. Visit during festa season (summer months) and you’ll get to experience traditional Maltese celebrations.

Despite its small size, Valletta is packed with historical sites, museums, and churches. Built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century, the city is perched on a peninsula between two natural harbors. St. John's Co-Cathedral, with its ornate interior and Caravaggio masterpieces, is a must-visit. The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens provide stunning views over the Grand Harbour.

Republic Street, the main thoroughfare, is lined with shops, cafes, and historical buildings.The Valletta Waterfront, with its restored 18th-century warehouses, now serves as a lively promenade with restaurants and bars. This is a great place to try local specialties like pastizzi, rabbit stew, or fresh seafood.

For a drink, visit Strait Street — once known for its bars serving sailors, it is now a trendy area with restaurants and wine bars.

Why I love it:  Valletta has the ability to transport you through centuries of Mediterranean history while remaining a vibrant, living city.

Best hotels in Valletta

  • Best boutique stay:  The Coleridge Boutique Hotel In Valletta . This elegant boutique hotel, housed in a restored 16th-century building, offers a perfect blend of historical charm and modern luxury. Located in the heart of Valletta, it provides an intimate atmosphere with personalized service.
  • Best for design enthusiasts:  The Cumberland by NEU Collective . This stylish hotel showcases contemporary design within a beautifully restored period building. Its sleek interiors, artful decor, and attention to aesthetic detail make it perfect for those who appreciate modern design and a creative atmosphere.
  • Best for luxury seekers :  Casa Ellul - Small Luxury Hotels of the World . This exquisite boutique hotel offers a high-end experience in a beautifully renovated Victorian-era palazzo. With its luxurious suites, some featuring private terraces with hot tubs, and its impeccable service, it's ideal for those looking for an indulgent, romantic stay in the heart of Valletta.

Browse hundreds of  accommodations in Valletta at any budget.

st-john-co-cathedral-valletta-malta-shutterstock_73921333

St. John Cathedral, Valletta, Malta © Shutterstock

  • My recommendation: 23 Boutique Hotel .
  • Location: Close to Gardjola Gardens and Senglea Waterfront
  • Pros: Stunning harbor views, quiet, romantic atmosphere, authentic local experience
  • Cons: Limited dining and shopping options, fewer attractions compared to Valletta

Senglea, also known as Isla, is one of Malta's Three Cities. This small, peninsula-shaped town offers a romantic and authentic Maltese experience. 

This area has the ability to transport you to a quieter, more traditional Malta. The views across the Grand Harbour to Valletta are simply beautiful, especially at sunset when the limestone walls of the capital glow golden. 

The waterfront area, lined with traditional Maltese buildings and small boats, offers a picturesque setting for evening strolls. You’ll find here small and cozy restaurants here offering traditional Maltese dishes.

The Gardjola Gardens, with its iconic watchtower, provides panoramic views of Valletta and the Grand Harbour. The Our Lady of Victories Church, a baroque masterpiece, stands at the heart of the town. The Senglea Basilica, dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary, is another significant religious site. 

The waterfront area, lined with traditional Maltese buildings and small boats, offers a picturesque setting for evening strolls. 

Despite its small size, Senglea offers a wealth of hidden gems to discover. The narrow streets of Senglea are dotted with traditional Maltese houses, many adorned with colorful balconies, creating a charming, intimate atmosphere perfect for couples.

Why I love it:   It's a place where you can truly slow down, enjoy each other's company, and experience the gentle rhythm of Maltese life.

Best hotels in Senglea

  • Best boutique stay:   23 Boutique Hotel . This intimate boutique hotel offers a unique blend of modern design and Maltese charm. Located in the heart of Rabat, it provides a tranquil retreat away from the busier tourist areas. 
  • Best for local immersion:   Senglea Suites . Situated in the historic Three Cities area, these suites offer an authentic Maltese experience. The apartments are housed in traditional buildings, providing a taste of local life. With stunning harbor views and proximity to local cafes and markets, it's ideal.
  • Best for luxury waterfront stay:  Cugo Gran Macina Malta . This upscale hotel occupies a beautifully restored 16th-century fortress on the Grand Harbour. With its spacious suites, rooftop pool, and panoramic views of Valletta, it's perfect for luxury travelers seeking a unique historical setting.

Browse hundreds of  accommodations in Senglea at any budget.

View at the Guardiola Garden in L-Isla (Senglea) - Malta © Shutterstock

View at the Guardiola Garden in Senglea - Malta © Shutterstock

  • My recommendation: 15 Main Gate
  • Location:  Close to Malta Maritime Museum and Fort St. Angelo
  • Pros: Rich in history and culture, safe and family-friendly environment. Less crowded than Valletta with a good mix of attractions and quiet spaces.
  • Cons:  Limited beach access and fewer restaurant options compared to larger towns

Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa, is also one of Malta's Three Cities and is a great place to stay with the family. This ancient fortified city played a crucial role during the Great Siege of 1565 and is home to several important historical sites. 

The impressive Fort St. Angelo, standing guard over the Grand Harbour, offers fascinating tours and stunning views. 

The Malta Maritime Museum provides an interactive journey through Malta's naval history, ideal for curious minds of all ages. The Inquisitor's Palace, now a museum, gives insight into Malta's complex past. 

Birgu's narrow streets, lined with well-preserved medieval and baroque buildings, are perfect for family exploration. The Birgu Waterfront, with its yacht marina and restaurants, offers a pleasant area for walks in the evening. 

The city also hosts the popular Birgufest in October, where the streets are lit by candlelight, and the atmosphere is really something special.

Birgu offers a more relaxed and authentic Maltese experience compared to busier tourist spots. It's a place where family memories are made, whether you're learning about knights at Fort St. Angelo, enjoying a gelato in a quaint piazza, or watching the sunset over the Grand Harbour.

Why I love it: The safe, pedestrian-friendly streets allow children to explore freely, while parents can soak in the charming atmosphere.

Best hotels in Birgu

  • Best boutique stay:   Locanda La Gelsomina . This charming boutique hotel, though not mentioned in your list, is a hidden gem in Birgu. Housed in a beautifully restored 16th-century palazzo, it offers a blend of historic charm and modern comfort. 
  • Best for history enthusiasts:   15 Main Gate . Located near the main entrance of Birgu's historic core, this hotel offers a unique stay in a beautifully restored building. Its proximity to key historical sites and integration with the city's ancient architecture make it ideal for those wanting to immerse themselves in Malta's rich past.
  • Best for modern comfort:   IBB Hotel Palazzo Bettina Malta . This hotel combines contemporary amenities with the charm of a historic building. Its comfortable rooms, central location, and blend of old and new make it perfect for those who appreciate modern conveniences while staying in a historic setting. The hotel's terrace offers beautiful views of Birgu's ancient streets.

Browse hundreds of  accommodations in Birgu at any budget.

Narrow streets of the old town in Birgu, Malta © Shutterstock

Narrow streets of the old town in Birgu, Malta © Shutterstock

Best area for a beach holiday: St. Julian's

  • My recommendation:  Hugo's Boutique Hotel
  • Location: Close to St. George's Bay and Spinola Bay
  • Pros: Beautiful beaches and swimming areas, vibrant nightlife and entertainment options and a wide range of restaurants and bars
  • Cons: Can be crowded during peak season, it’s more expensive than some other areas and arguably less historical charm than older towns.

St. Julian's is a popular coastal town that’s great for those searching for a taste of beach life. The beautiful bays and clear waters provide the ideal setting for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts, while the promenade offers a delightful space for leisurely walks and people-watching. 

Despite its modern development, St. Julian's still retains pockets of traditional Maltese charm, especially around Spinola Bay — a picturesque harbor dotted with colorful luzzu fishing boats. 

Here you'll find restaurants like Peperoncino, known for its Italian cuisine, and Gululu, which serves traditional Maltese dishes. Cafes such as Mint Cafe offer great spots for a relaxing coffee while enjoying the view. 

St. George's Bay, on the northern end of St Juilian’s, is known for its small but pleasant sandy beach, while the Dragonara Peninsula provides rocky beaches with crystal-clear waters. 

Cultural attractions include the Spinola Palace, a 17th-century summer residence for nobility, and the Love Monument, a modern sculpture that's become a local landmark.

Paceville, located in the north, is the heart of Malta's club scene. St. Julian's seamlessly transitions from lazy beach days to exciting nights, with its array of restaurants, bars, and clubs coming alive after dark. Popular venues include Sky Club, one of Malta's largest nightclubs, and Hugo's Terrace, known for its rooftop parties. 

Why I love it: For those seeking a beach holiday with the added bonus of great dining, shopping, and nightlife options all within easy reach, St. Julian's is the ultimate destination.

Best hotels in St. Julian

  • Best boutique stay:   Hugo's Boutique Hotel . This stylish adults-only boutique hotel offers a contemporary luxury experience in the heart of St. Julian's. With its sleek design, rooftop infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean, and personalized service, it's perfect for couples.
  • Best for business travelers:   Vivaldi Hotel . Centrally located in St. Julian's, this modern hotel caters well to business guests with its comfortable rooms, meeting facilities, and reliable Wi-Fi. The rooftop pool offers a great spot to unwind after a busy day.
  • Best for budget-conscious travelers:  St. Julian's Bay Hotel . This affordable hotel offers comfortable accommodations without compromising on location. Situated near the popular Spinola Bay, it provides easy access to St. Julian's vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and beaches. It's simple yet clean rooms and friendly service make it a great choice.

Browse hundreds of  accommodations in St. Julian at any budget.

St Julian's, Malta © Shutterstock

St Julian's, Malta © Shutterstock

  • My recommendation:  Palazzo Violetta Boutique Hotel .
  • Location: Close to Sliema Promenade and Tigne Point Shopping Mall
  • Pros: Upscale shopping and dining options and a beautiful sea views and promenades. Mix of modern amenities and historical charm
  • Cons:  Can be busy and crowded, especially in summer and limited sandy beaches

Sliema, once a quiet fishing village, has evolved into one of Malta's most cosmopolitan areas. The town stretches along a picturesque coastline, offering stunning views of Valletta across the harbor.  

The Sliema Promenade, running from Tigne Point to St. Julian's, is perfect for leisurely walks and jogging. Along this promenade, you'll find numerous cafes and gelaterias like Amorino.

Here you have the opportunity to have a sophisticated urban experience right on the Mediterranean shoreline. Tigne Point, a modern development, houses Malta's largest shopping mall and provides a stark contrast to the area's historical architecture. There's a chic, upmarket feel, especially around the shopping and dining areas.

The Sliema Ferries area is a hub of activity, with cafes, restaurants, and departure points for harbor cruises. You might enjoy a meal at Ta' Kris Restaurant, known for its traditional Maltese cuisine, or have a coffee at Cafe Cuba, a popular local hangout. For history buffs, the Salesian Theatre and the neo-gothic Stella Maris Church offer glimpses into Sliema's past. 

The town is dotted with "Lidos" - beach clubs that provide comfortable sunbathing and swimming areas. Art lovers will appreciate the numerous galleries, including Christine X Art Gallery. The Independence Garden and Font Ghadir offer green spaces and sea access for relaxation.

Despite its development, Sliema still retains pockets of authentic Maltese life, particularly in its backstreets where you can find traditional bakeries like Gozitan Baker and local cafes such as Teatru Cafe.

Why I love it:  Sliema is Malta's chic coastal haven, blending luxurious modern living with touches of traditional Maltese charm.

Best hotels in Sliema

  • Best boutique stay:   Palazzo Violetta Boutique Hotel . This elegant boutique hotel is housed in a beautifully restored traditional Maltese townhouse. With its blend of historic charm and modern amenities, it offers a unique and intimate stay. 
  • Best for coastal views :  Land's End, Boutique Hotel . Located at the tip of Sliema's peninsula, this boutique hotel offers stunning sea views from many of its rooms. Its prime location provides easy access to the promenade and nearby beaches. With its modern design and rooftop terrace, it's perfect for travelers who want to enjoy Malta's coastal beauty in a stylish setting.
  • Best for urban explorers:   Verdi Gzira Promenade . Situated along the Gzira waterfront, this hotel offers a great base for exploring both Gzira and nearby Sliema and Valletta. Its modern rooms and promenade location make it ideal for travelers who want to experience Malta's urban lifestyle. 

Browse hundreds of  accommodations in Sliema at any budget.

Sliema church, Malta © Shutterstock

Sliema church, Malta © Shutterstock

  • My recommendation:  The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux
  • Location:  Close to Mdina Main Gate and St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Pros: Rich in history and culture, quiet and atmospheric and panoramic views of Malta
  • Cons: Limited accommodation options with few amenities within the city walls

Mdina, known as the "Silent City," is a fortified medieval town perched on a hill in the center of Malta. Once the capital of the island, Mdina is a living museum of Baroque and medieval architecture. For culture enthusiasts, Mdina offers an unparalleled concentration of historical sites and museums in a beautifully preserved setting.

The imposing Mdina Gate welcomes visitors into a world of narrow, winding streets and grand palazzos. St. Paul's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, dominates the skyline. The lack of cars within the city walls creates a peaceful, almost otherworldly ambiance.

The Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum offers a glimpse into noble life in medieval Malta. The Mdina Experience provides an audio-visual journey through the city's history. The Mdina Dungeons offer a more macabre look at the past. While here, grab a bit to eat at Medina Restaurant, for the opportunity to enjoy fine dining in a historic 16th-century building.

The city walls provide breathtaking views over much of Malta. There's a feeling almost of exclusivity when you stay here, as the limited number of residents and hotels make it feel like a private, hidden world.

Mdina is also home to several beautiful churches, including the Carmelite Priory and St. Agatha's Chapel. The nearby town of Rabat, just outside Mdina's walls, complements the experience with its Roman catacombs and St. Paul's Grotto.

Why I love it : Mdina's small size makes it perfect for unhurried exploration, with each turn revealing architectural gems and hidden courtyards.

Best hotels in Mdina

  • Best boutique stay :  Palazzo Bifora . This elegant boutique hotel is housed in a beautifully restored 16th-century palazzo in the heart of Mdina, Malta's silent city. Its unique blend of historic architecture and modern luxury offers guests an authentic Maltese experience. 
  • Best for luxury:   The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux . This exclusive 5-star hotel, set in a 17th-century palazzo within Mdina's ancient walls, offers unparalleled luxury and service. Its Michelin-starred restaurant, sumptuous suites (some with private terraces), and panoramic views of the Maltese countryside make it ideal.
  • Best for intimate charm:   Maison Medina Malta . This small, charming guesthouse offers a cozy and authentic stay in Mdina. Housed in a traditional Maltese building, it provides a more homely and personal experience compared to larger hotels. 

Browse hundreds of  accommodations near Mdina at any budget.

mdina-malta-shutterstock_460823059

Mdina is the best area to stay in Malta for many © Shutterstock

Before you start researching , list what's most important to you. Is it proximity to beaches, nightlife, historical sites, or a quiet retreat?

Time your visit wisely

You’ll want to consider visiting during shoulder seasons (April-June or September-October) for milder weather and fewer crowds. This timing can affect your neighborhood choice, as some areas may be more pleasant or less crowded during these periods

While Malta is generally considered a safe country for tourists, it's still wise to exercise normal precautions. Stick to well-lit areas at night, especially in busier districts like Paceville, and be aware of pickpocketing in crowded tourist spots.

How to get around Malta easily

  • Buses: Extensive public bus network covering most of the island
  • Ferries : Regular services between Malta, Gozo, and Comino
  • Water taxis: Operating in harbors and between some coastal areas
  • Taxis: Available but can be expensive; use white licensed taxis or ride-hailing apps
  • Walking: Feasible in town centers, but challenging for longer distances due to heat and hilly terrain
  • Cycling : Limited infrastructure, but bike rentals available in tourist areas
  • Valletta ferry:  Connects Valletta to Sliema and Three Cities
  • Horse-drawn carriages: Touristy option in Valletta and Mdina

Taxis and ride-hailing apps like Bolt are available throughout Malta but can be expensive for longer trips. Renting a car gives you the most freedom to explore, especially for reaching remote beaches or rural areas, but parking can be challenging in towns — and be prepared for traffic.

The Tallinja card offers discounted fares on buses and can be topped up for multiple trips. In tourist areas like Sliema and St. Julian's, walking is often the best option, with a seaside promenade connecting these neighboring towns.

Remember that while Malta is small, traffic can be heavy, especially during peak hours, so plan accordingly when using road transport.

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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  1. Malta Ultimate Travel Guide: All you need to know!

    malta tourist guides

  2. 10 Reasons to Visit Malta

    malta tourist guides

  3. Malta Travel Guide (Updated 2023)

    malta tourist guides

  4. 10 Best Things to Do in Malta

    malta tourist guides

  5. The budget-friendly travel guide to Malta: how to get around and th

    malta tourist guides

  6. Malta Sightseeing Tour Map

    malta tourist guides

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  1. National War Museum Malta

  2. Driving along the coast in Malta #shorts

  3. One Month Experience of Indian Students in Malta

  4. Malta: Hidden travel secrets

  5. Malta: Hidden travel secrets #travel #history #malta #hiddengems

  6. क्या माल्टा लड़कियों के लिए सुरक्षित है?

COMMENTS

  1. Visit Malta

    Get all the information you need for your trip to Malta! Book tickets, discover new places to visit, find amazing things to do and more!

  2. Malta travel

    Malta packs glorious variety into its small archipelago. You'll find prehistoric temples, fossil-studded cliffs, hidden coves, thrilling scuba diving and a history of remarkable intensity. Best Time to Visit. Best Places to Visit. Attractions.

  3. Maps & Guides

    Maps & Guides. Full of detailed maps and guides to Valletta, Mdina and other important localities, this page will help you plan your itineraries however you like, guiding you towards the venues and attractions you wish to visit in those areas. With everything you need to know just a few clicks away, you can make the very most of your time on ...

  4. Malta Travel Guide and Tourism Info full of local knowledge

    Malta & Gozo guide book. Valletta travel guide book. Written by a tourist-turned-expat, you get up-to-date info, first-hand local knowledge, and lots of tips and recommendations to help guide you on what to book, where to go, how to get around and much more. Whether it's your first time going to Malta or you're coming back for another trip ...

  5. Visit Malta

    Tweets by VisitMalta. VisitMalta is the official website for Malta, Gozo & Comino. Malta is a great place to visit for sea, sun, culture, attractions and all year round events.

  6. Malta Private Guided Tours by Joan Sheridan

    Malta tours are customised to your specifications and requirements; Pick up/drop off from hotels, cruise terminal, airport or private accommodation ... Joan Sheridan Freelance Tour Guide, Licensed by the Malta Tourism Authority - License Number 276 The Dale, Triq L-Adrijatiku, The Village, St Julian's SGN1812, Malta. Tel. + (356) 21658328

  7. Your Trip to Malta: The Complete Guide

    Getting Around: Malta has an efficient public bus system that connects to the airport, cruise port, and most cities, towns, and tourist sites, including on Gozo. If you decide to rent a car, keep in mind that Malta adheres to British driving rules, meaning cars have their steering wheels on the car's righthand side, and driving is on the lefthand side of the road.

  8. Malta Itinerary: A Travel Guide's Pro Plan for up to 7 Days

    Day 3: Exploring Gozo Island. Gozo is Malta's smaller sister island that can be reached easily with a short ferry ride from Ċirkewwa (North of Malta) or Valletta (fast ferries). Unlike the main island of Malta, this little Mediterranean island is quieter, and life there is still a little more easygoing.

  9. The 18 best things to do in Malta and Gozo

    The top places you must visit in Malta: catacombs, clubs and clifftop walks. May 11, 2022 • 7 min read. From exploring 5000-year-old temples to swimming in beautiful lagoons and walking 16th-century city streets, Malta is a must-see Mediterranean destination.

  10. Malta Travel Guide 2024 · Itineraries, Top Places, Beaches

    Weather in Malta. With over 300 sunny days a year, Malta is the perfect place for beach lovers looking for a warm Mediterranean climate. The country has mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers (average of 30°C). For the best of everything, visit in the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall when days are still sunny but less busy.

  11. Things to know before traveling to Malta

    Booking ahead online before arriving in Malta is highly recommended. Last-minute entry tickets, which also sell out quickly, are available the day prior for an additional charge of €15. Pack a good pair of walking shoes. Malta is a great place to explore on two legs, especially around Valletta and in the hilltop walled city of Mdina. Note ...

  12. Things To Do

    Things to See & Do in Malta. Whether you're a history buff, a night owl, an adrenaline junkie, or simply a rambler wishing to be bowled over by natural splendour, the list of things to do in Malta is endless. Whatever you're looking for in a holiday, with so much to see and do, a trip to the Maltese Islands is an unmissable experience for ...

  13. Malta

    The island of Malta has become a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean thanks to its combination of beaches, historic monuments and uniquely charming towns and villages. In this travel guide, you'll learn all about Malta and its two sister islands, Gozo and Comino. Malta Travel Guide. General information. What to see and do.

  14. Malta Travel Guide: Plan Your Visit to Malta

    Malta is located in the Southern Mediterranean sea, just south of the island of Sicily and to the north of Tunisia and Libya in North Africa. Because of its location, it is one of the warmest places to visit in Europe year-round and a great place if you're on the hunt for a bit of winter sunshine. However, it is worth noting that it isn't ...

  15. 4 to 5 Days in Malta: A Travel Guide's Pro Itinerary

    About this 4/5-day itinerary. My 4-day Malta Itinerary. Day 1: Valletta. Day 2: Comino & Gozo. Day 3: Mdina, Rabat and the surrounding area. Day 4: Mellieħa and surroundings. Making it 5 Days in Malta. Option 1: Floriana and the Three Cities. Option 2: Blue Grotto, Marsaxlokk and Megalithic Temples.

  16. The Ultimate Malta Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

    Getting Around Malta. Taxis: The islands are small so taxis are affordable and the most common means of getting around.Watch for an official white taxi car and make sure they turn on the meter. Public Transport: Public transport is reliable and goes to most tourist destinations. If you think you'll use it regularly, you can grab a 12-trip card for 15 euros.

  17. Malta Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Malta Travel Guide. Last Updated: June 6, 2024. Malta is a popular summer destination for Europeans but, for almost all non-Europeans, it's mostly ignored for other places in Europe. While the country has seen a surge in tourism in the last few years (those British retirees were on to something!), it's still pretty under the radar for most ...

  18. Visitmalta

    That's what our VisitMalta Tourist Information Centres are here for! Located in Valletta, Mdina, and other major tourist areas, you'll always find a friendly face and the help you need to make the most of your trip to our Islands! Please click here for the list of Tourist Information Centres in the Maltese Islands.

  19. The Ultimate Malta Travel Guide for 2024 (By a Local)

    Spend a day in Valletta. Visit Mdina at night. Enjoy a traditional meal in Mgarr. Go for a swim at Golden Bay. Visit the Hypogeum. Tour the megalithic temples. Take a day trip to Gozo. Go hiking in Dingli. Explore the old city of Birgu.

  20. Ultimate Malta Travel Guide: Everything you Need to Know to Plan your Trip

    Capital City Valletta. Valletta is one of the most historical cities in Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980 and the main reason for many visitors Malta travel. In 2018 Valletta was recognised as the European Capital of Culture.It's a treat to just wander the streets and discover every impressive alley, take in the atmosphere at a local cafe or try a traditional Maltese dish at ...

  21. Things To Do in Malta: 40+ Best Attractions and Activities

    Top 3 Things to Do in Malta. Top 5 Malta Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing Destinations. Visit Malta's capital city of Valletta and its many museums. Admire the Natural Beauty of Gozo. Hop-on-hop-off buses and ferries. Go Back in Time at the Silent City of Mdina. Experience Malta as a Local at the Three Cities.

  22. 11 Best Things To Do in Malta in 2024

    Here are the best things to do in Malta. 1. Valletta. Valletta is one of the most important historical cities in the world and the first-ever planned city in Europe. The exceptional history means the entire city is a UNESCO world heritage site. Although it's one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, it still has the wow factor, and it's ...

  23. Traveller Info

    Traveller Information. Navigate the Maltese Islands with this guide to the latest travel information! Designed to make your holiday easier and more enjoyable, it includes Accessibility, Emergency Services, Transportation, FAQs, as well as an array of helpful maps and guides. There's even a live camera which allows you to check out the places ...

  24. What is the best area to stay in Malta?

    Best for first-time visitors: Valletta (Malta's capital) My recommendation: The Coleridge Boutique Hotel In Valletta Location: Close to City Gate and Upper Barrakka Gardens Pros: A walkable city with beautiful architecture, rich in history and culture with many restaurants, cafes, and shops Cons: Valletta can be crowded during peak tourist season, with limited beaches compared to other areas.