Malta is such a beautiful island. You won’t believe the rich history it has and the various traces culture has left on it. It’s a jewelry for travelers and locals’ reason to be proud. Me and my boyfriend decided to go to Malta for 4 days in May in order to celebrate my birthday, but if I go again I would go in early spring (March, April) or late autumn (October, November). In May it starts to get really hot and you get tanned while walking on the streets – I got some pretty bad sunburns just from sightseeing, not purposely laying in the sun.
We went with WizzAir, since there is a direct flight from Bucharest to Malta, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, if I remember well. The flight ticket was around €50 both ways, so it was a bargain. See here more wizz air flight offers. I suggest you install the app because this way you receive push notifications with the latest discounts.
There are a lot of things to do in Malta and you won’t be able to see everything in 4 days but you can try to fit in as much as possible (as we did). Working on 9-5 jobs, I value my paid vacation days more than anything else and I always try to balance every trip between week days and weekends so as to not use my annual leave all at once.
The first thing I do once I buy tickets to a destination is to do a little bit of research regarding the accommodation. My first choice is Airbnb since it offers not only a house but also an experience. I know, the first time I booked a place through Airbnb I was a little bit skeptical also, but soon I found out that there is nothing to worry about. Everything’s safe, from payment to airport pickup, but my recommendation is to read the reviews before booking.
In Malta, we decided to book Audrey’s Place which was a fantastic choice. Audrey was an incredible host and she helped us with everything that we needed: from giving us directions to recommending places to eat and to visit. Her place is in Birkirkara which is 15 mins away by bus from Valletta. The buses go very often and they are on time so there’s nothing to worry about. We arrived at her place with the X3 bus, but we arrived late at night so our adventure in Malta started the next day with..
1. Valletta – the capital of Malta
Valletta is the capital of Malta and the smallest capital in Europe. Its history goes a long way back to the sixteenth century when it was thought to be a city built “by gentlemen for gentlemen.”
I really liked the architecture and the fact that there were small restaurants (with 2-3 tables) everywhere. It is built like a fortress and it has some interesting places that you must see, like..
2. St. John’s Co-Cathedral (Kon-Katidral ta’ San Gwann)
This cathedral has an amazing Baroque architecture, decorated by the famous artist Mattia Preti. The fee for adults is €10 and for students/seniors €7.50, which includes a very useful audio guide. What I liked the most is that the Cathedral contains 9 chapels, each of them representing the patron saints of the Order’s eight langues. Also, it hosts 2 notable works of art, namely: The Beheading of Saint John The Baptist and Saint Jerome Writing, both by Caravaggio. I highly recommend this one, but expect it to be crowded and wear a decent dress/skirt/blouse since this is a sacred place.
3. Upper Barrakka and Lower Barrakka Gardens
Other important places in Valletta are Upper Barrakka Gardens and Lower Barrakka Gardens, which offer an impressive view of the Grand Harbour and the breakwater. The Lower Barrakka Garden is filled with commemorative plaques that mark the important historical moments of Malta’s history. It also hosts the monument dedicated to Alexander Ball (pictured), the first de facto Governor of Malta.
The Upper Barrakka Garden contains the saluting battery, which was built in the 16th century, destroyed and restored in the 2000’s. Now it holds guided tours and the gun salutes every day at 12 p.m and 4 p.m.
They are both historical places and they are worth a visit, especially for the view over the harbor and the three cities.
4. Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha
These are some of the best beaches in Malta, which we had the opportunity to visit. Golden Bay is a good beach for swimming, although the water was a little bit cold in May. I noticed no lifeguards and after a little bit of research, I found out that it is guarded only on summer days, so be careful. It is a quiet beach, with a few places to eat, so be prepared.
Ghajn Tuffieha is another sandy beach, perfect for couples and for families, where you can get sun beds and umbrellas. It is a quiet beach and I strongly recommend it, because the other ones have a lot of stones and they get very crowded. They are a little bit far away from the capital, but there are buses which can take you to Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha ( from Valletta – 42, 250 to St. Paul’s Bay and then 223 or 225 | from Sliema – 225 directly). But, I can’t hide it – the best beach in Malta is..
5. Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon was the most beautiful experience I had in Malta. It is a small bay, with a small beach on the West Coast of Comino. In order to get there, we booked a day cruise to get us from Malta to Comino and Blue Lagoon and then to Gozo (another island). After a lot of research, we booked the cruise with Hornblower and we were very happy with the service. The ticket is €25 for a trip departing from Bugibba at around 10 a.m and arriving back in Malta at 5.30 p.m. After about 1h of cruising, we arrived at the Blue Lagoon where we took some photos and then we went snorkeling (the equipment is given for free by Hornblower with a deposit of €5 if I remember well).
I loved snorkeling and swimming with the fishes and I can’t wait to do it all over again. The time spent on Comino is around 1h 30 mins and after that, you depart, heading to..
6. Gozo Island
Gozo is the second-largest island of the Maltese archipelago (after Malta) and an island with a rich history (it hosts some Megalithic Temples of Malta). With a cruise, you have about 3h to explore Gozo and for an extra €5, you can book a tour offered by the Hornblower Cruises (I don’t know if the other cruises offer this). For us, it was a great decision, because we were offered a Safari Jeep and our driver was a funny guy. We were 4 people in the Jeep and we got along regarding what we wanted to see and how much to stay when visiting every touristic point. We explored the entire island, from the Azure Window (which has collapsed about two months before our journey), to Victoria, the capital and to the places where the Maltese harvest sea salt.
The entire day trip was great, we got back in the afternoon and still got time to visit some more treasures of the island.
I must mention: this is the way we decided it would be best for us to get to travel Malta and Gozo and it was a good choice. If you don’t wanna do a cruise, you can also go by ferry, from Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal to Comino Island and then to Gozo (but I think you have to come back to Cirkewwa from Comino in order to go to Gozo, I believe there is no direct ferry.) The ferry option is much cheaper, but I would recommend it if you have more time at hand so you can visit the 2 islands in 2 different days.
7. Popeye Village
In our second day, when we visited Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha (the beaches), we also went to the Popeye Village by bus. This is a village that was built as a film set, but it has evolved into being a touristic attraction. It is rather far from the usual places you’d visit in Malta, but it’s reachable. I didn’t visit the village itself, I didn’t see the point in doing so, but I heard it’s nice and I bet kids would love it. The view from above is wonderful, also.
8. Mdina and Rabat
We visited Mdina and Rabat on a warm afternoon and it was perfect. Mdina is Malta’s old capital and as soon as you enter the city, you feel like you are in another dimension. Mdina was, along Comino, one of my favorite places I have visited while in Malta. The narrow streets, the walls, and the small population gained its name as the Silent City. The cars aren’t allowed in – except for residents – and the entrance is made through a big gate (looks like Dorne, for GoT lovers). I loved Mdina and I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s traveling to Malta.
Rabat is the Arabic word for ‘suburb’ because it was the suburb of the old capital, Mdina. It is a nice city, with an old architecture, but we didn’t visit it as much as we wanted because we had to catch a bus back to Birkirkara. But you can read more about Rabat here.
Marsaxlokk is Malta’s fishing village and a really quiet and pleasant place. It is small, so there aren’t so many things to do here: we took some photos, had something to eat and just inhaled the quietness of this place. There were also options to take a boat and explore the surroundings for a decent price.
10. St. Julian’s Bay
Last, but not least, the young and fun town, St. Julian’s Bay. It is subdivided into informal districts like Paceville, Spinola Bay, Ta’ Giorni and many more. It is the place where you come to have fun, dance until the morning light and eat good food. Youngsters will definitely love it, as we did.
So these are the 10 places in Malta that I would strongly recommend to visit. For me, Malta was the perfect way to spend my birthday and I loved every piece of it. It is safe, pleasant and it has a lot of touristic attractions. I know people who moved there to study and at first, I was intrigued, but now.. now I understand why.
Any questions about Malta? Feel free to leave them in the comments below. 🙂