Malta consists of 3 islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino. Things to do in Malta Include;
- St Julian’s and Paceville
- Mdina and Rabat
- Blue Grotto
- Popeye Village
- Gozo Island and Comino
I based myself in Valletta Hotels – Saint John and took day trips to see the things to do in Malta. However, Saint Julian’s hotels as well as Sliema hotels are also in popular areas.
Valletta is a must visit in Malta as it’s the capital city. It is the smallest capital city in the EU. My favorite site to visit in Valletta is the Saint John’s Co-Cathedral. As a matter of fact, the interior reminded me of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. If you go at 9 am there won’t be many other tourists. You may be lucky to see the guards at the city gates of Valletta. If you don’t see them at the city gates you’re guaranteed to see them outside the Grandmaster’s Palace. Furthermore, read a detailed description about things to do in Valletta on my travel blog.
Sliema is a popular place to stay in Malta. It’s located across the bay from Valletta. The promenade is lined with bars, restaurants, shops and hotels. In addition, you can easily take the ferry to and from Valletta from Sliema. The cost is less than €2 and it takes about 10 minutes. On the boat over to Valletta you get some good city views of the Maltese capital. There are many tour companies based on the promenade selling day trips to the three cities, Gozo and Comino. What is useful about these tours is that they take you by boat. You can see how densely populated Malta is so a boat trip takes the traffic out of the equation on a visit to Gozo.
St Julians / Paceville
St Julian’s is the home of Paceville. Paceville is the nightlife capital of Malta. You’ll find endless bars and clubs in this area. I recommend you stay in Saint Julian’s as close to Paceville as possible if you are visiting Malta for the nightlife. There is a high concentration of hotels and restaurants in Paceville.
Mosta is a town in the central Malta. The main reason to visit Mosta is to see the Mosta Dome which is also known as the Rotunda. An interesting fact is that it’s is 3rd largest unsupported dome structure in the world. Where is the largest unsupported dome in the world? It is in fact, St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Most local buses will pass through Mosta as it’s located in central Malta. Finally, Mosta is a stop on the Hop on Hop off north bus tour, in fact the bus stops here for viewing purposes.
Mdina is a walled town which used to be the capital of Malta. It’s famous for Mdina Gate as well as St Paul’s cathedral. Additionally, Mdina has narrow streets and mix of Baroque and Medieval architecture. For this reason, it’s a very picturesque town and a must see Malta. You can make some unique street photography in Mdina, especially at night when the streets are empty. Another good photo spot is from the fortification where there are aerials view over Malta. Mdina is small with only 300 residents but it’s also connected to the larger town of Rabat. You can plan your journey to Mdina with Rabat as they are adjacent to each other.
You’ve probably heard of Rabat before as there is also a Rabat, Morocco. The Rabat of Malta is much smaller but has some interesting sites of its own. Things to do in Rabat Malta include the beautiful Parish Church of St Paul. What makes this church special are the catacombs of St Paul beneath it. Opposite the facade of the church are the catacombs of St Agatha’s which are huge catacombs with over 500 graves. There are also a few pedestrianized streets in Rabat Malta which are perfect for taking your Maltese Instagram street shots. Finally, if you are interested in movie locations, Munich was filmed in Rabat.
The Blue Grotto is one of the top things to do in Malta. In fact, you’ve probably seen pictures of these beautiful blue waters before. The Blue Grotto is a series of sea caves on the south west coast. It’s best to visit them in the morning when the sun is shining towards them. As a result, you’ll see the full variation of color. To get to the Blue Grotto it’s best to go by local bus or take a Blue Grotto tour. If you’re visiting independently, you can easily arrange a boat to the sea caves. Finally, scenes from the Brad Pitt movie, Troy were filmed at the Blue Grotto.
If you are traveling to Malta with kids then Popeye Village is a must visit. It was the movie set of the 1980 Popeye movie starring Robin Williams. Nowadays, the original set remains and there are lots of activities for kids. Activities such as boat rides, swimming, trampolines in the water. It’s also quite an Instagrammable village with all the Popeye colors and lagoon.
Naxxar is famous for its Parish church. If you’re passing through the northern city you should visit, at least to view the church. To be honest, if you’re not passing through then it’s not worth the detour. There is not much difference between this church and the churches you’ll see in Rabat, Mdina and St Julian’s.
Gozo Island and Comino
In my opinion, no trip to Malta is complete without visiting Gozo Island. Not to mention, Comino Island in between them Of course Comino Island is home to the Blue Lagoon of Malta. I recommend you visit the Blue Lagoon as part of a boat trip. However, there is a lot to see in Gozo therefore you should consider staying overnight in Victoria. Read my in depth article of things to do in Gozo which includes UNESCO sites as well as Instagram worthy locations.
How to get to Gozo from Malta + Travel Independently in Malta
To get to Gozo from Malta you first need to take a bus to Cirkewwa. From Cirkewwa the ferry to Gozo is a free service (you pay around €5 for the return). It takes about 15 minutes to reach Gozo and you’ll see Comino and the Blue Lagoon to your right. You’ll see people selling tickets to Comino from outside the ferry terminal in both Malta and Gozo. If you wish to travel independently to Comino, go with these guys! As a result you can stay after the day trips have gone home.
Things to do in Valletta and things to do in Gozo.