Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Malta
Although it is one of the smallest countries in the world, there are several interesting things to do in Malta. Apart from stunning locales and pristine beaches, there are so many places to visit in Malta that are diverse and interesting.
The country has ancient megalithic temples, cities with a rich history such as Mdina Old City, and World War II structures. Valletta, the capital city, has many tourist attractions including the Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valletta waterfront, and charming neighborhoods in places like the Three Cities.
You can also see splendid churches all over Malta including the St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta. Trips to Malta are incomplete without visiting stunning islands that have beaches, cliffs, and caves such as Gozo Island. Discover the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum that takes you on a journey of a fascinating underground structure.
Early summer (May and June) is the best time to visit Malta although the peak summer months of July and August also see many tourists. September and October are good months to visit while November and December can be rainy and windy. You will find it easy to travel within Malta as it’s a small country. With this Malta guide, you can start making plans to visit this beautiful nation.
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Malta
- 2 Top Landmarks and attractions in Malta
- 2.1 St. John’s Co-Cathedral (Valletta)
- 2.2 Upper Barrakka Gardens (Valletta)
- 2.3 Lascaris War Rooms (Valletta)
- 2.4 Mdina Old City
- 2.5 Fort Rinella (Kalkara)
- 2.6 Dwejra Bay (Island of Gozo)
- 2.7 Rotunda of Mosta (Parish Church of Santa Maria/Church of the Assumption)
- 2.8 Hagar Qim, Megalithic Temples – UNESCO World Heritage Site
- 2.9 Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum
- 3 Practical information and Malta travel tips
- 4 Where to stay in Malta?
- 5 Short on time? Go sightseeing in Malta on a tour!
- 6 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in Malta
Three Cities (Valletta)
One of the fun things to do in Malta is to experience local life by exploring its neighborhoods. Trips to Malta must include a visit to the fortified cities of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua with its maritime community and delightful neighborhoods.
Take a stroll along the harbor inlets and docks as well as streets with vibrant residential buildings. There are many places of interest here including the Senglea Basilica, Gardjola Gardens and the Vittoriosa Yacht Marina at Birgu with its waterfront and fancy yachts.
Other interesting spots in Birgu are Fort St Angelo and Malta at War Museum. If you are looking for interesting activities in Malta, go for a visit to the Three Cities.
Blue Lagoon, Comino
The best time to visit Malta is during early summer, and that is also when the beaches beckon. One of the beaches that stands out is the Blue Lagoon at Comino. Crystal clear waters in a striking blue color surrounded by rocks make it look picture perfect.
If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s better to go on weekdays. You can relax or swim at the beach and also indulge in scuba diving and snorkeling. There are regular tourist boat services that will take you to the Blue Lagoon.
Now that you know about this beach paradise, you need not wonder about what to do in Malta for some water fun.
Xlendi Beach, Cliff, and Caves, Munxar (Gozo)
A gorgeous bay surrounded by high cliffs with caves, exploring Xlendi Beach is one of the fun things to do in Malta. Laze on the beach, go for a stroll around the bay, or use the stairway on the side of the cliff to go to a cave.
You can swim in the shallow waters, go for boat rides or snorkel in the deeper part of the bay. The area has seaside resorts as well as restaurants and bars. If you are looking for beach activities in Malta, make a trip to Xlendi.
National Museum of Archaeology
This museum retains most of the history of Malta with artifacts sourcing back to periods of Phoenician and Neolithic. If you are looking to explore the history, this is one of the main attractions of Malta you need to start with.
The detailed Baroque design of the museum is itself worth-cherishing – But the historic sculptures of The Sleeping Lady, Bronze Daggers restored from the Tarxien Temples, Anubis Pendant and the Horus are living legends of the legacy that has passed away.
Now that you know the best time to visit Malta, start planning your trip! You can use this Malta guide and see the country’s many attractions. With so many fabulous things to do in Malta, you can be sure of having a good time!
Top Landmarks and attractions in Malta
St. John’s Co-Cathedral (Valletta)
Built in honor of St. John the Baptist between 1572 and 1577, a visit to the St John’s Co-Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Malta. The facade of the church is simple in design. As you enter, you will be dazzled by the brilliance of its interiors, an outstanding example of Baroque architecture. It has an exquisite nave consisting of vaulted ceilings with paintings as well as magnificent marble floors inlaid with hundreds of tombs.
A must-see is an Oratory which has two splendid Caravaggio paintings including The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. On your tour, you can choose the audio guide available in several languages. The cathedral is closed on Sundays.
Upper Barrakka Gardens (Valletta)
When it was built, the Upper Barrakka Gardens was used as a place of recreation for knights. From 1800 onwards, it became a public garden and is now one of the wonderful recreational activities in Malta.
On your visit, you can see monuments, statues, and memorials around the garden. There is a saluting battery below the top tier where a cannon is still fired every day at noon.
The gardens offer stunning, panoramic views of the Grand Harbour, the sea, the Three Cities, and more. Located close by is the Valletta Waterfront, a lovely promenade with interesting buildings, shops, restaurants, pubs, cruise liner terminal and of course, scenic waterfront views. A visit here is among the several fun things to do in Malta.
Lascaris War Rooms (Valletta)
You need not worry about what to do in Malta during your trip here. For instance, if you are fascinated by war stories and war structures, you will love the Lascaris War Rooms. This place can be accessed from the Saluting Battery at the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
Opt for a guided tour. You will be transported to the times of World War II once you enter the underground tunnels and rooms. Defense strategies were planned and operations co-ordinated during the war from these rooms. Back then, more than a thousand people worked in these war rooms. Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta is indeed one of the best places to visit in Malta.
Mdina Old City
Visiting the Mdina Old City is one of the best things to do in Malta as it offers a different experience. The walled city has a population of just a few hundred people, and only cars belonging to residents are allowed here.
This fortified city has several beautiful palazzos, the ruins of Domvs Romana, St Paul’s Cathedral and other fabulous churches, St Paul’s Catacombs, museums, medieval streets, buildings with superb Baroque architecture, spectacular views, and so much more.
The old city has an atmosphere like no other. That is why a trip here is one of the top things to do in Malta.
Fort Rinella (Kalkara)
Fort Rinella is one of the major attractions for tourists during their trips to Malta. The highlight here is an Armstrong 100-ton gun, one of only two such surviving guns.
This Victorian battery was constructed by the British between 1878 and 1886. Back then, the huge and heavy gun was operated with the help of a steam-powered hydraulic system. Interestingly, the gun would be fired from a wrought-iron carriage in such a position that it would keep the crew handling the gun safe from retaliatory fire.
A guided tour here gives visitors information about the battery and a chance to fire blanks with a musket. You can also watch military re-enactments. Be sure to include Fort Rinella in your list of things to do in Malta.
Dwejra Bay (Island of Gozo)
If you are thinking about what to do in Malta for a relaxing time, visit Dwejra Bay. With spectacular views of the sea and a lagoon where you can swim, Dwejra Bay is a wonderful place.
One of the most notable tourist attractions here used to be the Azure Window (a natural rock arch) that was destroyed in a storm in 2017.
There are deep waters as well as shallow places in the bay where you can swim or go snorkeling. It is interesting to see the geological formations in the area. Scuba diving too is popular. Visiting Dwejra is one of the best things to do in Malta for water-related activities.
Rotunda of Mosta (Parish Church of Santa Maria/Church of the Assumption)
In 1942, a bomb fell inside the Rotunda of Mosta while mass was in progress during World War II. Miraculously, it failed to detonate as a result of which the world can still see this magnificent church today.
A replica of the bomb can be seen at the sacristy. The church was constructed between 1833 and 1860 and took inspiration from the Pantheon at Rome. While the architecture is very similar, the Rotunda of Mosta still retains its character.
When you see the unsupported dome from inside, it is breathtaking in its size and appearance. This church deserves to be included in every list of places to visit in Malta.
Hagar Qim, Megalithic Temples – UNESCO World Heritage Site
If you wish to see some of the oldest temples in the world, head to the megalithic temples of Malta. Hagar Qim in Qrendi founded approximately between 3700 BC–3200 BC has entrances with enclosures and stone arrangements. Situated just a few hundred meters from here is the Mnajdra temple which was quite advanced for its time (3600 BC–3200 BC ) as it contains evidence of an astronomical observatory.
The site has stunning views of the cliffs and the sea. Situated a few kilometers away are the Tarxien temples that date back to around 3150 BC. Here, the stonework is detailed, and there are more design elements. Animal carvings, designs, and a collection of artifacts are some of the highlights.
Ġgantija in Gozo Island is another interesting megalithic temple. Most tourists will list a temple visit as one of the best things to do in Malta, so do plan a trip here.
Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is an ancient underground structure dating back to around 3300 – 3000 BC. It is located close to the Tarxien temples. Mentioned in every Malta guide, this Neolithic site contains rock-cut burial chambers.
The hypogeum has chambers in three levels connected by steps and doors. There are interesting designs and motifs on the ceilings. Archeologists have found various artifacts here including beads, figurines, and pottery with interesting designs.
If you wish to take a tour, you have to book tickets weeks in advance as only a limited number of people are given entry, to protect the site from damage. Undoubtedly, this is one of the top things to do in Malta and one of the most interesting ones.
This mysterious underground Catacomb was found in 1902 and is included in Malta’s main attractions. It is said to be built between 3000 and 3600BC covering almost 500 sq. Meters.
Almost around 7000 people were buried here. The government has restored this cave through hand carving which required a great deal of effort and funds. Tourists numbers are restricted because of the micro-controller environment, so a pre-booking is necessary.
Practical information and Malta travel tips
Why should you visit Malta?
A small diverse country Malta offers you at the same time many historical landmarks to stunning landscape of islands and beaches. If you’re not considering yet to visit Malta, you should by now. You’ll love exploring many ancient temples and churches. The azure waters of beautiful islands beaches and lagoons are so mesmerizing. There are some diving sites as well. You can try water adventures to enjoy the extreme beauty of underwater in Malta. Don’t miss to explore the nightlife of Malta, many nightclubs are there to visit and have fun.
When is the best time to visit Malta?
- Summer (May to August)
- Summer is the highest season and you can expect big tourist crowds around this time of the year.
- June to July you can witness many music festivals in Malta.
- The average temperature in summer is 27°C
- Autumn (September to November)
- September and October months are good to visit Malta; you can expect fewer tourists from European countries during this time
- The weather is starting to get colder at nights
- Towards the end of autumn and the beginning of winter starts to be a bit rainier
- Winter (December to February)
- You can expect windy and rainy weather during the months of Winter. The temperature rarely goes down below 0°C
- There are lesser crowds as this is the low season for this city
- Spring (March to April)
- The weather starts to be warmer, the perfect time to relax on the beautiful beaches
- Trees are starting to bloom and there’s more sunshine
- You can witness Malta International Fireworks Festival in April at Valletta’s Grand Harbor
Do you need a visa for Malta?
Malta is part of the Schengen area and citizens of EU group of countries can freely enter while citizens of USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia can enter the country just with their passports and stay for 90 days. You can check our complete guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry.
Where to book your flights to Malta?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Where to stay in Malta?
Palazzo Prince d’Orange
The luxurious Palazzo Prince d’Orange is an apartment hotel located in Valletta. All styled apartments nicely furnished and offer all highly modern facilities. You will also get the views of the Grand Harbour from the terraces. This hotel will give you an authentic Maltese experience during your stay.
Grand Harbour Hotel
The 2-star Grand Harbour Hotel located in the capital city of Valletta. All rooms are well furnished with all standard facilities. Most of the hotel rooms come with a balcony where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour. St. John’s Co-Cathedral is just within a walking distance of the hotel. Valletta Waterfront and Tarxien Temples are also very near to the hotel.
Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa
Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa is a 5-star hotel in San Anton, Malta. All hotel rooms feature luxurious comfort and amenities. You’ll get the lush garden views from the room’s balcony. The hotel has its own fitness center where offers spa and massage as well. Valletta Waterfront is 7 km away from the hotel. Palazzo ta’ Sant’Anton is just within a walking distance from the hotel.
Short on time? Go sightseeing in Malta on a tour!
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