With an all-year-round warm sunny climate, the beautiful island of Malta is a favorite destination for many tourists. Over 2 million people travel there annually to enjoy the rich cultural history, culinary delights, spectacular scenery, and endless village festivals. Malta is deemed a safer alternative to mainland Europe as it is less crowded. With most locals speaking English, communication is more relaxed, enabling travelers to understand more about its culture and traditions.
Throughout the year, there are many festivals to be celebrated by locals and tourists alike; some are religious, and others embrace music, art, food, and special dates in the island’s history. The beautiful beaches and sea offer a variety of enjoyable activities for people of all ages. You can rent a boat and engage in scuba diving, discover caves nestled within the cliffs, take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear blue lagoons, or simply have a great time on the sandy beach with your loved ones. With numerous captivating and diverse destinations to explore, it can sometimes be challenging to decide where to go. To help you out, here are some suggestions on the top things to do in Malta.
Top Things to Do in Malta
Wander through the Gardens of San Anton Palace
Grand Master Antoine De Paule built the San Anton Palace during the 17th century. Once the residence of the British governor, it is now the official palace home of the Maltese President. The public gardens around the palace have a variety of flowers and trees from across the globe, some dating back 300 years. The ornamental pond is home to goldfish and turtles and also families of ducks and swans. Many beautiful statues and fountains adorn the pathways and arbors. Inside the garden is an exhibition of handmade models showing Malta’s traditional crafts and trades.
Celebrate at a Carnival
Carnival week is typically held in late February or early March. Joining the locals to celebrate is one of the best things to do in Malta throughout the year. It originated in the 15th century when festivities transitioned from churches to the streets. Knights took part in pageants and games, followed by grand banquets that often led to drunken fights. Nowadays, Valletta hosts the main carnival, but other places in Malta and Gozo have their own celebrations. The festival features masked balls, costume competitions, and a vibrant parade showcasing enormous floats and marching bands. The opening jovial sword dance commemorates the island’s victory over the Turks in 1565. Plenty of food and drinks are available throughout the festivities, culminating in a fantastic fireworks display to conclude the evening.
Go on a boat tour to the Blue Lagoon
Located on the island of Comino, the Blue Lagoon is one of the Mediterranean’s hidden gems, and its popularity is growing each year. The journey to the island offers picturesque views, with rugged cliffs and caves overlooking crystal-clear turquoise waters. This provides an excellent opportunity for photographers to capture some stunning shots. The beach consists mostly of rocks, but there are also some comfortable sandy spots to be found. However, most visitors prefer to spend their time in the water. The Blue Lagoon offers fantastic snorkeling experiences, as the sea is not too deep, and you don’t need to be an expert swimmer to enjoy the beautiful underwater world.
Explore Fort St Elmo
Standing on the seaward shore of the Sciberras Peninsula, this star-shaped fort was constructed in 1552 to replace the old tower, which proved insufficient in defending the island against the Ottoman raid the previous year. Tourists have the opportunity to visit the impressive grounds, which include two chapels dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of Mary, and Jesus’s grandmother. Additionally, the fort houses the National War Museum, showcasing 7,000 years of military history, including artifacts from the Order of St. John and the Ottoman Turks. The largest section of the museum is dedicated to the Second World War, featuring exhibits ranging from Roosevelt’s Jeep to Malta’s George Cross.
Go on a Gozo Island Adventure
Gozo, the second largest island in Malta, has a population of around 34,000, making it a quieter and more relaxed destination to explore. To reach Gozo, you can take a ferry from Malta and enjoy breathtaking scenery along the way to your final destination. The ferry docks at Mgarr Harbour, where you can find charming restaurants offering delicious dishes made with fresh local ingredients. In Gozo, the Citadel in Victoria is a must-visit attraction, perched on top of a hill and offering excellent views of the surrounding area. The most popular and easily accessible beaches on the island are Ramla Bay and San Blas Bay. However, if you prefer a more secluded experience, the pebbled beach at Imgarr ix-Xini, nestled at the end of a gorge, provides ample space for swimming and diving.
Explore the charming streets of Valletta
Wander through the enchanting streets of Valletta, Malta’s capital city, and lose yourself in its old-world charm. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a treasure trove of architectural marvels, stunning churches, and quaint squares. Admire the grandeur of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, stroll along the fortified walls for panoramic views, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s bustling markets, cafes, and shops. Valletta is a captivating blend of history and contemporary culture, inviting you to uncover its secrets at every turn.
Visit the ancient temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra
Transport yourself to the past and embark on a journey of discovery as you visit the ancient temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. These megalithic structures, dating back over 5,000 years, are UNESCO World Heritage sites and provide a fascinating glimpse into Malta’s prehistoric past. Marvel at the intricate stone carvings, sacred altars, and astronomical alignments that showcase the advanced engineering and spiritual beliefs of the ancient civilization that once thrived here.
Explore the ancient city of Mdina
Step back in time and wander through the ancient streets of Mdina, Malta’s former capital city. This fortified city showcases a charming blend of medieval and Baroque architecture. Stroll through its narrow alleys, admire the stunning palaces, and soak in the panoramic views from the ramparts. Don’t miss the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral and the fascinating Mdina Dungeons, where you can learn about the city’s captivating history.
Discover the Blue Grotto
Embark on a boat trip to the Blue Grotto, a series of striking sea caves renowned for their vibrant blue waters. Marvel at the mesmerizing play of light as the sunlight illuminates the underwater world, creating a surreal spectacle. Snorkel or dive into the crystal-clear waters to explore the diverse marine life and underwater caves. The Blue Grotto is a photographer’s paradise, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline.
Visit the Three Cities
Discover the charm and historical significance of Malta’s Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua. Stroll through the narrow streets and admire the well-preserved architecture, including majestic churches and impressive fortifications. Explore the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa to learn about Malta’s naval history. And take a leisurely boat ride across the Grand Harbor to admire the cities’ stunning waterfront views. The Three Cities provide a glimpse into Malta’s past and offer a serene and authentic experience.
Discover the Dingli Cliffs
Venture to the western coast of Malta and be awe-struck by the breathtaking Dingli Cliffs. Marvel at the dramatic limestone cliffs that drop abruptly into the sea, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean. Take a leisurely walk along the cliff edge and relish the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings. The Dingli Cliffs provide a perfect escape from the bustling cities and offer a serene and scenic spot to unwind and appreciate the natural wonders of Malta.
Explore the Marsaxlokk Fishing Village
Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and bustling atmosphere of the picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Known for its traditional colorful fishing boats, known as luzzus, this charming village offers a glimpse into Malta’s maritime heritage. Stroll along the waterfront promenade lined with seafood restaurants and market stalls selling local handicrafts. Visit the Sunday fish market to witness the daily catch being sold. And savor a delicious seafood lunch while immersing yourself in the authentic charm of Marsaxlokk.
Indulge in Maltese Cuisine
Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Maltese cuisine, a delightful blend of Mediterranean and North African influences. Sample traditional dishes such as rabbit stew, pastizzi (flaky pastries filled with ricotta or mushy peas), and ftira (Maltese bread topped with various ingredients). Visit local food markets, like the Marsaxlokk Fish Market, to savor the freshest seafood caught that day. Don’t forget to pair your meals with a glass of local wine or a refreshing Kinnie, Malta’s beloved bitter orange soft drink.
Visit the Popeye Village
Step into the whimsical world of Popeye at the Popeye Village in Mellieħa. This charming film set, originally built for the 1980 musical “Popeye,” has been transformed into a theme park. Explore the colorful village, meet beloved characters, and enjoy entertaining live shows. Engage in fun activities such as boat rides, mini-golf, and water trampolines. The Popeye Village guarantees a day of family-friendly fun and nostalgia.
Malta’s wealth of attractions and experiences is truly astounding. Whether you’re exploring underwater wonders, delving into history, or soaking in the island’s natural beauty, Malta guarantees an unforgettable journey. From diving into captivating marine worlds to immersing yourself in historic cities and savoring cultural festivals, the possibilities for adventure and exploration in Malta are endless. Prepare to be enchanted by this Mediterranean gem and create memories that will last a lifetime.