Are you looking for a beach-based holiday where there’s plenty more to explore nearby too?
Then consider a break to the island of Malta. With incredible scenery and lovely coastlines you can sit back and enjoy soaking up the sun, or explore the history, shops and holiday activities that the region has to offer.
A holiday to Malta is only 3 hours away from the UK (and not far from most European destinations), so it makes a great destination for those who are looking to take a medium haul break.
Here’s a list of the top places to visit and things to do in Malta.
Top places to visit in Malta
If you are planning a trip to beautiful Malta in Southern Europe, know that you will be visiting a place that is full of rich, historic beauty and quaint, old world charm.
It is a densely populated country comprised of many little towns that blend together into one big country full of breathtaking scenery that is certain to provide you with a trip to remember.
As you plan your vacation to this beautiful country and are exploring the wide variety of Malta travel tips, hopefully the following list will help you with your travel itinerary.
The capital city is a must visit for anyone wanting to get a sense of history and a feel for the true Malta. The capital is located in the central east part of the island and the entire town has been awarded UNESCO status as every street, square and church has a story to tell in the history of this country, do not miss the Hypogeum a fascinating underground insight in the history and long lost past of the Maltese people.
You must make a point to visit Grand Harbour, Valletta. This beautiful harbour will take you back to ancient times with its naturally made splendor and charm. Grand Harbour, Valletta is one of the most visited places in Europe and it contains many unique hotels for lodging and breathtaking sights to absorb.
The old capital of the country and in my opinion, the most picturesque and photogenic town on the whole island. Known as the walled city, take an hour or so to wander round the small narrow streets, stopping to take in the amazing views of the whole island from one of its many vantage points.
Maybe grab an extended lunch in one of the small number of restaurants, but leave room for some cake to be devoured in the Fontanella tea gardens, which is located high up on the city walls. So high up is this small fortified city, that on a clear day you may be lucky to see Mount Etna across the sea on the island of Sicily.
Escape the crowds searching for little pockets of sand in the tourist areas of Bugibba and hop on a bus across to the north west of the island to Golden Bay, where sand, cliffs and grottoes can be found with minimal fuss. Although becoming more touristy, you can still get away from it all by visiting the national park close by, catch a ferry to Comino, explore the coastal areas on a speedboat tour or even go horse riding.
Comino is the perfect Malta travel destination if you desire to experience crystal blue waters. This beautiful island is home to the Blue Lagoon which is a watery paradise that is the best place in the Mediterranean to experience marine time fun.
If the hot summer sun is unrelenting, but you reckon you could manage a short trip out, head to Mosta on the bus, where its main sights will only take an hour or so to do, before you find a cool air conditioned café to relax in.
The main reason to visit is to see the Mosta Dome (one of the largest unsupported domes in Europe) for its amazing interior of blue, gold and white and the replica bomb that is located by the alter after the original one pierced the dome roof and landed there unexploded during WW2.
Maltas sister island to the North is easily accessible by regular ferries from the northern tip of Malta in Cirkewwa. Aim to spend at least one full day here, to make sure you visit the capital of Victoria for shopping, visiting the old prison, the cathedral and a whole range of museums.
Jump on the buses that travel extensively round the island to visit the beaches of Ramula Bay and definitely make time to sample some mouthwatering Gozitan cheeses and wines maybe in one of the many small towns and villages such as Xaghra or Nadur. Before heading back to the main island of Malta, pack your snorkel and enjoy the blue lagoon of Comino a small island in-between the two, uninhabited save for staff of the one and only hotel located there.
The Tarxien Temples
No trip to this European country would be complete without a visit to The Tarxien Temples. Although The Tarxien Temples were built between 2500 – 3000 BC, 3 of the 4 temples in all of their architectural glory have held up quite well through the years. The Tarxien Temples are a must see for any visitor of Malta.
Things to do in Malta
There are many incredible things to do in Malta, including enjoying all of the below.
Malta has a selection of golden sands, in particular the North West Golden Bay is a must visit, and rocky cliffs and caves. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, swim or clamber across impressive rock formations the island offers it all. Another popular Malta beach attraction is the Blue Grotto area with its striking bright blue water and caverns, perfect for a romantic swim or dive. If you’re hoping to explore further out, beaches in Mellieha bay and Qawra are also great and within walking distance of some good resorts and restaurants.
If you’re interested in learning about the history of Malta, visit the beautiful capital, Valetta. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site; walking the charming streets it is hard not to marvel at the Baroque architecture. The 16th century Grand Masters’ Palace and the awe-inspiring St John’s Cathedral are also worth a visit. Valetta is one of the best places to take in the culture of Malta too, with a night-time visit to the Triton fountain well worth staying up late for – browse the art galleries too, and check out Malta’s Museum of Fine Arts for a unique outdoor art experience.
For those who enjoy a spot of retail therapy on their holidays, Malta provides plenty to keep you occupied. There are a number of traditional souvenir shops to pick up gifts for those back home or there are the numerous chain stores that you’ll recognize from back home. Markets are also held regularly to pick up local handicrafts and bargains.
Malta has plenty of nice restaurants and bars to spend your evenings in. St Julian’s is the best place to go for clubs, pubs and all night partying opportunities; for a different experience head to the open air clubs of Mdina and Rabat. There are also several casinos on the island of Malta if you’re stuck for things to do in Malta.
Aside from sightseeing and shopping, Malta has activities such as water sports (try scuba diving, jet skis or banana boating), hiking and glass bottomed boat rides!
When you’re on holiday it’s the perfect excuse to over-indulge, and with the many great restaurants across the island, you probably will! Don’t forget to sample the traditional Maltese delicacies such as fresh fish pie, beef olives, rabbit stew, pate and goat’s cheese. Expect to see lots of fresh seafood on the Maltese menus too. A trip to the Marsaxlokk fish market will show you what an abundance of great fresh seafood the sea around the island offers up!