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25 Best Things To Do In Malta: 2020 Travel Guide

Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last Updated:
May 30, 2020
Looking for the best things to do in Malta? Look no further! We take you through all the awesome sights to see and places to visit in beautiful Malta...
things to do in malta
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Malta is a small but beautiful country nestled in between Africa and Italy.

It’s a country bursting with history, beauty and amazing things to see and do.

In fact, it's since become one of our favourite backpacking destinations!

Bradley and I spent 1 month in Malta, so we definitely had the chance to truly explore all the amazing things this country has to offer.

So if you’re wondering “Is Malta worth visiting?” then let us convince you as we offer you a guide on the best things to do in Malta!

How to get to Malta

Getting to Malta is pretty easy and transport links are very easy! Based on our experiences, here’s how you can get to Malta from some of the most popular locations.

Getting to Malta from the rest of Europe

If you’re living in the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, then you can usually get direct flights to Malta with Ryanair, Easyjet, Lufthansa, or Malta Air. Check Skyscanner for the best prices. 

You can also get a ferry/boat to Malta from Italy if you wish to drive there yourself. 

Getting to Malta from the rest of the world

If heading to Malta from the USA, Australia, or anywhere else, chances are you’ll need to get a flight to a larger European country, then get a connecting flight to Malta. Again you can check Skyscanner for the best prices. 

Getting around Malta

When it comes to getting around Malta, you’ve got a variety of different options. I’ll explain them briefly here, but for full details, check out my complete guide on getting around Malta.

  • Hire a car: This is one of the popular options to explore beautiful Malta. Car rental is cheap and useful. What’s weird in Malta is that it’s the smaller local companies are more trustworthy than the big companies like Hertz, Avis etc. We chose the highest rated car company, which happens to be a lovely local company called Compass Car Rental and they offered fuss-free car rental for a great price. Of course you can also check Rental Cars for both local and national car rental companies and the best prices. 
  • Buses: Malta actually has a really well developed bus network and you can get to most of the major cities via public transport. There is a schedule in place, but it doesn’t really run exactly. And it can take a bit of time to get from A to B as the bus stops at many different stops. BUT if you’re not in a rush, then it’s perfect. Buses are a standard fare regardless of the distance you go. In the winter the price is 1.50 per ride, and in the summer it’s 2.00. 
  • Hop on Hop off: Another great way to get around Malta is the hop on/off bus services. Running the entire country is a great option. You can book yours online here.
  • Bolt/Cool: Malta has a couple of ride sharing and taxi apps that you can download. They typically have sign up offers to give you some sort of discount. 
getting around malta
Our car we drove around Malta!

Where to stay in Malta

Since we were staying in Malta for a month to live and work, we opted for Airbnb as the monthly discounts offered typically work out as a great deal! We got a 1 bedroom penthouse apartment with a jacuzzi for £600 for the month, and if you decide to use Airbnb you can use our sign up code to get money off! 

But, if you’re just staying for a couple of days, then I suggest you stay in one of the many great hotels on offer in Malta. I’ve done my research and here are my top recommendations for hotels in Malta. 

25 Best Things To Do In Malta

Okay, now we’ve come to the great part, the best things to do in Malta! All these different activities have been undertaken by Brad and I, apart from 1, but we had planned on doing it, so I’ve left it in any way to maybe inspire you….

1. Visit the awesome Popeye Village (original set!)

Well let’s start with one of my favourite things to do in Malta and one of the best Malta attractions. Before we visited Malta, I had heard the set of Popeye was here. I had seen this movie when I was younger and my dad always did a great Popeye impression, but I couldn’t remember it fully. 

So, before we visited, Bradley and I watched the Disney movie and when we visited the set, it was AWESOME. The set is actually set in the beautiful Anchor Bay, so it’s a stunning place to visit regardless of whether you’ve seen the movie or not. But Popeye is iconic and so is this tourist attraction in Malta. 

We had SO much fun, walking around, eating popcorn, taking travel photos, playing mini golf, watching the actors and admiring the views. Since we visited in the winter season, there were actually less activities on, so I think it would be even more fun in the summer, but busier! 

In the winter months (up until March), it’s open until 4.30pm and entrance costs 11 euro up until 3 o'clock. Your entrance includes: 

  • Access to the set 
  • Games on set including Mini Golf 
  • A free postcard
  • Free popcorn 
  • Free photos 

TIP!: After 3 o'clock they reduce the ticket price to 7.50 euro. We visited at 3 o’Clock and we had loads of time to see everything before it closed at 4.30. So if you’re on a budget, then save a couple of euros by visiting in the late afternoon. Crowds will be lower too. 

AND no, Popeye Village is not just for kids, it’s actually for adults too! 

GET YOUR POPEYE VILLAGE TICKETS HERE!
popeye village malta
view of popeye village malta

2. Spend the day by St Paul's Bay

St Paul's Bay is actually the area in which Brad and I lived for 1 month in Malta, so it felt only fair that we should include it on this list of places to visit in Malta. It’s actually very beautiful and a wonderful place to catch a dinner, enjoy sunset and walk along the promenade for miles! There are lots of souvenir shops in this area too, and some great ice cream so a good place to relax and buy some presents.

There is also the Malta National Aquarium here and you can book your tickets to visit right here. 

st pauls bay

3. Walk around the silent city of Mdina 

Mdina was a pleasant surprise to us. We knew it would be beautiful, but it’s even more beautiful than I imagined. Countless small streets, cobbled roads, cute coffee shops and a whole lot of history. This was one of my favourite places in Malta, and you could spend a couple of hours walking around this small old capital of Malta, and seeing the museums and other sights on offer. Popular things to do in Mdina include: 

  • A visit to the Mdina underground dungeons 
  • The National History Museum 
  • The Mdina Experience 

You can get to Mdina via bus or one of the taxi apps such as “Cool” or “Bolt”. OR you can take a Mdina 2 hour walking tour here that will cover all the best sights. 

mdina malta
the silent city malta

4. Visit the Blue Grotto View Point 

The Blue Grotto is one of the most popular places to visit in Malta, and it’s actually another location that the Popeye Movie was filmed (you’ll totally recognise it if you’ve seen the movie). You can easily access the viewpoint via either local bus or via your own transport. 

It’s a beautiful view point and is best visited before 1pm when the sun will reflect on the blue water perfectly. When in season, you can do boat trips to and through the Blue Grotto too, but we didn’t do this when we visited. 

The viewpoint can be accessed 24/7. 

blue grotto viewpoint
If you've seen the Popeye movie, you might recognise that island in the distance ...

5. Explore the highest point in Malta: The Dingli cliffs

The Dingli Cliffs are the highest point in Malta, which doesn’t have many high points on the island. But these cliffs offer a fantastic view and look quite dramatic. Just be careful with the wind here as it’s quite strong and you could easily fall over the edge! The cliffs go on for a while, so just pull your car in wherever you like and you’ll have a great viewpoint. 

You can visit via public transport, just get the bus to the closest stop next to the cliffs then walk the rest. 

Visit the Dingli Cliffs via Segway here for a unique experience in Malta. 

 Dingli cliffs malta

6. Check out the fishing village of Marsaxlokk & visit its markets 

This is one of the cutest villages in all of Malta. Marsaxlokk is packed with most of Malta’s fishing boats in lots of different colours, so it’s very picturesque. Not only that, it’s also lined with lots of awesome restaurants offering outdoor seating with nice views. Of course since it’s a fishing village, then you’re going to get some amazing fish here. So if you eat seafood, you’ll love it! 

On Sundays a fish market is held here alongside another big market, and locals and tourists alike flock to get some great bargains! We visited during the week and there were a few local market stalls selling unique handicrafts, foods and souvenirs. 

 Marsaxlokk

7. Discover the amazing St Paul's Catacombs

If you don’t know, a catacomb is an underground burial site and the St Paul's Catacombs is the largest collection in Malta. It is truly fascinating and you walk underground around these catacombs, some of which still have bones in them. Some of the spaces are quite small, but there are larger areas and 26 to choose from, so you’ll be able to visit some of them, even if you don’t like small spaces, like me! 

Tickets are 6 Euro which is great value. This is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Malta. There are a variety of other Catacombs in the area, but this one offers the most, so would be the worthwhile choice in my opinion. 

 St Paul's Catacombs
inside the  St Paul's Catacombs

8. Be amazed at the stunning Mosta Dome 

The Mosta Dome was a pleasant surprise for us. I wasn’t expecting too much, but it turned out to be a magnificent church both inside and out. This church is extravagant and very beautiful. You can pay an entrance fee into the dome itself and have a look around for 2 euro, then pay an additional fee to go upstairs to the dome viewpoint which is quite cool.

Inside the church they also have an original bomb that was thrown into the church but miraculously never went off! 

Your best option is to pay 5 euro which gives you entrance to 3 sights. The two mentioned above and the 3rd one which I will mention next. 

Mosta Dome malta
visit mosta dome in malta

9. Check out an original WW2 bunker 

Right outside and underneath (Technically) there is an original WW2 Bunker. Your entrance is included in the 5 euro price, or you can pay 2 euro to see this sight individually. 

You’re going underground, so if you don’t like small spaces, then you might not be a fan of this place. It’s very interesting and there is lots of information about Malta’s time in WW2 and different items depicting the time there. Very interesting! 

One of the unique things to do in Malta, and important! The war is a very important part of Malta's history, especially since it was the most bombed country in Europe.

ww2 bunker

10. Take a dip in the beautiful St Peter's Pool 

This is a brilliant place to take a dip in the summer months in Malta, but when we visited, it wasn’t quite warm enough. But it was a lovely place to have a picnic lunch! You can park your car up for 3 euro at the closest car park but the road in and out is a little dodgy (most roads in Malta can be), so just drive slowly. 

Entrance into St Peter's Pool is free and I did read online there is a free car park, but I ever found it myself. 

st peters pool
views at st peters pool malta

11. Visit the unique and wonderful Tarxien temples 

Before visiting Malta, I didn’t realise it had quite so many temples and World Heritage Sites! But it does, which is pretty cool. One set that we visited was the Tarxien Temples, which were very interesting. These temples were actually uncovered by farmers, and little did they know they had uncovered an amazing complex where the history has been lost.

As you walk around there is information suggesting what the remains are for and what rooms could have been used etc, but there is no solid evidence. It’s a very interesting set of temples that I didn’t expect to find in Malta! 

Entrance is 6 euro. 

There are also other temples in the area which all date to around 3000 BC and 2500 BC, but we didn’t visit them all, but I’ll list a few of the others that you can visit: 

  • Ħaġar Qim
  • Mnajdra
  • Ta' Hagrat
  • Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum 

This tour actually takes you to quite a few of the best temple locations in Malta and includes pickup and drop off, so a great way to see the temples if you don’t have your own car rental. 

Tarxien temples 
Tarxien temples in malta

12. Head underground at the Ghar dalam cave 

This was one of the coolest things to do in Malta, and another unique attraction that I wasn’t expecting. I love caves, and Bradley and I have seen some pretty cool caves in our time. Now it’s not as exciting as caves in say, Vietnam, but for its purpose and story it’s cool. There is a large and I mean large collection of bones that are OLD, there are remains of elephants, hippos and other animals that you would never imagine in Malta, it’s crazy and fascinating at the same time. 

Entrance is only 3 euro so it’s definitely worth a visit. 

caves in malta
Ghar dalam cave

13. Relax in the sun at Golden Bay

Despite being surrounded by water, Malta actually has very few “sand beaches' '. Well, Golden Bay is one of the most beautiful and most popular sand beaches in Malta! It’s got restaurants, bars, epic sunset views and it’s a great place to swim in the water, or partake in other water related sports and generally have a great time relaxing in the beautiful Malta sunshine. 

golden bay malta

14. Visit St Julian's for an awesome night on the town 

St Julian's (otherwise known as Paceville), is the party area of Malta and the place to experience Malta nightlife. It’s the place where you will find lots of bars, restaurants, a Hard Rock Cafe, clubs, strip clubs and more. You can do a pub crawl here if that’s your thing! Either way, there is a range of really cool bars, some slightly more upmarket and some that will give you 30 shots for 19 euro. Brad and I went for a few drinks when we watched the “Six Nations Rugby” and if you’re looking for a somewhat classy place to drink and dine, then I recommend Hugos Bar & Lounge as a hip and happening spot! 

Don't forget to book your pub crawl here.

st julians malta
st julians

15. Dine by the sea in modern Sliema 

Sliema is another popular area in Malta and it’s a great place to locate yourself if you want to dine by the water. There is a large strip of different restaurants that offer you epic views of the oceans whilst tasting local delights and sipping delicious wine! A perfect romantic date location in Malta. 

16. Try the local delicacies: Pastizzi 

Malta has a few local delicacies that are produced only on the island. One of those is Pastizzi. These are like little pastry dishes and they’re typically filled with either meat, peas or ricotta. Brad and I had quite a few of the ricotta ones and we loved them. They’re usually around 50 cents so a perfectly cheap snack and suitable for vegetarians. 

Another famous Maltese dish is their Rabbit Stew, which we didn’t try, since we’re vegetarian! The Maltese also produce their own wine, and they make fantastic red wine (I hate red wine, but loved theirs….seriously good!). 

local food in malta

17. Take a day trip to beautiful Gozo 

Gozo is the second largest Island in the Maltese Archipelago, and it’s the most beautiful. Gozo is BURSTING with stunning sights. Beautiful cliffs, wonderful walks, great swimming opportunities, and so much more, Gozo has it all. We’ve done a complete guide on the best things to do in Gozo, so you can get all your inspiration there. But I suggest you spend more than one day on the island if you truly want to see it all and delve into the charm. Gozo may be small, but it’s mighty and jam-packed with awesome attractions. 

gozo malta

18. Visit the Blue Lagoon at Comino (Malta's smallest island) 

Before visiting the Blue Lagoon in Comino, I remember seeing the pictures of just how blue it was online and thinking, well, it’s clearly been enhanced, but I can tell you, it’s BLUE as blue can be. It’s absolutely stunning and if it wasn’t winter the water wasn’t freezing, I would have been in the water all day. 

Brad and I took a Blue Lagoon cruise with Sea Adventure cruises and it was awesome. We sailed to the beautiful lagoon, got amazing water, they even had slides to slide into the water (Brad was brave and did this once!) and the cruise even had a glass bottom so you could see a shipwreck and lots of jellyfish! (The jellyfish prevented us from swimming much! :() 

We even got to check out different caves which was pretty cool. On a typical boat ride you can also walk around Comino and visit the other nearby lagoon including “Crystal Lagoon” which tends to be less crowded than the Blue Lagoon, especially in the summertime. 

But yes, even though this place gets super busy in the summer months, it’s still an amazing place to visit for the sheer beauty of the blue! 

This is the tour we did here and it’s actually cheaper to book online.  

blue lagoon boat tour

19. Visit a winery 

Malta actually produces some pretty awesome wine, as does Gozo and the main maker of wine in Malta can be visited for tours and tastings! We didn’t do this tour, although I wish we had, but it was a last minute decision and you need to call them in advance. This is the company here, Meridiana Vineyard, so just drop them a message to organise a tastings and tour of a winery on a beautiful summer day.  

20. Visit the beautiful St Paul's Church & Grotto in Rabat 

Rabat is the area located just outside the Mdina, so you can easily combine a day trip of both here. It’s home to some beautiful buildings and one of those is the St Paul's Church! It was closed when we visited, but it still looks pretty epic from the outside. There are also lots of adorable restaurants and cafes surrounding the church, so it’s worth stopping for lunch and a glass of wine in the sunshine. 

Another popular place to visit in Rabat is the last standing Roman Temple known as “Domvs Romana”. You can pay to go in and learn about them in the museum, or you can look at the remains from the outside at the side of the road, like Brad and I did! 

st pauls church
domvs romana

21. Walk along the Xemxija Bay 

Malta is bursting with beautiful “bays” to check out, and another nice walk is along the coast from Bugibba, across to St Paul's Bay, ending at  Xemxija Bay. There is actually the Xemxija Hill Heritage Walk there too which can be as long or short as you want it to be, but you’ll discover temple ruins and other historic sights. It’s a great spot to bring a packed lunch, take a walk and enjoy the views. Another beautiful bay that’s popular to visit is Għadira Bay, it’s got a white sand beach (one of the few of it’s kind in Malta) so it gets super popular in the summer months! 

22.  Explore the capital city of Valletta 

Valletta is one of my favourite capital cities in the entire world! Brad and I aren’t typically a fan of capital cities as they tend to be overcrowded, stuffy and way too busy. Not Valletta, this walled city is bursting with history, culture, beauty and it’s not too busy.

We could spend hours wandering through this beautiful city. It's super picturesque, not overpriced and there is so much to see and do. It’s literally bursting with history! 

We’ve got a whole guide on the most epic things to do in Valletta that you can check out here. 

Check out this original Walking Tour in Valletta.

explore valletta

23. Explore the The Three Cities - Vittoriosa, Senglea & Cospicua 

Across the water from the capital of Malta, Valletta, there are “three cities” which are basically like 3 traditional fort towns. They served a very strategic position in the wars that Malta has faced throughout its history and they’re very unique. You can learn all about them in the Malta Experience, and you can see the viewpoint of them at St Elmo Fort. You can also take boat tours to/around them for a small fee and learn more about the history. 

Check this three cities tour here. 

3 cities malta

24. Go snorkelling across the island 

Malta is a divers and snorkel dream! The whole island has great places to discover unique Coral reefs. This is especially the case in the nearby islands of Comino and Gozo. You can take snorkelling trips through an organised tour, or you can head to the coastline with your own snorkel and see what fish you discover. 

The sea water is quite cold in the winter season, but you can still snorkel if you wear a wetsuit. The water in the blue lagoon is warmer, so it’s still possible to snorkel if you can handle some cold! 

25. Get off the beaten track 

Before I went to Malta, I had a few people tell me “there’s not much to do or see there”, and my god they are wrong. Malta is seriously bursting with things to see and discover, you just have to rent a car and find them. Rather than sticking to the typical tourist things like sitting at the beach, or visiting the Blue Lagoon (although still do that ;) ), you should also discover the real Malta.

I suggest you simply rent a car and drive in any given direction. It’s such a small island, that you’ll eventually get back to where you need to be, but on the way you’ll actually discover more random temples and sights that sometimes aren’t even marked on Google! 

When we started driving around Malta we kept seeing signs for more temple ruins, more churches and more historic monuments that we had never heard about from anyone! By creating your own adventure and itinerary, you’ll discover the true beauty of Malta and it’s fascinating history! 

Remember you can check for the best deals on car rental in Malta right here.

unique malta attractions

Malta Itinerary

I wrote a whole guide on the perfect 5 day Malta Itinerary, which includes beautiful Gozo & Comino as well!

Be warned: It's pretty epic!

Other Malta travel tips

Can I just book a tour in Malta?

Absolutely, there are lots of great websites to book tours in Malta. Your best choice for Malta is Viator or GetYourGuide

Here are some of the most popular tours:

When is the best time to visit Malta?

Because of its location Malta is actually a brilliant country to visit all year around. Bradley and I visited in their winter which saw temperature highs of 22 degrees C. This was perfect for us! We only had around 3 bad days of weather (cloudy) in 4 weeks and it feels like even temperatures of 17/18 feel a lot warmer here, than say if it was the same temperature in England!

Of course if you visit in winter too, everything will generally be cheaper and the crowds will be less. 

But, the most popular time to visit Malta is definitely the summer. It can reach the mid 30s so it gets super warm and it’s no wonder people flock to this beautiful Mediterranean island. 

popeye village set

How long should you spend in Malta?

When most people visit Malta, it tends to be for a beach style holiday and they typically visit for around 1 week. But if you’re visiting Malta and you actually want to SEE Malta and Gozo, then you’ll need a minimum of 5 nights, and 2 of those days will be in Gozo. 

You can check out our Malta itinerary for detailed inspiration, but I suggest a week in Malta to really appreciate the sights and enjoy the sunshine. 

malta attractions

How much should you budget for Malta?

I would describe Malta as a fairly low to mid-range country in Europe. You can get great value hotels (especially in the lower season), tours are very reasonable and food is decent too. Alcohol is also pretty darn cheap in Malta! 

You could survive in Malta on around 40-50 euros a day, quite comfortably, perhaps a little more if you’re dining out a lot and doing a lot of tours!  

Where to after Malta?

If you are visiting the incredible island of Malta, then you’re going to need to take time to see beautiful Gozo too.

It’s bursting with awesome things to see and do, so it’s worth spending a few days on Gozo before you leave Malta. 

For help planning the rest of your trip, here are some other guides that we put together …

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