Malta is an incredible island to explore. Nestled right in the Med, it’s is filled with thousands of years of history, stunning bays and the most incredible cities that are just too beautiful to miss. So, to help you get the most out of your trip, we wanted to share our bumper itinerary to visit Malta on your next holiday.
Now, you might be wondering if Malta is for you?
Well, let me give you a little snippet of why it should be on every traveller hit list!
First up, Malta (and neighbouring Gozo) is basked in that incredible Mediterranean sunshine that’s just so good. Not only that, Malta is totally chilled and a great place to visit if you fancy a bout of downtime on your trip.
That being said, Malta is also a jewel in the Mediterranean if you fancy a gander around historic cities and ancient sights. It’s an island that can (and totally does) fit with the kind of trip you’d like. This is why we keep going back, over and over again!
So, as the island starts to safely open up, we wanted to share some places in Malta that you can’t miss.
And, as always, be sure to travel safely. Check your government’s guidance on travel and official information from the Maltese Government on any restrictions that might be relaxed or in place.
Take a look, below, at our bumper itinerary to visit Malta on holiday. Oh, and with all our itineraries, feel free to add, take out or follow exactly the places we’ve mentioned – it’s your holiday after all!
Have an amazing time.
Day one: Valletta
As far as Mediterranean cities go, Valletta is a gem to visit!
Unlike other large capital cities in Europe, Valletta is not too big to get overwhelmed and not small enough to get bored. In fact, I’d say it’s perfect for a few days exploring.
After arriving, be sure to take a wander to see the Grandmaster’s Palace and the gorgeous Upper (and Lower) Barrakka Gardens. These are stunning first thing in the morning and a great way to stretch your legs before a day head.
For a sugary pick-me-up, head to Amorino (on Republic Street). Here, you’ll get to sample some of the best gelatos in all of Malta. Trust me, you’ll go back for seconds.
In the afternoon, take a gander around the centuries-old Casa Rocca Piccola in the heart of Valletta. Throughout the day, you can join a guide and take a peek into a classic (and affluent) palace that’s too gorgeous to miss.
Before sundown, pop into St. John’s Co-Cathedral which’s stood pride of place in Valletta since the 1500s. It’s so beautiful and a great way to see some of Girolamo Cassar works. After all, he’s one of the islands most famed architects.
Feeling peckish? Head into the gorgeous cobbled streets and pop into Noni (on Republic Street) that fuses Maltese dishes with a modern flare. Their tasting menu is so delicious for an evening treat.
Day two: Valletta
One thing I would say is that you should give Valletta at least one full day to explore (though, we prefer a more chilled two-day trip). That being said, if you’re short on time, you can easily pack in the main sights in Valletta in one day; especially if there are other spots on our itinerary to visit Malta that you just don’t want to miss.
For a morning galavant, head for a stroll around the Grand Harbour area where you’ll get some fantastic views across the bay. Plus, you’ll be easily able to partner up a trip to Fort St. Angelo that has historically protected the city. You’ll need to factor in around 2-hours to fully explore the fort; so plan ahead and arrive nice and early.
For dinner, book a table at Rampila; you won’t be disappointed, especially on their terrace. We had the traditional Maltese Aljotta broth for the first course and loved it!
Day three: Mdina
Nowhere is ever really that far in Malta, which means it’s a great island to traverse and stay at all the Maltese gems. That being said, don’t feel the pressure to keep moving hotels or accommodation each night, you can easily do day trips to all the spots in Malta and stay anchored in one hotel for the whole trip. It’s entirely up to you.
Anyway, where was I… Mdina!
Okay, so Mdina is probably my favourite city in all of Malta and one spot you can’t miss for a day trip. It’s around a 25-minute drive from Valletta and totally easy to visit by car, taxi or tour depending on what you’d like.
Once you’ve headed through the iconic Mdina Gate, be sure to visit the iconic cathedral that overlooks the whole city. It’s stunning and the Baroque architecture dates back years!
That being said, if you fancy going back further in history, get yourself over to Domus Romana; a Roman house that was built around two thousand years ago! It’s a relatively small museum which means it’s a perfect 30-minute visit.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab some of the world-renowned Mdina Glass. It’s so beautiful and you’ll find it all over the city.
Getting hungry? Get yourself over to Grotto Tavern, their gnocchi is so delicious and the restaurant is so unique within a grotto itself.
Day four: Western coastline and beaches
After three days of city-living, it’s time to take in some more of that gorgeous coastline of Malta. So, pack your swimming gear, slap on that sunblock and get ready for a snooze on the sand.
But first, head over to the Blue Grotto, which’s around a 25-minute drive from Valletta (and 15-minutes from Mdina). Once here, you’ll need to get yourself on one of the small boats that’ll whisk you right within the Blue Grotto itself. That being said, if you’re not fancying the boat ride, head to the ‘panorama’ viewing area that’s perfect at sunset.
The views are stunning.
Afterwards, for a little time in the surf, head over to Golden Bay that’s north of the Blue Grotto. It’s a popular spot for sun-seekers and the kind of place that’s great for a morning dip (or evening stroll).
If it’s a dip you’re after, pop over to St. Peter’s Pool that’s on the coastline near Marsaxlokk. Here, you’ll get to have a little paddle in the gorgeous Mediterranean waters and bask in those views across southern Malta. Just be sure to watch out for choppy waters and only go for a swim if it’s safe to do so.
Now, we found it best to rent a car for coastal days. Though, if you don’t drive, fret not; there are oodles of different touring companies that you can book and include on your itinerary to visit Malta.
Day five: Hiking around near Popeye Village
It’s not every day that you can say you’ve rambled across an island, but it’s quite achievable in Malta, especially from Għadira Bay to Popeye Village.
After a morning dip at Għadira, pop on your hiking shoes and head off for a ramble around the area.
The walk itself won’t take you long at all (though, you can take in some detours). We checked out the Red Tower that’s just shy of the bay itself (around a 40-minute hike). It dates back to 1649 and is lovely to see, especially for views.
After heading to the west coast, get yourself over to the totally quaint and picturesque Popeye Village. It’s the historic film set for Popeye’s film that was shot back in the 1980s.
It’s well worth a gander for an hour or so and totally worth including on your itinerary to visit Malta; even if you haven’t seen the film.
Finally, for a great view of Popeye Village, head along the coastline road opposite the bay. The views across the cove is gorgeous from here and you’ll get a great view of Popeye Village itself.
Day 6: Gozo
Just shy of the northern shores of Malta, Gozo is a smaller island that’s totally worth the short ferry ride to explore! In fact, it’s a perfect day trip when visiting Malta.
Departing from Cirkewwa, you’ll get across to Mgarr Harbour in no time at all. From here, you’ll get to explore all across Gozo and take in some key spots along the way.
One spot you have to visit is Il-Madonna ta’ Pinu, a basilica and shrine that’s as beautiful as they come. Although the basilica isn’t as old as some other sites across Malta and Gozo, it’s still just as iconic.
Afterwards, pull out your swimming gear and drive over to the Blue Hole for a dip! It’s a natural swimming pool that sits just shy of the collapsed Azure Window and is well worth seeing as you follow our itinerary to visit Malta.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab a bite at The Boathouse in Xlendi Bay.
This is the kinda spot that’ll satisfy any seafood craving; especially with their mouth-watering fresh lobster.
Day 7: Mosta
Before departing Malta, there’s one final (and totally lovely) spot to visit. Mosta!
Only around 20-minutes from central Valletta, Mosta is perfect to see on your final day along your itinerary to visit Malta. Even if you’ve only got a few hours before your flight, be sure to take a gander.
Now, one of the things that make this city so special is the Rotunda of Mosta; a massive basilica that’s actually based on the Pantheon in Italy.
Once you arrive, you’ll soon see why it’s such a special spot, especially with it housing one of the largest, unsupported domes in the whole world!
If you’ve still got time, take a wander over to the Ta’ Bistra Catacombs that’s just shy of the city centre. You’ll get to see a heap of historic catacombs that are pretty unique to visit.
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