Even though Malta is a very small archipelago consisting of only three islands, it has a lot to offer. I went there without having any expectations and got positively surprised by its variety.
Picturesque fishing villages, rough cliffs, modern cities, and prehistoric temples make this country in the Mediterranean sea an unforgettable travel destination.
To give you a quick overview of what awaits you in one of the smallest and unique countries to visit in Europe, I put together this blog post about the 10 best places to visit in Malta.
Most of them can be found on the main island, the rest is located on the island of Gozo.
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Island of Malta
The Island of Malta is the largest of the three islands and the culturally most important one. The first of the 10 best places to visit in Malta can be found here and it is the country’s capital city Valletta.
Valletta is probably not like any other capital city you may have visited in your life. With a population of approximately 6,000 people, Valletta is one of the smallest capital cities in the world.
Nevertheless, it has a lot to offer and even hosted the title of European Capital of Culture in 2018. Plus, the entire town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some absolute must-sees in the city include the stunning St. John’s Cathedral and other bastions in baroque architecture. Most of them were built in the 16th century and thus have a long and important history.
Valletta is also the largest harbor town on the island and if you want to get the best view the Grand Harbour, head to The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens. From there, you can also spot the so-called Three Cities of Malta.
Something else you’ll find all over the city is the typical style of balconies. These gorgeous “Maltese balconies” are everywhere and come in numerous different colors. Keep your eyes open to make sure you don’t miss the prettiest ones!
There’s one more thing very typical for Malta but you probably wouldn’t expect to find that on the island: red phone booths!
Malta was under British control from 1800 to 1814 and the phone booths are the last remains of this time. I feel like Valletta could be the smaller, southern sister city of London!
Valletta is a cultural and historical city but also very modern and hip. Thus it’s the perfect location for a great hen party in Malta, for example!
TIP: Before you go to Malta, don’t forget your travel insurance to cover non-refundable travel expenses. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.
The second place on the list is Sliema, a small beach town right opposite the peninsula where Valletta is located. Years back, Sliema was the place where the Maltese aristocracy lived.
Nowadays it’s one of the main resort destinations where you can find tasty food, awesome bars, and many lovely boutiques.
The city is also the perfect starting point for different kinds of tours around the island. Moreover, you can take the direct ferry connection to Valletta or simply enjoy a fantastic view of the capital city while taking a stroll along the promenade.
3. St. Julians
There’s no other place in Malta where you can turn night into day better than in St. Julians. This resort town is known for having the best nightlife scene on the island.
It’s also home to Malta’s tallest building – the Portomaso Tower. There’s a club on the top floor of it where you can dance all night long while looking down on the town lights.
Even if you’re not into partying, you should consider a visit to St. Julians. Large, flat rocks along the coastline are perfect sunbathing beds and a walk along the promenade offers beautiful views.
Moreover, thanks to its convenient and central location on the island, it’s a good place to stay during your time in Malta.
The hotel I stayed at was the Hilton Malta – a 5-star hotel located right next to the Portomaso Tower at a small yacht harbour.
Check out other options on where to stay in St. Julian’s:
To reach the next one of the best places to visit in Malta, leave the coastal area and head inland. There, built on a large hill, you’ll find the gorgeous town Mdina.
The so-called “Silent City” is the best address to experience medieval Malta. The fact that no cars are allowed to enter this town makes the experience even more real and authentic.
Take a stroll through the narrow alleys, admire the old Carmelite Church and you’ll most likely forget what century we currently have.
After enough exploration, head to Coogi’s for lunch or a good cup of coffee. The restaurant has a small rooftop terrace that offers breathtaking views of the island.
In the southern part of the island lays the idyllic fishing village Marsaxlokk. It’s most famous for its colorfully “eyed” painted boats called “Luzzus” that are tied side by side at the small harbour.
The place exists since the 9th century and was used by the Turkish fleet in 1565 during the Great Siege of Malta.
Besides fishing, the industry is another important part of life in the village and the island’s main power station is very close by.
6. Hagar Qim & Mnajdra
The island of Malta has many prehistoric sites but the most fascinating ones are the temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. All of them are very well preserved and date back to 3000 BC.
Not only the temples themselves are staggering, but their location right at the cliffs makes the place even more impressive.
Before you enter the temple complex, you learn everything about the ancient site at the visitor center. There’s a short film about the history of the place and a very interesting, small exhibition revealing all the secrets of the temples.
7. Blue Grotto
Only a 20-minute walk from the temple, you can find another one of the best places to visit in Malta: the Blue Grotto.
The Blue Grotto is the name of sevensea caves in the southern part of Malta. At good weather conditions, visitors can take a boat tour to visit the caves and admire the beautiful colors of the underwater world.
Sometimes, sunrays mirror the seawater and create an unforgettable picture of different blue shades on the cave walls.
8. Dingli Cliffs
Dingli is the name of a small village in the northern region on the island. It lies on a 250-meter high plateau above the sea and therefore it’s one of the highest points of Malta.
Take a short walk into the direction of the ocean and you’ll reach Dingli Cliffs. From there you can enjoy a breathtaking open sea view over the uninhabited and very tiny isle of Filfla.
Plus it’s rated as one of the best vantage points you can find on the entire island.
Island of Gozo
A bit north of the Island of Malta you can find Gozo. This smaller island is a popular day-trip destination from the main island and is a bit less developed than its bigger sister.
Nevertheless, Gozo is definitely worth a visit to get a good feeling of the more traditional Malta.
The most common way to get there is by taking the ferry which takes around 30 minutes.
First, there’s the capital city of the island named Victoria or (Rabat). Victoria basically consists of the old city and the citadel that was built on top of a hill overlooking the stunning landscape of Gozo.
Due to this and its location in the middle of the island, the citadel is also called the “Crown of Gozo”.
In the heart of Victoria, there’s a square called “Independence Square”. Once the government center, it’s now a place with a lively open-air market, gorgeous Maltese cafés, and fun souvenir shops selling traditional Maltese products.
Some other great sights to visit are the Grand Basilica in the oldest part of the city, the Old Prison, and the Gozo Cathedral.
10. Rambla Bay
The last one of the 10 best places to visit in Malta can also be found on the island of Gozo.
Ramla Bay is a wide beach located at the bottom of a valley on the northern side of the island. It’s a very popular beach for both locals and tourists.