Located just underneath Italy and Sicilia, you can find the archipelago of Malta. Malta is the biggest island of the three, thereafter Gozo and then Comino. In general, Malta isn’t that big and it’s easy to see much of all three islands in one week. However, the islands have many places and activities to offer. From beautiful beaches to historical cities and from high cliffs to small fisher towns. In this article I’ve set up a bucket list for Malta with several things to see and do. Hopefully this will give you some inspiration for your trip to Malta. Enjoy!
Pay a visit to Valletta – European Capital of Culture of 2018
Valletta is a beautiful city, with buildings built in a baroque style and a great atmosphere. Besides lots of culture, you can also find nice (inter)national shops and many catering establishments. You can easily spend a day in Valletta without being bored. There’s so much to see and do!
Have dinner at one of the delicious fish restaurants in the fisher towns Marsaskala and Marsaxlokk
In the south part of Malta, you can find some smaller towns which have a really nice and cosy atmosphere. These are fisher towns with all a small boulevard and water where you can find the fisher’s boats (also called Luzzus’s). A luzzu is usually painted in bright colours and the bow has a pair of eyes. These fisher’s boats really are typical for Malta and you can always find them back on pictures of the island.
Thanks to the fact that Marsaskala and Marsaxlokk are fisher towns, they offer some delicious fish dishes. It’s absolutely recommended to go have dinner in one of the fish restaurants in these towns.
Go to one of the most beautiful beaches of Malta: Ghajn Tuffieha
This is my favorite beach which I’ve seen during my time at Malta. The beach is located right in the rough nature of the island and has a beautiful, red sandy color. You can park your car at the top and afterwards you can go by stairs downwards to the beautiful beach. If you have to go to the toilet or want to eat or drink something; there are one or two eateries close to the beach. These are very simple, but offer everything you need. Of course it’s also possible to bring your own food and drinks.
Visit Popeye Village
An absolute must-visit in the North side of Malta, but not very well-known, is Popeye village. Popeye village is the original film set of the 1980 musical production Popeye. Nowadays, the film set is still the same, but has been converted into a primary tourist attraction.
You can walk into the houses and see the details of the film set. There is an animation crew on the park who do some performances, Popeye-themed of course. Furthermore, there are some games to play and there are some fun activities planned throughout the summer; in the park as well as in the water.
The park is mostly focused on the target group children and that’s also the reason why Popeye Village is most fun to go to for families with children. For other target groups it’s fun to explore Popeye Village when you recognize it from the movie.
Swim around the Blue Lagoon of Comino
Of course the Blue Lagoon on the small island Comino cannot be missed in this list! With its pure, blue water and beautiful, little beaches, you can have a perfect day. From the port of Malta, there are boats going so many times on a day towards Comino; where you need to pay a small price for. At the Blue Lagoon there are some little beaches, hiking possibilities but there are also enough stalls where you can buy something to eat or drink.
Visit the capital of Gozo – Victoria
Victoria is the capital of Gozo; but even this city can be called a town, because it isn’t that big. Victoria is very cosy and has a really nice center. The center has a square with some terraces, beautiful buildings and boutique shops where you can entertain yourself for a few hours.
A must visit is the citadel, which you can find just outside the city center. Thanks to the fact that the citadel is located high, you can see the building from all over the island; this makes it extra special.
See the salt pans of Gozo
On the North Coast of Gozo, you can find some beautiful salt pans, located in a very peaceful environment. Not that many people come here, so you can walk around quietly and enjoy the amazing fields of salt pans. Is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit.
Wander around the streets of the Silent City Mdina
Mdina may be one of the most well-known sights at Malta. Also known as the Silent City or as the Old Capital of Malta, this beautiful city is built between walls and consists out of buildings with a beautiful kind of baroque architecture. In Mdina you can also visit some historical sites. In the evening, the city is lighted by lights and there’s a timeless atmosphere.
The history of Mdina goes back more than 4.000 years. You can say that this city is the origin of the Maltese Christianity, because it’s said that the apostle Paulus has lived here after he arrived at Malta approximately 60 after Christ.
Hike around the Dingli Cliffs and have some amazing views
On the west side of Malta, you can pay a visit to the Dingli Cliffs. In my opinion, these cliffs are very impressive and definitely worth a visit! The Dingli Cliffs are named after either the Maltese architect Tommaso Dingli or his 16-th century English namesake Sir Thomas Dingley, who lived nearby. The cliffs are approximately 220 meters high and is a photogenic place. The place gives some breath taking views over the sea and towards the cliffs.
Climb the St. Mary’s Tower at Comino
After arrival at Comino, close to the Blue Lagoon, you can walk in approximately 30 minutes to the St. Mary’s Tower. If you climb to the top, you can have some amazing views over the water, Gozo and also Malta. Absolutely worth the climb!
Walk along the waterside of St Julians and Sliema
Sliema and St Julians are two places which walk over into each other. Most tourists are staying here during their vacation on Malta. From Valletta you can take the bus or ferry to go to Sliema. Although the places aren’t that beautiful (there are a lot of flats), you can have a really nice walk along the waterside. There are also some delicious eateries located on the waterside. From Sliema you can easily walk to St. Julians, where you’ll get to Spinola Bay. This look like a small port, thanks to all the boats which are on the water at Spinola Bay. Around this “port”, you can find many restaurants and cafes. The atmosphere is perfect for having a ice cold beer on the terrace!
Visit the Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto is famous for the extraordinary sea reflections within the cave area; it gives a very blue image. Located on the west side of the island, you can find this cave. There are many tours organised where you can have a boat tour and to go into the Blue Grotto to explore the sea reflections. The place also is very popular to swim at, when the sea is quiet. In the direct environment you can find some restaurants and bars where you can eat or drink something. There also is a large parking area where you can park your car for free.
Wander around the fisher town Xlendi
Xlendi is one of the towns on Gozo where most of the people stay during their trip. The town is very small and really has a cosy atmosphere. There are lots of great fish restaurants where you can enjoy a nice dinner along the water. There also is a really small beach where you can swim a little bit. When you walk along the boulevard, you can walk further to a rock where you can have a spectacular view over the water.
Go to the National Aquarium of Malta
Located in Qawra, you can find the National Aquarium of Malta. Here you can experience Malta’s underwater life. Definitely worth a visit if you love the learn more about this subject.
See the Tarxien Temples
A great place to visit just outside Valletta, 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.
Take the ferry from Valletta to Sliema
Somewhere at the North side of Valletta, you can find the ferry terminal from where you can go to Sliema. The ferry has a great connection between Valletta and Sliema, because in this way you don’t have to go by bus all around the outside of Valletta. Going by ferry is way shorter!
A boat trip by ferry takes around 15 minutes and the ferry is leaving every half an hour. Depending on the season and day, the ferry goes more hours on the day or less hours on the day. A ticket for the ferry costs € 1,50 for an adult. If you would like to buy a return ticket, this costs € 2,80 per person.
Lay down on the beach of Rambla Bay
When you’re driving along the coast line of the North side of Gozo, right after Marsalforn, you come across Rambla Bay. This beautiful, red sanded, beach is very popular and so it can be very crowded during beautiful days. You can park your car in front of the beach and after you can walk towards it. There are some stalls with, for example, ice cream and more. There are also some eateries where you can eat or drink something.
Eat the traditional dish rabbit
Rabbit is definitely the most known Maltese dish. It is often stewed in red wine and served with a tomato sauce and peas spaghetti.
Have a look at the Azure Window Ruins
At the west side of Gozo, you can find Dwejra Bay with its beautiful rock formations. The Dwejra Window (also known as the Azure Window) was a well-known image of Gozo, but unfortunately this rock collapsed last year as result of bad weather after years of erosion. However, it’s still a beautiful place to visit; where you can explore cliffs, caves, diving sites and stunning natural monuments.
Visit a “look-a-like” Azure Window
If you would like to see a “look-a-like” Azure Window, you’ll need to drive a little bit northwards to Wied Il Mielah, which is located near the village Garb. This Azure Window is not that well-known, what makes it even more beautiful and intact. The place of the window is great, in a peaceful environment. You really need a rental car if you want to get around this place. Definitely worth a visit and just as beautiful as the Dwejra Window!
Take a walk through the Buskett Gardens
Close to the Dingli Cliffs, located at the East side of Malta, 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. You can walk around and enjoy the nature, this is namely one of the few places of Malta where you can find a forest. You can find many orange trees in the park as well, together with all other kinds of trees.
Close to the Buskett Gardens, you can find the Verdala Palace. This was the palace of the French maestro Fra Hughes Loubens de La Verdalle. The palace was built around 1586 and nowadays it’s used by the presidents of Malta as their official summer residence. Unfortunately it isn’t possible to pay a visit to the palace.
Pay a visit to the touristic area St Paul’s Bay – Bugibba – Qawra
On the North-East side of Malta, you can find the tourist places Bugibba, St. Paul’s Bay and Qawra. You can easily walk from one place to another, the distances aren’t that big. It’s almost like the place are fused into each other.
Along the water side of the places, you can find many restaurants and bars where you can sit very nice and enjoy the views. In Bugibba, you can also find a car-free square named Pjazza tal-Bajja. This is probably the most lively area of the place and her as well you can find many eateries and bars. I have to say, there are some really good restaurants. The ones I’ve been are Venus Restaurant and The Chef’s Table; both located nearby the square.
Buggiba is a very lively place where a lot of young, English tourists come to have some nice nights out. The town next to Buggiba, Qawra, is more quiet compared to Buggiba. There are some nice hotels, but the center is very small. Here you can also find Malta’s National Aquarium.
Go to one of the largest beaches of Malta: Mellieha Bay
Mellieha Bay is a beach located on the North side of Malta. It’s is located in the middle of a center and next to a busy road. However, Mellieha Bay also is the largest and one of the most beautiful beaches of Malta. A big privilege of the fact that Mellieha Bay is located very centrally, is the large offer of restaurants and bars around the beach. Besides, there also are possibilities to go windsurfing, kite surfing, canoeing and water-skiing.
Learn more about the history of Malta in the War Museum in Valletta
The War Museum represents the important role Malta and its people played during World War II as well as Malta’s important military role after 1800 under British rule. The museum also displays items from the First World War and from the two years of French occupation. I personally always find museums about World War II impressive, so if it’s your interest as well, this museum definitely is worth a visit.
Drink a typical Maltese beer named Cisk
Cisk is Maltese beer. It is very popular any time of the year and consumed a lot on Malta.