Malta is one of those places that’s so much more than you’d expect. I mean, for such a tiny island country (not forgetting Gozo, too), it really packs a punch of gorgeous sites to see. Some of the best things to do in Malta are things that you might not even expect to see, with a whole heap of spots that are too darn amazing to miss.
To be honest, the thing I love most about Malta is how diverse it is, which has a lot to do with its spot in the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea. Without reeling off a complete history of Malta, the islands have become crossroads of culture over thousands of years (which, in my opinion, makes it very special).
From Romans (modern day Italy), Phoenicians (Eastern Europe), Carthaginians (North Africa) alongside; Moorish, Arab, Norman to more recently French and British influences, Malta is a melting pot of some of the most fascinating cultures across Europe and beyond which is a key reason why the best things to do in Malta and Gozo are not just diverse but totally unique to the islands. 🤗
‘Insider Tips’ in Malta
Now, it’s true, I have a proper soft spot for Malta and after my first visit, I just knew I had to go back. 🤗
A few weeks ago, the gang at Marco Polo Guides asked if we wanted to try scouting out some of their tips on our next trip (which piqued my interest straight away). Using their Malta and Gozo guide we decided to search for some of the ‘insider tips’ on the best things to do in Malta.
Suffice to say, I’m a real sucker for insider tips… Essentially, anything that means I get to make the most of my time on the islands (like those insider tips featuring some of the lesser-known spots in Malta and Gozo) is an opportunity I’ll always jump at while travelling.
After a little bedtime reading of the guide, I found a heap of recommendations that actually ended up saving my bacon on a few occasions. The tips on parking rules (i.e. how no parking or no stopping isn’t really shown with signs but instead with just the lines on the floor – which is totally different to back home in the UK) really helped and saved me a whole lot of unnecessary spend.
I mean, on our last trip to Italy for example, I ended up with not one, but three parking tickets after I got back home! 😭
Anyway, before I start rambling about the silly parking mistakes I’ve made, I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Malta. It’s a place I’m almost certain you’ll love, especially if you love a little culture, loads of history and gorgeous Mediterranean landscapes.
Best Things To Do In Malta And Gozo
Take a look at 10 of the best things to do in Malta… and with all our posts, pop us a message if you need any other tips or advice. ✨
1.) Explore the noble city of Mdina
Mdina is the historic capital of Malta and a place that’s been in existence for well over four-thousands years and came to be known as the ‘noble city’ in the Medieval times. The whole city itself is so stunning and completely unique. Mdina almost feels like a fort city that watches over the island of Malta (with the best views of Mdina itself from the northern or western sides).
Although Mdina might seem relatively small compared to other cities, it’s a spot you can easily whisk away a sunny afternoon. Once there, pop through the Mdina Main Gate, explore St. Paul’s Cathedral Museum and Catacombs and pop inside the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Oh yeah, and if you’re a proper gelato fiend (like moi) then pop into Fior Di Latte. To be honest, the had me at Gelato but they’ve really got some of the best icecreams in the city.
If you’re looking for something a little more savoury, head to the Bacchus Restaurant for a Maltese Platter, filled with everything from; sundried tomatoes, octopus, bigilla and aljoli dip, olives and home-made kunserva.
If you’re looking to stay in Mdina, check into the stunning The Xara Palace that I’m almost certain you’ll love.
2.) Wander around Valletta
Valletta is one of my favourite capital cities in Europe and honestly, it’s one of the best things to do in Malta, especially if you want to experience some of that Maltese charm.
Once in the city, make sure to spend a sunny afternoon wandering the cobbled streets and historic centre – it’s still one of my favourite ways to explore the city centre (and it’s so walkable, too). Once there, make sure to visit the Grandmaster’s Palace (that’s still used for state receptions), St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Upper Barrakka Gardens and the Valletta Waterfront (which is amazing at sunset).
For some tasty grub, head to Peppino’s who have some of the yummiest lamb dishes in all of Malta. Also, if you’re wanting to stay a few nights in the city itself, check into the boutique (and totally stunning), Casa Ellul right in the centre itself.
3.) Gorge at some of the best food
Now, if anyone mentions anything to do with good spots to eat at, I’ll be straight there. I’m not sure what it is about holidays but I always tend to gorge (no regrets, BTW) with Malta and Gozo being a great place to do this.
If you’re in Valetta, make sure to work up an appetite for Salvino’s by La Pecora Nera who makes some of the best pasta dishes in the city. Also, for some of the best coffee, pop into the Piadina Caffe.
Just outside Valetta, in Saint Julian’s pop into Barracuda who have some of the best seafood this side of Malta. Dishes are a little more expensive than some other spots but it’s great for a little holiday treat.
Whilst in Gozo, pop into the Country Terrace for a gorgeous lunch overlooking the Mediterranean city. They’ve got some of the best views (from their terrace), too.
4.) Explore Marsaxlokk Harbour
Perched in the south of Malta, Marsaxlokk Harbour is one of the best things to do in Malta, especially if you’re wanting a little escape to a historic fishing village. It’s one of those spots that’s great to visit in the late morning or the early evening when for a spot of grub (with most harbour fronts selling their catches of the day).
After a wander around the harbourfront, pop over to St. Peter’s Pool (about 10 minutes away) for a little dip.
5.) See Popeye Village
Okay, so you might head to Malta and wonder how the heck there’s a Popeye village in Malta? Well, it’s actually the remnants of the Popeye film (With Robin Williams) that was shot in the 1980’s.
Nowadays, it’s a gorgeous little spot to see on the shores of north-west Malta. Now, you’ll need to pay an entry fee to gain access to the town (film set) but if that’s not your thing, just drive up to the top of the bay and take in the gorgeous view of Popeye Village itself (all for free).
6.) Head into the Mosta Dome
Dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, seeing the Mosta Dome is one of the best things to do in Malta (especially as it’s considered to be the fourth largest dome in the world). Now, you’ll need to pay an admission fee of around €2, so make sure to take some cash with you (they don’t accept cards).
Once inside, you can take a wander around the incredible dome, see the WWII bomb that never exploded inside the church and also the incredible art the lines the walls. It really is a gorgeous spot to see.
7.) Take a boat into the Blue Grotto
Perched on the south-east coast of Malta, the Blue Grotto is a stunning mix of sea caves that have naturally formed on this part of Malta. If you’re driving by car, it’ll take you around 25 minutes from Valetta and about 15 minutes from the airport but well worth the short drive.
In lots of ways, the Blue Grotto is similar to the collapsed Azure Window on Gozo (near the Blue Hole) and one of the best things to do in Malta, especially if you want to explore the natural landmarks of the country.
Now, there’s a really great view of the Blue Grotto cave system on your drive down to Ta Sciuta Tower. There’s a little stopping point just as you turn off the main road (you can’t miss it) and it’s the right on the way down to the boats which take you into the grottos themselves.
The 30-minute, or so, boat trips cost around €8 each. Just be prepared for a little choppy water on your boat trip into the grottos themselves.
Also, a good thing to remember is that the daylight actually makes a difference to how blue the crystal clear the cave systems look. We were told that the best time to visit was around 1-2 pm… and it was spectacular!
8.) Take a dip in the Blue Hole
The Blue Hole is, in my opinion, one of the coolest and best things to do in Malta and Gozo if you love a good swim (or dive for that matter). Perched on the shores of Gozo, the Blue Hole is the spot where the Azure Window collapsed after a fierce storm… but don’t let that deter you from visiting. Once here, walk on over to the Blue Hole and take a dip inside this really unique spot.
One thing to note, the car parking here is totally free but you’ll find a few people asking for payment or ‘tips’. They can be persuasive in asking for money but if you read the government signs you’ll see the car parks are free.
If you’re looking for a stunning hotel on Gozo, check into the Kempinski Hotel in San Lawrenz.
9.) Head inside Ta’ Pinu
Relatively close to the village of Għarb, Ta’ Pinu is a stunning basilica and shrine that’s one of the most famous on the island of Gozo and one of the best things to do in Malta for sure.
There are a few things that make Ta’ Pinu so special, for instance, the fact that it’s perched in the gorgeous countryside makes it so imposing and totally eye-catching, but also the accounts inside by visitors that have claimed to be cured by divine intervention.
Pop inside and you’ll see everything from arm casts, pieces of clothing and toys that all tell a story from each person. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful mosaics that show the life of Jesus, too.
10.) Explore the Rotunda of Xewkija
Nestled on the island of Gozo, the Rotunda of Xewkija is another stunning and vast church in the town of Xewkija. Competing with the Mosta Dome on Malta, the Rotunda of Xewkija actually has the third largest dome in the world that sits within the oldest town on Gozo.
Whilst here, take a wander around the church and take the peek from the top of the dome, too. Entry to the top will cost you around €3.
If you’re looking for a gorgeous boutique accommodation on Gozo, check into Ellie Boo Farmhouse. It’s stunning.