Best things to do in Malta and Gozo
Malta is surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches & coves in Europe. Not to mention the treasure trove of history, spectacular natural sites, leisure activities and all the trendy cocktail bars and delicious restaurants to indulge in too.
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It is definitely a destination that has everything to offer everyone, for friends, family even couples who are wanting a week away. With the airport only being 10kms away from the capital, Valletta, it is definitely very accessible even for a weekend break.
Malta comprises of two main islands, Malta and Gozo and a third tiny island called Comino.
Here are some things to do in Malta and Gozo which are definitely not to be missed:
Explore the Historic Valletta by foot
If you are staying in Valletta or visiting for a day, explore this historic captial city via foot. You can either take a tour or do a self-guided tour taking in such site as Upper Barrakka Gardens, St George’s Square or even Casa Rocca Piccola, a 16th century palace.
Valletta is located in the South Eastern region of Malta and has seen a great deal of interesting history dating back as far as the 16th century. And even though many portions of the city were left in ruins during WWII, there are still more than 300 historic monuments and remarkable historic buildings standing, which is why Valletta was inscribed in 1980 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Where to Eat and Drink
If you looking for great fresh local food and a restaurant with some history then Rubino Restaurant is your place.
Reviews of Rubino Restaurant Malta on Trip Advisor
- Check out the ‘Malta Experience’ an audio-visual show screened in Mediterranean Conference Centre. The show walks through the 7000 years of history and turbulent past of the wonderful island country.
Casa Rocca Piccola
If you like palaces then head to Casa Rocca Piccola in Valletta, which is the only privately owned palace open to the public in the city. Built over 400 years ago for a Knight of Malta, it is now the ancestral home of a Maltese Noble family. It is an absolutely beautiful family house with a lot of history and collections of various interesting objects. It was so interesting to see how the Maltese nobility lived in Valletta.
- I only had time to visit the house but I understand that the underground bomb shelter and wine cellar are definitely worth a visit.
Take a Boat ride and Swim in Comino Blue Lagoon
Comino or formerly known as Ephaestia is the smallest of the Maltese islands measuring just 3.5 square kilometres in area. The island is surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and is home to some of the most gorgeous swimming spots in the world. There are two popular main attractions on the island, one being Comino Fort and the other being the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon is a natural swimming pool nestled amidst the surrounding rocky cliffs. The shimmering crystal clear waters of the pool and the tranquillity makes for a great day out for relaxing, swimming or trying your hand at other activities like snorkelling and scuba diving.
- Comino Island is situated in between Malta and Gozo, so it is possible to take a boat tour from either place to explore or go swimming.
Take in views from Citadella Gozo
Wander through and take in the amazing views of the town of Victoria and Gozo island from the Cittadella, an ancient fortified city. It is situated on top of a hill and is considered to be one of Gozo’s major landmarks and is visible from all over the island. Built at a perfect strategic vantage point the Citadel has been at the centre of activity on the island since possibly around 1500 BC.
Today though the newly restored area it is a major tourist attraction and only a few families live within the walls. Explore the streets, the cathedral, visitors’ centre and the Heritage Malta museums before going up onto the wall and taking in the 360 views.
The walled streets hold the heat so take plenty of water and go really early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as this place can get very busy.
Where to Eat and Drink
If you are looking for fresh local food especially seafood and great service then Ta’Philip Restaurant is your place.
Reviews of Ta’Philip Restaurant, Gozo on Trip Advisor
- The magnificent baroque Cathedral of Gozo in the square is a great spot for photos, especially when the sun is reflecting off the stone. I also understand that there is a small fee for the Cathedral if you want to go inside.
Take a Rolling Geeks Tour
One of the best (also my favourite) ways to discover the three cities Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua is by electric car through Rolling Geeks. The Self-drive electric car is fitted out with a two way navigation system and is fairly easy to use, as the routes are already programmed in. All you need to do is choose the route and you are on your way to a fun drive through the cities
Even though you are completely independent the Rolling Geeks are never too far away. Each vehicle is tracked from the office and they can assist where necessary through the two way communication. Don’t worry if it rains because the 2 front seats are completely covered and the 2 back seats are partially covered, so no excuse not to go.
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I had so much fun zooming around streets that I felt like I was only on there for 30 mins but I was actually on there for an hour and half. I was definitely disappointed when it was over and I was looking for more.
- A valid driver’s license must be presented at time of pick-up.
- The minimum driver’s age must be 21 years old.
- Child seats are available upon request at Euro3 per seat, per tour.
- You can share your Rolling Geek experience instantly with the “selfies” feature in the car.
Malta is definitely one giant movie set & you really do feel like you stepped right into one. They have filmed everything here from Gladiator, scenes from Games of Thorens to the recent Murder on the Orient Express. One of the most popular film spots is the colourful Popeye Village (Also known as Sweethaven Village).
It was purposely built as a film set of the 1980 Musical feature film ‘Popeye’ starring Robin Williams. It was originally abandoned and later converted into a small amusement park hosting several shows and rides.
- If you are only planning on taking pictures from the cliff above, then best to do this on the way to catch the ferry to Gozo.
Explore the Mdina – The Silent City of Malta
If you want to feel like you have stepped back in time and you are a Games of Thrones fan, then head to Mdina, Malta’s Medieval captial. Cars are not allowed past the monumental gate into the former Maltese capital, making its streets car-less and given it the name of ‘Silent City of Malta’.
Take a horse drawn carriage ride around the former Maltese capital Mdina, before exploring by foot along the cobblestone streets of the fortified city lined with well-preserved medieval buildings and palaces. While stopping at the prime spot for Thrones fans, like the courtyard outside Littlefinger’s brothel (pictured), where Ned Stark feels the pointy end of Jaime Lannister’s sword.
Where to Eat and Drink
Have a drink at Fontanella Tea Gardens before or after you explore Mdina and take in the views.
Reviews of Fontanella Tea Gardens, Mdina Malta on Trip Advisor
- The front of St. Paul’s Cathedral (or also known as the Mdina Cathedral) is a popular spot for Instagrammers and photographers.
Do a Segway Tour along the Dingli Cliffs.
If you are looking for something quirky and fun to do, then how about doing a Segway tour along the Dingli cliffs and through some of the villages? While taking in the splendid landscape and views of the Mediterranean sea from the highest point of the Maltese Islands.
Do not worry though as you go along the road and not near the cliff edge, so you don’t have to panic about being to close. Also, the villages are inland and the tour guide will make sure you are able to control the Segway before you go on your journey.
Where to Eat and Drink
Have lunch or dinner at Diar Il Bniet near the Dingli Cliffs.
Reviews of Diar Il Bniet, main island Malta on Trip Advisor
- There is a small chapel perched on the cliff top which can be visited and is also next to the small car park.
Visit the Magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral
You can find several magnificent churches spread across the islands in Malta, like Rotunda of Mosta, The Rotunda of Xewkijathe or The Naxxar parish church just to name a few. Each Cathedral is grand in its own right and has a story connected to it.
If there is only one cathedral that you do visit while in Malta then you can not go past St John’s Co–Cathedral, situated in the old town of Valetta. It was built as the conventual church for the Knights of St John and is one of the more splendid cathedrals you will find especially in Europe.I have to admit, I was definitely in awe when I walked in and saw the roof.
The interior is gilded in gold and the floor is covered with the tombs of many of the distinguished knights of the order. One of the main attractions inside the cathedral and is placed in a separate area is The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio.
- Like all cathedrals, this place is very satiated and your shoulders must be covered and no stilettos allowed before entering.
Upper Barrakka Garden
If you are looking for impressive panoramic views across the harbour of Malta, then take a visit to the Upper Barrak Gardens. They are a public garden in Valletta, Malta, along with the Lower Barrakka Gardens nearby.
Built in 1661 by the Italian knight Flaminio Balbiano as part of the bastions that guarded the grand harbour but was transformed into a beautiful garden during 19th century. The bastion’s lower tier contains the Saluting Battery.
The gardens are free to explore and are an easy walk from the centre of the old town in Valletta.
- There is a nice little cafe under the trees, which is a great little stop for a drink.
The Saint John Boutique Hotel – Valletta
I stayed at the Boutique hotel The Saint John with Jet2holidays for a few nights for the first part of my trip, while in the medieval capital Valletta. This gorgeous place is a mix between old and modern architecture and interior design and is centrally located in the heart of Valletta, directly across from the University of Malta.
The hotel had everything that I needed especially for a city break and would not have a problem staying here again. It was in walking distance to most tourist attractions, pub and restaurants, it had strong WiFi especially in my room and good friendly service. Not to mention, I had a huge room with a comfy king sized bed and a nice hot shower.
Where to Eat and Drink
There are lots of pubs and restaurants near the hotel but if you are looking for a recommendation, then check out Noni Restaurant.
Reviews of Noni Restaurant Malta on Trip Advisor
The Palace Hotel – Sliema
I also stayed at the only 5 star luxury hotel in Sliema, The Palace Hotel with Jet2holidays, located only 300m from the seafront promenade, bars and restaurants. This is the type of place I could easily stay in for a whole week. The hotel had not 1 but 3 Swimming Pools with 1 of them being an adults only.
If food and drink is your thing then you will be glad to the know the resort has 2 bars (including the pool bar) and 2 restaurants.
I had a huge corner room with a huge king size bed with a private balcony to take in the views over the Mediterranean Sea. The luxury room had strong WiFi, lots of power outlets (always a bonus when travelling), flatscreen TV and powerful air conditioning. Even though it was all inclusive the room also had coffee and tea facilities.
Whether you are on a romantic getaway with your partner or holidaying with family, The Palace Hotel, Sliema is the perfect spot for that summer holiday.
The Palace Hotel, Sliema is the perfect spot all year round, especially for a weekend break with your partner or friends.
Where to Eat and Drink
If you are looking for a restaurant with views overlooking Valletta and not to far away from the hotel, then you should check out Chop House Restaurant.
Reviews of Chop House Restaurant Malta on Trip Advisor
- If you are an Instagrammer the best time to get photos in the pool is very early in the morning before all the guest set up for the day.
Location and How to get there
The closest international airport is Malta International Airport and London Stansted flights with Jet2 are just over 3hrs. Valletta city centre is only 10 kms away from the airport, making it one of the quickest and most accessible cities to get to in Europe.
Jet2 flights to Malta currently services 9 airports routes from the UK and various other areas in Europe to mainland Malta. From Malta airport, it is easily accessible to reach all 8 areas that are currently serviced by Jet2.
The best way to get to Valletta is via transfer, whether shared or private. If you are taking a Jet2 package, they will give you a choice of options, however, all will depend on how much you want to spend.
- Go Snorkelling and Scuba diving at one of the many sites in both Malta and Gozo. Like Comino’s Blue Lagoon, Paradise Bay and Golden Sands Bay in Malta are some of the top spots.
- Visit the Catacombs of Rabat which is in the neighbouring city of Mdina. The extensive underground complex of catacombs houses a variety of tombs in hundreds dating from the 3rd and 4th century.
- If you love door pictures, apparently one of the best places to get the perfect Maltese door is in Sliema
- More than several scenes of the Game of Thrones has been filmed in both Malta and Gozo. How about taking one of the many tours that will take you to these locations.
Discover more of Europe
If you are interested in discovering more of Europe, feel free to read my following articles. All are great options for groups of friends or family.
- Top Things to do in Oludeniz – Oludeniz, Turkey
- A village Preserved in Time – Edam – Netherlands
- 48hrs in Lake Garda – Brescia and Lake Garda, Italy
- Best things to do – Chambery, France
Thank you for reading this article ‘Best things to do in Malta and Gozo’. I hope it helped you to decide what to do in Malta and Gozo during your stay. It is such a great place to visit, full of history and amazing movie locations.
Have you been to Malta or Gozo before? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below or if you know any other places to see?
Here are some amazing activities that you can book while in Malta and Gozo before you go.
Disclaimer: Even though I was sponsored by Malta and Jet2Holidays All views are my own and based on my own experience.