Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean. It is formed by 3 islands: Malta, Comino and Gozo.
There is so much to do and see in Malta… A lot of culture but also a lot of nature to explore and amazing food!
We flew with Ryanair and rented a car with Goldcar via Autoeurope.
Renting a car in Malta may not be the easiest task. The roads are really badly maintained so you have to drive very carefully and in Malta you drive on the left. Be sure you check all the existing dents/problems with the car before you start your journey, as it usually has loads of defects.
Most of the places accept card payments, but it is always safer to have some euros with you, especially when filling up the car at petrol stations, as they just accept cash.
Also, part of the British heritage, Malta still uses UK three-pronged electricity plugs, so please bring at least one adaptor if you live in any other European country.
One thing you should be aware is that there is an increased number of jellyfish in the Mediterranean, especially around the Maltese islands. If you get stung, usually the best thing to do is to put vinegar and to cover it up from the sun. You can also take some anti-histamines to help with the itchiness. There is a useful website to see if the beaches have jellyfish which is updated daily, just click here to check it out.
We stayed in Valletta in this amazing airbnb, just next to the Upper Barrakka Gardens. If you drive inside Valletta during the week, you will need to pay a small fee. There was plenty of parking just outside the city. You can park for free only in the white parking slots.
We started our first day with a day trip to the Comino Island.
There is a ferry company Comino Ferries Co-Op Ltd. that operates from Ċirkewwa to the Blue Lagoon in Comino many times per day for 13€ return. You can find the schedule here. The ferry will pass through Comino Caves, which are unbelievably beautiful. Remember to ask when the last ferry will depart from the Blue Lagoon or Santa Marija Bay back to Malta, as schedules may vary with season.
Comino Island is famous for the Blue Lagoon, which is indeed very beautiful but also very crowded. Be sure you go on the first ferry to avoid the crowds and bring a hat, as there is no possible shade in the island.
There are other things to do rather than staying all day soaking up on the Blue Lagoon. If you swim across the Blue Lagoon, you will reach Cominotto, a small island with amazing caves for snorkeling. With a 40 minute walk, you can reach the Crystal Lagoon, San Niklaw Bay and Santa Marija Bay, which are less crowded and peaceful. Bear in mind there are no cars on this island.
After returning from Comino, we headed to The Popeye Village. It was the film set from the 1980 musical ‘Popeye’, now it’s a theme park village with boat rides & food outlets. You have to pay to visit it, but it’s worth going and enjoying the view from the cliffs for free.
One of my favorite places for sunset in Malta is Café Del Mar. To use the pool, you have to pay during the day (see rates here) but you can access the place for free after 7 pm and watch the amazing sunset. They also serve nice sushi and cocktails.
Another day trip you can do is to travel to Gozo Island by ferry, again from Ċirkewwa. They run all day and night, so there is no problem if you want to stay late and have dinner in Gozo. You can check the schedules here. It costs 15.70€ return for one car and one driver plus 4.65€ per passenger.
Gozo is the second biggest island of the Malta archipelago and it is known for it’s amazing beaches.
Here is a list of cool places to visit and things to do in Gozo:
- Go snorkeling at Wied il-Għasri, Daħlet Qorrot, Blenheim Bomber wreck (WWII English Air Force), Crocodile Rock and Coral Cave.
- Check out the Salt Pans in Żebbuġ on the way to Wied il-Għasri.
- Ramla Bay is a nice sandy beach but I found it very similar to our beaches in Portugal.
- Visit the Dwejra Bay. Unfortunately the Azure Window is gone, but you can still swim and snorkel at the Blue Hole, a natural swimming pool. The pressure from the water is so strong that you can easily float!
- Visit Victoria, have lunch at Cafe Jubilee and stroll through town.
- There are loads of beautiful beaches around the island. My favorite are San Blas (it’s quite of a workout to get there but definitely worth it) and Ħondoq ir-Rummien.
- Visit Xlendi Bay at sunset and enjoy dinner on that area.
Malta has got a lot of things to do and see, but unfortunately it was too hot to visit the some of its cultural landmarks. We had to head to the beach to cool down. From all of the Maltese beaches, my favorite is Għajn Tuffieħa Bay, just next to the famous Golden Bay. It is a sandy beach with an amazing beach bar with lovely food called Singita Miracle Beach. You can hire parasol and sunbed there.
Here is a extensive list of what to do and see in Malta:
- Explore the capital city Valletta. There are loads of cultural marks to see, like the Upper Barrakka Gardens and the Saluting Battery (canons are fired everyday at 12pm), the Lower Barrakka Gardens and the Siege Bell, strolling through the streets and search for colorful doors and the Valletta Waterfront.
- Explore the three cities Birgu (Vittoriosa), Senglea (Isla) and Bormla (Cospicua). You can get the lift down just next to the Upper Barrakka Gardens down for free and get the ferry to Cospicua for 1.50€ single or 2.80€ return and then explore the cities.
- Visit the old capital Mdina. Public parking is easy to find just outside the city walls. Mdina is just gorgeous, full of cute nooks and doors. You can start by entering the Mdina Gate and follow until you reach St. Paul’s Cathedral. Stroll through its narrow streets. You can have a lovely ice cream at Fior Di Latte and if you follow the street just in front you to the left will find the most beautiful Maltese door. You can then enjoy the nice views at Fontanella Tea Garden.
- Visit the cities of Rabat and Mosta. The Rotunda of Mosta is a church that survived a WWII bomb which did not explode.
- Enjoy the morning at St. Peter’s Pool before the crowds arrive. There is public parking available just next to the stairs that lead to the pool but be sure you arrive early as it fills up quickly. There is no shade, so bring a hat! And… Please jump from the top to the water, it’s scary but so much fun!
- Marsaxlokk is a traditional fishing village that is known for its Sunday fish market, colorful fishing boats and amazing fish restaurants. Worth a visit!
- Malta has got loads of natural wonders… Blue Grotto, Ghar Lapsi and the natural pools of Sliema waterfront.
The typical foods in Malta are the rabbit stew, bragioli, gbejna cheese and pastizzi (puff pastry filled with peas and ricotta cheese). Almost everything has got ricotta cheese and tomato in it which is awesome! The most common beer is the local Cisk beer.
Best eats in Malta:
- Tartarun (Marsaxlokk)
- Roots (Marsaxlokk)
- Rising Sun, with good affordable fresh grilled fish (Marsaxlokk)
- Ta Kris (Sliema)
- Crystal Palace (Rabat)
- Nenu The Artisan Baker (Valletta)
- Piadina Caffé (Valletta)
- Mdina Restaurant (Mdina)
- Gululu (St. Julian’s)
- Cafe Jubilee
Malta is also full of nightlife. You can find most of the clubs and pubs around Paceville (St. Julian’s Bay), Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay.
Malta has so much more to discover… I hope to go back soon!