01 Aug MALTA | THE 4 DAY TRAVEL GUIDE
The island of Malta is located in the Mediteren Sea, and about 120 km south of Sicily. Needless to say it’s quite a small island with 27 km in length and 15 km wide. To give a bit of perspective for the Dutchies: that’s almost the same size as the island Texel or 1.5 times bigger than Amsterdam. Although the area is not very large in surface, the island has a lot to offer.
If you want to have a relaxed holiday with glorious weather (for almost the whole year), beautiful coastal spots and stunning historic towns – Malta is an ideal destination.
Before you visit Malta
Climate: hot summer takes place in the months July and August and expect temperatures around 32 degrees. Very pleasant if you like the warmth, yet overwhelming if you are not that heat resistant. The best months to visit Malta are April, May, June, September and October as the weather is pleasant and sunny plus you avoid the tourists who come in the summer period.
Transport: Public buses are driving around the whole island and can take you almost anywhere you like. A ticket only costs €2 per ride and it can take you even from the North to the South of the island. Tip: A week-pass is only €21 and allows you to take the bus unlimited for 7 days.
Language: Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. The vast majority of the inhabitants therefore speak fluently English, making it very easy to communicate with the locals!
Driving: In Malta they drive on the left side of the road and there are speed limits of 80 km/h as there aren’t really highways on the island.
Covid rules: Yes, we need to mention them. Currently, you need to be fully vaccinated if you want to enter Malta or you need to go into quarantine for 11 days. For the full list of countries or more updates visit Visitmalta.com/en/info/new-covid-19-updates/.
Day 1 in Malta:
Start the day by going to Blue Grotto which is located at the southern part of the island. It’s best to go here in the morning as the sunlight will perfectly shine on the crazy blue water down the cave, and you will also avoid the tourist crowd. From the cliff above the Blue Grotto you will have an astonishing view on the cave and sea. Then head down to the little haven next to Blue Grotto and get a ticket for only €4 for a boat to take you underneath Blue Grotto. Amazing views guarantied!
Continue your first day by heading to Marsaxlokk: a little, picturesque fishers village where the haven is filled with colourful tiny boats. On Sunday morning there is a big market at the boulevard of Marsaxlokk where they sell everything, from food till clothes. It’s best to go to the market as early as possible when you want to get the local liveliness. After your stroll around Marsaxlokkyou can head to St. Peters Pool. As there is no bus going to St. Peters Pool you have three options: walking, getting a cab, or go by boat! The walk is about 30 minutes and the road is quite exposed to the sun, so don’t forget to bring sunscreen and some water. One’s arrived at St. Peters pool you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon full of swimming and jumping off the rocks.
Day 2 in Malta:
Let’s start the second day off by heading to Valetta, This is the capital city of Malta and is filled with history. It was established in the 1500’s by the knights of St. John and therefore has beautiful architecture and old buildings all over the city. Valetta has made a huge leap over the past 10 years and was even named European Capital of Culture in 2018. There have been many new bars, restaurants and boutique hotels over the past decade. Especially Straight Street in the heart of the city center was not so long ago more of a decayed district, now it is a cozy alley with small restaurants and local bars.
If you are in Valletta you should definitely visit the Barrakka Gardens. Here you have a beautiful view on the enormous harbour where you will probably spot several cruise ships. Also the St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the old Bibliotheka are places worth visiting if you would like to indulge yourself more into the history and culture of Malta.
Lunch tip in Valetta: Cordina restaurant is settled in one of the pleasant side streets of the city center. Many locals find their way to this spot for lunch or dinner for a reason: the (local) dishes are amazing and so is their service.
After a nice day strolling through Valetta, head to the ferry’s that will take you to Sliema. A single ticket for the ferry costs €1.50 and takes you to the other side of the water in 10 minutes. Sliema is one of the liveliest towns on Malta and the place to go for shopping and nightlife. A recommended place to have dinner is the Chop House which has an amazing view on Valetta. The restaurant is located close to the water and many locals swim and relax down by the rocks which creates an atmospheric view.
Day 3 is all about Gozo:
Ready for a day full of discovering the most beautiful clear blue waters? Let’s start by taking the ferry to the island of Gozo! From Duejra, which is located on the northern tip of Malta, you can take the (big) ferry to the island which costs €4.65 for a return ticket. It is only 5 km away and it will take approximately 20 minutes. Once you arrive on Gozo it’s quite handy to rent a scooter or car so you can freely discover the island yourself.
For your first stop on Gozo, go to Dwerja. Here you will find a beautiful and peaceful spot where, in addition to cooling off in the water, you can also get a boat (€4) that will take you through some caves (and you can spot coral at the cliffs!) There are also some nice stalls around Dwerja where you can buy souvenirs, jewellery and a drink! Your next stop on Gozo is at San Lawrenz where you will find the blue hole; a beautiful swimming spot that is also very popular by divers. On the cliffs that are next to the blue hole you have a fantastic view on the sea and the rock formations surrounding the area. Fun fact: the famous HBO series Game of Thrones shot some scenes on these cliffs in season 1.
Let’s go Off the Beaten Track
Then let’s go to one of the more hidden and off the beaten track spots of Gozo: Wied Il-Ghasri. Here you will find the Ghasri valley, a narrow creek which is absolutely breathtaking. It is a little walk down, but once you’re there you can enjoy a peaceful swim and some sunbathing.
On your way back to the ferry point have a quick stop at the Marsalforn Salt Pans. You are not allowed to enter them, but you can nevertheless take beautiful pictures. This place is also not far from the touristy Marsalforn with many restaurants around the harbour channel.
When you’re back at the ferry point of Gozo, take a boat to Comino Island where the famous Blue Lagoon is located. Comino Island is a paradise for snorkelers, divers and windsurfers. The little island is only three and a half square kilometers in size and only 1 household lives on the island. With its crystal clear waters in varying shades of azure-blue and spectacular rugged cliffs in the middle of the Mediterranean, you will understand why visiting the Blue Lagoon is on the bucket list of many people. If you walk from the Blue Lagoon to one bay further you will come across the Crystal Lagoon where you won’t find as many people.
Tip: It is recommended to go to Gozo and Comino during the weekdays if you want to avoid the crowds because the Maltese people often make trips to these islands in the weekend.
Day 4 in Malta:
Popeye village was built as a film set for the film Popeye in 1980 and is now open for the public. The village is well maintained, not too crowded, and has quite a few idyllic spots where you can take beautiful pictures. Bus 101 stops right in front of the park. Near the village is a small clear blue bay where there are plenty of large sun-beds that you can use free of charge throughout the day. Be sure to take your swimwear, a towel and some sun cream with you and enjoy a relaxed morning there.
Next up is Golden Bay, one of the few sandy beaches Malta has. A good place to enjoy the sun and to swim in the sea. There are also a few cafeterias where you can order a drink and get some food. Aqua Marine is settled on the right side of this beach and here you can go for various fun water activities such as supping, canoeing, parasailing or you can rent a private speedboat that will take you to stunning caves and private swim spots.
In the evening head to the beautiful town Mdina which is a beautiful medieval fortress town, also known as ‘the silent city’. The town is located on a rocky plateau at an altitude of 210 meters. It’s a beautiful place to walk around for an evening, especially at sunset. After a walk you can grab some delicious food just outside Mdina (5 minutes walk) at Root 81 in the little town of Rabat. We even went for a second time to this restaurant because we enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere so much. If you want to go there, make sure you make a reservation in advance, they are often fully booked a few days ahead!
All right, now you’ve got an overview of the activities and trips that you should do if you’re planning a (short) trip to Malta. You can of course do all these activities that are mentioned above in the order you want. Since the island is small, you can book one hotel or Airbnb as your base and do all the trips from there. Sliema, St. Julians, and Valetta are the liveliest places to be during the day and evening. A highly recommended place to stay is the Corinthia hotel in St. George Bay which is next to Sliema.
So, have you ever been to Malta and what was your favourite place? Or are you planning a trip? Let us know in the comments!