Planning to spend 3 days in Malta? We’ve got you covered. For the last couple of years, while living on the island, we’ve been crafting itineraries for our families, friends, and friends of friends.

Here you’ll find your Malta itinerary packed with places to see and do on this sunny island. And in case you decide to spend 4 or 5 days in Malta, we’ve included some extra stuff too to keep you busy.

Few things can beat the feeling of waking up somewhere new at the start of a trip.

All those possibilities ahead of you. No work for a few days. All the new stuff to go see, smell and taste. It’s brilliant, isn’t it? All you need to do now is take the best bits from this itinerary and adjust it to suit your plans. Or you can leave it as it is.

While nothing is too far in Malta, we bunched up the sites that are relatively close to each other to help you have the best time on the island. And we’ve pinned the best places to visit in Malta on handy Google maps too. Thank us later.

Day One: Explore the Capital City and Beyond

3 days in Malta - Valletta

Morning in Valletta

Known for its Baroque architecture, Valletta is one of the smallest capitals in Europe. Therefore exploring it on foot is the best way to see this magnificent fortified city.

You can either do the walk by yourself on your own terms or, you can hire a private guide to learn more about the past and the present of the place.

If you choose the first option, there are quite a few things to discover including the open-air theatre, the notorious Strait Street, Caravaggio’s art in St John’s Co-Cathedral, and the best viewpoint in Valletta – Upper Barrakka Gardens.

While all the main sights are close enough to each other, you will surely need a good spot to rest your tired feet. And what a better place to sip on tea or coffee than the famous Cafe Cordina at 244 Republic Street.

It’s a place that manages to be popular with both tourists and locals and seems to have a constant buzz. The interior is beautifully decorated and worth popping in to see even if you don’t stay for any food or drink. You will, however, be hard pushed to resist the mouth-watering range of fresh homemade pastries and cakes on display.

Here’s the list of top sights to see in Valletta:

  • The Triton Fountain
  • Valletta City Gate
  • New Parliament Building
  • Royal Opera House Site
  • Church of Our Lady of Victories
  • Auberge de Castille
  • The Lascaris War Rooms plus Saluting Battery
  • National Museum of Archaeology
  • Upper Barrakka Gardens
  • Saint John’s Co-Cathedral
  • Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck
  • Lower Barrakka Gardens – Siege Bell – World War II Memorial
  • The Knights Hospitallers
  • Fort St Elmo – War Museum
  • Casa Rocca Piccola
  • Madonna tal-Karmnu – Our Lady of Mount Carmel
  • Strait Street
  • Manoel Theater
  • Grandmaster’s Palace and Armouries
  • Cafe Cordina

Pre-Lunch in Vittoriosa

Next stop – the ancient fortified Vittoriosa (Birgu).

It takes around 15 minutes to cross the Grand Harbour and reach the ferry stop at Birgu. It’s a lovely peaceful feeling as the boat slows down upon entering the harbour alongside Citta Vittoriosa as you glide past all the moored up boats and yachts of varying sizes.

Jump off the boat and head up a steep climb, through the ancient fort and into the back streets of the city. You’ll feel like you discovered the real Malta in the narrow and winding streets of Birgu.

Here you’ll also find Malta at War Museum housed in a wartime police station as well as Maritime Museum.

We highly recommend visiting the Inquisitor’s Palace – it’s the only Inquisitor’s house in the world open to the public. It was the seat of the Maltese Inquisition from 1574 to 1798 whose aim was to oppose the spread of the Protestantism and reinforce Catholicism.

It’s quite an eerie experience exploring the grand and cold rooms in the palace but fascinating at the same time. Pop in and you’ll discover the skillfully restored kitchen area, Castellania courtyard, chapel, Tribunal, torture chamber and prison cells. And if you are as lucky as we were, you might have the palace all to yourself. Spooky.

TOP TIP: To have a local experience, instead of taking the official ferry from Valletta to Birgu, you can get a gondola-like boat run by the local chaps. In the summertime, you will see them hanging around right next to the ferry terminal. For friendly service, they’ll charge you €2 to cross the marina.

3 days in Malta - The Three Cities

Lunch in Vittoriosa

While exploring the streets of Vittoriosa check out cafes and restaurants that have Ftira – a traditional Maltese sandwich stuffed with tuna or any other fillings. It will fill you up for the rest of the afternoon. Fancy a cheeky glass of wine? Then check out Del Borgo or Osteria. Ve.

A History-Filled Afternoon

From Birgu, take the ferry (or the local boat) back to Valletta. Then take a short 12-minute drive south from the capital city towards Tarxien town, famous for the Tarxien Temples complex, dating back to 3150 BC.

The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most elaborate ancient temples on the island. It’s right next to the Hypogeum so you could bundle these two sites together, time permitting. The last admission to the temple is around 16.30pm.

Morning/Afternoon Underground

If you want to understand the age of the Maltese islands, we highly recommend checking out the fantastic Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. It’s a maze of stone-carved burial chambers that is, by far, one of the most fascinating things you’ll see during your time in Malta.

Tickets are on the expensive side, but it’s not every day you get to descend into a perfectly preserved 4000 BC prehistoric atrium. We recommend pre-booking your entrance pass. It is very unlikely that you will be able to buy tickets on the day as the number of visitors to the site is very limited. Especially in the summer.

Visit Malta Heritage website to check availability and reserve your spot on the guided tour.

Dinner Time

You could either head back to Valletta for dinner or drive to St Julian’s area known for picturesque Balluta and Spinola bays. Here you will find quite a few dinner options from tasty homemade pizzas at Bianco’s to luxury dining options like Zest, located in the boutique Hotel Juliani.

Follow our food recommendations in our Malta Food Guide.

Download this article as a self-guided walking tour on your smartphone.

  Check out our Malta sightseeing walk on

Day Two: History and Beaches

Morning in Mosta

Start your second day in Malta by heading to Mosta – home to the impressive Rotunda Church.

Aside from being a stunning building itself, the church is famous for a couple of things. Firstly, it owns the 4th largest unsupported dome in the world.

And secondly, it’s locally known as the “miracle church.” During WWII a bomb fell through the roof during the mass. The roof got slightly damaged but the bomb, fortunately, never exploded, sparing everyone gathered inside the basilica, hence the local name.

As you explore the stunning interior, check out the small room to the left of the altar. Here you’ll see a replica of the explosive.

COFFEE TIP: if you love your coffee, get your morning shot from Coffee Circus. The cafe lives right across the road from the church and serves some of the best coffee on the island.

3 days in Malta - Mdina

Pre-Lunch in the Silent City

You’ll be struck by the quiet and respectful atmosphere as soon as you enter across the impressive stone bridge and into the main gate of Mdina, known as the “Silent City.”

It is very tranquil compared to the busy streets around Malta as only residents, of which there are 300, and a few selected others are allowed to drive inside the city walls.

We suggest taking a leisurely stroll along the narrow winding streets and inhale the beauty of this place. However, if you prefer someone leading the way, take a two-hour guided tour around Mdina and learn interesting facts as you explore this medieval city.

Lunch with a View

After you explored the walled city and took enough envious Insta shots, it will be time for a quick bite. Pop into either Xpresso Cafe & Bistro located in Palazzo de Piro, a beautiful 17th-century palace or Fontanella Tea Garden next door.

Both restaurants offer lovely panoramic views across the Maltese countryside, stretching all the way to Mosta and beyond.

Quirky Afternoon

If you are up for a quick wander just outside Mdina, Domus Romana is a quirky thing to see. The museum features intricate Roman-era mosaics from the 1st century before BC that were first discovered in 1881.

And if you got hooked exploring ancient sites, which are plenty in Malta, head to Rabat, across the main road from Mdina. Here you’ll find St Paul’s Catacombs – a Roman-era underground cemetery.

Read more: 25 Malta Photos to Inspire You to Visit Malta.

3 days in Malta - Ghan Tuffieha Bay

Beach Time

With so many places in Malta to visit in 3 short days, you definitely need a quick break. And you absolutely need an afternoon on the beach.

Even if you are visiting in autumn, winter, or springtime, a stroll along the beach is a very refreshing activity. The island springs to life in winter months and is at its most beautiful from April to May, covered in greenery and framed by colourful wildflowers.

From Mdina, drive up north in the direction of Mellieha. It’s a pretty straightforward road and, depending on the traffic, should take you around 20 mins to get there.

Mellieha is popular for its lovely Għadira and Golden Bays. But Għajn Tuffieħa Bay on the west coast is even more magnificent.

For the stunning panoramic views, descend towards the bay from the parking spot. Wander along through the scrub and bush towards the rock in front of you. Scramble up the fairly steep rugged rocks until you are met with a stunning view over into the next sheltered strip of sand, Ġnejna Bay.

Ġnejna Bay is a less touristy swimming spot if you fancy a dip. Here you can rent kayaks or take boat rides for lots of fun in the sun.

Read more: 47 Great Things to Do in Malta.

Evening – Watch the Sunset at Għajn Tuffieħa Bay

Many locals agree that Għajn Tuffieħa Bay is one of the best sunset spots on the island so stay put until the sun begins a slow descent into the Mediterranean sea. It’s equally spectacular to watch it from the beach or from the top of the rocks.

For dinner, consider packing a tasty picnic and stay to watch the starry sky.

Download this article as a self-guided walking tour on your smartphone.

  Check out our Malta sightseeing walk on  

Day Three: Fish and Pools

Early Morning in Marsaxlokk

Get ready for an early start on day three (Sunday) in Malta. The iconic Marsaxlokk Sunday fish market is best experienced as early as possible. Let’s just say that sunrise is the perfect time to arrive here.

As the dawn breaks, the fishermen boats rush back to the shores to sell the catch of the day to the local fishmongers and restaurants. A priceless local scene for photo geeks.

Read more about the Sunday Fish Market in Marsaxlokk.

St Peter's pool - Malta

Late Morning – Pool Time

If you come as far south as Marsaxlokk, it would be a shame to miss the crayon-blue St Peter’s Pool. It’s a picture-perfect swimming spot loved by locals for chilling, sunbathing and cliff jumping. Plus, if you come here early in the morning, you might have the pool all to yourself. Enjoy.

Fish for Lunch

After the refreshing morning paddle, head back to Marsaxlokk and enjoy a freshly caught fish prepared by the many restaurants in the area. If you want to go all foodie, make reservations at Tartarun, proclaimed as one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in the area.

Afternoon at Dingli Cliffs

For more fun in the Mediterranean Sea, head towards Żurrieq for a wander through the caves of the famous Blue Grotto. You can either admire the rock formation from the top of the cliffs or hop on one of the local fisherman boats.

A short 10-minute drive from Żurrieq, you’ll find Ħaġar Qim, another megalithic temple overlooking the islet of Fifla. The temple is especially popular during the Summer Solstice sunrise.

Next thing to do on your third day in Malta is to take in the stunning view from the edge of Dingli Cliffs. This is one of the highest points in Malta that will reward you with pleasing panoramic vista along the sweeping coastline.

TOP TIP: If you are planning to take a boat ride to the Blue Grotto, it’s best to do in the morning. Also, you want to do it on a sunny day. If it’s cloudy, the site is not going to be as spectacular so you could just admire it from the top of the cliffs.

Hearty Dinner

For dinner options close by, you could head to the tiny Dingli Village. Otherwise, take a drive towards Mdina for a hearty feast at a restaurant housed in an old railway station, L-Istazzjon Cafe and Eatery.

Spooky Evening Walk

To walk off that hearty meal, pop back to Mdina for a spooky walk through the winding streets of the former capital of Malta.

When the darkness falls, the fortress turns into a maze of dimly lit passageways. The evening atmosphere here is great and makes it a perfect way to end your third day on the island.

For an even more enjoyable walk around the walled city, you can download an audio sightseeing tour packed with fascinating stories, map and directions. You can download the audio guide here.

Download this article as a self-guided walking tour on your smartphone.

  Check out our Malta sightseeing walk on  

Day Four: Walk or Sail

An All-Day Trek in Malta (Autumn-Spring Time)

You might be surprised, but there are quite a few interesting walks in Malta. One of the major trails, if you are up for an all-day trek through the Maltese countryside, is the stunning Victoria Lines route.

Depending on your fitness level, it could take you up to 8 hours or so to complete the trail. However, you should only attempt to do the walk from late autumn to early spring, before it gets too hot.

For a shorter alternative, try the excellent 2000-years-old Xemxija Heritage Trail also known as the Roman Road.

Another option is to check out the official Visit Malta page for downloadable guided walks across the island.

Sail the Maltese Islands (Summer Time)

If you are visiting Malta in the summer months, sailing the three islands could be a great option. You can either rent a chartered boat if you have the budget for it or join a boat tour for an all-day fun of cruising, swimming, snorkelling and visiting the famous Blue Lagoon.

Read our Boat Tour experience.

Day Five: Hop to Gozo

Gharb Village in Gozo

If you are planning to spend more than 3 days in Malta, visit Gozo. The quieter sister island is only 15-20 minutes away across the deep waters of the Mediterranean.

One of the main sites to see in Gozo is the beautifully restored Cittadella in the capital Victoria (Rabat). The whole site is fantastic and offers stunning panoramic views across the island from on high.

Even though destroyed by an angry storm in early 2017, the rocky Azure Window site is still a great place to visit. While you are paying your respects to the fallen pride and joy of Gozo, be sure to visit the Inland Sea, known locally as Dwejra.

Also, visit the impressive Ta Pinu Sanctuary located in the village of Għarb. The blue skies of Malta and the azure sea provide a wonderful backdrop to this sandstone-built Roman Catholic basilica.

Before you leave Gozo, make your way to the beautiful red sand Ramla beach. This crescent-shaped sandy shore is a great pit stop to relaxed, swim or snorkel. A fitting farewell to the island.

Read more: Top Things to Do in Gozo 

Before You Visit Gozo

If you are not in a rush to get a ferry over to Gozo, you could make a couple of stops for an interesting wander.

Popeye’s Village. Nestled in Anchor Bay on the north-west coast of the main island the Popeye’s Village is a complete film set remaining from the 1980 live-action film Popeye starring Robin Williams.

It has since been converted into an attraction with various entertainers and shows around the complex of ramshackle buildings. But you can park up on the cliff opposite to get a good view and a couple of excellent snaps across the rooftops.

The Red Tower. It’s a historic site that was once one of the main forms of communication between Valletta and Gozo. Today it has a small exhibition inside and lovely panoramic views from the top of the fortification.

Read more: Our Expat Guide to Malta

Quick Checklist for the Perfect 3 Days in Malta

  • While many sites can be accessed via local transport, we recommend renting a car.
  • If you, however, decide to explore the island with the local transport, use this handy Malta Transport smartphone app.
  • Traffic on the island can get hectic, use caution on the roads.
  • The peak season is Malta is hot, humid, and busy. Drink water, use sunscreen, hat, and common sense.
  • Don’t use white cabs, get the Taxify app instead and use it whenever you need to get to places.
  • Prebook your tickets to the Hypogeum.
  • It’s too hot to trek in the summertime.
  • Watch out for jellyfish in the sea.
  • Have fun and check out the many other activities on the Maltese islands. Click the button “More things to do” for more options:

Have you been to Malta? What are your top tips for 3 days in Malta? Let us know in the comments below…

3 days in Malta: the turquoise Tuffieha bay, Valletta streets and a white boat sailing the blue Mediterranean sea. width=”735″ height=”1102″ />

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  1. Now that I’ve read this post, I would love to go to Malta. I don’t think we’re ready to fly anywhere yet, and I don’t think we’re going to Malta this year, but I’ve put it on our list for next year. We live in Frankfurt and I think it’s very easy to find flights to Malta, so this sounds like an amazing destination for a short trip. Your photos look fantastic and I think I’d enjoy all of the activities you listed above!

    1. Hey Ilona, hope the summer in Frankfurt is treating you well 🙂 Malta is perfect for a short and sunny European getaway – there are a lot of fun things to do for such a small island. Hope you can make it over there next year! Thanks again for stopping by, so glad you enjoyed the photos! For even more things to do, you can also check out this full guide to the Maltese islands:

      Thanks again and stay safe! C&K

  2. Looking forward to our first visit in november, this guide has helped plan some of our week, but plan to see how each day goes and not rush ourselves.

    1. Hey Colin, thank so much for your kind comment. In November it really does depend on the weather as to how much you can see each day, but it’s a tiny country so there’s no need to rush around and try and cram everything in. Let us know if you have any other questions mate. C&K.

    1. Hey Steven, yeah it can be an ideal spot for a quick European sunshine break. It’s pretty small so easy to explore in a few short days too. Let us know if you are coming, we might be around for a beer! 🙂

  3. Thanks for this great guide! I’m heading to Malta for the first time next week and really looking forward to it. I hadn’t heard of that walk before so will defo check that out – along with every thing else you mentioned!

    1. Hi Victoria, glad you found the guide useful! Such a small island, so many things to do 🙂 The Victoria Line trek is great, but it might be a little too hot for it at this time, we are melting here right not 🙂 Unless you start very early in the morning or do a night trek 🙂

  4. What a fantastic round-up! I still haven’t done the Victoria Lines walk, but this is the second time I’ve seen it so highly recommended. Consider it added to the (top of the!) list for exploring my new home 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Amanda! Yes, the Victoria Lines trail is gorgeous and so peaceful, we really recommend it! It might look a little different now that the golden yellow colours are quickly replacing the colours of lush green fields and flowers, but it’s still a great trek. Let us know how you get on! 🙂

  5. This was nice to see! There isn’t much out there on Malta from actual travelers. I’m not sure if it is a secret or if just doesn’t get a lot of tourists, but I can’t wait to get there. The pictures remind me of Greece!

    That is a great list of food options too! Looking at the seafood risotto made me hungry!

    1. Hi Tina, we didn’t really know much about Malta before coming here, but life is pretty easy on this island. Architecturally it’s not the prettiest place, but the natural rocky landscape is very cool and also the Mediterranean Sea is beautiful. The clear waters are some of the best in Europe for diving, especially in Gozo.

      Malta is quite touristy, but unfortunately it attracts a lot of people who come here to party rather than explore. Do let us know if you have any questions before visiting 🙂

      The seafood risotto was really great, I had it at the U Bistrot in St Julian’s area 🙂

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