The Best Things to Do in Malta and Gozo - The Ultimate Guide

The Best Things to Do in Malta and Gozo - The Ultimate Guide
Photo by Mike Nahlii / Unsplash

After living on this tiny Mediterranean rock for over two years, I'm super excited to share some fun, relaxing, historical, and unique things to do in Malta for your next visit to this sun-soaked island.

Wedged between Sicily and the North African coast, this rocky isle is still off the radar of many travellers. But while this 316 km² archipelago could fit into London five times, don't let its size fool you.

What might seem like a sleepy island during winter, Malta is brimming with exciting things to see and do all year round. You'll have plenty of excitement hiking, sailing, swimming, or visiting some of the oldest monuments on Earth.

Top things to do in Malta

Let’s start with the Malta must-see sights. From the incredible Hypogeum to cliff jumping into the crystal-clear waters of the Med, these aren’t just touristy activities in Malta.

Locals often frequent these places to enjoy Malta's natural and cultural beauty.

Bookings: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a booking, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank You!

The best Malta attractions

Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

No trip to Malta is complete without a visit to Hypogeum. It's a must-see Malta attraction.

Dating back to about 4000 BC, Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is one of the most - if not the most - fascinating Malta attractions. It's a maze of interconnected stone-carved burial chambers hidden underground.

During your guided tour through the three levels of the Hypogeum, you'll discover ancient marvels like wall paintings and carvings that are similar to those found in the Maltese Megalithic temples, preserved in stone and time.

Top Tip: To avoid disappointment, it's best to pre-book your tickets, especially if you plan to visit between early June and late September when Malta is absolutely heaving with sun-seekers. Or, you can purchase last-minute tickets from Fort St Elmo and the Gozo Museum of Archaeology.

Għar Dalam Cave

If you missed visiting the Hypogeum, you won't want to miss Għar Dalam Cave, one of Malta's most fascinating and mysterious prehistoric sites.

Step back in time to uncover the secrets of Malta's ancient past and discover the bone remains of animals that once roamed the island thousands of years ago inside the 144-metre-long cave.

You can read more about the cave and book tickets at the official Malta Heritage website.

The Għajn Tuffieħa trail

Għajn Tuffieħa Beach is a favourite among both locals and travellers, with 300 steps leading down to the bay. Once you arrive at the beach, relax and enjoy the shelter provided by the towering rocky cliffs.

You can also grab a bite to eat at Riviera Martinique, the beach cafe. During the summer months, the cafe hosts live music nights, making it another excellent thing to do in Malta if you're in the area.

However, the highlight of the area and a must-do activity is the walking trail, which offers a panoramic view of Għajn Tuffieħa Bay and the next bay over. And what better way to end the day than by watching the sunset?

Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto in Malta

The next Malta sightseeing attraction is the iconic Blue Grotto rock formation in the fishing village of Zurrieq.

For the best experience, join a boat adventure early in the day. In the morning, when the sun is shining, you can see beautiful light reflections as you pass through the natural caverns.

Top Tip: If the weather is not cooperating, save your money and admire the rocky arch from the viewing platform at the top of the cliffs.

Golden Bay

Personally, I prefer Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. However, if you're looking for a sandy beach with bars and restaurants, head to Golden Bay.

Located next door to Għajn Tuffieħa, this picture-perfect beach is the ultimate destination for beach lovers!

You can soak up the sun, swim in the refreshing Mediterranean Sea, or, if you're feeling adventurous, choose from plenty of water sports, including jet skiing, parasailing, and more!

Dingli Cliffs

Dingli Cliffs in Malta

After hearing from our friends that Dingli Cliffs is the highest point in Malta, we knew we had to add it to our Malta bucket list.

We have since been able to confirm that it is one of the best places to visit in Malta for panoramic views of the sweeping Maltese coastline, having shown it to our friends and families countless times.

The cliffs are breathtaking at any time of day, but they are particularly stunning at sunset when they overlook the green terraced fields and the Mediterranean Sea.

Once you reach the cliffs, look out for a small St. Mary Magdalene chapel. It offers easy access to one of the best vantage points on the island via a wooden walkway that wraps around it.

It is possible to get here by hire car or public transport, although the latter may be tricky. Alternatively, you can book a scenic tour that will take you to the cliffs, San Anton Botanical Gardens and Mdina, the Silent City - all are well worth a visit.

Top Tip: Alternatively, the cheekily named "Top of the World" viewpoint in Għargħur is well worth a drive or climb up for a stunning vista out across the glimmering Mediterranean Sea. On a clear day, you might just about be able to spy Sicily on the horizon too.

Cafe del Mar

After all the sightseeing, you deserve to spend a day lounging by the pool.

If you're looking for a spot of relaxation, Cafe del Mar might be just the place to visit in Malta. It's a replica of one of the most influential brands, Cafe del Mar, in Ibiza.

Due to the many music gigs, the infinity pool attracts a younger party-thirsty crowd on weekends. But, visiting the place during the day on a weekday could be a much more chilled experience.

The site offers lovely views, several good places to eat, and a great vibe.

Popeye Village

Popeye’s Village in Malta

The famous Popeye Village is one of the major Malta tourist attractions on the main island, even if you don't have children.

But if you visit with kids, they'll love it - it's a magic wonderland. We had a blast visiting the site with our friends and their children.

It was originally built for the 1980 film "Popeye" starring Robin Williams and now serves as a fun theme park.

It features a museum dedicated to the film's production, a cinema, mini golf with stunning sea views, restaurants and a splash pool to cool down in the heat.

Beware that the sight gets super busy during the summer, but October or May are perfect for dodging the crowds.

Top Tip: Travelling on a budget? You can still have a sneak peek of Popeye's Village without paying a penny for the panoramic view. Park your car at Anchor Bay across from the village and walk up to the top of the cliffs for a beautiful view of the village and the surrounding area.

Hidden street art in Pembroke

Street Art in Pembroke, Malta 

For quirky things to do in Malta, head to Pembroke. It's home to a unique sight: a newly developed coastal walking trail lined with impressive murals by Maltese and Australian street artists.

Originally built as married quarters for the British Military, the complex is now abandoned and the murals are a reminder of its past.

Top Tip: The site is not currently maintained, so be extra careful when exploring the dilapidating buildings.

Scuba diving in Malta, Gozo and Comino

Diving in the Mediterranean is one of Malta's most popular attractions, especially among diving enthusiasts.

Brave and experienced divers can head to Lantern Point on the southeastern side of Comino to experience a thrilling dive in a 40-metre underwater tunnel.

If you prefer guided dives, there are several great options, including the Um El Faroud wreck dive, the P31 Patrol Boat wreck dive in Comino, and the MV Karwela wreck dive in Gozo.

Or, if you always wanted to learn to dive and experience the underwater world, Malta has several licensed schools available.

Snorkelling in Malta and Gozo

If you have your own snorkelling equipment, bring it along to Malta. The waters here are some of the clearest in Europe, making it perfect for spotting sea life on any beach.

Some of the best snorkelling spots include the shallow waters of Qawra Point, the Crystal Lagoon, Cirkewwa, or Santa Maria Caves and Daħlet Qorrot.

The latter is one of the most idyllic destinations to swim and snorkel in Gozo. Its tranquil waters are home to a diverse array of marine creatures, making it a great spot for underwater exploration.

The Slugs Bay and Marks & Dukes Window

Things to Do in Malta - Marks & Dukes Window
Slugs Bay and Marks & Dukes Window, Malta

Slugs Bay is an ideal location for off-the-beaten-path Malta sightseeing, if you don’t mind scrambling down some rocks to reach this pretty pocket beach.

To reach the sandy bay, drive north towards Mellieha and use these coordinates: 35.9861° N, 14.3731° E.

Just past the beautiful Slugs Bay, you’ll see the tiny chapel of Immaculate Conception. Park here and walk along the cliffs, past the giant Aloe Vera plants toward the Marks & Dukes Window.

Could this rocky arch qualify as a mini version of the fallen Azure Window? You be the judge when you see it!

In addition, the cliffs of L-Irdum tal-Madonna are home to Yelkouan Shearwater birds that return to breed here each year - perfect for bird lovers.

Local football match

Visitors are often surprised to find out that Malta has one of the oldest established football associations in the world.

After first being introduced to the islands by British servicemen, the names of the local teams today still reflect their roots such as St George's, St Patrick's, Hibernians and Sliema Wanderers.

Most of the clubs in the BOV Premier League don’t have a home ground so, matches tend to be played at the national stadium.

A good atmosphere is always guaranteed thanks to another long-running tradition of Band Clubs who keep the tunes coming all match long.

Mysterious cart rut

Wander the Maltese countryside, and you’ll soon trip over one of the numerous ‘cart ruts’ carved into the rocky landscape. The intriguing thing is, archaeologists can’t agree on how, why or even when they were created.

These tracks in the rock might be evidence of Bronze Age activity in Malta, or even primitive Roman building techniques. To add to the mystery, some of the ruts even run right up to cliff edges and then continue out under the sea. Very strange.

One of the best spots to see the ruts is at Siggiewi on the south coast of Malta island. The locals have given this site the cheeky nickname of Clapham Junction due to the sheer number of ruts here.

The Great Wall of Malta

Walking the Great Wall of Malta

While there are a few short walks across the country, the longer trek along the famous Victoria Lines in Malta is ideal for outdoors enthusiasts.

The rocky paths provide fantastic panoramic views, stretching north as far as the eye can see.

This route is best tackled in winter or early spring, before the weather heats up too much. So, if you're wondering what to do in Malta in January, this is the perfect activity.

Victoria Lines Malta Walking Trail – The Most Scenic Hiking Route
Where is Malta’s best walking trail? It surely has to be the epic Victoria Lines Malta hiking route, which stretches from coast to coast, across the north of the main island. As a walking trail today, it provides stunning views to both the north and south coast from the numerous

Esplora - Interactive Science Museum

Based in a former Royal Navy hospital building which looks out across the Grand Harbour, this science and discovery centre is a great place to occupy the kids for a few hours.

You can pop into the Activity Centre for hands-on workshops, and entertaining science shows most days or pitch up for one of the many special events at this unique venue.

There’s also a cafe, 4k Planetarium and picnic area and a botanical garden to explore.

The Red Tower

Malta's entire coastline is dotted with watchtowers built by the Knights of Malta during the 17th century, but Saint Agatha's Tower stands out the most. Locals call it the Red Tower of Malta because it was painted red during restoration.

Don't miss it on your way to the Gozo terminal. The tower was constructed between 1647 and 1649 and served a military purpose during the British period. It was also used as a radar station by the Armed Forces of Malta.

Today, run by volunteers, it offers one of the best vantage points in Malta from its rooftop.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Megalithic temples

Ġgantija Temples of Gozo, Malta

Ta’ Ħaġrat Temple: This temple site is the only one in Malta built entirely of local Upper Coralline Limestone and is well worth a visit.

Skorba Temple: Located on the outskirts of Mġarr, Skorba Temple is another UNESCO site in Malta. It not only provides great insight into the oldest free-standing monuments on earth, but also offers lovely views of the surrounding landscape.

Mnajdra Temple: Made of coralline limestone, Mnajdra Temple has been used as an astronomical observatory. Visit the temple during the summer solstice to witness the sunlight passing directly through the main entrance.

Ħaġar Qim Temple: At Ħaġar Qim Temple, you can discover an elliptical hole which also aligns with the Summer Solstice sunrise. Similar to Mnajdra Temple, the sun’s rays pass through this hole illuminating stone blocks just opposite the main entrance.

Tarxien Temple: Tarxien Temple, one of the most elaborate ancient temples of Malta, was used for animal sacrifice rituals. The site features the remains of four temples with lavishly decorated stone blocks, reliefs, massive statues, and altars. It's just a 12-minute drive from Valletta.

All the sites mentioned above are certainly worth visiting, but if you want to make the most of your vacation in Malta without any planning hassles, take a tour to Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim with an expert guide.

Top Tip: Check out the official Heritage Malta website for up to date information and opening times.

St. Anton Gardens

Located in Attard, St. Anton Garden is a true gem on the island of Malta. It has been open to the public since 1882 and is now the official residence of the President of Malta.

Enjoy the lush greenery and vibrant colours as you take a leisurely afternoon stroll through the maze of palm trees and evergreen Araucarias.

Best places to visit in Malta

As you can see, there are so many fun activities in Malta, but we're not done yet!

Other must-sees include the historic capital city of Valletta, the stunning Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino, and the ancient walled city of Mdina.

Whether you're interested in history, nature, or adventure, you'll find something to suit your preference.

Valletta

The best things to do in Valletta

Valletta is a city that captures the heart of all who visit. Located on the eastern coast of the island, it is the capital of Malta.

The city boasts stunning Baroque architecture, a rich cultural heritage, and picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Below is our take on the top things to do in Valletta, from walking the city and hopping on a boat tour to enjoying some traditional Maltese food.

Grand Harbour tour

If you're in Valletta and looking for a unique experience, head to the bottom of the Upper Barrakka Gardens and look for the gondola-like boats.

These local boats are crewed by young Maltese. For a small fee, they'll take you on a tour of the Grand Harbour while giving you a comprehensive lesson in the history of Malta.

After the enjoyable cruise, they'll drop you off at Birgu or any other destination of your choice, provided it's safe to do so.

While the quality of the tour may vary, cruising around the harbour in a tiny boat and seeing the mighty fortifications of the capital city from below is quite breathtaking.

If you can't find any locals, we recommend either a 90-minute harbour cruise or a 4-hour private harbour tour. The first leaves from Sliema, while the second departs from Valletta.

Take a tour of Valletta

Valletta Street Scene, Malta

Malta has a fascinating past dating back to the prehistoric era which really comes to life in the capital city of Valletta.

The best way to explore the historic streets of Valletta is on foot, so book yourself a local walking tour. You will get to hear fascinating stories about the iconic Knights of St. John and learn quirky facts about Malta.

While the tours aren't always the cheapest, they can provide a great orientation when you arrive in a new place and give you a suitable first insight into life in Malta. Check out this walking tour to explore Valletta on foot.

Discover Valletta’s haunted side

Valletta offers many fun activities, but none are as spooky and exciting as the haunted tour of Malta's capital.

As darkness descends, the city transforms into a maze of dimly-lit streets and ghostly shadows. If you're brave enough, book your place on the tour and learn Valletta's darkest secrets, click here to book.

Learn about Knights Hospitallers

This intriguing and easy-to-miss museum provides insight into the history and importance of the Hospitaller Order of Chivalry in mediaeval Malta.

Even if you're not interested in the history, the hospital is worth visiting for its splendid, dimly-lit interior and exciting facts about early medical practices.

You can visit this site independently or as part of the Malta experience. The museum spans three floors, including fascinating tunnels. However, because the museum is located in a conference centre, you may not have access to all areas.

Before buying tickets, ask at the reception if any functions are happening on the day. Regardless, it's an interesting museum to visit.

Experience the iconic Caravaggio painting in person

The famous Caravaggio painting inside the Co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta

"The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" is famous because it is signed with the real blood of the beheaded saint.

The painting is dark and gory, much like the scene it depicts. It is housed in the Co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta and is a national treasure that attracts hordes of curious locals and visitors alike.

The audio guide is excellent and will tell you stories about Caravaggio, the painter, and the blood-soaked details of this piece of art.

With your ticket to see the 17th-century masterpiece, you will also gain access to the church itself, which is a remarkable example of Baroque architecture. Take your time to admire the spectacle, as it is quite impressive.

Visit the National War Museum & Fort Saint Elmo

The National War Museum & Fort Saint Elmo, Malta

If you love history and want to learn about Malta during World War I and II, visit the National War Museum. This well-planned site houses an extensive collection of photographs and other war memorabilia, including crashed aircraft and weapons.

One of the many displayed relics is The George Cross, awarded to Malta by King George VI in 1942. The cross is the second-highest award of the United Kingdom for heroism and courage in extreme danger, and is highly valued by the Maltese.

The museum and its grounds are a lovely place to visit and one of the top things to do in Malta. Moreover, the views from the star-shaped Fort Saint Elmo, stretching towards the Three Cities over the Grand Harbour, are stunning.

Enjoy the unforgettable music of Joseph Calleja

Every August, world-class Maltese opera singer Joseph Calleja returns to his home island to give his people the show of the year. And you can join the crowds—for free!

Accompanied by a different guest each year, he shakes the Granaries in Floriana to the core with his dramatic vocals. He has sung his heart out several times with Andrea Bocelli, and had Eros Ramazzotti as a special guest in 2018, which was an incredible experience.

While front-row seating tickets can be pricey, the standing area at the back is free of charge, which is pretty amazing. So if you're in Malta at the start of August, don't miss this uplifting show.

Watch In Guardia, a spectacular parade of Knights

The military reenactment of the Knights of St. John is worth seeing, whether you're interested in history or not. It's a unique experience in Malta.

The In Guardia Parade imitates the actual inspection procedure that was an ongoing event inside Malta's fortresses. Expect sword duels, marching, loud commands, and even louder firing of the cannons.

The event usually takes place at St. Elmo Fort in Valletta from February to March, but in June and July, it's held at the Grand Master's Palace.

Join a nocturnal celebration

To see Valletta in full bloom, visit Malta in October. Autumn in Malta is the time when the annual event Notte Bianca (White Night) floods the streets of the capital city with visual arts, music and delicious food.

During the event, you’ll also have the perfect opportunity to visit the best museums including the National Museum of Archaeology, the Grandmaster’s Palace, the Fortifications Interpretation Centre and Fort St Elmo - National War Museum, for free.

Explore the National Museum of Archaeology

A visit to the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta after or before visiting the prehistoric temples could be a nice extension of your archaeological explorations in Malta.

An impressive building itself, the museum is home to an important collection of artefacts dating back to 5,000 BC and displays some of our ancestors’ belongings.

Discover the oldest working theatre

Reputed to be Europe's third-oldest working theatre, and the oldest working theatre in the Commonwealth of Nations, Teatru Manuel is worth a sneak peek.

Built back in 1731, it survived WWII and is now Malta's National Theatre and home to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

Top Tip: Take your day trip to Valletta to the next level with our self-guided Valletta walking tour that will show you all the hidden gems and Malta must see attractions.

Discover the fascinating history of the Lascaris War Rooms used during the Second World War, stroll through the charming hidden gardens, marvel at the grandeur of Casa Rocca Piccola, and much more.

Make your trip to Valletta one to remember with our expertly crafted tour - it's free!

Self-Guided Valletta Walking Tour: Explore Malta’s Capital on Foot
Explore the capital city of Malta with our self-guided Valletta walking tour. It’s an easy and free way to explore if you have just one day in Valletta. This Valletta city tour starts just outside the main gates but you can join it at any point along the circular

Best places to eat in Valletta

Nenu The Artisan Baker: This is an interesting place to eat in Valletta. It specialises in traditional Maltese bread called Ftira, which can be topped with any garnish you can think of.

For dessert, try their Date Fritters, which are deep-fried figs and are considered the ultimate Maltese dessert. It's a great place to enjoy with a group of friends, as the food here is ideal for sharing.

Ambrosia Bistrot: This cosy dinner spot is located next door to The Pub, where Oliver Reed famously died after having one too many drinks while filming The Gladiator. While not the cheapest restaurant in Malta, the food here is delicious.

Caffe Cordina: This Maltese food institution has been serving happiness since 1839, or at least that's what they claim. While the coffee may not be the best, they make tasty sandwiches and even more delicious cakes.

The interior is rather stunning as well, making it a perfect spot for lunch while sightseeing.

Birgu (Vittoriosa) 

Top things to do in Birgu

Your next must-see stop in Malta should be the ancient fortified city of Birgu (also known as Vittoriosa), which juts out into the Grand Harbour. This oldest and most visited city was settled as the capital of Malta back in 1530.

After visiting Birgu numerous times, I can confidently say that it is one of the best places to visit in Malta.

If you're planning a trip to sunny Malta, below are the top things to do in Birgu. However, if you only have time for one attraction, make it the atmospheric Inquisitor's House.

Wander the spine-tingling Inquisitor's House

While wandering the picturesque streets of Birgu (also known as Vittoriosa), be sure to visit the Inquisitor's Palace. It served as the seat of the Maltese Inquisition from 1574 to 1798.

This is one of the few surviving Inquisitor palaces in the world, and the only one open to the general public, making it a must-visit destination in Malta.

Taste local Maltese wine

Maltese wine

To fully appreciate the charm of Birgu, take a leisurely stroll through the peaceful cobbled streets. Even better, join a tour of Malta's Three Cities and Marsovin cellars to taste Maltese wine.

Experience the magic of candle-lit nights in Vittoriosa

Picture narrow, winding streets in the idyllic town of Birgu illuminated by thousands of flickering candles and lanterns in complete darkness - a truly breathtaking sight.

Birgufest is a three-day event held in Birgu (Vittoriosa) that offers locals and visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the culture, history, and art of the Maltese islands.

During the day, free concerts and tours of historic buildings, such as the ghostly Inquisitor's Palace, are available.

Set sail at the Maritime Museum

The impressive Malta Maritime Museum, housed in the Old Naval Bakery building at Birgu (Vittoriosa), charts over 7000 years of Maltese maritime history.

Visitors can discover how the high seas have helped to shape the islands from the first settlers to Malta’s crucial role in global warfare.

Highlights of the extensive collection include the largest Roman lead anchor in the World weighing 4 tons, a 1950's working marine steam engine plus over 60 full size traditional Maltese boats.

Mdina & Rabat

The best things to do in Mdina and Rabat

To fully appreciate the unique atmosphere of this ancient city, we highly recommend exploring its dimly lit passageways after sunset.

The quiet yet enchanting ambience is truly unforgettable.

Across the road is Rabat, a town in Malta known for its historical and cultural significance, including the famous catacombs of St. Paul and St. Agatha.

Below are our top suggestions for attractions to visit in Mdina and Rabat when visiting Malta.

Discover the hidden gems of Mdina and Rabat

To make the most of your visit to this historic city, take a walking tour of Mdina and Rabat with a friendly, qualified guide. You can book this tour through our partner, GetYourGuide.

The guided tour of Mdina and Rabat is a great way to learn about the history and culture of Malta while exploring two of its most beautiful cities.

Glimpse into the life of a wealthy Roman family

Located between Rabat and Mdina, literally in the middle of the road, you'll find Domvs Romana, the ruins of a Roman-era townhouse.

It's a small museum with a big heritage dating back to the 1st century.

The most fascinating part of this place is the expertly crafted Roman mosaics that occupy a large area of the main hall's floor, seemingly untouched by time.

Apart from the mosaics, you can also see intricate marble statues depicting the Roman Emperor Claudius and his family. Many other artefacts showcasing the daily life of a wealthy Roman family are also on display.

Discover the ancient catacombs

St Paul’s Catacombs in Rabat

Mdina's neighbour, Rabat, is home to Malta's oldest Roman underground cemetery, St. Paul's catacombs.

Spread across 2000 sq. metres and dating back to the 7th century AD, this interconnected underground burial site is steeped in history and connected to the tale of St. Paul's shipwreck.

According to local lore, St. Paul himself brought Christianity to Malta, making it one of the first Roman colonies to convert.

If you want to learn more about St. Paul's shipwreck, you can visit St. Paul's Grotto. This is the place where he preached and healed people.

The Grotto is located beneath the 17th-century Collegiate Church of St. Paul, in the heart of town, and it is definitely worth a visit.

Enhance your visit with a self-guided audio tour

If you’re planning a visit to Mdina, download this audio sightseeing tour. This comprehensive guide is packed with fascinating stories about the city.

The guide also includes a map and directions to make your self-guided walk around the walled city even more enjoyable.

Spot the Jesus tree

This is something you’ll see on off the main road when driving towards Mdina. The tree looks like Jesus on the Cross. It might be difficult to spot it from the road, but if you see fresh flowers laying around a tree, you’ve found it.

The locals still pay tribute to the Jesus tree because they believe in the legend that the tree was struck by lightning and changed its form as a result.

Best places to eat in Mdina

The Fontanella Tea Garden: Beloved by the locals for its divine-looking cakes and sweet treats, the tea garden is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and scrumptious cake.

If you're looking for an alfresco dining experience in Malta, visit the sister location, Fontanella Wine Bar & Bistro - Vinum.

L-Istazzjon Cafe and Eatery: Located just outside Mdina, in an old railway station, this is one of the best restaurants in Malta for lunch or dinner, if you want to avoid the touristy places.

Sliema

The best things to do in Sliema

Located on the picturesque northeastern coast of Malta, Sliema is a lively coastal town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and vibrant nightlife. With its crystal-clear waters, rocky pools, and water sports activities, Sliema is another must-visit place in Malta.

In no particular order, here are some of the best things to do in Sliema during your trip to the island. I've also included several eateries that I especially enjoyed during my time in Malta.

Come take a dip at natural Sliema pools

Malta's coastline is dotted with unique, naturally landscaped beaches, as well as natural Victorian-carved jacuzzi baths. These rocky shores are great for a quick dip in the sea or a relaxing afternoon swim.

If you're staying anywhere between Sliema and St. Julian's, the picturesque natural pools along the Sliema Promenade, behind the Surfside restaurant, are a great spot for a refreshing swim.

Take a stroll along Sliema's rocky promenade

Sliema promenade, Malta
Sliema promenade, Malta

Sliema is one of the busiest areas on the island, attracting many holidaymakers who catch a ferry to Valletta, dine in restaurants, or wander around the high street.

To avoid the crowds, take a leisurely stroll along the 3km long promenade on the rocky coast to the northwest. The natural pools, carved out by the Victorians and filled with refreshing sea waters, are perfect for cooling off in the scorching Mediterranean heat.

Relax at MedAsia Playa

Located in Sliema, MedAsia is a lido that offers a little bit of everything. It has several pools on separate levels with access to the sea, a restaurant, a cocktail bar, and chilled music.

If the venue is not booked for staff pool parties by local companies, you can have a relaxing day reading a book while lounging on a sun bed.

Best places to eat in Sliema & St Julians

Lunch at Caviar & Bull, St Julian's Malta

Compass Lounge: Although a little overpriced, it is one of the better restaurants in Malta for lunch if you find yourself in Sliema. Sitting on the Sliema promenade, it offers a relaxed lunch with views of the sea.

Tiffany’s Bistro: If you're looking for a good spot to grab lunch in Sliema, this is a great option. They also serve super tasty cakes.

Hammett’s Gastro Bar: This is a contemporary lunch spot that offers good-quality, reasonably priced food options.

Busy Bee in Ta' Xbiex: For those with a sweet tooth, Busy Bee is just a stone's throw away from Sliema. Both the cafe and gelateria serve the best cakes and ice cream on the island. We've done the research!

Fifteen37 in Ta’ Xbiex: If you're looking for tasty food in Msida (a 30-minute walk or 6-minute drive away from Sliema), be sure to check out this place next door to Busy Bee. It's the perfect spot for a quick lunch or a hearty English breakfast.

Top Tip: If you walk along the Sliema Promenade towards St Julian's, you'll find a treasure trove of fabulous food options in this part of Malta. Some of my favourites include:

U Bistrot: Located across the stunning Balluta Bay, this lovely spot is perfect for both lunch and dinner. Although the menu is relatively small, it still offers plenty of fabulous food choices.

Bianco's: The only issue you'll have is deciding among the three pages of delicious pizza options. The service is lovely and the food is tasty and homemade.

Okurama International: Indulge in one of their delicious mixed sushi platters, bursting with flavours and complemented by nose-kicking wasabi. This international branch also offers Asian dishes packed with delicious spice.

Club Sushi: This is another fabulous sushi restaurant, with a welcoming interior and the best sushi on the island for a great meal out. Their dumplings are also gorgeous, stuffed with chicken and vegetables, making for a delightful addition to your lunch or dinner spread.

Emperor of India: This restaurant serves fabulous Indian food. While prices may be similar to those found in London, the quality of the curry here is five-star.

KuYa: This is my top recommended Thai and Japanese restaurant in the St Julian's area. It offers a cosy and relaxed atmosphere, fresh and flavoursome food, great service, and very reasonable prices - the perfect combination for lunch or dinner. Since the restaurant is very small, be sure to pre-book your table beforehand.

Top Tip: If you're looking for high-end dining options in St Julian, these four restaurants are my top recommendations:

The Blue Elephant: This high-end Thai restaurant in Porto Masso is very expensive, but if you're looking to splurge on some good grub in Malta, the food here is exceptional.

Caviar & Bull: Another fine dining experience in Malta, overlooking St. George's Bay at the Corinthia Hotel and Spa. Budget at least €100 for a three-course meal for two, with a glass of wine.

Zest: Located in the boutique Hotel Juliani, this high-end restaurant serves delicious Continental and Asian fusion cuisine, with great service to match.

Zeris: This fine dining restaurant in Malta is located in the private marina of Porto Masso and features attentive service and fresh catches of the day.

Naxxar

Top things to do in Naxxar

Naxxar is a small town situated in central Malta, renowned for its picturesque streets and historical landmarks. Although less frequented than Sliema or Valletta, it should be on your list of the best places to visit in Malta.

The town boasts notable features such as the Parish Church of Our Lady of Victories and the Naxxar Civic Centre. However, I highly recommend visiting Palazzo Parisio.

Indulge in afternoon tea at Palazzo Parisio

Afternoon tea at Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar, Malta

For a luxurious afternoon tea experience in Malta, visit Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar. This green space boasts the only privately-owned garden on the island.

While there, take the opportunity to visit the exquisite rooms and explore the beautiful gardens filled with flowering trees, herbs, and tropical fruit plants. When you're ready to relax, head to the Luna restaurant and order tea.

Keep in mind that the high tea experience comes with a hefty price tag. You can save some money by picking and choosing the best parts of the selection, such as the tea and cakes.

The tea here is delicious and refreshing, and the pastries are prepared fresh daily by the chef.

Mosta 

The best things to do in Mosta

Mosta is more than just its historical landmarks. It is a vibrant town with numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

If you're wondering whether it's worth visiting Mosta, let me tell you that the Rotunda Church will leave a lasting impression. It's a must see in Malta.

The Miracle of Mosta Church in Malta

Do you believe in miracles? You will after hearing the incredible story of the Mosta church in Malta. During World War II, a 500kg German bomb fell through the roof of the church, damaging the dome but failing to explode - a true miracle.

What's more, 300 people were present in the church that evening, but no one perished.

Visit the Mosta church and you'll see a replica of the explosive inside - look for the small room to the left of the altar. Built by Giorgio Grognet de Vassé, a French resident of Mosta, this church is often referred to as "The Bomb Miracle of April 9, 1942" by the Maltese.

Top Tip: With limited transportation options, it can be hard to get there on your own. That's why we recommend booking a tour to Mosta, Mdina, and Ta'Qali village in one day. Check out this link to make your trip to Malta truly unforgettable.

Marsaxlokk

Best things to do in Marsaxlokk

Best known for its colourful fishing boats, traditional open-air market, and fresh seafood restaurants, Marsaxlokk is a picturesque traditional fishing village located in the southeastern part of Malta.

The village is surrounded by stunning sea views and offers a relaxed atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

If you have a spare day during your Maltese holiday, you can spend it exploring the town, trying local cuisine, or cliff jumping if you're feeling adventurous.

Cliff-jump in Malta at St. Peter’s Pool

On a scorching hot day, jumping off a cliff into the Mediterranean is a must-do attraction for both locals and island guests in Malta.

St. Peter's Pool, located on Delimara Point next to Marsaxlokk Bay, is a natural crescent-shaped water pool that provides a thrilling drop into the refreshing sea.

If you don't want to cliff jump, the crystal-clear water offers excellent swimming and snorkelling opportunities. Don't forget your GoPro!

Discover the best of Marsaxlokk: the Sunday fish market

Marsaxlokk is most famous for its Sunday Fish Market and is home to some of the best fish and seafood restaurants on the island. Arrive extra early on Sunday to see the fishermen bring back fish from the sea.

However, it's best to avoid the Marsaxlokk on Sunday afternoons, as it turns into a jumble market. Unfortunately, the large partitions obstruct the best part of the town - the waterfront.

Marsaxlokk Market - The Famous Sunday Fish Market in Malta
After exploring Malta for a couple of days, it was time to head south on the bus to Marsaxlokk Fish Market. It’s a small fishing town built around a harbour and is home to a famous fish market on Sundays. We took the 206 bus from the University of Malta,

Best places to eat in Marsaxlokk

Tartarun: One of Marsaxlokk's highest-rated seafood restaurants, making it easy to choose your top dinner spot. Although it is a high-end restaurant, it is totally worth splurging for.

La Capanna: Another excellent fish and seafood restaurant in the south of Malta. We found the waiter to be a little pushy when ordering the catch of the day but overall had a very pleasant experience.

Comino & the Blue Lagoon

The best things to do on Comino

Get ready for a breathtaking experience at Comino, a small island located between Malta and Gozo. Its pride and glory is the world-famous Blue Lagoon.

With its crystal-clear waters, this paradise-like spot is a must see place in Malta.

Perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing, Comino and the Blue Lagoon are best explored on a boat tour or a private catamaran wit a skipper.

If Comino and the Blue Lagoon are on your list of places to visit in Malta, these are out recommendations.

Explore the breathtaking views of Comino

This tiny island, with only three residents, is well-known for its stunning Blue Lagoon, but beware that during the summer season, it gets extremely crowded.

Also note that there is no shade on the island unless you bring your own parasol, which may be charged as an additional fee on top of your regular boat fare.

To avoid painful sunburns, bring plenty of sunscreens, a hat, and cover-ups!

Top Tip: United Comino Ferries provide regular round trips to this tiny piece of rock from Marfa and Cirkewwa for €15 per adult.

Take a boat tour to the Blue Lagoon

No visit to Malta is complete without a fun trip to the iconic Blue Lagoon. Sit back, relax, and admire the rocky coastline between the islands of Malta, Comino, and Gozo with one of the many sightseeing sailing trips.

These trips will take you to the Sea Caves and some of the most beautiful spots for swimming and snorkelling. It's a must-do while in Malta.

Malta Boat Trip: Sailing and Snorkelling at the Crystal and Blue Lagoons
If you’re visiting the tiny islands in the Mediterranean then a Malta boat trip is a must. With the islands of Malta and Gozo being so small you’re never more than a few minutes drive from the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. So it would be

Alternatively, you can book an all-day cruise with local boat companies to swim and snorkel in both the Blue Lagoon and the Crystal Lagoon.

Experience the ultimate peace and quiet

Camping may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of rocky Malta, but it is an option. Beach camping is a favourite among locals, and the small island of Comino even has a campsite with basic washing facilities at Santa Marija Bay.

Just imagine the peace and quiet you could enjoy when camping on this nearly uninhabited Maltese island - a pretty unique experience in Malta if you love the outdoors.

Hire a boat with a skipper

Sailing the Blue Lagoon in Malta

For a unique and unforgettable experience in Malta, consider hiring a boat with a skipper. They'll take you to the best snorkelling spots, secret beaches, and secluded bays that you would never find on your own.

You can sit back, relax, and enjoy your day on the water without any worries.

Top Tip: The Malta Sailing Experiences company is one of the best options and highly recommended by locals. They offer day charters, half-day trips, and evening cruises, catering to everyone's preferences. Check their website for prices.

Gozo

The best things to do in Gozo

Despite being smaller than its neighbouring island of Malta, Gozo has become a popular tourist destination in recent years.

From idyllic beaches to ancient temples and mediaeval fortresses, there are plenty of things to do in Gozo. Here are some of the best:

Visit Cittadella, the fortified heart of Gozo

The Cittadella is a fascinating destination to visit in Malta. Located in Rabat (Victoria), this ancient fortification is the island's major landmark.

Dating back to the Bronze Age, it's one of the main attractions on the island.

Be sure to take a walk along the restored fortress walls for scenic panoramic views across the peaceful Gozitan countryside.

Inside the walls, you'll find the magnificent Baroque Cathedral of Gozo, dedicated to Santa Marija. The Cittadella is also home to the Law Courts and the Bishop's Palace.

Exploring the winding streets, you'll discover small museums and holy niches. And don't forget to visit the historic Chapel of St. Joseph, a hidden gem that will transport you back in time.

The state-of-the-art Visitors' Centre is a must-visit, where you can learn more about Gozo's rich culture and history.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Explore the hidden gems of Gozo: Ta Pinu & the Ghammar Hill

Ta Pinu Basilica in Gharb, Gozo

For those looking for free Malta activities, we recommend visiting the alluring Ta Pinu Sanctuary located just outside the lovely Gharb village.

While there are 313 churches in Malta and 46 in Gozo, this sandstone-built basilica is truly unique, with a fascinating history dating back to 1534.

Even if you're not religious, come here to marvel at the gigantic hand-crafted mosaics by the entrance, representing the Stations of the Cross.

And if you want great shots for your Malta album, this site will provide you with a tremendous photo opportunity of Ta Pinu Basilica in the distance.

In addition to the sanctuary, Ghammar Hill offers guests the chance to take in peace and panoramic views across the rolling countryside.

So there you have it, another fun and free thing to do on the Maltese islands.

Find the shimmering salt pans

Salt pans in Gozo

One of the many things to do in Gozo, is to visit the stained-glass-like salt pans that are a big part of Gozitan's everyday life. Locals have been harvesting Gozitan sea salt here for over 350 years.

To see the picturesque salt pools, head to the north of the island, towards Marsalforn. You'll see them located just past Qbajjar Bay.

The salt pans are free to visit and make for a great photo opportunity. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the salt workers in action.

The best time to visit is during the summer months when the salt crystals are most vibrant.

Discover the Mysteries of the Xemxija Heritage trail

The Xemxija Heritage Trail, also known as the Roman Road, is a great activity to do on Gozo if you love nature and outdoor adventures.

This 2,000-year-old trail leads to ancient beehives, burial caves, a reconstructed farmer's hut, and a massive carob tree. Apparently, the bean pulp from this tree is used in food preparation and medicine to relieve coughs.

To access full details, you can download the trail's app for your iPhone or Android. Make sure to wear comfortable footwear and pack enough water to keep you hydrated.

Enjoy the Xlendi walk

If you're looking for cool things to do in January or February, the Xlendi hike in Gozo could be a rewarding cliff-top trek, much like the Victoria Lines.

For more information about this hike, visit this website.

Experience the mysteries of the Ġgantija Temples

Step back in time and witness the wonders of the Ġgantija Temples - a UNESCO World Heritage Site that predates even the famous Stonehenge in England.

Built between 3600 and 3200 BC, these magnificent temples are steeped in mystery and legend. It is said that they were constructed by giants.

The temples stand side-by-side, surrounded by a towering stone wall and despite their age, they remain remarkably well-preserved, offering a glimpse into an ancient world.

11 Fabulous Things to Do in Gozo on Your Trip to Malta
Is Gozo worth visiting? You bet it is if you can spare a day or two of your trip to the islands of Malta. As you hop across the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea, you’ll soon discover that there are so many things to do in Gozo for such

Best places to eat in Gozo

If you're planning to visit Gozo, be sure to check out these lovely local restaurants in the picturesque towns of Gharb, San Lawrence, and Zebbug.

Gharb Rangers Bar & Restaurant: This lovely establishment offers great food and drinks, and in the summer, you can enjoy beautiful views of the village from the rooftop terrace.

Tatitas Restaurant: A local restaurant located in the main square of the San Lawrenz village, right next to the main church. They offer good food, great service, and tasty desserts.

Francesco’s: This cheap and cheerful local pizza place in Zebbug serves all kinds of delicious pizzas.

Maltese festas & festivals

If you time your visit to Malta with any of the Maltese festas or celebrations, you'll experience the island like a true local.

These lively and colourful events, held throughout the year, celebrate Malta's rich cultural heritage and feature parades, fireworks, music, and dancing. These are just some of the favourites.

Maltese Festa

The colourful Maltese Festa is a unique attraction on the island that you should try to see at least once.

It's not just a religious celebration - there's also fierce competition for the best fireworks and decorations between towns and villages. The festivals occur throughout the year, but are in full swing during summertime.

Top Tip: You can check out the full calendar of Maltese celebrations on the official Visit Malta website.

The Earth Garden Festival

If you're looking for quirky things to do in Malta in May-June, consider the Earth Garden Festival. This three-day hippie festival takes place in Ta' Qali National Park and is Malta's best-kept secret.

Pack face glitter, fluorescent outfits, and positive energy to experience the relaxed vibe of the Maltese wilderness.

Once inside, you can access chill-out zones and different areas featuring local and international musicians. The music styles range from dub and reggae to electronic music stages blasting techno and rave in the lantern-illuminated forest.

Don't worry if you don't know anyone; this event has a welcoming atmosphere.

The festival takes place from May 31st to June 3rd, and it's the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Maltese party scene if you have some extra time during your Maltese holiday.

Festa Frawli - the annual strawberry festival

Love strawberries? Then visit Malta in April and head to Mgarr for everything strawberry.

There will be food, drink, music and... a lot of berries. Festa Frawli takes place in the main square just outside the picturesque Parish Church.

The Delicata Classic wine festival

Panoramic views, sea breeze, and wine always go well together.

If you're visiting Malta in August, check out the Delicata Classic Wine Festival. This annual event takes place at the beautiful Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta (or Nadur in Gozo in September).

Enjoy sipping on local wines while taking in the stunning views and sea breeze.

Explosive village rivalry

As we’ve mentioned, Festas are a massive deal in Malta, as the rivalry between the island’s villages and towns heats up throughout the summer. The sparring starts as early as April with the Mechanised Ground Firework Festival.

Known locally as “Nar tal-Art”, the competition sees most of the local fireworks societies build and ignite some amazing mechanical constructions in Saint Publius Square, Floriana.

Think giant mecharno structures covered in fireworks and you’ll get the idea!

The Isle of MTV festival

If you love music, sunshine, and the sea, consider attending the Isle of MTV festival in Malta. The festival takes place at the Granaries (Fosos) in Floriana, right in front of the beautiful St. Publius Church.

The event attracts crowds of music-loving locals and visitors alike. It will take place from July 18th to July 23rd, 2023.

In the past, headliners such as The Chainsmokers, NCE, Jonas Blue, Raye, Martin Garrix, and Jason Derulo have performed.

Getting around Malta

Local buses

Buses are the main form of local transport on Malta and Gozo.

Although catching a bus is fairly straightforward and they are fairly regular, the winding roads and many stops along the way can turn a journey as short as 6 miles into a one-hour trip.

Local transport can also be unreliable.

Top Tip: The daytime bus fare is €2 (€3 at night), but you can save money by getting the handy Tallinja card. You can buy a prepaid card at the bus station or most corner shops and book/paper stores. These cost €21 per adult for unlimited 7-day bus travel.

Taxis

There are three main taxi companies in Malta: eCabs, Taxify and White Cabs.

Taxify: I highly recommend downloading the Taxify app while in Malta. It works the same way as Uber, and you can get picked up from just about anywhere on the island. These are especially handy at the airport.

eCabs: eCabs are pretty decent and professional. You can either download their app, book online, or simply call them on 21383838.

Friendly Advice: While we have not personally experienced any issues with White Cabs, a couple of reliable sources have mentioned their drivers being inappropriate towards female passengers. If you are a solo female traveller, be alert when using White Cabs – they are the guys that run the service at the airport.

Car rentals

Renting a car for a couple of days to explore the island or hop over to Gozo for a day out is easy. There are a number of car hire companies to choose from. However, it's best to avoid Gold Car.

To ensure you get the best value, use trusted resources like MoneySavingExpert.com, our go-to for money-related matters. Otherwise, there are plenty of local car rental options if you don't want to travel to the airport.

Top Tip: When visiting Gozo, rent a car with a little bit of power since the narrow roads on the island can get pretty steep in places.

Ferries

Ferries in Malta offer a good service between Sliema and Valletta, as well as between Malta and Gozo.

Taking a ferry from Sliema is a pleasant way to reach Valletta, the capital of Malta. It only takes 5 minutes to cross between the two places, making it a quick and enjoyable alternative to a bus ride.

Sliema to Valletta

To reach Valletta, head to the Sliema Terminal located across the street from the main shopping district.

Ferry boats run every 15 minutes and cost €1.50 for a one-way trip or €2.80 for a round trip. For more information, visit the official Valletta Ferry Services website.

The same ferry service that runs between Sliema and Valletta also operates between Valletta and Birgu (one of the Three Cities).

The ferry terminal is located just below the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Boat frequency and prices remain the same.

Malta to Gozo

To travel by boat to Gozo, the smaller sister island of Malta, take the passenger and car ferry Gozo Channel Line located in Cirkewwa on the north end of the island. The journey takes around 20 minutes and is quite pleasant.

Don't forget to keep an eye out for the island of Comino with its iconic Blue Lagoon as you pass by. On a clear day, you can just about see it from the ferry.

The standard fare for a car and driver is €15.70 plus €4.65 per extra passenger in the car.

Standard passenger tickets can be purchased at the terminal prior to boarding. Car drivers pay the fare upon leaving Gozo.

Best Malta Tours

Where to stay in Malta

Use the search below to find your ideal accommodation in Malta: