The best itinerary for a trip to Malta

What To See In Malta – The Perfect Itinerary

I was asked a lot about what a first time visitor should see in Malta, so I figured I should write a post about this. While I’m no expert, I did plan and research a lot before visiting the island, made itineraries, cut things off the list and been to places I didn’t plan to in the beginning. I remember however that as small as Malta is, I was overwhelmed because it seemed like there wasn’t enough information out there. So should you find yourself in my shoes, I’ve put together a list of must sees in the country, depending on how much time you have.

Before you continue, you should also read: How to plan the perfect holiday in Malta. Go on, I’ll wait right here. 😉

What to see in Malta in 3 days

Day one: Valletta

Obviously, no trip to Malta is complete without visiting the smallest capital in the European Union. What it lacks in size, it makes up for ten times in charm. You could easily see it in a few hours, then visit another place nearby, but I wouldn’t recommend it, I loved spending an entire day in Valletta, visiting the sites, wandering on the streets (sometimes passing the same ones a few times) and admiring the beautiful balconies. You can learn about the history of the country at Fort St Elmo, admire the views from the Upper Barrakka Gardens, eat delicious pastizzi and be blown away by the gorgeous St John’s Co-Cathedral. Either way, you won’t have time to get bored in Valletta.

Day two: Mosta & Mdina & Rabat

Start your day early by visiting the Rotunda of Mosta, a church with the third largest unsupported dome in the world, where you can see a replica of a WW2 bomb that fell through the roof of the church and did not explode. After that, a quick bus trip away lies Mdina or the Silent City, one of my favorite places on the island. If you think it looks familiar, you’re right, the main gate served as the entrance to King’s Landing in the first season of Game of Thrones, as well as various scenes having been filmed in the city. I loved having a coffee on a terrace with a view, wander on the medieval narrow streets, see the cathedral and learn about the historic Palazzo Falson house.

If you still have time and your feet don’t hate you, go for a walk in Rabat, that’s literally right next to Mdina and see St Agatha’s Crypt and catacombs, or maybe another Game of Thrones filming location, St. Dominic Convent.

Day three: Blue Lagoon & Għajn Tuffieħa

After all that wandering around and walking a lot, you deserve a break. Catch an early morning bus to Cirkewwa and from there buy a ticket to the ferry that will take you to the Blue Lagoon on the small island of Comino, where you will find the most stunning clear blue waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling or just floating around (what I did 😉 ). Try to arrive as early as possible because there are only a few places with sand around the lagoon and sitting on rocks is not comfortable at all. Luckily I found a spot right by the water but it kept getting flooded every now and then. You win some, you lose some, right? When you leave from the Blue Lagoon, the ferry will take you to see some of the caves before returning to Malta.

I don’t recommend spending all day on the beach, since it can get quite hot at noon, but once you get back to Cirkewwa, you should take a bus (no 102) to Għajn Tuffieħa to see Golden Bay, Malta’s famous sandy beach (there aren’t too many sandy beaches out there…). If it’s too hot when you arrive, stop for a beer or an ice cream first. Whatever you do, whenever you visit Malta, do not skip the ice cream from gelaterias across the island, it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. Golden Bay seemed a little boring and overrated to me (especially after the Blue Lagoon), but a short hike away are the Għajn Tuffieħa Bay and the Ġnejna Bay, two wonderful bays that aren’t so well known but offer some breathtaking views.

What to see in Malta in 5 days

Day four: Ghar Dalam Cave & Marsaxlokk

The Għar Dalam prehistoric cave (meaning Cave of Darkness in Maltese) is a fascinating place where you can learn and see skeletons of animals that were trapped in the cave and became extinct in the Ice Age. To be honest, I was expecting to be able to explore more of the cave, but I liked how we were the only ones around.

If you’re visiting on a Sunday, it’s worth going to the market in Marsaxlokk, known for its fresh fish brought in by the fishermen, but in reality, you can find anything you want there. From cheap clothes and souvenirs, to delicious fruits and local sweets. Yes, I did try them all! 😀

Day five: Gozo

Some people say the island of Gozo is more interesting that the main island of Malta. While I think they are both equally beautiful, I did enjoying my time in Gozo and when I’ll return, I’ll be sure to spend more days there. If you are curious to know what you can do in a day, check out how I spent a whole day in Gozo.

What to see in Malta in 7 days

Day six: The Three Cities

Malta isn’t a country that’s overfilled with tourists, but here and there you do see people coming to admire the beautiful sights. That wasn’t the case in any of the Three Cities, we were the only ones around and it felt like we’ve arrived in some kind of ghost towns. Birgu, Bormla and Isla, also known as Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea respectively (more commonly referred to as The Three Cities) are on the other side of the Grand Harbor from Valletta and were the first home of the Knights of St John who protected the island from the Ottoman Empire. The cities are easily accessible by bus, but it’s faster if you take a ferry from Valletta. Don’t forget your camera, because you’ll want to take many photos as you wander on the quaint streets. My favorite part was admiring the view over Valletta from the Safe Haven Gardens in Senglea.

Near Birgu, you’ll find the Fort Rinella in Kalkara, where a group of volunteers put on a great show that is both informative and entertaining, about the history of the fort, what it’s like being in the army and how to shoot a gun or a canon. You can even fire one yourself! 😀

Day seven: St Peter’s Pool & The Blue Grotto

Sadly, I didn’t make it to these two iconic Maltese places, but if I were to return (or should I say, when I’ll return), these will be my top choices. Not sure if I’d be brave enough to jump into St Peter’s Pool but I’d love to see it in real life.

What do you think? Ready to make Malta your next destination?

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  • Gfys

    Great post! I will visit Malta in May and after reading the post I will visit Valleta, Mdina, Rabat and Gozo.

    • Hope you’ll have a great time in Malta 😀

  • Thank you for this list, Vlad, especially since there is not enough information on hand about Malta. I’d love to go visit. Who knows, maybe next summer … Great pictures. I particularly like the Blue Lagoon. It’s amazing!

    • I don’t think the summer (July – August) is the best time to visit, it can get VERY hot, at times I found it too hot in May as well (enough to get a farmer’s tan by just walking on the streets). I think early September is best, fewer tourists, decent temperatures and warm water for swimming 🙂

  • samiyahl

    Malta looks stunning! Great to have this list for a 1 week trip, hopefully will get to go someday!

    • Hope so too, I’m sure you’ll love Malta 🙂

  • Vlad, this looks like THE perfect Malta itinerary!!! I really, really, really want to go to Malta! I have a feeling maybe Summer 2016! 🙂

    • I hope you get to visit Malta next year, can’t wait to read all about it!

  • Corinne Vail

    Malta is beautiful. My favorite place is Marsaxlokk. We opted to stay there instead of Valletta. It’s quieter and the boats are just gorgeous!

    • I don’t even know why we haven’t looked at accommodation in Marsaxlokk, we stayed in Sliema which was alright, although there wasn’t much to do around there.

  • I love how easy (and cheap!) it is to get around Malta by public bus. Thanks for sharing some of your beautiful pictures. It makes me want to go back again and visit. #theweeklypostcard

  • JustGoPlaces

    Wow! For a little country there is a lot to see and do! I was thinking of going to Malta for a long weekend but I think I should make it longer!

  • I would love to travel to Malta! I dream of the blue lagoon. Great photos and tips, thanks!

  • miieloise

    That’s stunning, I love your pics! Sounds like a great trip idea! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • Thank you, glad you liked it 😀

  • Thanks for sharing! The color of that water is beautiful.

    • The Blue Lagoon is indeed stunning! 🙂

  • Wow – such gorgeous photos of Malta. From the historic sites in the cities to the blue lagoon and beyond, it looks like a beautiful place to visit. I’ll have to add it to the itinerary for our next trip to Italy 🙂

    • Thank you! When are you visiting Italy (and where are you going) ?

      • Hey Vlad – I’d go tomorrow, but funds don’t allow, as we went last year. It’s expensive to come from Australia. We hope to revisit Italy in maybe 3-4 years time, but I’m always researching the best places to visit and stay. We want to spend more time in Tuscany and around the lakes in the north. Cheers 🙂

  • Lucy Dodsworth

    Great tips – will definitely make it out to Malta sometime!

    • Thanks, I’m sure you would love Malta, it has so much to offer besides the beaches 🙂

  • Priys

    Great post, will have to add Malta to our bucketlist!

    • Thank you, glad you liked it!

  • Dan and I have been considering an extended stay in Malta, Vlad. My compliments: Your week-long itinerary seems quite varied and very well thought out.

    How much time would you think one could stay in the little nation before feeling cramped or bored?

    • Thank you, Linda! I’m not sure, I’ve stayed for one week and I could find enough things to see and do for another week. But you could probably stay even longer at go at a slower pace 😉

  • Natalie

    I have many Maltese friends here in Australia but don’t know too much about the country, so it was great reading your itinerary and your many suggestions. Will be sharing with my friends.

    • Thank you, I hope they liked the post 🙂

  • Carol

    We just arrived from a 4-day visit to Malta and saw half of what you have here! Now I am so sorry I missed some of them!!! I definitely have to return!

    • There’s always a good reason to go back 😉

  • Goregous pictures! I really do wish I can go back to Malta soon. You definitely go to see more of it that I had in my 7 days on the Islands. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Next time I’m in Malta, I’ll probably travel at a slower pace, although it didn’t feel like I rushed from one place to another, since there are such small distances between them.

  • Beautiful pictures. Just love the colours of the sea. Remined me of Capri in the Bay of Naples, which has beautiful blue seas around it.

    • I’ll go to the Amalfi Coast next year, not sure if I’ll make it to Capri, but I’d love to 🙂

  • The rotunda looks spectacular and I’d love to visit the Blue Lagoon. I love the way you have put this together as an itinerary, it certainly makes me want to go to Malta

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • The Blue Lagoon is spectacular, it’s Malta’s most visited attraction but there definitely is a good reason for that.

  • So, I checked the weather and it’s 21C in Valletta right now. I feel like I should just grab a bag and go… (it’s -1C in Moscow)… not gonna happen, but if I do, I love having an itinerary all laid out for me! Now, in which of those places would I be able to ride horses? And what’s the food like?

    • I just checked and if you do go, you can ride horses at Golden Bay 😉 The food was great, although I haven’t tried their traditional rabbit stew (I don’t eat rabbit), I loved what I had. Plus, they have the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten! 😀

  • Absolutely stunning photos! I’ve heard such great things about Malta and you make it sound like paradise. I will be definitely referring to this itinerary when I do get the chance to go there! 🙂

    • Thank you, I hope you get to visit Malta, I’m sure you’d have a great time there. 😀

  • This post is awesome Vlad!! It certainly helps a lot whoever is planning to go to Malta. I hope to go sometime and add diving into the itinerary. But before I go I will ask you for some tips anyways 😀
    Weird that people don’t go to The Three Cities, I would love to go there, the less tourists the better!!

    • I’m sure you would love diving in Malta, the water is so clear there. Hope you can go soon! 😀

  • on

    Hi Vlad, we’re visiting Malta in early September. I would definitely follow your great itinerary 🙂 I wonder whether you can also recommend on accommodation. where to stay? the best locations? any idea is appreciated;)

    • Hi, I stayed in Sliema which is great because you have connections to the rest of the island. The prices here however aren’t the cheapest (for accommodation or food). The hotel I stayed at wasn’t great, but Paul stayed at Europa Hotel which was nice and had a lovely sea view. You may want to look into St Julian’s as well. Also, if you plan on going to Gozo or Comino, it would be worth finding accommodation up north, in Bugibba, a popular tourist resort 🙂 Hope you have a great time in Malta! 😀