A one-week itinerary to Malta
In April this year, I travelled to Malta for a week. During this week, I’ve to say I’ve seen most of the island’s highlights, including Gozo and Comino. How I’ve done this in only one week? Well, I rented a car and besides, the islands are very small and easily to discover in one week. In this article I will give you a perfect itinerary for a one-week trip towards Malta, Gozo and Comino which I’ve fulfilled as well. Enjoy!
Day one: arrival, explore Paola and the Tarxien Temples
If you have a morning flight from your home country to Malta, just like us, there is a whole day left to explore the first places of Malta. During the first three nights we stayed at a cosy house, which we rented via Airbnb and which was located in the town Paola, not that far away from Valletta.
First thing we did when we arrived at the airport, was picking up our rental car. From the airport it’s very easy to drive towards Paola, as it’s only a ten minutes ride away. However, you have to take into account that people drive at the left side of the road on Malta. We really had to get used to this, because in the Netherlands we all drive at the right side of the road. The more days we were in Malta, the better it went with driving.
Although Paola isn’t very well-known, it’s a great place to stay at from where to explore several sights. Paola is less crowded than Valletta, which makes it easier to park your car here. We brought our suitcases to the house we rented and decided to walk around a little bit.
A great place to visit during the first day, are the Tarxien Temples. These temples are located in Tarxien and easy to reach by foot when you’re staying in Paola. The Tarxien Temples are an archaeological complex which date from approximately 3150 BC. The site is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1992.
Day two: a day by bus to Valletta, Sliema and St. Julians
Paola is a perfect location from where to visit Valletta. Since we heard that Valletta isn’t that easy to reach by car (the parking possibilities are very small), we decided to take the bus towards the city. It definitely was a success, although you have to take into account that sometimes, the busses can have some delay.
From the starting point (close to the Valletta City Gate), we walked through the main street towards the War Museum, which we took some time at and was definitely very impressive. Since it was still so early in the morning, there weren’t many people.
After visiting the museum, we walked via “the coastline” to the Monument to Sir Alexander Ball and then back to the city centre, where we had some lunch. We went into some shops and made some photos on our way.
After lunch, we decided to take the ferry from Valletta to Sliema. You can either go here by bus or by ferry, but it’s absolutely worth a try to go by ferry. In Sliema, we bought ourselves an ice cream, where after we wandered around the city and walked all the way via the coast line to St. Julians. We ended up at Spinola Bay, which was a very nice little bay with many boats. Around this bay, there where plenty of restaurants. We didn’t have that much hungry yet, so decided to just drink something.
After our drink, we took the bus back to the city centre of Valletta, where we had dinner and from where we went back to our place in Paola. A perfect day! It’s so easy to combine these three places together in one day.
Day three: Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, Blue Grotto and Mdina
During day three it was time for us to discover some places in the South side of the island. We’ve heard from locals that Marsaskala and Marsaxlokk are nice little fisher’s towns, where you can eat the most delicious fish! If you would like to try this, I should definitely recommend you try switch the route of this day the other way around than how we did it.
In fact, we started our day is Marsaskala. Although it’s very small and peaceful, it’s very beautiful to explore a fisher’s town like this. Everywhere you can find the colourful boats and there is not that much of tourism. Same as for Marsaxlokk. Honestly, I think this place is even more beautiful than Marsaskala, but we didn’t had much time to explore this fisher’s town. During the day we were in Marsaxlokk, there was an event going on, so we didn’t had the chance to park our car anywhere! It was very chaotic, so we decided to drive around the town a little bit and after we drove further towards the West-coast of Malta.
We made our next stop at Blue Grotto. This natural rock formation is well-known for it’s beautiful blue glow on the water in the caves. When the water is quiet, there are many boat trips organized into the caves. The best time you can see the blue glow on the water, is between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Unfortunately, the water was very wild during our visit to the Blue Grotto, so we didn’t had the chance to go into a boat. Instead we decided to have lunch in one of the eateries close to the Blue Grotto.
After visiting Blue Grotto, we ended our day in Mdina, also known as the Silent City of Malta or as the Old Capital of Malta. This beautiful city is built between city walls and consists out of buildings with a beautiful kind of baroque architecture. In Mdina you can also visit some historical sites. This place is definitely one of the highlights of Malta!
Day four: Dingli Cliffs, Rabat, arrival in Gozo (Victoria & Xlendi)
Since we’ve had seen most of the South and East side of Malta, it was time to spend the next two night in another place. Via the West Coast of Malta we drove towards Gozo.
Although Malta isn’t an island with much of nature, you can find it anyways. If you are a nature lover like me, you should definitely not miss the West coast of Malta and the Dingli Cliffs, which are located at the coast. You can have some magnificent views when you are walking around the cliffs. Furthermore, if you go very early, it wouldn’t be crowded at all. Although it was very cloudy during the day we went there, it was absolutely worth the visit.
Close to the Dingli Cliffs, you can find the Buskett Gardens. You can actually compare it to a big park where all ages can entertain themselves. It’s an ideal place for a relaxing afternoon. We decided to take a walk through the park and after we went further to the port of Malta, where we took the boat to Gozo (with our car). The crossing takes only 25 minutes and the ferry goes every hour during summer season. Besides, the price isn’t even that expensive. For a car with driver you only pay around € 16,- for both ways.
So that can go very easy. When arrived at Gozo, we first went to our new home for the next two nights, also a traditional apartment located in Xewkija. When we were settled, we decided to go to Victoria, the capital of the island. I just really loved this city! It has such a cosy and nice atmosphere: there were cute little shops and some nice restaurants and terraces. We walked around and enjoyed our time.
In the evening we went to the small village Xlendi, which has some great fish restaurants. We had dinner in one of the restaurants and it was really nice. While having a nice view over the water, we enjoyed our food.
Day five: Dwejra Cliffs, salt pans, Marsalforn, Xlendi
This day is the perfect day for a roadtrip through Gozo! We started our day at the West coast of the island, at the Dwejra Cliffs. Here, you could also find the Azure Window rock formation in the past; but this rock formation has collapsed a while ago; so now you can only find the ruins of the rock formation. However, it’s still a beautiful place to visit.
After paying a visit to the Azure Window Ruins, we drove further via the coast line and discovered the Wied Il-Mielah, which is also a Window rock formation. This one isn’t that well-known and therefore isn’t touristic though, which makes it even more beautiful. We also drove across some salt pans, which also was a beautiful surrounding. After driving around the coast line, we ended up in this little town called Marsalforn. This town also has a really cosy bay with some nice restaurants surrounded. We decided to have lunch in this place.
After our lunch, we drove a little around, where we made a short stop at Ramla Bay Beach to have a look and an ice cream. After, we decided to go back to Xlendi. The day before, we loved this town by exploring it during the evening, so we also had to see and visit it during day time. It was absolutely worth the visit! There is some nature and some rocks where you can walk around and where you can have some beautiful views over the water.
We ended our day at our place, where we cook some Mexican food and had a quiet evening watching some series.
Day six: boat trip to Comino, visit Melieha and Bugidda
Although we only had to days in Gozo, it was definitely enough. Gozo isn’t that big, so you can see much in a short time. That’s also the reason why we decided to go early in the morning back to Malta and when we arrived in Malta, we parked our car and went with a smaller boat to the island Comino.
Comino is well-known for the Blue Lagoon, where you can have a nice day just swimming and chilling. The island itself doesn’t has much to offer. There are some nice walking opportunities though. Since we aren’t that much of beach persons, we decided to walk around the island and to pay a visit to the St. Mary’s Tower, from where you could have some beautiful views. In fact, you had some perfect views from everywhere you were standing on the island. Although Comino isn’t that big and hasn’t that much to offer, you can spend a relaxing day here or you can just go here for one or two hours (like us) and to explore a little bit. It’s definitely worth a visit. However, take into account that the island can be very crowded, thanks to the fact that the Blue Lagoon is very popular. That’s the reason why I recommend you to go early to the island, when it’s now that crowded yet.
After Comino, we went to Melieha (Bay), where we enjoyed some lunch. After lunch, we went to our last hotel, which was located in Bugibba. Here we had a quiet day, where we slept a little bit and in the evening we walked around the city (also St Paul’s Bay), had some cocktails and a perfect dinner.
Day seven: Popeye Village, Golden Bay, Qawra
Since we still have some time left and we haven’t had all the places in the North side of Malta yet, this is the perfect day to plan this trip.
A great way to start the day, is to pay a visit to Popeye Village. A funny film-set town which was built for the Popeye movies. It’s really nice to see how this village looks like. Although it’s worth a visit, I find the entrance fee a little high comparing to the things you can see inside the park. Therefore, I can recommend to just have a look from the outside. I have been inside of the park, but it’s mostly focused on families with young children.
There are some beautiful beaches at the North-West side of Malta, so I had to pay a visit to these beaches to have a look myself. You can find the Golden Bay Beach, which is probably the most well-known. However, a little downwards you can also find the Ghajn Tuffieha Bay and the Gnejna Bay, which are also worth a visit. Perfect when you would like to have a nice day at the beach. Since there aren’t many beaches on Malta, maybe these are the ones for you!
For us it was a little too cold though to go into the water. It was still early in April, so the weather was around 20 degrees Celsius. Instead, we went back to our hotel and have some lunch in Bugibba. Since Bugibba and Qawra are located next to each other, we walked from one to another place to look around a little bit. Eventually, we ended up drinking a cocktail and having a nice dinner somewhere in the city.
Day eight: morning flight towards home again
This is the day to go home! If you have a evening flight, than it’s lucky you! You can spend the day however you like to. We, unfortunately, had a morning flight. So we stood up very early, brought our rental car to the car rental office and after we flew back to the Netherlands. Looking back at a nice week.
Of course this is just an example of a travel schedule during your time at Malta. This is how I spent the week and I’ve to say that I think I’ve seen most of the places of Malta, Gozo and Comino, which makes me very happy.
Have you ever been to Malta before? What did you think of this destination?