Malta has always been a destination that was on my wish list. Whenever I saw those beautiful photos of the region, I wanted to know all that one day. Then came the opportunity to travel on this very special island. And I can only say one thing: Malta has definitely entered my heart and has become one of the most complete and spectacular destinations I have ever visited.
At first, I was attracted by the beauty of its beaches and the charm of its waters. But I quickly realized that it is its historical heritage and its mix of European and Arab influences that truly make it irresistible.
This country is considered one of the ten smallest countries in the world, with an area of 316 square kilometers. And knowing little about the country, I set out to discover it without too high expectations. And I can tell you that after five days, I was absolutely delighted. In this article, I will try to share with you the 10 best things to do in Malta and a little of my experience on the island. Hope you like it!
Things to Do in Malta
1. The Island of Gozo
I start this article with one of the best Malta tourist attractions: The magnificent island of Gozo. I mentioned earlier how small the Maltese archipelago is as a whole. And the island of Gozo, the second-largest in the country, is only 67 square kilometers. Now, size does not interfere with attractiveness. In Gozo, you will find some of the most charming and picturesque places in all of Malta.
The center of life in Gozo is established around Victoria, the capital and most populous city of the island. It is also the bus connection center of Gozo. So, to get to other areas, you have to go through here. It’s funny because, despite its relative size, there are quite a few things to see.
The most important place in the entire capital is the citadel of Victoria, a recently renovated fortified complex (or that was the impression it gave me). As soon as you arrive, some stairs will take you to the Cathedral of the Assumption, the most important religious building on the island.
Next to it, there are some shops, small museums and complete views from the top of the fortress. The other visit that I recommend in Victoria is the Basilica of Saint George, very beautiful and very similar to the Cathedral of Saint John in Valletta. In short, you should spend at least a couple of hours getting to know the city. You will not regret it!
2. Visit Valletta
Valletta is the capital of Malta and one of the unmissable places on the island. I went to Valletta several times, and on each visit, I discovered new alleys and charming places. There are many fortifications, museums, cultural attractions, and especially charming streets, with many stairs and typical Maltese architecture. Valletta’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I must admit that reaching here was a breath of fresh air. It looks like an island within an island. The streets are very well cared for, everything absolutely pristine, the buildings in a fantastic state of conservation, and it is a real pleasure to walk through it.
If you are looking for specific places to see in Valletta, here is a selection of some of my favorite monuments: the Valletta Gate, the Palace of the Grand Master, the Co-Cathedral of Saint John, the Baraka Gardens, or the San Telmo Fort. As the bus station is located at the entrance of the city, you should not have any difficulties reaching these places. Of course, do not forget to dedicate at least one morning or a full afternoon to it.
3. Blue Grotto
Traveling along the Maltese coast to reach the Blue Grotto is to fill your eyes with an incredible, unique, beautiful, and majestic landscape.
On this day, I needed to call two friends to share the pleasure of being there. As I traveled alone, this was the moment that I most needed company, to be able to share such beauty of nature. The Blue Grotto is actually a series of sea caves on the south coast of Malta.
Visiting this place before 1 pm, you can enjoy a unique sight here. The sea takes on wonderful colors with the combination of strong sun and slightly fluorescent algae! It’s exciting when you see the light blue of this part of the cave meet the dark blue characteristic of the Mediterranean. This is definitely one of the best Malta attractions that I highly recommend.
As I was heading to Mdina, I passed through the town of Mosta first. I learned that this town’s most visited attraction is the Mosta Dome, which became popular out for an episode that took place during World War II. On April 9, 1942, the German army accidentally dropped a bomb, which entered the top of the dome, falling to the ground, where many people were gathered. Fortunately, the bomb did not explode, and no one was injured. Inside the Church, it is possible to see a replica of the bomb and some photos of the incident.
I then preceded to Mdina, which is the former capital of Malta with less than 300 inhabitants. The city is walled, like a great fortress. And because it is located on one of the highest points on the island, the view from the wall is incredible.
Its alleys are full of charm, with yellowish buildings, typical Maltese balconies, and colorful doors. The place is one of Malta top attractions. If you have a choice, visit Mdina at the end of the day, when it is not very busy, and you can enjoy the silence.
It is worth combining the tour with Mosta and Mdina due to the proximity.
5. Temples From the Neolithic Period
Malta is rich in archaeological sites from the Neolithic period! It is worth including in your itinerary at least 1 or 2 megalithic temples. This will help you to see up close the ruins that are the only record of the civilization of 6,000 years ago.
What I liked the most was the Hagar Qim temple, where the ruins are close to the sea. The visit starts with a 4D movie which is really cool to get an idea of what the temple was like at the time it was built. It also has a really cool interactive exhibition, where you can feel the texture of the stones, see the reconstructed statues, etc.
I also visited the temple of Tarxien, which has some parts still with drawings and decorations on the walls. I suggest downloading the audio guide app (it has Wi-Fi on-site) to enjoy your visit better.
6. Ramla Bay
If you have read our article on the best beaches in Malta, you already know that this country and its coastal areas are different. The beaches of Malta are scarce, most of them rocky, away from the main tourist areas, and inaccessible. After visiting many of them, I can tell you that Ramla Bay is the exception.
This sandy area on the north coast of the island of Gozo is possibly my favorite. It is extensive, with transparent waters, in the wild, very quiet, and in an idyllic setting. What more could you want?
In addition to what I told you before, its main attraction lies in the color of its sand. A sort of reddish tone that, with the green contrast of the environment in which it is located and the sun’s rays projecting on the water, ends up giving it an exotic touch.
Of course, let me tell you that it was not easy to get here. If, like me, you choose not to rent a car, you should know that first, you have to take the ferry to Gozo, then go to Victoria, its capital, and finally to Ramla Bay. In any case, two hours of travel is more than justified. However, this is one of the malta attractions that should not be missed.
Another of the attractions in Malta to visit is Marsaxlokk. This small fishing village, located in the southeast of the island and with a complicated name, is one of the most charming places in the whole country.
The most typical picture of this fishing village is the colorful boats called luzzus. Next to the port, there is a market where they sell different handicraft products as well as souvenirs and other tourist objects.
There are also many bars and restaurants where you can taste the typical dish of the area: fish. In any case, it is the views of its port and the charm of its boats that will make you fall for this town.
8. The Village of Popeye
Popeye village was made famous by an old set of a movie shot in the 80s (Popeye Musical Comedy), which has made it remain an amusement park and open-air museum. It is located in the northwest of the island, and this is possibly the unique place I visited in Malta.
What I loved about this village is that it is divided into 27 fun locations where kids can interact with peers, spend time with Santa, get their hands on toys, and other kiddie escapades.
Adults will love the view of the sea adjacent to Popeye village. You may opt to go for excursions by renting a kayak or a paddleboard. Popeye village also offers a cruising service. Finally, I visited scenic spots like the Roughhouse and Mainsquare that’s seemed perfect for wedding proposals and wedding ceremonies.
9. Malta Limestone Heritage Park
Malta is heavily dependent on limestone. Most of the buildings from the Neolithic up to the present age used it. And if you don’t believe me, look at the churches, the catacombs, and even the houses, and you’ll see that this is the case. Limestone quarries also help boost the Maltese economy. And for this reason, Limestone Heritage Park is a good place to visit.
I found different kinds of limestone and different ways of using them. Furthermore, there’s a limestone sculpting demonstration which I enjoyed. If you’re into sculpture-like me, don’t miss it because the sculptors are always ready to share their techniques.
10. The Blue Lagoon
I close this article on Malta attractions in style. For all those who desperately pursue the image they had in their heads of Malta, the Blue Lagoon is all you need.
The Blue Lagoon is located on the island of Comino. The crystal clear waters, the wild surroundings, the colorful boats, and the idyllic atmosphere have made this area one of the most sought after in the entire country.
And even for those who may think “it’s not that good,” let me tell you that it is. It is a unique and absolutely idyllic place. It is also a fantastic place to practice water sports such as snorkeling or diving.
For all beach lovers, check our article Top 10 Best Beaches in Malta