Having lived on this tiny rock in the Mediterranean Sea for two years, we’d love to talk you through some fun, relaxing and historic things to do in Malta all year round. This guide will be especially useful if you’ve never been here before and maybe don’t even know where this sunny pebble is located.
Wedged between Sicily and the North African coast, Malta is rough around the edges but very warm in both climate and local attitude. From prehistoric monuments to water sports in the clear Mediterranean sea, Malta has something for everyone.
Hugged by rugged coastline, surrounded by the azure seas, this rocky isle is still off the radar of most travellers. This 316 km² archipelago could apparently fit 5 times into London, but don’t let the size fool you. While it might seem like a sleepy island during the winter months, it is brimming with exciting things to see and experience.
Use this handy Malta travel guide to find out why it should be your next European travel destination. Look out for the ⭐ titles which are our personal favourite things to do in Malta.
Fascinating Ancient Places to Visit in Malta
1. Visit Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, the Spooky Underground Burial Site ⭐
Dating back to about 4000BCĦal Saflieni Hypogeum is one of the most – if not the most – fascinating things to see in Malta. It’s a maze of interconnected stone-carved burial chambers hidden underground.
During your guided tour through the three levels of the Hypogeum, you’ll discover ancient marvels like wall paintings and carvings that are similar to those found in the Maltese Megalithic temples, preserved in stone and time.
As with many popular attractions in Malta, we recommend pre-booking your tickets in advance. Especially if you are planning to visit Malta in the peak season, between early June – late September.
2. Catacombs and St Paul’s Grotto in Rabat
Mdina’s lovely neighbour Rabat is a place where you’ll find the oldest Roman underground cemetery in Malta.
Just like the famous Hypogeum in Malta, St Paul’s catacombs are an interconnected underground burial site covering an area of 2000 sqr meters. Dating back as far as 7th Century AD, the site is connected to the tale of St Paul’s shipwreck.
The islanders believe that it was the Apostle Paul himself who brought Christianity to the island and Malta was one of the first Roman colonies to convert as a result.
If you want to learn more about the shipwreck, pop into St. Paul’s Grotto from where he preached and healed people. It’s located beneath the 17th-century Collegiate Church of St Paul in the centre of the town.
Megalithic Temples of Malta
3. Tarxien Temple
Used for animal sacrifice rituals, Tarxien Temple is one of the most elaborate ancient temples of Malta. The site features the remains of 4 temples with lavishly decorated stone blocks, reliefs, massive statues & altars. It’s just a 12-minute drive from Valletta.
4. Mnajdra Temple
Made of coralline limestone the Mnajdra Temple is thought to have been used as an astronomical observatory. The temple is a great place to visit during the summer solstice and witness the spectacular sight as the sunlight passes directly through the main entrance.
5. Ħaġar Qim Temple
At the Ħaġar Qim Temple, you will discover an elliptical hole which also aligns with the Summer Solstice sunrise. Similarly to the Mnajdra Temple, the sun’s rays pass through this hole illuminating stone blocks just opposite the main entrance.
6. Ta’ Ħaġrat Temple
Ta’ Ħaġrat Temple is the only Temple site which is built entirely of local Upper Coralline Limestone and well worth a look.
7. Skorba Temple
Finally on our UNESCO list is Skorba Temple located on the outskirts of Mġarr. It provides not only a great insight into the oldest free-standing monuments on earth but also lovely views of the surrounding landscape.
Before planning your visit, we recommend checking the official Heritage Malta website for an up to date information and opening times.
Read more: Long Weekend in Malta
Water Activities in Malta
8. Sail the Maltese Islands ⭐
Getting aboard a sailing boat is easy in Malta. If you are travelling with a group of friends, you could rent a chartered boat with a skipper and have a jolly good time chilling, snorkelling and relaxing on a beautiful sailing yacht.
9. Join a Boat Tour
A cheaper option is to join one of the many excursion boats for a fun trip around all three islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino.
These kinds of sailing trips will take you to some of the most beautiful spots including the famous Blue Lagoon and the Crystal Lagoon for a swim. If you are lucky, the captain will arrange a dingy and whisk you away on a quick trip through small, but rather fascinating caves.
Read more: Sailing the Maltese Islands
10. Dive in the Maltese Waters
Malta and specifically Gozo are known as a European diving mecca among diving enthusiasts. The brave and experienced head to the Lantern Point on the southeastern side of Camino for a thrilling dive in a 40-meter underwater tunnel.
If you are thinking of learning to dive, Malta has a number of licensed schools to help you experience the underwater world.
11. Snorkel in Malta
If you have your own snorkelling equipment, bring it along to Malta. The waters here are some of the clearest in Europe making it perfect for sea life spotting on any beach.
Some of the best snorkelling spots include the shallow waters of Qawra Point, the Crystal Lagoon, Cirkewwa or Santa Maria Caves.
Watersport Adventures in Malta
Renting a kayak to explore the rocky coastline is a great thing to in Malta during the summer season. And finding a place to rent one won’t be a problem.
Many of the most popular beaches such as Golden Bay or Gnejna Bay will have the facilities where you can rent a kayak for as little as €5 per hour. If you are in St Julian’s area and want a paddle in the bay, prepare to budget €10 for a one-person kayak.
13. Windsurfing in Malta
If you always wanted to try your luck gliding through the water, then visit the sun-kissed island outside of the busy season when the wind picks up in Malta between November and March.
You’ll find several good spots to windsurf in Malta including Mellieha, St Julians/Sliema, and St. Thomas Bay. The latter is a little bit far out in Marsaskala, so you will need a car for convenience. But getting there is worth it as it’s less busy than the other popular bays on the island.
Private two-hour windsurfing lessons start from €80 and go up to £200 for a six-hour private windsurfing course with a qualified instructor.
14. Jet Skiing
Are you a thrill seeker planning your trip to Malta? Exploring the coastline on a jet ski could be quite an adventurous thing to do in Malta.
Twenty-minute rides are widely available across the island from €45 per person. Jet Ski safaris for two, where you get to visit Malta, Gozo, and Comino, start from €160.
If you want even more buzz on your Maltese holiday with panoramic views beneath your feet, try parasailing. Just like with any water sports activities in Malta, parasailing is easily accessible around the island. So if you think you can budget for one more exciting activity, the fun starts from €40 per person.
Natural Pools and Beaches in Malta
16. Sliema Pools
Malta’s coastline is dotted with unusual, naturally landscaped beaches and even natural Victorian-carved jacuzzi baths. These rocky shores are great for a quick drop into the sea or a chilled afternoon swim.
If you are staying anywhere between Sliema and St Julians, the picturesque natural pools along the Sliema Promenade behind the Surfside restaurant are a great spot for a refreshing paddle.
17. St Peter’s Pool ⭐
Among many bays and natural pools in Malta, visiting St Peter’s Pool could be one of the best things to do in Malta on a sizzling-hot day.
The crayon-blue water pool surrounded by the white chalk rocks is a beach that’s popular with locals who love cliff jumping. The high rocky shores here provide a thrilling couple of meter drop into the sea and the crystal-clear water offers great snorkelling opportunities. Don’t forget your GoPro!
18. Golden Bay
This is one of the most visited bays in Malta among the island visitors. It’s a beautiful sandy bay edging the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean but it gets extremely crowded during the summer months.
19. Għajn Tuffieħa ⭐
With the 300 steps leading down into the bay, the Għajn Tuffieħa beach is loved by both locals and travellers. Sheltered by the rocky cliffs, it also hosts a cafe/restaurant, Riviera Martinique that serves decent (but slightly pricey) food and drinks. The cafe runs live music nights in the summer months so this could be another excellent thing to do in Malta if you are nearby.
However, the most exciting part of visiting the bay is not the sunbathing, but the walking trail. It will take you up the moon-like rocks and offer you a beautiful panoramic view over the stunning Għajn Tuffieħa bay and the next bay over.
Be sure to stay till sunset because the bay is great for sunset watching, especially from the rocky trail. Surprisingly, not many sunseekers explore the rocky way, so you could have the whole place almost to your self.
20. Gnejna Bay
Gnejna Bay is the third bay in the area, the furthest away from Golden Bay. It’s punctuated with cute boathouses lining the coast. If you don’t mind the curious looks from the locals, you can find a spot next to one of the huts. Getting into the water is so much more comfortable here than on the sandy shore.
As the sun starts sinking behind the rocks, you’ll see locals arrive with all the necessary equipment for a soulful BBQ feast on a beach. The atmosphere is fantastic, one of those priceless local scenes in Malta!
Lounging by the Pool
21. Cafe del Mar
If you don’t like beaches too much, you could spend a day lounging by the pool. Cafe del Mar, a replica of one of the most influential brands, Cafe del Mar in Ibiza, could be just the place to visit in Malta.
Due to various music gigs, the open pool attracts lots of party-thirsty youngsters but visiting the place during the daytime on a weekday, could be a much more chilled experience.
22. MedAsia Playa
Conveniently located in Sliema, MedAsia is a lido that offers a little bit of everything. It has a few pools on separate levels with access to the sea, a restaurant, cocktail bar and chilled music.
If the venue is not booked for staff pool parties by the local companies, you could have a chilled day reading a book while lounging on a sunbed.
Read more: Malta Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip
On-Land Activities in Malta
23. Ziplining in Malta
Ziplining could be one of those crazy fun activities in Malta if you don’t mind dangling high over the Grand Harbour as you zip away from the walled fortifications of Valletta. Prices start at €15 per adult and €12 per child per ride.
24. Free Tour of Valletta ⭐
Malta has a fascinating past, dating back to the prehistoric era and join the free tour of Valletta run by the local Maltese company Colour my travel could be a nice surprise. It’s a pleasant and effortless 90-minute history walk around the capital of Malta.
You will get to explore Valletta on foot, hear fascinating stories about the iconic Knights of St. John and learn quirky facts about Malta. The tour is free, but you are expected to leave a small tip at the end if you enjoyed the walk.
If you are interested in more in-depth, specialised Malta tours, you can also check out the Tours By Locals site and choose your private guide for the day. The tours are not always the cheapest but can provide good quality, personalised service, and insight into life in Malta. Charlie used to work as a freelance London tour guide via the site so we know they are reliable!
Treks and Walks in Malta
25. Trek the Victoria Lines ⭐
There are a few short walks across the country, but if you are an outdoors enthusiast, try the longer trek and walk the famous Victoria Lines in Malta. The trek from coast to coast up and down the rocky paths will provide you with fantastic panoramic views north as far as the eyes can see.
Read more: The Most Scenic Hiking Route in Malta
26. Xemxija Heritage Trail
If an all-day walk along the ‘Great Wall of Malta’ sounds a bit too much, you can try the Xemxija Heritage Trail.
Also known as the Roman Road, it’s a 2,000-year-old trail which leads you to some ancient beehives, burial caves, reconstructed farmers hut and a massive carob tree. The bean pulp from this tree is used in food preparation and also in making medicine to relieve coughs.
Download the trail’s official app for full details. Just be sure to wear some comfortable footwear and pack enough water to keep you going in the heat.
27. St. Anton Garden ⭐
The lovely St. Anton Garden is located in Attard. This green space is gorgeous at any time of year but is in its full glory in May. Take an afternoon off and get lost in the sea of blooming flowers or take a stroll through the maze of lanky palm trees and evergreen Araucarias.
The gardens and now the official residence of the President of Malta has been open to the public since 1882. It’s exceptionally well kept and a rare public green space on the island.
28. Chinese Garden of Serenity
For a tranquil afternoon, visit the Chinese Garden of Serenity in Santa Lucia. The garden is cleverly designed into several smaller peaceful spaces where you can have a chilled stroll.
Wine Experiences in Malta
29. Visit Maltese Vineyards
Some of the nation’s favourite vineyards include the award-winning Emmanuel Delicata family winemaker, Marsovin, and Marnisi Estate. But if you can’t find time to book a tour of the vineyards, maybe you can time your visit to Malta with the wine festival?
30. Delicata Classic Wine Festival
Panoramic views, sea breeze, and vine always go well together.
If you can time your visit to the island in August, sipping the local produce at the Delicata Classic Wine Festival, could be a lovely thing to do in Malta. It’s an annual event hosted atop the beautiful Upper Barrakka gardens in Valletta (Nadur in Gozo in September).
31. Join the Locals in a Maltese Festa ⭐
The colourful Maltese Festa is a unique attraction on the island and you should try to see at least one if you can. It’s not just a religious celebration, but also fierce competition for the best fireworks and decorations between the towns and villages.
The festivals take place throughout the year but are in full swing in the summertime. You can check out the full calendar of the Maltese celebrations on the Visit Malta website and plan your visit around them.
32. Fly to Malta for the Isle of MTV Festival
If you love music, sunshine and the sea combined, then you should come to Malta for the Isle of MTV festival. It takes place at the Granaries (Fosos) in Floriana, right in front of the beautiful St. Publius Church.
The festival brings together crowds of music-loving locals and visitors alike. It takes place on the 7th July and includes headlines from the likes of the Chainsmokers, NCE, Jonas Blue and Raye to Martin Garrix and Jason Derulo.
Top Places to Visit in Malta
33. The City of Valletta
The historic capital of Malta, built on a huge high rock sticking out into the Mediterranean sea is a beautiful place to explore.
Distinctive and elegant, Valletta’s streets will take you up and down the historic alleyways and buildings. Don’t forget to look up at the colourful Maltese balconies as you explore this UNESCO site and the European Capital of Culture in 2018.
34. The Three Cities ⭐
Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua are the 3 ancient fortified cities that jut out into the Grand Harbour. Back in 1530, the oldest and the most visited city of Birgu (Vittoriosa) was settled as the capital of Malta.
If you make it across the deep waters of the harbour, simply have a wander through the peaceful cobbled streets of this enchanting place.
35. The Former Maltese Capital Mdina ⭐
Know as a Silent City, Mdina is a very tranquil fortress with only 300 residents and a few select others who are allowed to drive inside the city walls.
While the narrow winding streets of Mdina are beautiful to wander in the daytime, we really recommend coming here after sunset. The dimly lit passageways create a rather spooky yet peaceful ambience in the city.
36. The Three Villages of Malta (Attard, Balzan, and Lija)
These are some of the best-preserved villages in central Malta. Attard is the biggest town and home to the beautiful St Anton Garden. The site was originally established by a French knight and the attached palace is now the official residence of the President of Malta.
We recommend hiring a car to explore the area as it could get tricky getting to the places on local transport.
37. Marsaxlokk Fishing Village
Famous for it’s Sunday Fish Market and home to some of the best fish and seafood restaurants on the island. Arrive at the village extra early on a Sunday to see the fisherman bring back fish from the sea.
Otherwise, avoid the busy and tacky Marsaxlokk Sunday Market on a Sunday afternoon.
Read more: Marsaxlokk Sunday Fish Market in Malta
This one of the busiest parts of the island, packed with holidaymakers catching a ferry to Valletta, sitting in restaurants and wandering around the high street.
To escape the chaos, stroll the 3km long promenade along the rocky coast to the northwest. The natural pools carved out by the Victorians and filled with refreshing clear waters are great for cooling off in the burning Mediterranean heat.
39. St. Julian’s Area
St. Julian’s is home to the beautiful Balluta and Spinola Bays and Malta’s top hotel, the 5-star luxury Westin Dragonara Resort.
A real mix of business offices, Thai spas and pretty good food scene, St. Julian’s is a very lively area to hang around at any time, day or night.
Swimming here is good since the bays here offer sheltered natural swimming pools with ladders attached to the cliff’s edge to help you get into the sea.
Read more: Best Restaurants in Malta
40. Party in Paceville
Merging with Malta’s notorious area Paceville, St. Julian attracts many party seekers ready to splash out on pricey booze. The Bay Street area here is lined with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, which actually, food-wise, aren’t bad at all.
Malta’s Sister Islands
41. Stay in Gozo ⭐
Gozo is a great destination to escape the hustle of the main island. If you feel overwhelmed by the noise in Malta, then spend a couple of days on its sister island.
Visiting the beautifully restored Cittadella in Victoria, combining both, a medieval and modern look, is one of the top things to do in Gozo. A walk along the fortress walls offers lovely panoramic views across the island. Plus it’s free to enter.
While getting around Gozo is easy on the local transport, we recommend hiring a car. This way you will be able to explore the scenic roads at your own pace.
Read more: Top 10 Fun Things to Do in Gozo
42. Visit Comino
This tiny island with only 3 residents is well known for it’s stunning Blue Lagoon and gets extremely crowded during the summer season. But beware that there’s no shade on the island unless you bring your own parasol, which you might be charged for additionally on top of your regular boat fare. Save your skin from painful sunburns by bringing plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and cover-ups!
For €9 per adult, United Comino Ferries provide regular round trips to this tiny piece of rock from Marfa and Cirkewwa.
Alternatively, for a swim and snorkel in both the Blue Lagoon and the Crystal Lagoon, you can book an all-day cruise with the local boat companies.
Historic Places in Malta
43. See ‘The Bomb Miracle 9 April 1942’ at Rotunda of Mosta ⭐
On 9th April 1942, a German 500kg bomb fell through the roof damaging the dome but failing to explode, a true miracle. Three hundred people were present at the time, but no one perished in the church that evening.
Therefore, built by Giorgio Grognet de Vassé, a French citizen resident of Mosta, the church is often referred to as ‘The Bomb Miracle 9 April 1942’ by the Maltese.
You can see a replica of the explosive inside the cathedral, look for the small room to the left of the altar.
Mosta itself is a very pleasant place to visit in Malta and one of the best towns to visit if you want to witness a Maltese Festa. Mosta celebrates the Feast of the Assumption on 15 August each year.
Also, this gorgeous Neoclassical building based on the Pantheon in Rome supposedly has the 4th – in some sources 3rd – largest unsupported dome in the world.
Read more: Expat Guide to Malta
44. Pop into the Red Tower ⭐
Malta’s entire coastline is dotted with watchtowers built by the Knights of Malta during the 17th century. But the one that stands out in the crowd is the Saint Agatha’s Tower. Locals called it the Red Tower of Malta, simply because it’s been painted in red colour during the restoration.
Built between 1647 and 1649 and positioned to overlook Gozo and Comino islands, it was used as a communication medium between Valletta and Gozo. It held its military purpose during the British period and was also used as a radar station by the Armed Forces of Malta.
Today the tower is run by volunteers, houses a nice exhibition and offers one of the best vantage points in Malta from its rooftop. It’s conveniently located on the way to the ferry terminal or the Noah’s Ark dog sanctuary if you fancy taking a pup our for a very needed stroll.
Cool Museums in Malta
45. The National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta
A visit to the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta after or before visiting the temples could be a nice extension of your archaeological explorations in Malta.
An impressive building itself, the museum is home to an extensive collection of artefacts dating back to 5,000 BC and displaying some of our ancestors’ belongings.
46. National War Museum and Fort Saint Elmo ⭐
If you love history and would like to learn what Malta was like during the World War I and World War II, visit the National War Museum. It’s a well-planned site that houses an extensive collection of photographs and other war memorabilia such as crashed aircraft and weapons.
Among the many displayed relics, look out for The George Cross that which awarded to Malta by King George VI in 1942. The cross is the second highest award of the United Kingdom for heroism and courage in extreme danger and nonetheless is a highly valued possession by the islands of Malta.
The museum and grounds is a lovely site to visit and one of the top things to do in Malta. Besides, the views from the star-shaped Fort Saint Elmo stretching towards the three cities over the Grand Harbour, are lovely.
Read more: Three-day Malta Itinerary
47. Inquisitor’s House in Vittoriosa (Birgu)
While wandering the picturesque streets of Birgu (aka Vittoriosa), check out the Inquisitor’s Palace, the seat of the Maltese Inquisition from 1574 to 1798. It’s one of the very few Inquisitor’s palaces that has survived the test of time and the only Inquisitors house in the world, open to the general public.
Have you enjoyed the post? Let us know which of the things you’ve done or are planning to do in Malta in the comments below.