Top things to do in Malta
Based on my own enjoyable experiences and from the adventures of fellow travellers, I've compiled a short but strong itinerary of places you should visit and things you should do if you're considering coming to Malta. If you're able to 'tick off' the majority of following, I can assure you that you'll feel fulfilled with what you'll have accomplished here. You've both read and seen just how good my time has been here and yet I've only achieved half of the following list. It therefore won't surprise you to hear I very much look forward to coming back to accomplish the rest.
Choose your week or two wisely though as this country is only going to attract more people - which is a shame and perhaps even off-putting. On the bus on my way to the airport I sat next to a German lady who moved to Malta five years ago. She said her rent has increased 50% in the last three years and that it's the strong demand from outside of the country (and even outside of Europe) that has contributed to these price rises with plenty of foreign investment from the rich people of the east. The economy here is strong, the weather is fantastic, the natives speak English, it's central to so many countries - for me the appeal is very simple to understand. On the opposite end of the financial spectrum, and perhaps the most surprising single statistic in my two weeks of full exploring, is that I didn't see a single deprived person on the streets! If you think about it, that's almost unbelievable but I assure you, that's entirely accurate from my two weeks.
Top things to do and see in Malta and of no particular order:
- Explore Valletta
One of the most historic, ancient cities in Europe. So much so that the entire city is UNESCO registered as 'Outstanding Universal Value'. Whether you're time there is spent gazing at the incredible interior of St John's Cathedral, people watch along Republic street, taking in the breathtaking views of The Grand Harbour from the upper (or lower) barrakka or just having an evening stroll along the beautifully lit-up waterfront, you could easily spend an entire day here and feel wholly satisfied. Though you'll probably want to come back before your holiday is over...
- Sample local cuisine
Depending on your budget, you can enjoy the nation's dish, Fenkata, which is a fried rabbit stew or you can opt for the cheaper but still thoroughly enjoyable and hugely popular snack known as Pastizz - a small pasty usually filled with ricotta or peas. I recommend the pea but you should of course try both as they are unquestionably affordable. Also, the crunchy Maltese bread is enjoyable and often prepared freshly that morning.
- Visit Gozo
If you have the time, stay over in Gozo which will allow you more time to see the island over people who visit for just a day. There really is plenty to see and do here so if you have the time, spend some of it here! This is also the island that Brangelina made 'By the sea' scheduled to be released for public viewing December 2015. To name just a few things to try, you can sample the traditional delicacies and local crafts at the market in Gozo's capital of Victoria, visit the citadel (for free), take in the view from Calypso's cave above Ramla bay and enjoy its beach along with other popular resort destinations such as Xlendi bay and Marsalforn.
Malta and Gozo are really popular destinations for Scuba diving so if you have the budget and the desire, do this too!
- The Azzure (blue) Window
Being the main attraction in Gozo, I felt this had to be given it's own separate point. Essentially a limestone natural arch located near Dwejra Bay. Top tip: Take the four euro, fifteen minute local boat ride that will take you into the caves and close to The Azzure Window.
- See some mega, Megaltihic temples
There are the Ggantija temples in Gozo which are said to be amongst the oldest free-standing structures in the world! Back on the mainland of Malta there is the Hagar Qim so if you don't make it Gozo, you can still see this ancient structure.
- Walk the promenade separating St Julian's and Sliema
Choose a sunny day and enjoy the 3KM walk between these popular towns. If you're up for a challenge, extend this walk to reaching Valletta too. If you enjoy stopping for photos, you should put aside 1.5 hours for to Sliema and another hour on top to reach Valletta. There is also cheap and super-efficient (and enjoyable) transportation available to you between Sliema and Valletta so be sure not to miss that out. That's the boat crossing of course, not the bus!
I stayed in Sliema for the majority of my time and really enjoyed everything about the city so you could do a lot worse than if you chose to stay here.
- Visit Malta's third largest inhabited island - Comino
Trek as much of the island as you can before visiting the premier attraction - The Blue Lagoon - which offers transparent, cyan waters and subsequently this is hugely popular with tourists and is more of a one-day excursions. Get this, there are only 4 permanent inhabitants on Comino. I didn't get to visit this but next time for sure.
- Experience the night life in Paceville
Whether it's bars, clubs or 'Gentlemen clubs' you seek, you'll find an abundance of these in Paceville. The 'strip' itself isn't that long but it is densely populated. Take a wander early enough in the evening and you can still get a feel for the place without feeling you're going to get accosted by someone. Though you will for sure get the touts handing you flyers!
- Mosta Church and Mdina
The 'Rotunda' of Mosta is the third largest unsupported dome in the World! This statistic makes it an obvious tourist attraction and I was one of these. I chose a wet day to visit meaning I didn't have tourists to contend with but instead, the weather. Think I preferred getting wet if I'm honest...
Mdina is the old capital of Malta. I arrived here with my Sicilian friend and didn't get the chance to research this in advance. As such, we wandered for a bit but to me this looked like all the other ancient cities I've seen this year. It was only when I later discovered online an aerial view of Mdina did I then appreciate just where I was.
See here - Aerial_view
- Visit other popular villages in Malta such as Marsaxlokk, Mellieha and Paola
Marsaxlokk is located in the south east of Malta and known to be fishing village. Mellieha the most northern district of Malta offering both archaeological wonders and conversely, some of the island's most popular beaches including Golden Bay. Paola offers the UNESCO stamped attraction that is known as the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum - an underground prehistoric burial site that was only discovered in 1902. Malta's blue grotto is also situated south east of the island.