As said in the previous post, Malta was a special trip. And, as my travel planning is usually proportional to my excitement, you can imagine that I did quite some preparation for this trip. Summing everything I learned by researching and visiting this destination, I put together a time-efficient itinerary with the best points of interest in Malta.
This guide is ideal for 6 days – but, if your stay is shorter than this, you can simply prioritize the places you want to see the most.
- Day 1: Valetta + Sliema + St. Julian’s + Paceville
Malta’s capital city – the smallest capital in the European Union.
• Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens, with views to the Grand Harbor and the Three Cities on the other side. At the Upper Barrakka Garden, a cannon is fired daily at noon and at 4pm by the saluting battery.
• St. John’s Co-Cathedral
• Republic Street: main shopping street
• Explore the deserted old town side streets
• Promenade along the coast with great views of Valetta, several restaurants and swimming spots, going all the way to St. Julian’s
• A big ‘love’ sculpture at the entrance
• Many restaurants and bars
• St. George’s Bay (beach): easy to reach, therefore usually crowded with tourists
• Paceville: the youth party zone
- Day 2: Blue Lagoon + Millieha or Golden Bay
Probably the biggest must-see in Malta!
This natural pool with transparent waters is located on the island of Comino. How to get there: drive or take a bus to Cirkewwa, and from there take a boat to the Blue Lagoon. All the boats make a few stops on the way back, showing the local caves. It’s recommended to go in the morning, when it’s less crowded.
There, you can rent a chair and umbrella to sit on the small sandy area, or simply take a seat on the rocks. We chose the second option because (a) it was free; (b) it was still easy to get in the water; and (c) we even had a great view to the Blue Lagoon from above.
If spending half a day in Blue Lagoon is sufficient for you (it was for us), you can still go relax on another beach on the main island for the rest of the day. But, of course, compared to the Blue Lagoon, they are not as impressive.
Some options near the disembark area in Malta are the Milleha Bay or the Golden Bay. In the Golden Bay, there are 3 beaches next to one another to choose from: Golden Bay per se (most easily reachable and most crowded), Gnejna and Ghajn Tuffieha (a bit more hidden and less populated).
- Day 3: Gozo
The neighboring island deserves a full-day visit.
How to get there: take a ferry that leaves from Cirkewwa. The ride takes about 25 minutes and there is no need to buy a ticket before boarding – you only pay on the way back. (More information and fares here).
Board with your car if you have one. If you’re using the public transport, it might be worth it to get one of the hop-on hop-off buses to visit the points of interest on the island.
• Citadel: located in the capital city of Gozo – Rabat, or Victoria (many cities in Malta have two names). A medieval fortress, with a cathedral and a view to the surroundings.
• Azure Window and Fungus Rock in Dwejra Bay: the famous and imposing rocky arch, where Game of Thrones filmed the scene where Daenerys gets married to Khal Drogo. As the rock is still under erosion, it is believed that the arch will disappear in a few decades.
UPDATE: in March 2017, after a period of heavy storms, the Azure Window unfortunately collapsed and disappeared 😦 We had heard that would happen, but we didn’t expect it to be within less than a year after we visited it…
• Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary: a large church, where many believers have left messages being thankful for the cure of their illnesses.
• Ramla Bay: a cozy beach with reddish sand. The Calypso Cave viewpoint has a beautiful view to the Ramla Bay.
• Xlendi Bay: another beach, with several restaurants around it (including a great ice cream shop). Ideal for a pit-stop to eat.
• Ggantija Temples: Gozo’s megalithic temples. If you already plan to visit the other temples on the island of Malta, maybe you can skip this one.
- Day 4: The Three Cities + Marsaxlokk + St. Peter’s Pool
The Three Cities
Birgu (or Vittoriosa), Bormla (or Cospicua) and Isla (or Senglea) – (remember that in Malta many cities have two different names?)
Take a boat from Valetta to the entrance of the cities (the crossing is already a pleasant ride on its own) and explore their streets and waterfront views. If time is short: Vittoriosa is considered the nicest one.
A quite lovable fishing village, with dozens of small colorful fishing boats by the bay. On Sundays, there is a fish market.
St. Peter’s Pool
A big natural pool, amazing to swim and jump into the water. It’s very close to Marsaxlokk, but the walk all the way up probably takes about 1 hour. So it is better to go by car or taxi.
- Day 5: Mosta + Mdina + Rabat + Dingli Cliffs
• Rotunda of Mosta: the third largest church in Europe, with a big dome. During the second world war, a 50 kg bomb fell inside the church but did not explode – which was considered a miracle.
Known as the ‘silent city’, it’s a medieval town surrounded by walls. The entrance of Mdina was shown in Game of Thrones as the gateway to King’s Landing.
• Fontanella Tea Gardens: a tea house offering a famous chocolate cake and a view to the surroundings (including the Rotunda of Mosta).
A charming town across from Mdina.
• Roman Villa
• Church of St. Paul
• St. Dominic Convent (was also a Game of Thrones filming location)
The highest point in Malta (253 meters) and considered the best spot in the island to watch the sunset.
- Day 6: Blue Grotto + Hagar Qim & Mnajdra
Boat ride through a few grottos and caves, including the Blue Grotto, with bright blue waters. The ideal is to go in the morning to capture the most impressive shade of blue of the sea. The ride is beautiful, but we found it quite short (about 20 minutes) and felt that the boat driver, although very nice, rushed through the stops (maybe because there is a line of boats behind him).
It’s also possible to see the Blue Grotto from above, from a viewpoint next to a bus stop called Panorama.
Hagar Qim & Mnajdra
Near the Blue Grotto, you can find the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, some of the oldest standing monuments in the world (around 3000 BC). The ticket allows visiting both temples, which are next to each other.
For more photos of Malta, click here.
And this was the first trip where I not only took pictures, but also made a video record! (I said Malta was special…). Most places mentioned in the itinerary are shown in the video below: 🙂