Set on an archipelago near Sicily, Malta is packed with fascinating architecture, clear turquoise seas, charming cities and a laid-back vibe. However, there are lots of things to do in Malta.
This tiny island is crammed with over 5000 years of history, with ancient temples, and medieval towns. Its small size makes it easy to navigate, so its possible to visit all the major attractions in one trip. Here are 11 things to do in Malta:
See Europe’s first planned city, Valletta
Malta’s capital city Valletta is full of narrow streets and colorful balconies. It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage, and with good reason. Don’t miss the gilded baroque St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the luxurious Grand Master’s Palace, and the National Museum of Archaeology.
Taste the seafood at Marsaxlokk
A traditional fishing village, the bay at Marsaxlokk (pronounced marsa-schlock) is lined with colorful boats and seafood restaurants. Each Sunday it holds a huge open-air fish market that sells everything from sharks to oysters.
Visit the Three Cities of Cottonera
Across the stunningly blue Great Harbour from Valletta are the three cities of Cottonera. Vittoriosa (pictured), Senglea, and Cospicua are small fortified towns that have been used since Phoenician times.
Stop at the ancient Tarxien Temples
The largest and best preserved prehistoric site in Malta, the megalithic Tarxien Temples date back to 3600 BC. Its stone walls are decorated with intricate spiral patterns and animal figures. The temples lie near the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, a similarly ancient subterranean burial site
Swim in Comino’s Blue Lagoon
Located alongside the picturesque Island of Comino, Malta’s Blue Lagoon is almost too blue to be true. The azure waters sit atop a base of white sand and rock that give it the fiercely aquamarine hue. It is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or exploring by boat.
Explore Mdina and Rabat
The old capital of Malta, Mdina is often called the “silent city’ due to its peaceful atmosphere and lack of cars. Golden-hued stone walls encircle the city, hiding majestic houses and narrow lanes. The old gate of Mdina stood in for the entrance to King’s Landing in the first season of Game of Thrones. Don’t miss the Roman villa in the nearby town of Rabat.
View the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples
Some of the most stunning of Malta’s prehistoric temples, the Ħaġar Qim megalithic complex looks out over the Filfla islet. It houses that Mnajdra Temple as well as an excellent museum
Soak in the sea on the Island of Gozo
The Island of Gozo features truly breathtaking scenery. Its hilltop walled city, Victoria, and extraordinary rock formations of Dwerja are perfect for leisurely strolls. It is also home to the Ġgantija Temples which date back to 3500 BC. The Azure Window, also made famous by Game of Thrones was also on Gozo. Sadly it collapsed into the sea after heavy storms.
Taste Maltese wines
Unlike its neighbors on the Mediterranean, Malta may not seem like a major wine destination. But, it produces some excellent wines. From Merlot to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Moscato all kinds of grape varieties are grown here.
Go to the Dingli Cliffs
At the Dingli Cliffs, it seems like the world abruptly ends. The sheer 250-meter cliffs drop dramatically into the Mediterranean, offering breathtaking seaside panoramas. While there is little here but a windswept walking trail and a tiny chapel, it is the perfect spot for a picnic.
Try traditional Maltese food
Maltese food is a blend of various Mediterranean cuisines. You can spot influences from Sicily, Greece, France, and even Britain. Local specialties include octopus and rabbit stews, often cooked in red wine. The mild Ġbejna cheese and a savory pastry called pastizzi (pictured) are also popular.