From exploring the Maltese capital, to prehistoric temples and beautiful sea caves, discover 10 things to do in Malta.
If you’re looking for a European island destination this summer, Malta is a great option. Located south of Sicily, the island has a Mediterranean climate which makes winters mild and pleasant. However, the best time to visit this island and admire its beautiful bays, crystal-clear waters and prehistoric temples is from April to October.
Discover 10 things to do in Malta during your next trip below:
1. Valletta; the capital
With only 400,000 inhabitants, Valletta is the smallest capital city in the European Union and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. The city is best known for its bastions and fortifications, as well as its beautiful Baroque palaces, churches and gardens.
The gardens of Barrakka which overlook the city’s main harbour, and the neoclassical temple dedicated to Sir Alexander Ball are not to be missed. The 16th century St John’s Co-Cathedral with its baroque style architecture and Caravaggio’s painting, ‘The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist’, is also a must-see in Valletta.
2. Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto refers to a number of sea caves close to Żurrieq in the south of the island. The unique caves were created naturally by the waves crashing on the rocks. Thanks to the location of the caves, the morning light creates a beautiful reflection of different shades of blue on the cave walls and ceilings. Although quite touristy, a visit to the Blue Grotto is a must-do in Malta. You can visit the caves by boat or enjoy the beautiful view from atop the rocks.
3. Megalithic Temples
Malta’s history goes back millennia. Today, megalithic temples can be found on both Malta and the Maltese island of Gozo. These prehistoric temples date back to the period between 3500 and 2500 BC.
The limestone temple complex of Ħaġar Qim, near Qrendi in the south of Malta, is one of the most extraordinary and oldest temple complexes worldwide. The temples of Tarxien are also worth visiting and have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1992.
4. Għar Dalam Cave
If you’re looking for even more history, visit the Għar Dalam Cave. This cave is 144 metres deep and is a twenty-minute drive from Valletta. It is an important national monument and is especially famous for the archaeological finds that have been made there. In the cave, bones have been found of animals that are now extinct on the island: pygmy elephants, hippos, giant swans, deer and bears. Today, there is a museum where you can admire the bones and enter the first 50 metres of the cave.
5. Rotunda of Mosta
Nine kilometres from Valletta, Mosta is a small town where you can easily spend an afternoon strolling and shopping. But the town is most famous for its church: the Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, commonly known as the Rotunda of Mosta. The unsupported dome is especially impressive with a diameter of 37.2 metres, making it one of the largest in Europe.
Interesting fact! During the Second World War, the church was hit by three German bombs, but none of them exploded. Two of the bombs ricocheted off the dome and a third fell through the dome to the ground between 300 churchgoers, but fortunately did not explode. Today you can see a replica of that bomb in the sacristy.
6. Trip to Gozo
If you are in Malta for several days, we would recommend a trip to the island of Gozo. Gozo is located northwest of Malta and belongs to the Maltese archipelago. Compared to Malta, this island is much greener and less populated. Gozo can be reached by ferry within 30 minutes from Cirkewwa.
While there, culture and architecture can be found in the main town of Victoria. It has an old citadel and the Church of Saint George. The Basilica of Ta’ Pinu in the village of Għarb is also worth seeing. If you are looking for sandy beaches, we recommend Ramla Bay or San Blas Beach.
7. Marsaxlokk fish market
Do what the locals do and go to the fish market. Marsaxlokk is a traditional harbour town and fishing village in the southeast of Malta. Not only is it a very picturesque village, but it’s also home to the island’s main fishing port. Numerous colourful fishing boats line the shore, and the view of the sea is magnificent. You will be able to taste delicious local and fresh fish in one of the many fish restaurants. But if you want to make the experience complete, go to the fish market. This market takes place on Sunday mornings and besides the super fresh fish, you can also buy bread, vegetables and fruit.
8. Boat trip around the island
There is plenty to see and do on the island itself. But taking a boat trip around the island is an unforgettable experience. You can hire boats yourself or join an organised tour. During the boat trip, you can enjoy the beautiful views of Malta’s rocks, beaches and skyline. When you’ve seen enough, anchor up and have fun swimming and snorkelling in the clear blue water!
9. Beaches of Malta
Chances are you are visiting Malta to enjoy the weather and to find the most beautiful beaches to swim in the crystal-clear waters. A few beaches we would recommend are St. Peter’s Pool at Marsaxlokk, Ramla Beach and Golden Bay. Golden Bay is very famous and will probably be crowded but is definitely worth a visit. Do you have time to go to Malta’s third island, Comino? Then make sure you don’t miss the Blue Lagoon. There is no shortage of water sports activities either. From canoeing to stand-up paddle boarding, snorkelling and diving, it’s all here.
10. Tasting local gastronomy
To really get to know the local culture, tasting the Maltese cuisine is paramount. As Malta has had many different inhabitants and occupiers over the centuries, the gastronomy is an interesting Mediterranean mix. Some of the things to try are: lampuki pie (a fish pie), kapunta (a local version of ratatouille), pastizzi (puff pastry filled with ricotta). For dessert, don’t miss the kannoli and if you get the chance to taste a wine from Malta, then you wont regret it.