The limestone cast of Malta’s cities and the shimmering blue coast lapping against towering cliffs and secret coves are more than enough to take your mind off the Mediterranean heat. Balmy sea breezes carry along the scent of your long-awaited get away. But what will you do once you set foot on this richly textured archipelago? Here we explore the 10 things to do in Malta!
We’ve curated the top 10 things for you to do in Malta, drawing on its boundless historical riches. Taking you from the medieval fortifications and architecture tied to the legendary Knights of Malta to the megalithic temples, to the cooling reaches of Comino’s stunning lagoons – this list truly captures the meaning of free-spirited exploration.
- Walking tour of Valletta
From above, the sandy and tan tone of historical Valletta disguises it as nothing more than a bland patch of land. But as you circle closer, the details unveil themselves as the capital of Malta becomes a mass of architectural highlights and bustling streets.
From the stalwart fort guarding the port mouth to the narrow winding streets, employ a licensed guide for a history-rich walkthrough of the city’s key landmarks. Learn about Malta in the days of the Knights of St. John and the Grand Master; understand where the Baroque influences came from and the conception of its palaces. Admire the view of the Grand Harbor from the Upper Barrakka Garden and sweeping sights from the Siege Bell Memorial. Other points of interest include Piazza Regina, St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the impressive Bibliotheca Nazionale.
- Visit the prehistoric temples of Malta
Much of Malta’s sultry and exotic riches lie in its time-keeping quality – by that, we mean how it plays bookkeeper to megalithic temples. Embroil yourself in over 5000 years of history via an extensive tour of Malta’s World Heritage Sites; the megalithic Temples of Malta, Hagar Qim Temples, Mnajdra Temples and Hamrija Tower. The former aren’t just free-standing stone structures; they’re some of the world’s oldest existing structures, period. Swing over to the globigerina limestone ridges along the southern coast to marvel at the tender walls of Hagar Qim. Neighboring Mnajdra is world-renown Maltese architecture. Round off your journey with a visit to Hamrija Tower, one of thirteen watchtowers built by a legendary Knight of Malta: the Grand Master Martin de Redin.
- Gawk at the Blue Grotto & Marsaxlokk Village
There’s little more stunning than the play of light within the Blue Grotto sea caverns. The magical blues are nestled west of Wied iz-Zurrieq Harbor and along the rugged coast; sunlight streams in to reflect off the phosphorescent corals and underwater plants, casting glimmering shadows and playful glints of light. When you’re done marveling at the natural phenomenon, head over to the equally blue-fringed Marsaxlokk fishing village. Tiny fishing boats dot the promenade front while the village vibrates with life. Marsaxlokk Market is your destination, laid out in rows of fresh seafood stalls, honey and fruit jams, colorful souvenirs and other local curiosities. Indulge in some authentic eats! Visiting the Blue Grotto is high on TheTravelGang’s list of top 10 things to do in Malta.
- St. Paul’s Bay: Bird Park & National Aquarium
Nature is your friend and there are plenty of ways to enjoy it without braving the wilds. St. Paul’s Bay serves up Malta Bird Park and the National Aquarium in all their nature-loving glory. The former is home to over 200 species of birds and animals including long-legged storks, pelicans, elegant cranes and parrots with bright plumage; wallabies, meerkats, antelope, marmosets and other exotic animals share the habitat. It’s not just sightseeing you’re doing; step into the enclosures to learn about the life cycle of birds, different bird habitats, plumage cycles and other fascinating facts.
The Aquarium keeps close to water, located on the picturesque promenade. The underwater tunnel walk showcases the usual suspects – sharks, eels, rays and deep-water fish – but you can also expect Mediterranean species unique to the islands of Malta. There’s also an exhibit dedicated to historical artefacts found in local waters.
- Sea-day out: Comino’s Blue Lagoon, Gozo & Sea Caves
One of the best days out is a full-day water-bound tour around the islands of Gozo and Comino. Need some convincing? A modern and decked out catamaran waits for you at the tourist town of Bugibba, from where it’ll cruise along Malta’s dynamic coastal cliffs and nooks to pass by the majestic statue of St. Paul, stopping briefly at sea caves for amazing photoshoots. Comino’s Blue Lagoon is the next destination, the boat crossing under a high rock arch and into a cliff-fringed pool of blue. Swim, snorkel, dive – there are also waterslides for you to plunge into crystalline waters.
The longest stretch of your trip is a 3-hour free exploration around Gozo Island. The charming capital city of Rabat and cozy fishing village are full of rich charms. Enjoy clifftop views or delve into the cave systems. Last but not least, wrap up your day with the Santa Maria pirate caves to sneak a peek at the Elephants Head rock formation.
- Blaze through Gozo on a jeep
If a full-day out at sea doesn’t appeal to you, drop by Gozo Island regardless – opt for a jeep tour across this beautiful, historical island. Your day starts with a hotel pick up at Malta, after which you’ll ferry over to Gozo with a first stop at Qala Belvedere. Panoramic sea views are priority, followed closely by more nature at pretty Simar Valley. At Calypso’s Cave, you’ll be chauffeured to the fortification ruins where the Knights of Malta once presided; the Ggantija temple promises more history. Depending on your interests, you’ll be awestricken by Karcem Heights’ ancient settlements or by the limestone quarries and the salt pans of Marsalforn Bay. Return to more modern times with a sweep through the city of Victoria, where Gozo Craft Center bedazzles with artisanal crafts. Truly belonging to the list of top 10 things to do in Malta.
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours
Those preferring to explore at their own pace should definitely sign up for a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Departures are spaced at every 30 minutes, routing either Malta North or Malta South. Choose which sightseeing route suits you best – or take both! It’s a great way to see a bit of everything, from beautiful estates to museums and bays.
Major attractions covered by the South route includes: Valletta, Tarxien, Marsaxlokk Fishing Village, Ghar Dalam Museum, Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, Temples of Malta, Limestone Heritage, Montekristo Estates, Blue Grotto, Sliema and a few other stops. The North route covers: Valletta, San Anton Gardens, the Crafts Village, Aviation Museum, Mdina, Roman Villa, Mgarr Church, Golden Bay, Bugibba Square, Splash and Fun Water Park, Mediterraneo Marine Park and more.
- Mdina: Wander its medieval streets
Ancient walled cities dominate Europe more often than not, but it doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Let an expert guide walk you through Mdina’s medieval streets while highlighting the city’s historic past. Settled on a hill like the crowning jewel of the Maltese Islands, the city was founded by the Romans as a political capital. Start your tour at the Mdina Main Gate and leisurely make your way through the array of palaces, churches and convents. The charming old quarter of Rabat is the highlight, teeming with Maltese architecture in their sandy limestone quality. Best of all, your guide ties past occupations with modern day entertainments, bringing you around to locations where Game of Thrones was filmed.
- Traditional Cruise: Grand Harbor & Marsamxett Harbor
Walking is great and all but sometimes you want to experience a place in its entirety. What better than taking in Malta from a unique perspective? Board a traditional Maltese boat (also known as a luzzu) which will be furnished with a bar for extra luxury; it departs from Sliema Ferries. As you meander along Malta’s two natural but grand harbors (Grand Harbor and Marsamxett Harbor), a live commentary details the history of Valletta and the Three Cities of Senglea. Enjoy the context as your guide points out sea-front landmarks and the context behind its conception, such as the impact of war on the walls of Malta. It’s an informative day trip delivered in comfort and therefore is one of the top 10 things to do in Malta.
- Three stops: Mosta, Ta’Qali Crafts Village, Mdina
Maybe you’re the type to bounce from one place to another, in which case this half-day tour is perfect for you. The first stop of your three distinct destinations is the town of Mosta, home to one of the largest domes in the world. St. Mary’s Church once witnessed a miracle when a German bomb fell through the dome in 1942 but didn’t explode; it’s still regarded as a legend. Next up is Ta’Qali, where a military outpost is now a place of creation versus destruction. Observe local artisans as they craft their next masterpiece, whether glass art, silver jewelry or limestone carvings. Last but not least is the ancient capital of Mdina where the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral reigns over the rest of its medieval fortifications.
Malta truly is a country brimming with historical riches. We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of top 10 things to do in Malta!