Things to do in Malta

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Malta is made up of stunning golden rocks and crystal-clear blue waters. But it is much more than that. You can explore megalithic temples, snorkel among wrecks, and admire the wonderful cultural mix, which is reflected in everything from interesting architecture to delicious food.

But, Where is Malta?

Do you know that this is the most frequently Googled question about Malta? So, let’s solve this mystery.

Malta is a Mediterranean island country. It is made up of multiple islands, with the island of Malta being the largest, the most populous and the main island.

It is located in Europe, close to Sicily (Italy) and the African coastline.

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Basic Malta Information

Did you know that the island of Malta has one of the world’s highest population densities? It has approximately half a million people spread throughout 316 square kilometers.

 Malta is always attractive to tourists, but it is most attractive, of course, during the summer (particularly July and August). Also, the official currency is the Euro, and the official languages are Maltese and English.

So, let’s find out in this travel guide what is so attractive about Malta.

Get Nostalgic With a Visit to Popeye’s Village (Sweethaven Village) 

Famous Popeye Village in Malta
Famous Popeye Village Image from Canva

Yes, that Popeye—the animated hero with tattooed anchors and a pipe in his mouth. The Popeye Village is a film set built for the filming of the Popeye movie starring Robin Williams.

After filming, the set was left so the locals transformed it into a must-see tourist attraction. It is located in Anchor Bay, three kilometers from Mellieha.

By the way, did you know that Malta has no forests? So, the wood for Popeye Village was sourced from the Netherlands.

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The friendly Popeye team will guide you through the activities which include free wine tastings, shows, chess, a boat tour and even acting in your own movie.

Also, it’s interesting that Popeye is one of the 50 most popular cartoon characters of all time, which has resulted in increased spinach sales. We definitely need more children’s heroes who eat vegetables.

Visit the Colorful Luzzu in Marsaxlokk

Marasaxlokk Harbor
Marasaxlokk Harbor Image from Canva

One of Malta’s most stunning sights is the turquoise water and a plethora of colorful fishing boats (known as luzzu). You will find this scene in the must-visit fishing village of Marsaxlokk.

I recommend that you schedule this day trip for Sunday. Why? Because of the popular Sunday fish market, which attracts both tourists and locals.

Here you can buy fresh fish, or if you (like me) prefer that someone else cook for you, order a fish meal in one of Marsaxlokk’s restaurants. This is also a good place to buy souvenirs because they are cheaper than in places like Valletta.

Finally, don’t forget to take some photos of the colorful luzzus. But you will probably do that first.

Enjoy the Silence of the City of Mdina

Mdina Malta
Mdina Image from Canva

Did you know that Mdina was Malta’s capital until the 16th century? So, what happened? When the knights wanted to be closer to their ships, Valletta took over the title.

Visit Malta’s oldest cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Paul, the patron saint of Malta. Also, see Vilhena Palace (18th century).

People also come to this charming, fortified town to relax. Why? Because if you walk through this walled city at night, you’ll realize why it’s called “Silent City.” And wouldn’t we all appreciate some silence?

Swim in St. Peter’s Pool or at the Golden Bay

Golden Bay
Golden Bay Image from Canva

And now it’s time to take in the sights that make us adore Malta. One of these is St. Peter’s Pool. This natural pool was formed by erosion. The white-gold color of the rocks contrasts beautifully with the blue sea.

Keep in mind that jumping is the only way in (ok, you can use a ladder if you have to). There are also lower heights, making it suitable for children. However, be aware that there is minimal natural shade.

And if you prefer sandy beaches, look up Golden Bay on Google Maps and enjoy the water sports it offers. Or visit Balluta Bay in Sliema.

Visit Valletta, the Capital of Malta

Malta Valletta by day
Valletta Image from Canva

Did you know Valletta is one of the world’s smallest capitals, as well as the European Union’s smallest capital city? But it’s also one of the most beautiful.

Can you believe that there are only 6,000 inhabitants and yet 320 monuments? As a result, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Its intriguing streets and architecture date back to the 16th century, and despite its tiny size, there is a lot to see during your walking tour. So, stroll around the Valletta Waterfront; visit the Grandmaster’s Palace; as well as the Upper Barrakka Gardens, which offer panoramic views of the Grand Harbor and three cities: Cospicua, Vittoriosa (Birgu) and Senglea.

Also, be sure not to miss St. John’s Co-Cathedral. It is a baroque gem built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century. While you are there, pay attention to Caravaggio’s masterpieces. 

If you want to round out your visit to Valletta perfectly, book a boat tour around the grand harbour. Oh, yes, did you know that Game of Thrones was also filmed in Valletta?

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Swim and Snorkel in the Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Camino Bay
Blue Lagoon Camino Bay Image from Canva

Okay, now for something truly wonderful: the paradise of the Blue Lagoon and its rocky coast, turquoise sea, and beautiful caves. You can find it on the small but increasingly popular island of Comino.

Swimming, snorkeling, diving to see wrecks (the Malta area generally has lots of wrecks you can dive to), and exploring marine life, surrounded by towering rocks, will be unforgettable.

Also, do not be surprised if you see a large number of tourists at this tourist attraction. So shocking, right?

Spend a Night Out in St. Julian’s

St Julian's Bay
St Julian’s Bay Image from Canva

It would be a shame to leave Malta without meeting new people. So, if you enjoy the nightlife, include St. Julian’s (also called Paceville) on your itinerary.

If you’re feeling lucky, there are plenty of casinos here. But I’d recommend relaxing in one of the many pubs and cafes because the feeling of luck you are experiencing is most likely the happiness of being in Malta.

Admire the Rock Formations at the Blue Grotto and Dingli Cliffs

Blue Grotto Malta
Blue Grotto Image from Canva

Maltese scenes with high rocks and crystal-clear water are truly magical. One of them is the Blue Grotto.

If this viewpoint is not high enough for you, head to Dingli Cliffs and the chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, Malta’s highest point. I’m hoping that 250 meters above the water will be enough.

Before you arrive and start sightseeing, make sure your phone or camera’s memory is empty. You’ll need it. Also, don’t go near the edge if the wind is too strong.

Explore the Catacombs of St. Paul in Rabat

Malta St Paul's
St Paul’s Image from Canva

And now a fun fact: St. Paul allegedly spent three months in Malta after the shipwreck. During that time, he converted the Maltese to Christianity. It is believed that he lived in the cave near St. Paul’s Church.

Also, if you want an unusual experience, visit the Catacombs of St. Paul’s, the oldest evidence of Christianity in Malta. It is a complex of underground cemeteries from Punic, Byzantine, and Roman times, and it covers 2,000 square meters.

A Day Trip to the Island of Gozo

Azure Window on Gozo Island
Azure Window on Gozo Island Image from Canva

I was going to begin with, “If you want to get away from Malta for a day,” but you probably won’t. Okay, maybe if I told you that the Island of Gozo (only 15 minutes by ferry) is even more beautiful than Malta.

It’s interesting to note that Gozo is only 15 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide. In that small space, there is a mix of Roman, African, Arab and British influences. So, you will be greeted by exotic plants, interesting architecture and beautiful landscapes.

Visit the capital city, Victoria, as well as the Citadel, a fortified city with panoramic views.

Of course, it is impossible to explore the island and not want to swim. So, open Google Maps and type: Crystal Lagoon.

Explore the Megalithic Temples

Neothithic Temples
Megalithic Temples Image from Canva

Malta has temples that are 500 years older than the Egyptian pyramids. Yes, Gozo and Malta have the world’s oldest megalithic freestanding structures.

So, when were they created? During the period 3600–3000 BC. If you want to see it, visit Ggantija Temples and Tarxien Temple. And don’t miss Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, which are the best-preserved from that era.

While you’re there, feel free to brainstorm ideas for how they could build with those stone blocks, the largest of which weighs more than 20 tons. If you think of it, feel free to let me know.

Visit the Miracle Mosta Dome in Mosta

Mosta Dome malta
Mosta Dome Image from Canva

Have you ever heard of a church with a replica bomb inside? Now you will.

The Mosta Dome is a Roman Catholic church and it is one of Malta’s most beautiful churches.

It was built in 1883 and inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Today, it is known for being one of the largest unsupported domes in the world. 

The interesting fact is that it was bombed during World War II, in 1942. It happened during mass: a bomb fell through the dome, but it did not detonate, so many regard it as a miracle.

There are various theories behind this story and you can still see a replica of this bomb in the church. 

Enjoy Maltese Cuisine: Pastizzi and Much More

Malta Pastizzi
Pastizzi Image from Canva

What about delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients that combine British, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish and other influences? 

Pastizzi (ricotta pastry) is an absolute must-try. You will also enjoy an abundance of seafood, including grilled octopus, sea bream, fresh tuna and sea bass. Plus, if you have the opportunity, try rabbit stew.

For dessert, choose date cakes (imqaret), almond cakes (tal-lewz) or Maltese cannoli. If you want to try some local wines, choose between Ghirgentina and Gellewza.

Now excuse me; I have to go because talk of Maltese cuisine has made me hungry.

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Katarina Marjanović

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