Last summer, my family and I traveled to Malta to enjoy the warm Mediterranean climate. It was a perfect week away! I especially loved the traditional food, such as their soft, freshly baked bread, pastizzi (fluffy pastry stuffed with either ricotta cheese or pea paste), fresh fish, and rabbit stew.
Keep reading for more tips on what to do and see in Malta!
1 | Valletta
Valletta, also known as “the Fortress City”, is the capital of Malta. It has been a UNESCO world heritage city since 1980 and is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. You can reach the city by bus from many popular tourist spots and easily explore it in a day.
As you stroll around the city, you’ll find traditional golden limestone buildings, with colorful Maltese balconies and doors. Watch how you step, as all of Valletta’s streets go downhill towards the water.Valletta’s main streets are also lined with larger, international stores, while the narrow side streets offer tiny shops and cafés with tons of character. Buy a sandwich in one of the backstreets and enjoy a picnic lunch in the Upper Barracca Gardens. From there, you’ll get a magnificent view over the Three Cities (Senglea, Cospicua and Birgu), which are worth visiting, too!
Valletta is also a great starting point for other trips. You can, for example, take the ferry to Sliema, home to a scenic boulevard leading to Tigné Point. Sliema is a more commercialized area, with plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. I’d recommend heading down to the water at Tigné, where you’ll find rocky beaches, which are perfect for catching a tan.
Valletta is also walking distance from Manoel Island, accessible via a narrow bridge. Manoel Island’s best hidden gem is the Duck Village, a volunteer-run sanctuary for ducks and various other animals. Here, you can feed ducks, chickens, geese, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more, and enjoy cuddle time with lots of local cats.
2 | M’Dina
M’dina is the former capital city of Malta and is known as “Silent City”’ because of the lack of traffic. It has less than 300 inhabitants, making it perfect for a secluded escape.
As soon as you enter through the town walls, you’ll feel as if you’ve taken a journey back to the Middle Ages, with tons of gorgeous baroque architecture. It is one of the most beautiful fortified cities in Europe, with narrow streets, high walls, and superb panoramic views.
3 | Comino
Malta’s two sister islands, Comino and Gozo, are also worth visiting. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to check out Gozo, but we did take a boat trip to Comino Island to go snorkeling. Be careful when booking your trip, as some companies won’t come back for several hours after dropping you off. The place is crowded with tourists and there is no shade whatsoever, so you might want to spend some time on the boat for some peace or a break from the sun. We even used our boat as a diving board from which to explore the ocean!
4 | Marsaxlokk
Marsaxlokk is a small, traditional fishing village in the Southeast of Malta. It is known for the Marsaxlokk Market, a large fish market, which takes place along the seafront each Sunday. The bay is full of traditional luzzu, small colorful fishing boats. If there’s one place to eat fish in Malta, it’s here! The local fishermen are also very friendly, and feed the stray cats their fresh fish.
5 | Popeye Village
Popeye Village, setting for the Popeye movie, is one of Malta’s best-known attractions. We decided not to visit, owing to high entrance fees, but we did snorkel and sunbathe in the bay opposite the village. We got a great view of the area, without being knocked about by the huge crowds. We also got to see some beautiful fish and stayed to enjoy the sunset over the impressive rock formations.
6 | The Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto is a cave complex along Malta’s South coast. Go inside at least one of the seven beautiful caves to see the wonderful natural light displays caused by the blue sky reflecting off the white sand below.
The only way to visit the Blue Grotto is by boat. Small boats depart from the tiny harbour of Wied-iz-Zurrieq and will get you to the caves in around 20 minutes.