Malta Travel Guide

The Ultimate Malta Holiday Guide

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Malta is the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea with magnificent scenery and rich history. Its unique geographical location offers a varied landscape with warm weather all year round. The archipelago is home to some of the oldest temples in the world, making it a must-visit destination for archaeology lovers! 

The island’s exciting history can be found in the streets with ancient churches, dusty forts and quaint villages connected by miles of blue-flag beaches. During your Malta holiday, you will have unique opportunities to experience it first-hand, for example during our Malta History Tour.

When visiting this stunning archipelago, don’t miss Malta’s medieval capital, Valletta. The city is home to some fascinating attractions such as St John's Cathedral, which dates back over 500 years or The Palace Armoury, which houses around 3500 weapons dating back centuries. 

Valletta has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1980. Nowadays, Valletta is one of Europe's most atmospheric cities where visitors can enjoy shopping in quaint boutiques or strolling through its historic streets. 

Before you begin to think the Malta holiday is just for history lovers, let us reassure you, the island is an adventure playground. This archipelago in the centre of the Mediterranean knows how to party. Malta is a hub for religious and cultural festivals throughout the year, including Carnival Malta. It also boasts stunning landscapes that serve as locations for major film productions, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, partly filmed there. 

If you are more of a nature lover, forget those crowded tourist hotspots and head to Malta's hidden coves, which are sheltered from the wind and have crystal-clear water perfect for exploring underwater life. Malta has a lot to offer, and there are several activities to do while you're there, but one of the most popular ones is snorkelling or scuba diving in its clear waters. 

We are sure you will find many things to love about Malta, but it's Malta's food that will truly win you over. Maltese cuisine was influenced by the country’s location, history, culture and is an exciting mix of various Mediterranean cuisines. 

If you’re already intrigued by Malta, read on for everything you need to know when planning your trip!

When to Go to Malta

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Malta's climate is the Mediterranean climate. It offers warm weather all year round, including a long summer, which lasts from April to October, and about 300 days of sunshine per year! The average temperature ranges between 21-28 degrees Celsius (70-82 Fahrenheit), while humidity can reach up to 80% during the winter months, but it is much lower during other seasons.

The best months to visit Malta would be the summer months, from April through October, especially June, when Malta hosts its annual underwater festival called Diving Days. During that time, tourists are offered an opportunity to dive with marine life like dolphins and turtles.

Best Places to Visit in Malta

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From fossil-filled cliffs, hidden coves, to the most beautiful underwater sites, Malta has multiple landscapes to explore. Whether you are a history-, nature- or food lover our tours of Malta can be completely tailored to your hobbies, interests or even bucket lists! Below you will find our favourite spots to visit in Malta.

Valletta

When visiting Malta, it’s essential that you visit Valletta. Malta's medieval capital is alive with music, culture and history. If you have four days in Malta’s capital, this 4-day Valletta Escape tour is perfect for you.

The medieval capital city was built by the Knights of Malta, and the design bears an uncanny resemblance to a six-pointed cross. The buildings in Valletta are all whitewashed and painted in different shades of pastel colours. One can still make out scenes from Malta's history through these buildings.

The city's main attractions are Grandmaster's Palace, which now houses Malta's national museum; St John's Co-Cathedral, Malta's oldest church; Casa Rocca Piccola, Malta's first palace; the Malta Experience Centre; the American War Memorial; and Verdala Palace. 

The Saint John's Cathedral

Saint John's is Malta's oldest Cathedral. Whilst it may not appear exciting from the outside, wait until you see what's inside! It is filled with golden ornaments and exquisite works by Caravaggio.

The cathedral was built in 1573 and is home to Malta's largest bell, which weighs over two tonnes. Malta’s Cathedral also houses the largest organ in the country, and it is home to Malta's oldest bells - the earliest of which dates back to 1497. Don’t miss a chance to climb up to the dome for an incredible view of Valletta and the archipelago.

The Malta Megalithic Temples

One of the most unique places to go to in Malta is the Megalithic Temples which are the oldest prehistoric monuments on the island. The temples date back to 3000 BC and are made up of various shapes and sizes, with some being elliptical-shaped while others are just an oval shape. One of the most fascinating things about these temples is that they contain carvings that have not been found anywhere else in Malta.

Gozo

Malta may be the largest island in the archipelago, but its sister island of Gozo is no slouch. Malta's more low-key second island is still easily accessible by ferry and has its own share of sites to see. 

The city of Victoria, also known as Rabat by the locals, is Gozo's primary settlement. It's a great place to go shopping and eat, but the Cittadella, the fortified sector of the city, is undoubtedly the highlight. Cittadella, located on a hill with the Cathedral, old prison, archaeological sites, and spectacular views over Gozo from the ramparts, will for sure steal your heart!

You should also visit the northwest's Dziwra region, famous for the Azur Window (unfortunately, it crumbled in 2017), and the Deep Blue Hole during your Gozo holidays.



The Three Cities

From Valletta, you can easily reach Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua - Malta's three other cities. Whilst they all have unique features, they do have one thing in common; the views over Valletta. The best way to explore them is by designing your Malta tour with one of our in-destination Local Designers. Don’t forget to make a quick stop for a drink or a bite of food at one of the many cafes and restaurants along the harbour front that faces Valletta.

Mdina

If you are looking for a great food spot to eat at during your Malta holidays, look no further. Mdina is a fortified city loved by tourists for its charm, quiet streets and plenty of food options. As Malta's former capital, it is now the island's central city after Malta was made independent. Don’t miss Lampuki Pie, it’s delicious!

Popeye Village

Since its time as a film set in 1980, Popeye Village has become one of the main tourist destinations in the Maltese Islands, full of entertaining events for both kids and adults. Younger visitors will enjoy playing in the water with their favourite cartoon character, while older kids can learn about different aspects of filmmaking at Popeye Village Malta's Film Studios or take on some more challenging activities like climbing up the Donkey Mountain.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is one of Malta's most popular attractions, and as such, your Malta vacation should be designed with it in mind. The Blue Lagoon sits in a sheltered cove with white sand that leads out into crystal clear turquoise waters, which are shallow enough to be safe while also allowing you to snorkel. During this popular Malta excursion, you can enjoy this nature reserve by swimming with spectacular sea life. If you are lucky, you will also have the chance to spot dolphins and even Maltese Monk Seals.

The Blue Lagoon is not only enchanting during the day but also at sunset; it's one of the most romantic places in Malta. You can enjoy your day in its crystal waters and dine out on Comino Island, then return by boat taxi for a romantic evening stroll along the white sandy shore.

How to Get Around Malta

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Malta is a tiny country with plenty of beaches and activities to enjoy. Getting around is simple and convenient, thanks to its small size. The routes offer scenic views when driving, and the public bus system is well-connected. Here’s how to get around Malta in more detail;

Public Transport

Malta's public bus service is a convenient and cheap way to travel around the island; you can easily reach all the tourist attractions and even remote villages. It is an inexpensive, eco-friendly, and efficient way of travelling in Malta as some of the buses feature low-emission engines and USB charging points. There are a total of 80 routes in Malta that connect various towns and villages to strategic areas such as Valletta, the airport, and other locations.

Self-Drive

Renting a car is also a good option if you want to reach the more remote spots on the island. Major international brands and local car rental companies are located in Malta and Gozo. Should you hire a 4x4, you can also take these cars to hidden beaches and national parks. All traffic signs are in English, and driving is on the left side of the road. Self-driving will also give you an excellent opportunity to take in the scenery.

Private Driver

If you’re not sure about driving yourself, or you’d like to experience Malta with a local guide at your side, then you should consider a private Malta tour. Customised to your liking, private tours in Malta enable you to experience the country through a local’s eyes, ensuring you never miss the best places to see and eat, off the beaten path. Our Local Designers in Malta are on the ground ready to create your custom Morocco itinerary.

Where to Stay in Malta

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There are three central tourism regions in Malta, as well as several smaller ones. Sliema, St. Julian's, and Mellieha Bay are the three most popular areas to stay in while visiting Malta. However, all regions of Malta are safe for tourists, whether they are men or women travelling alone or in small groups.

Sliema

Sliema is Malta's business capital and an excellent shopping venue. Some of Malta's most prestigious and expensive hotels are located here too.

For individuals who prefer a range of quality and casual dining alternatives, Sliema is a great choice as it has several options.

Sliema is less than ideal for people on a budget looking for hostels in Malta, but it is the perfect alternative for mid to high-end budgets. If you choose to stay in Sliema, you’ll be rewarded with an unhindered view of Valletta Harbour, with the beautiful historic walls and churches that are lit up every night.

St. Julian's

St. Julian's is a beautiful spot in Malta because it is a former colourful fishing village turned into a high-end tourist town. The Beckham Building is the tallest structure in the area, where David Beckham used to own the top floor penthouse. 

Travellers will enjoy a good sandy beach on the north end of town at St. George's Bay, a variety of mainly high-end four and five-star hotels, and a lovely coastal promenade that stretches all the way down to Sliema (and is the longest continuous stretching walking promenade in Europe). The town of St. Julian’s is built around and between two gorgeous bays, and the distinctive Maltese fishing vessels may still be seen in both Balluta Bay and Spinola Bay.

Mellieha Bay

Malta's beach capital, Mellieha Bay, is filled with hotels, all situated in the bay and by the beach, from midrange to top pricing levels. The city itself sits on a plateau with a view of the seashore. Mellieha is a delightful village with just as many residents as in the capital. It offers a great choice of dining venues and a far milder sort of nightlife than St. Julian’s and its raucous neighbour, Paceville, with more than a dozen local eateries and bars with a welcoming vibe. Here, the beach and the relatively large and picturesque village of Malta are major attractions.

What to Eat and Drink in Malta

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Maltese cuisine represents a mix of influences of different civilisations that have occupied Malta during the centuries and the historical connection between the Islands. Malta boasts a unique combination of Mediterranean food that you can't miss! 

Maltese traditional foods are modest and seasonal. Lampuki Pie (fish cake), Rabbit Stew, Bragioli (beef olives), Kapunata (Maltese ratatouille variant), and widow's soup, with Gbejniet's little round (goat or sheep's) cheese, are all worth a try. 

On Sunday morning, you should visit Marsaxlokk, a small, traditional fishing village in the South Eastern Region of Malta. The fish market is a great place to see how diverse fish species are on the Maltese coast.

Malta's wine production may not be as well-known as its larger Mediterranean neighbours. Still, Maltese wines are held in worldwide contests, earning awards in France, Italy, and other European countries. 

If you would like to try Malta's wines, take part in a guided tour and tasting offered by the prominent wineries. Tours include the entire production process, from the first fermentation through the ageing phase, depending on the season. You will also have a chance to see the wine history museum and sample some of the best Maltese wines or buy some as a souvenir from your Malta holiday.

Festivals and Special Events in Malta

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Malta is a hub for religious and cultural festivals with a calendar filled with activities throughout the year. Each event recalls something deeply embedded in Malta's culture, making it an ideal way to discover its fascinating history. Watch the Sound of Musical recitation and stunning pyrotechnics come to life from temples, fortifications and harbours, as you dance the night away to the beats of music.

Malta Fireworks Festival

The celebration takes place every year at the end of April and is held over four nights to mark that Malta joined the EU. This beloved spectacle is held in the Grand Harbour of Valetta and brings together the whole nation to watch the sparks flying across some of the famous monuments of the island. In addition to four days of unique aerial exhibits, this event also offers a pyro-musical competition, where participants produce fireworks that go together with a rhythm of a particular musical number. 

Notte Bianca

The Notte Bianca takes over the cityscape from Valletta's City Gate to Fort St. Elmo every October. This festival is the turning point for various events on the streets and in historic venues. The state Palaces and Museums open their doors every autumn to showcase a wide range of visual arts exhibits and theatre performances. At the same time, the streets and piazzas are occupied by local, international musicians and dancers. Cafes and restaurants are open until late morning, and food vendors are filled with busy streets. 

Mediterranea

With a cultural and artistic exhibition festival to enjoy everything the island has to offer, the Mediterranea festival is a great time to visit Gozo. This festival brings together local musicians, artists, and craftsmen to celebrate over 7,000 years of Gozitan culture. 

The festival begins in the middle of Autumn with various indoor and outdoor events that will focus mainly on opera and other forms of music. The event also offers international seminars, activities and drinks, as well as walking tours to historic and ancient sites. The festival provides an opportunity to learn about Gozo's archaeology with several educational talks and interactive tours. 

Things to Know When Planning Your Malta Holiday

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Visa: Most travellers will travel to Malta without needing to worry about a visa. However, it's best to check in your respective country before travelling. 

Language: Maltese is the official language. However, English is Malta's second official language, spoken by 76 per cent of the population.

Currency: The euro is the official currency on the islands of Malta. At the time of writing, October 2021, 1 USD is equal to 0.86 EUR

Water: You can drink water from the tap. In the cities, filtration systems are reliable. However, it's best to ask your accommodation host before drinking just to make sure.

Driving: In Malta, all traffic is on the left-hand side of the road, much like in the UK. 

Design Your Own Malta Holiday!

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Whatever you're looking for, with Designer Journeys, your ideal trip can be made a reality. Taking your travel style, interests and budget into account, our Local Designers in Malta are ready and waiting to design your dream trip tailored to your liking!

Browse our fully customisable Malta tours or design your own Malta trip from scratch and connect with a Local Designer to make it happen!

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Malta Travel Inspiration

written by Marta Ostoja-KiedrzyńskaOct 7, 2021

Malta is the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea with magnificent scenery and rich history. Its unique geographical location offers a varied landscape with warm weather all year round. The archipelago is…

read more
written by Marta Ostoja-KiedrzyńskaOct 7, 2021

From fossil-filled cliffs, hidden coves, to the most beautiful underwater sites, Malta has multiple landscapes to explore. Whether you are a history, nature or food lover, there are so many places to…

read more
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