20 Best things to do in Malta While On Holiday
Located right in the heart of the Mediterranean is one of the smallest and Europe’s lesser-known travel destinations, Malta. And although the tiny island nation is a mere speckle on the world’s geographic map, the country is surprisingly packed with wonderful sights to visit that will leave you in awe. Below we’ve listed a few of the best things to do in Malta. Have a read through our post, then go ahead and scour the net for cheap flights online and explore the archipelago once you land in the Mediterranean islands.
What to do in Malta
1. Explore Malta’s capital city Valletta
The city of Valletta is the literal definition of an open-air museum. The capital of the Maltese islands’ dates back to the 16th century when it was built by the Knights of St.John. It’s widely acknowledged as being the first planned city in Europe and was dubbed a UNESCO world-heritage sight in 1980. The city currently holds the prestigious and highly coveted European Capital of Culture status and is on many people’s travel bucket lists this year.
On strolling through Valletta, you’ll be able to see some of Valletta’s features which makes it so special. Amongst them are numerous monuments, buildings, museums, and churches. Yet, there are also many other things that add to its uniqueness including its beautiful traditional colorful balconies, steeped staircases, narrow alleys and of course it’s gardens too.
2. Take a trip to Malta’s sister island Gozo
Just a stone’s throw away from mainland Malta is the isle of Gozo which is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Maltese islands. It’s known for being much calmer and more relaxing than its bigger sister, Malta. Hence, making it the perfect destination for a quick little getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Malta in the eyes of my Maltese people and tourists alike.
While in Gozo, many visitors opt to go to many of the island’s hotspots. The island’s got everything from pretty beaches, laid-back seaside villages that are brimming with life, salt pans, famous temples and even its own walled city, the Cittadella.
3. Visit Mdina & Its neighboring towns
The walled city of Mdina is found perched on a plateau in the North of the island. It’s been made famous around the world over thanks to its appearance in Game of Thrones which has increased its already astonishing number of visitors over the years.
Malta’s first capital city is shrouded in history at every turn and corner. It’s stone moat and heavily frescoed gate call out to both tourists and locals alike beckoning them to walk across from its neighboring town Rabat and through the gate. On strolling through the Silent City, you can expect to find several museums, traditional houses, and palazzos which reflect a mixture of different styles. At its central square, you’ll be able to find the city’s crown jewel – Malta’s cathedral. And as one reaches the city’s bastions, you can expect to see one of the best views of the island in Malta.
4. Catch a boat to Comino
Comino is the Maltese islands’ turquoise gem that can easily be reached by boat. When spoken of, it regularly conjures up images of crystal clear waters, a golden beach and an island which has literally remained unspoiled. In other words, it’s everyone’s ideal paradise. The Blue Lagoon, in particular, is an excellent place to get away from one’s everyday routine and just lounge about in the sun while sipping on an ice cold drink.
5. Visit Marsaxlokk’s fish market & Experience some local cuisine
The picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk epitomizes Maltese village life by the sea. Two of the best reasons to give this place a visit is its local fish market, which is held every Sunday, and it’s plethora of restaurants. The lion’s share of the restaurants found around the bay serves up some tasty local cuisine and fresh fish dishes which you’ll absolutely love. Many of the restaurants have outdoor seating which will allow you to dine whilst gazing at the traditional Luzzus dotting the sea and the sun-kissed surroundings.
6. Visit Popeye Village
Originally built as a film set for the 1980s musical ‘Popeye’, the village has grown to become a tourist attraction over the years. It’s a great place to take your kids for a fun-filled day of activities where you’ll get to meet world-famous characters. Among the activities you can enjoy are the Water trampolines, swimming at Anchor Bay lido, the Take 2 film activity which allows you to take part of a live film from dress up to the shooting and lastly the Play Pool for kids.
7. Swim & do some outdoor activities at The Blue Grotto
Found in the south of Malta, the Blue Grotto is doubtlessly one of the best places to visit in Malta. It’s located very close to the small fishing harbor, Wied iz-Zurrieq, in the limits of Qrendi and is normally bustling with tourists in the summer months.
While here, you can enjoy the pretty sight of the sea caverns by taking a boat trip. Boat trips are held daily throughout the year as long as the weather permits. Other activities that are popular at the Blue Grotto are snorkeling, diving and rock climbing. So, if you plan on spending the day here, you’ll find plenty of different activities to do.
8. Take in Malta’s Ancient History at the Megalithic Temples
Malta’s megalithic temples, some of which have been dubbed UNESCO world heritage sites, are thought to be older than the pyramids of Egypt. The temples, which date back to approximately between 3600 to 700 BC, reveal much about the lifestyle and culture of prehistoric generations. All in all, there are 6 different temples to visit in Malta including Ggantija, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Ta’ Hagrat, Skorba, and Tarxien.
9. Visit Malta’s Prehistoric cave Ghar Dalam
Ghar Dalam Cave and Museum is one of the top things to do in Malta if you just so happen to be history buff. The prehistoric cave, which is found in Birzebbuga, dates back thousands of years and contains skeletal remains of animals and early human settlement. The cave measures a total of 144 meters in depth, but only the first few meters are accessible to visitors. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t miss out of visiting this rare prehistoric cave which sheds light on Malta’s past. There’s plenty to see here!
10. Explore the Three Cities
Other than the well-known cities of Valletta and Mdina, you’ll find three other ancient cities in the South of Malta which have retained their characteristics over the years. The three cities are composed of Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua. Birgu, which can be reached by boat from Valletta, dates all the way back to the Medieval period. Senglea and Cospicua, on the other hand, date back to the 16th and 16th centuries when they were built by the Knights of St.John. By walking through each city, you’ll be able to explore and take in the sea views from their peripheries, the unique Maltese architecture, and the local cuisine.
A popular event that’s highly anticipated by tourists and locals alike in this area and emerges as one of the top things to do in Malta is Birgufest. Typically, the event, which is held in October, features multiple stalls selling traditional food and sweets and music by some local and foreign acts. Yet, what people look forward to the most is the lit up streets! Yes, during the festival, which normally runs for a couple of days, the majority of its streets are decorated with candles that serve to create a spectacular atmosphere.
11. Visit Malta’s Busiest Towns – Sliema and St. Julian’s
Sliema and St.Julian’s are two seaside towns which have really flourished over the years. On visiting, you’ll soon be quick to realize that here is where modernization has really hit hard. While there aren’t too many monuments or historic sights to see here, they are still a number of things to do in Malta that are located in Sliema and St.Julians.
The two towns, which are in close proximity to each other, are popular with swimmers and those who enjoy long walks along Malta’s coast. They’re also well-known for some of the hippest and best restaurants, cafes and bars on the island. And, of course, as you’d expect the array of shops found in the two towns.
12. Head to a Maltese Beach for a swim
Being an island, Malta and Gozo have several rocky and sandy beaches you can go to if you’d like to soak up the sun. Among the most popular ones in Malta are Mellieha Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, Riviera Bay and St. Peter’s Pool. However, there are also many others. Gozo’s also got several beaches too including Ramla Il-Hamra, Mgarr Ix- Xini, Qbajjar amongst others.
13. Visit the Mosta Dome
With a diameter of 39.6 m, Malta’s Mosta Dome is one of the largest in the world. A visit to the grand Dome, which was heavily inspired by Rome’s Pantheon, is on many tourists’ lists of things to do in Malta and will keep you busy for an hour or two. The Rotunda, as it’s also known, was designed by the Maltese architect Giorgio Grognet de Vasse in 1833 to 1860 and is dedicated to Santa Maria. What’s incredibly interesting to note about this site is that during the Second World War in 1942 the Dome was hit by a bomb as 300 churchgoers were waiting to hear mass. Luckily, it failed to detonate and no one died. Today, one can find a replica of the bomb by the altar on the left of the sacristy.
14. Find out about local crafts at the Ta’ Qali Crafts Village
Ta’ Qali’s crafts village showcases the beautiful works of local artisans that call Malta their home. The crafts village is found in Ta’ Qali which is located a few meters away from Rabat and Mdina in the outskirts of Attard. A visit to the crafts village is one of the top things to do in Malta if you’re on the hunt for a few souvenirs to take back home to your loved ones. As souvenirs, you can expect to find locally made colored glass, which is often molded into different forms, handmade lace and silver jewelry. While here you’ll be able to see how things are made by local craftsmen and women which will easily keep you busy for an afternoon.
15. Visit Mellieha & Take in the Sunset
Mellieha may be the most visited for its wonderful sandy beach which stretches for about a mile. Yet, there are so much more things to do in Malta here. For starters, the fact that it’s located on a hill makes it a great place to have lunch or dinner. Provided that you’ve managed to land a great table outside, you’ll be able to take in the panoramic view while atop the hill. If you’re there in the late afternoon, visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha, the Parish church in Mellieha which is located right at the top of the hill, and wait until sunset for a whimsical sight.
16. Go to an event at one of Malta’s hotspots
From its clubs to its melange of bars, Malta’s got a huge array of hotspots that are located all around the island. If you’re seeking a proper night on the town, head to one of the islands’ popular clubbing destinations like Gianpula, Aria Complex or Cafe del Mare where many special events are held. However, if you think you won’t be able to afford tickets to a particular event, head to Paceville instead where the entrance to the majority of clubs are free. Provided that you’d rather have a more relaxed time, opt to go to a bar instead. Book a table at the Thirsty Barber, Medasia, the Black Sheep or any other place to sit down and have some swanky cocktails. If you’re looking for alternative places to go, head on down to the Funky Monkey, the Garage or the Hole in the Wall to listen to some music.
17. Experience a Maltese Festa
If you’re looking for a truly Maltese experience, attending a Maltese festa is one of the best things to do in Malta to find out more about this island’s culture. While they’re held several times a year, summer is really and truly the best season to experience one as they are practically held every week. When at a festa, make sure you sample some of the local treats, watch the procession and marvel at the fireworks.
18. Have a Stroll in San Anton Gardens
The San Anton is a great place to visit if you’re seeking a stroll in a park and a cup of tea or coffee afterward. The beautiful park is home to lovely colorful plants, peacocks, ducks and the President who resides at San Anton Palace. It’s a wonderful place to take kids, hold hands with your significant other and snap away and take some photos. So, it’s definitely one of the more relaxed things to do in Malta.
19. Go to a Festival on the island
As the years have rolled by, island festivals of all kinds have become the norm in the archipelago. Generally speaking, there’s a festival held at least once every season and they happen to be one of the more lively and relaxed things to do in Malta. And as you’ve probably imagined, during the summer months festival season is really and truly at its peak. So if you’re visiting during the hottest season you’re in for some fun!
Festivals range from the Strawberry festival, that’s held in Mgarr during strawberry season, to the Beerfest, Winefest, and EarthGarden along with plenty more. Amongst the most popular of festivals besides the ones we’ve mentioned are the Jazzfestival, Birgufest, Medieval Mdina, the Food Festival, the Annie Mac Festival, the Bubble festival, Malta Fashion Week, Glitch Festival and others that are held during the Maltese calendar year. So keep an eye out for what’s to come this year and next year to plan ahead should you wish to go to any of them.
20. Explore Buskett in Autumn or Spring
Buskett is one of the few green areas found in the archipelago. Giving it a visit is definitely one of the top things to do in Malta during the Autumn or Spring months. The small woodland dates, which is found in Wied il-Luq Siggiewi, dates back to the times of the Knights Hospitaller who planted trees in the area and dedicated it as a hunting reserve. Buskett is home to indigenous trees, multiple citrus trees, shrubs and some of Malta’s wildlife including the painted frog, hedgehogs among others. While at Buskett, you’ll be able to wander freely around the woodland, have a picnic and throw a frisbee around if you’d like. A notable event that’s held in very early summer is Mnajra, a feast that’s dedicated to St.Paul and St.Peter if you’re looking to do something cultural while at the woodland. During the feast, produce and many animals are showcased and blessed. There are even competitions held for the best produce and livestock.
Go on & Visit a few Top Places to see in Malta
Now that we’ve gone through some of the top things to do in Malta, it’s time you hop on a plane and start ticking a few things off your list. If you have any more suggestions other than what we’ve mentioned here, please feel free to drop us an email or a comment below. We’re always willing to include some of your suggestions in our articles once we’ve reviewed the contents.