Perched in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the country of Malta is a stunning little archipelago that sits neatly, just south of Sicily and just shy of Tunisia to the north. This nation of islands is one gorgeous place you should visit, especially for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Stunning fishing villages and natural vistas.
Obviously, spending a day or two in Malta just isn’t enough and if you want to pack in lots of Maltese experiences, I’d definitely recommend 5-7 days. On my last trip to Malta, I spent 5 nights on Malta itself and a full day exploring the beauty of Gozo, the nearby island that is easily reached by boat.
Anyway, I’m rambling as usual! Take a look at some of the very best places you should definitely see whilst visiting Malta.
1.) Dive to see the fallen Azure Window, Gozo
Sadly, one of Gozo’s most famous natural sites, the Azure Window collapsed in a recent storm on the island, causing the huge arch that I saw on my visit to drop into the sea. It’s so sad to see this wonderful site disappear but, you know what, that’s nature – a constantly moving cycle of incredible events we should embrace and have a healthy respect for.
If you’re an avid diver, now is a great time to visit the magnificent Azure window arch that crashed into the ocean. Go on an organised dive and listen to local advice, this underwater landscape is new and still forming – no one should take too many risks here.
2.) St Joseph’s Church, Msida, Malta
Not too far from the centre of Valletta, St Joseph’s Church is a gorgeous Roman Catholic church to visit in the small harbour town of Msida. If you’re visiting in July, make sure to coincide it with the town’s feast of St. Joseph.
3.) Popeye Village, Malta
You can’t visit Malta without seeing the original Popeye Village… can you? Okay, you can if you want but don’t be a spoil sport – it’s a quirky and a tiny bit tacky little village that was built for Popeye the film and has stayed on the island ever since… and you know what, I loved it!
I feel like no one under 15 will even know who Popeye is now… anyway, if you do and you like your spinach, this is the town to visit!
4.) Hike across the islands, Malta or Gozo
Now, this sounds more strenuous than it actually is. Near Popeye Village is Għadira Natural Reserve (this is where the island of Malta actually narrows to about 500 metres in width and) where you can walk from one side of the island to the other, in literally 30 minutes.
On a more serious note, if you want to go hiking, the Girgenti Walk is beautiful and takes in lots of historical sites.
5.) See Ta’ Pinu Basilica, Gozo
Located a good 35-minute walk from Għarb on Gozo, Ta’ Pinu Basilica is one picturesque place you should see. Although relatively new (in Maltese standards), it’s well worth seeing and popping inside when on Gozo.
6.) The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta
Probably the most iconic Basilica’s in the Country, The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is one beautiful place to visit. It’s perfect to explore on your day in the capital. Keep your eyes peeled for the painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that’s inside, too.
7.) See the sunset at Senglea harbour, Malta
The natural harbour of Valletta is hard to miss, especially if you’re going to be visiting the capital city anyway. Make sure to visit the Senglea Harbour area around sunset, when the sun lights up the stoney buildings with its beautiful orange glow.
8.) Visit the Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens, Malta
The Upper Barrakka Gardens is one of the best places to get a view across the grand natural harbour around this area. As the highest point of the historic walls, you’ll get to peek out across the harbour from a completely different perspective.
The Lower Barrakka Gardens house a picturesque temple that looks almost Roman in its design.
9.) Visit the Blue Grotto, Malta
The Blue Grotto is perched on the southern end of Malta and easily reached by boat or seen from above (which is better if you tend to get a little seasick). It’s quite easy to arrange a boat from most hotels and the Valletta itself.
Top tip: Make sure you visit before around midday. Due to the caves location and the morning light, this time of day/morning showcases a unique mix of incredible blues and underwater scenery that’s transformed with the morning sunlight. After about 1 pm the effect is not quite the same.
10.) Go inside the Rotunda of Mosta, Malta
If you haven’t made it to Rome, you should definitely visit the Rotunda of Mosta as it was designed and modelled after the Pantheon itself. What most people don’t know is that the Rotunda is actually the third largest unsupported dome in the whole world and well worth seeing in person.
11.) Explore Valletta, Malta
The whole city of Valletta has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status and it’s easy to see why. Once the midday heat subsides, take a walk around the cobbled streets and wander through this architecturally stunning capital that looks like it’s out of a movie set.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Adesso in the city. They make one of the best plates of pasta on the island! I beg you to find better.
12.) Find Ħaġar Qim, Malta
The megalithic temple of Ħaġar Qim is one of the oldest and most precious historical sites in the country, dating as far back as 3,600BC. That’s well over 5,000 years old! Make sure to visit the Northern Temple, the Women’s Temple and the Main Temple itself.
Although the site isn’t Machu Picchu with its awe-inspiring vistas, it really does have a history that dates back much further than many other sites and is a great UNESCO site to experience.
13.) Go inside Grandmaster’s Palace, Malta
When wandering the streets of Valletta (or if the weather takes a turn for the worse), head inside the Grandmaster’s Palace. This gorgeous palace has been at the centre of governing Malta for well over 300 years. Best of all, you can head inside and explore the State Apartments and the Islamic and Ottoman histories they house here.
14.) Gardjola Gardens, Malta
Gardjola Gardens is one place to visit that offers an uninterrupted view across the Grand Harbour. Perched on the opposite side to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, make sure to keep your keep a lookout for the sculpted ears and eyes that are carved on the tower, watching over the country.
15.) Hike the shores of Dingli Cliffs, Malta
One of the highest points on Malta, the Dingli Cliffs are well worth the stroll, especially around sunset. You can literally spend hours walking the shoreline, so take some water, a hikers spirit and plenty of sunblock. No one likes a burnt nose!
16.) Explore Rabat and Mdina, Malta
With well over 4,00 years of history here, head to the sleepy streets of Mdina and Rabat for a wander around one of the oldest settlements on the island. It’s a great place to explore the quieter side of life on the island, all whilst still taking in the amazing history here.
17.) Swim in Blue Hole, Gozo
Blue Hole is right next to the fallen Azure Window in Gozo and well worth taking a dip in whilst in the area.
If you’re a keen diver, you can book yourself on a tour underwater, deep down this amazing geological formation. It’s stunning to see from above and below, so choose whatever takes your fancy.
18.) Go inside Fort Manoel, Malta
Built in the 1800’s, Fort Manoel is one of Malta’s most iconic fortified historic places. Perched overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, this historic place is great to visit first thing in the morning when the sun is not too strong. Oh, don’t forget to visit the piazza and chapel inside the fort, too.