Whatever Your Timeline – We’ve Got Your Malta Itinerary!
Planning a Malta trip? You’re not alone! The tiny island nation south of Italy and north of North Africa is a paradise with coastal waters, a 6000-year history, and amazing culture to go with it.
However, if you’re thinking about travelling to Malta for the first time, there’s quite a bit to know before you book anything. One of the biggest tasks is figuring out the perfect Malta itinerary. That’s where we come in.
Eric took a trip to Malta with two friends a few years back. They essentially explored the entire country just on day trips from Sliema using the buses. It was an amazing trip – and Malta has been a country of interest ever since.
So, if you need an itinerary for a visit to Malta and Gozo (to suit any interests), you’re in the right place. Whether you’re looking for a weekend break in Malta or planning on staying in Malta for 5 days, 7 days, or longer, here’s our guide to help you piece together your perfect Malta itinerary!
This article is divided into several sample Malta itineraries that you can pick or modify to suit your unique travel needs.
Based on our experience, here are four suggested Malta itineraries that travellers book. Since they serve different purposes, these itineraries differ by trip length and location of accommodation(s).
You can click on each suggested itinerary for Malta below to bring you to that specific one in this article:
- A short 3 day/weekend trip for sightseeing/nightlife with accommodation in Sliema or St. Julian’s
- A longer 4-5 day Malta itinerary with accommodation in Sliema or St. Paul’s Bay for a mix of relaxation and adventure
- A 6-7 day Malta itinerary in a resort or seaside apartment in Bugibba (on the main island) or all on Gozo primarily for a more relaxing stay (with some activities thrown in)
- A 7-10 day ultimate Malta itinerary with sightseeing and activities mixed into exploring culture and also relaxing (usually has two accommodation bases – one in Sliema/Valetta area and then a few nights on Gozo for tranquillity)
Getting Around Malta
Before we dive into the itineraries, you should know a few basics about Malta travel. One thing to know about is getting around Malta.
The country of Malta is comprised of many smaller islands (with three main ones). The main island of Malta is the largest, the sister island of Gozo is to the northwest (and you must take a ferry to get there), and the smallest island of Comino is between Malta and Gozo (also only accessible by boat).
There are a few ways of travelling around Malta you can utilize during your trip: walk, take the bus, Tallinja Bike (bike-sharing in the Valletta area), rent a car, take a taxi/private car, or take the ferry.
Each of these methods is handy in different places and depending on where you are trying to get to across the islands. However, there is one important Malta fact you need to know:
Malta is tiny.
If you’re driving in Malta, you can travel from the southernmost tip of the main island to where the ferry crosses to Gozo in the northwest in about one hour. That’s the entire length of the main island. One hour.
Malta’s compact size makes getting around the island very easy. This also has implications for where you make your accommodation base (which we’ll cover later).
Essentially, many towns, attractions, beaches, or sights can be reached in a half-day or even a day trip from basically anywhere else on the main island. If you time the ferry right, the same can be said for Gozo.
Not only is it easy to get between larger “centres” like Sliema, Bugibba, or Sliema, but walking around those areas to do various activities is also quite easy. Let’s dive into each method of transport in Malta so you know how they work.
Driving in Malta
A car is an effective way to get around Malta and Gozo over longer distances (like between towns of cities). As a visitor sticking around for more than a weekend, renting a car is by far the easiest way to get around on your schedule (if you are a confident driver).
In Malta, they drive on the left like in the UK. However, driving is something you’ll have to seriously consider for you and your skillset as with driving in any other foreign destination.
The upside to a car: often buses run the major routes but leave you to walk to any hidden gems (swimming spots, vantage points, smaller towns). A car allows you to get to exactly where you want to go and park very close by.
The downside to driving in Malta: culturally, driving in Malta is said to be quite intimidating. This is due to a more aggressive driving mentality, higher speeds outside the cities that can result in sporadic braking, and a lack of patience during rush hour. If you rent a car, it’s advised to have full insurance on a car rental.
If you’re just staying for two or three days and you’re sticking to Valletta or Sliema, then you won’t need a car since you can walk everywhere or take a cab/bus.
You’ll get to and from the airport at a flat rate for a taxi and that will be all your car needs covered for that kind of visit. See below for taxi/private car.
As for rental cars, rentals can be picked up very easily at the airport. Head to the Malta International Airport website for more information on car rentals.
If you want to rent a car in Malta, you can get started comparing the rental car prices across companies in Malta here!
Public Transport (Bus) Around Malta
If you choose not to rent a car, you are in good hands with the public transportation system. no, seriously. The classic green buses are a great, cheap way to experience the entire country (both Malta and Gozo).
One aspect of the buses worth mentioning is a cultural thing about Malta. “Malta time” is a relaxed pace that the island observes and the buses are usually no exception to this rule. This is route dependent, however, in our experience, not a single bus came when it was posted on the schedule.
But they always do come eventually (usually either 10 minutes before or 15 minutes late). Our rule of thumb was to head for the bus stop 15 minutes before you want to leave and then just get on the one that shows up next.
In short, if you can be relaxed with your times and itineraries, then the bus is a great option. Here’s the official website of Malta Transportation – they offer a variety of cards and passes for various trip lengths and usages.
The official white taxis can be found around the island. Since there’s been criticism of overcharging, these cabs are required to use the meter in the taxi to calculate your fare.
If you grab a cab at the airport, there all operate on a flat fee to certain popular destinations like Valletta, Bugibba, Sliema, and to where the ferry can take you to Gozo. You can learn more about those flat fees here.
There are also private hire “black cars” that can be cheaper than the official taxis and arranged in advance.
Generally, these services are useful if you’ve got more than one traveller and you have more than one bag heading a longer distance across Malta.
You can also check out eCabs as a good example of this kind of service.
Accommodation in Malta + on Gozo
If you’re planning your Malta itinerary, you’re going to need a place to sleep. Luckily, Malta is loaded with many different accommodation styles to suit all styles and budgets.
There are waterfront hotels in Sliema, farmhouse villas across Gozo, resorts in Bugibba, and quiet guesthouses in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk.
There are budget hotels, luxury hotels, boutique hotels, and even hostels. Oh, and you can’t forget about the seaside holiday apartments.
While this article is more focused on how many days to spend in Malta and what to do and see, we also include great accommodation options in all places mentioned in the itineraries.
This will make it easy for you to pick an accommodation if you’ve decided on which place to make your “base” while vacationing in Malta.
For the longer Malta itineraries, a night or two (or more) on Gozo is definitely recommended since there is much to see and do and it can be far less busy than the main island of Malta.
Top Activities in Malta
Any itinerary for a Malta visit should be planned with at least some consideration of what you want to do when you visit.
Since we’re talking about the entire country, there is plenty to keep you busy in Malta. If you’re going because you’re a sun chaser, you’ll have your beaches. If you want your nightlife, you’ll find it. If you’re going to be an adventurer, there is plenty for you to do and see.
What you end up doing will dictate the areas you spend the most time in and vice versa. If you want to explore the history of the country, then walking tours and historical inland attractions might be more for you.
If you want to swim, dive, or explore more of the “water” side of Malta, then the coastal areas will be for you. If you want both – that’s doable, too!
To help you trip plan your Malta adventure, we’ve also included a few activities that we did below in each of the corresponding sections.
Malta Travel Tip: Be sure to have a quick browse of the top tours and attractions before you go to avoid disappointment. The summer season can get busy and the best activities or tours honestly do get booked up.
⇒ Valletta: 3-Hour Walking Tour – Discover the Historic Capital City With a Knowledgeable Guide!
⇒ Comino, Blue Lagoon & Caves Boat Cruise – Cruise and Swim in the Famous Blue Waters!
⇒ Full-Day Gozo Island Jeep Excursion – Head to Gozo from Malta for the Day!
For more detailed information on how to keep busy when you visit Malta, you can read up on things to do in Malta, things to do and see on Gozo, and – more specifically – things to do just in Valletta!
Malta Itinerary – 3 Days
Some people seem to be passing through Malta on the way to someplace else. Others may have found a cheap flight in and out for the weekend. Whatever the case, there’s a need for a short travel itinerary for Malta. A quick 3 day Malta itinerary does the trick.
To get the best bang for your buck and see the most that you can, it’s wise to stay in the capital of Valletta or close by in Sliema or St. Julian’s. You’ll be able to see the most “stuff” by simply walking around or taking the ferries.
From those places, you will be well connected by buses to make a day trip or two to see other places before you leave. We will get into what these places might be down below.
As for 3 days in Malta, here’s one itinerary to help you see the most that you can. It assumes you stay in Valletta or Sliema to make use of walking, the Valletta-Sliema ferry, or the well-connected buses to get to the other parts of the island.
Malta Itinerary 3 Days
- Day 1: A day in Valletta and/or Sliema
- Day 2: A day trip to Gozo and back
- Day 3: A day/half-day trip to Golden Bay Beach or Mdina + fly home
If the beach doesn’t interest you, then skip Golden Bay and head for the medieval city of Mdina to explore the fortified walls and nearby catacombs.
You can also easily make this itinerary into a 4-day Malta itinerary or 5-day Malta itinerary by simply adding on a day trip or two.
Some ideas for additional day trips include another day on Gozo, a day on Comino swimming at the Blue Lagoon, or exploring the southern end of the island through the Three Cities, Marsaskala, and/or Marsaxlokk.
You might also fill a day in Malta by booking a private day tour with a local guide to see many historic sights and attractions you might otherwise miss!
We’ll cover each of the above places with a little more detail as this post develops. This way, you get a sense of what you can see and do if you do head there. Let’s start with the capital of Malta, beautiful Valletta.
You know how people sometimes describe a place by saying, “it’s like stepping into a time machine and going back in time”? Well, that’s Valletta.
You walk through the city’s main gate into the walled fortress of a city and it is like it’s been frozen in time.
The further you go towards the tip (where you’ll find St. Elmo’s Fort) the quieter and older the place becomes. Many of the shutters are coloured brightly.
There’s so much to do and see in Valletta we wouldn’t even try to name everything. For the smallest European capital, you might feel overwhelmed!
Saint John’s Co-Cathedral is just one of the many churches and/or basilicas in Valletta. There are many little shops and cafes to stop in for a snack or a coffee.
When you first enter the city, you’ll find the Upper Barrakka Gardens overlooking the Grand Harbour towards the Three Cities.
We were lucky enough to catch the firing of the cannons which was a spectacle to see! Being war history buffs, we visited St. Elmo’s Fort which we thought to be well worth the money.
Another cool find near the Barrakka Gardens was the Lascaris War Rooms. This museum – comprised of underground rooms and tunnels – was used for defensive strategy during World War II.
Accommodation in Valletta
There are lots of great accommodations in Valletta to choose from. The capital city has a number of hotels to suit all styles and budgets as well as a number of holiday apartments/aparthotels.
Many of the best accommodations have rooftop terraces of balconies that overlook the surrounding city of the waterways. These would make for an incredible place to stay. Just think of the sea breeze blowing through, drink in hand, without a care in the world.
- Grand Harbour Hotel – A simple, quality hotel with a rooftop terrace just steps from the Upper Barrakka Gardens with views of Grand Harbour
- La Falconeria Hotel – A trendy, boutique hotel right in the heart of Valletta with a shared rooftop pool and inner courtyard
- Valletta Kursara Port View – Colourful, authentic apartments close to all Valletta attractions with hot tub on a rooftop terrace
Sliema is popular among people visiting Malta for a reason. It’s beautiful, it’s not the centre of Valletta (which can get busy), and you have everything you need.
Most importantly, you can walk the boardwalk for ages and ages discovering new places, boat tours, and restaurants along the way.
Most of the shore is lined with large flat rock and technically this is the Sliema Beach. This is where you just bring a towel and sunbathe like a local.
It’s very, very peaceful – and there are attractions like the Torri ta’ San Ġiljan (a historical watchtower that you can go up and in). It’s also important to note that the road along the sea is the major bus route so getting anywhere else in Malta from Sliema is very easy.
As you walk towards St. Julian’s, the scene will get livelier. The bars and restaurants increase in frequency as you near Spinola Bay. The further you go, you’ll be in the famous St. Julian’s/Paceville which has all the best clubs and bars in one area.
There’s a lot of activity in St. Julian’s from the casinos to the massive hotels and resorts that line the water.
Malta Tip: Take the ferry from Sliema to Valletta and back. They run every 30 minutes (from one of the sides) in the summer and it takes about 10 minutes to cross.
You’ll get an easy ride and a really beautiful view of the area from the water. An adult return ticket is quite affordable. Here’s the link to check out the Valletta-Sliema ferry website.
Fun Story: Once, Eric and his buddies walked from Sliema to Valletta because it didn’t look that far. Well, in the heat – it is far. Deceivingly far. Hours later, we had made it to Valletta. It’s possible – it will just take a while.
Accommodation in Sliema + St Julian’s
Because these two areas are so popular, there are many accommodations of all kinds to suit all travellers. Sliema is definitely our top choice for location due to its proximity to bus routes, Valletta, and the bustling seaside promenade.
St. Julian’s has more of the nightlife close by – but you can find quieter accommodations that can help you balance fun with rest.
Check out these great accommodation options in these areas:
- 1926 Hotel & Spa – A very popular stylish, trendy hotel in the heart of Sliema with a seasonal seaside Beach Club with a pool
- The Maltese Sun – An authentic, cozy guesthouse with a sun terrace and breakfast in the heart of Sliema
- be.HOTEL – Another very popular trendy yet comfortable hotel in St. Julian’s with a large rooftop pool
- Hilton Malta – A luxury resort-style hotel right at the seaside in Paceville (St. Julian’s) with many pools, restaurants, spa, etc.
If you head inland away from the coast, you’ll find the quieter, tiny city of Mdina. It’s known as the Silent City for a reason!
Mdina is close to/in Rabat and both have plenty of things to do. This is why a day trip out there could easily be worth your time.
Of course, there’s the actual walled medieval town of Mdina. As the former capital of Malta way back when there’s history around every corner. From up high on the walls, you can get a great view of the surrounding area.
There’s a great attraction/museum in Rabat known as St. Paul’s Catacombs – the largest Roman underground cemetery in Malta. We checked them out and it was great to learn about the Roman influence and the history of Malta, in general.
The tunnels and underground caverns aren’t for everyone, though! Tickets can be purchased onsite but click the above link to learn more.
Another thing you can do from Mdina is to hop on another bus and head out to explore the Dingli Cliffs – the highest point above sea level in Malta!
You’ll get stunning views and photos at sunset. You can take the 52 from Mdina to Dingli and walk another 10 minutes or the 201 makes its rounds right by the road on the cliff edge. You can see the details below!
Accommodation in Mdina
If you plan on spending a night in Mdina/Rabat, then you can choose to stay right in the old walls of the city or just outside of them.
Below are several lovely accommodations in the area:
- Quaint Hotel Rabat – A modern, trendy hotel with a sun terrace right in the heart of Rabat, steps from Mdina
- The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux – An elegant, luxurious hotel with views right in the old walls of the medieval city
- Maleth Inn – A colourful, quirky guesthouse in Rabat right across from the bus stop and entrance to Mdina
The Dingli Cliffs
You’ll get to the Dingli Cliffs by taking the bus from Mdina. While there’s not a ton to do when you get there – there are a few places to grab a drink or food.
Naturally, you walk along the paths and admire the views from 253 metres above sea level. As mentioned, this is the highest point in Malta. The area is a go-to spot for sunsets.
Another thing you can do on this shorter itinerary once you’re done with Valletta, Sliema, or Gozo is to head for the beach. The beach at Golden Bay was simple to get to by bus as the area is well developed with its own hotel and resort nearby.
The beach is very popular so it can get a bit busy but it is easy to see why: the sand is golden, the water is clear, and the shore drops off semi-quickly so that you can swim without going too far from the beach.
The beach itself is Blue Flag Certified meaning there’s a high level of safety and amenities available. You can read more about the beach here.
If you wanted to stay right at the beach in Golden Bay, the Radisson Blu Golden Sands is a bright 5-star resort on the cliffs overlooking the beach and the sea. When it comes to seaside views in Malta, these views are perfection.
The Islands of Gozo and Comino
If you’re heading to Malta for three days or less, the islands smaller islands of Gozo and Comino get cut from the itinerary. This is because there is just so much to see in the areas surrounding Valletta on the main island.
Furthermore, a traveller passing Malta on a short itinerary might not want to navigate the ferry and the bus/taxi to get to the capital of Gozo, Victoria.
We would argue otherwise. While in Malta – even if only for a few days – make the trip to Gozo. Our trip to Gozo became one of the highlights of our Malta experience.
There’s a ton to see and do over there – from history and culture to beaches – and the vibe is just much more chill compared to the main island.
We have written a detailed guide on how to take the ferry from Malta to Gozo (and back). If you are in a hurry, here is the website for the ferry that leaves from Cirkewwa on Malta to Mgarr on Gozo.
The Island of Comino has St. Mary’s Tower and is very, very small. You’ll find some of the most popular sites for swimming and diving called the Crystal Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon.
These beautiful public swimming spots can be a trek to get to. However, it’s worth the tranquillity as many of the tourists stay to the main bus routes and beaches accessible on Malta or Gozo.
If you didn’t want to plan it yourself, you can always hop on a top-rated day excursion that will handle getting to Comino for you!
The ferry system to Comino is slightly different than the line from Malta to Gozo and operates on seasonal need with reduced runs in the winter but more frequent runs in the summer months. You can read more about the schedules and prices of the Comino ferries here.
As mentioned above, there are many things to see on the Island of Gozo. If you start in the capital of Victoria, you’ll be treated to the Citadel and the Gozo Cathedral.
You can learn more about the Cittadella here but the Citadel is beautiful and definitely worth seeing.
Another highlight on Gozo if you’re interested in the history of the island (and civilization in general) is the Ggantija Temples. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was incredible to explore since the temples are almost 6000 years old. We visited and it was fascinating to see first-hand.
Almost everything on Gozo is accessible by buses and many of them originate from the capital region (Victoria). The Gozo sightseeing bus is a great option for exploring the top sights on the island cheaply and easily!
Accommodations on Gozo
If you’re going to change your base to Gozo (more likely on a longer itinerary – see below), there are several great areas to stay with lots of varied accommodations.
You can find upscale or budget hotels, farmhouse villas, guesthouses/B&Bs with super lovely hosts and breakfasts, and seaside apartments. Read our detailed guide on Gozo accommodations here.
To get you started right now, have a look at these popular accommodations (hotels and a B&B) in different areas of the island:
- Cesca’s Boutique Hotel – A gorgeously popular yet peaceful hotel located between Xlendi and Victoria
- Murella Living – A colourful, trendy hotel right by the waterfront steps in Marsalforn
- The Duke Boutique Hotel – A charming hotel in the centre of Victoria with views of the Cittadella
- Ta’ Rosalba B&B – A cozy, lovely B&B with amazing breakfast in Nadur
Malta Itinerary – 7 Days
It’s not uncommon to stay in Malta for 7 days. A week itinerary is a really good amount of time to explore Malta while also ensuring you get a chance to rest and move at a pace that works for you.
In this case, you’ll need a 7 day Malta itinerary. So, to put together your full Malta itinerary for 7 days, you’d just take the 3 or 4-day itinerary and add on some full-day or half-day trips.
Assuming your base was still the capital area (Sliema, Valletta, St. Julian’s) you might consider exploring the following towns or areas: The Three Cities, Mellieha, Marsaxlokk/Marsaskala, Bugibba, Towns like Msida, Gzira, and Manoel Island.
So, your updated one week Malta Itinerary, assuming you didn’t change where you sleep, could look something like:
Malta Itinerary 7 Days
- Day 1: A day in Valletta and/or Sliema
- Day 2: A day trip to Golden Bay Beach and/or Mdina
- Day 3: A day trip to Gozo and back
- Day 4: A day wander of The Three Cities and Marsaskala
- Day 5: A day trip to the Mellieha Area w/Beach
- Day 6: A day trip to Bugibba/St. Paul’s Bay
- Day 7: A day/half-day in Marsaxlokk + then fly home
We will dive into where each of these places is and what they offer below. If you read up on these and if a few of them don’t work for you and your interests, consider adding another day in Valletta, on Gozo, or at the southern tip of the island exploring caves and coves.
Another idea we’d suggest for a 7 day Malta itinerary is that you could switch up your accommodation from the Valletta/Sliema area to another area like Bugibba/St. Paul’s, on Gozo, or to the quieter region of the south like Marsaskala/Marsaxlokk.
By the end of the next section, we’ll have discussed accommodations in all of these places. This is in case you do decide to change where you sleep over the 7 days.
One popular Malta itinerary idea is to spend a few days on the main island of Malta, sleep on Gozo for a night or two, and then finish your trip by staying on Malta again. You could also head for the airport right from Gozo (very doable, just watch the ferry times).
Another consideration for a week Malta itinerary is how you will be getting around. A rental car in Malta is a great option since you can go where you want when you want.
If you didn’t want to rent a car and you’ve been taking the bus, then you might consider buying one of the discount passes for the week.
The transportation website for Malta has a variety of deals and passes for different stays and the ExplorePlus Card seems like it fits the needs of a week traveller. Here’s the website for the breakdowns of the cards.
Let’s dive into the additional areas listed above so you can get a sense of how to build your itinerary with things that interest you.
The Three Cities
The biggest addition or substitution to the original three-day itinerary is probably that we didn’t include checking out “The Three Cities” of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua.
The cities are actually peninsulas that shoot out into the Grand Harbour across from Valletta (on the opposite side of the city from Sliema).
At the tip of Birgu, you’ll find Fort St. Angelo – a very popular medieval fort that’s been restored and offers amazing views of the Grand Harbour.
There are some seaside views, restaurants, cafes, and shops on this side. It’s also relatively easy to get to and from this area via the Valletta-Three Cities Ferry or buses.
Accommodations in The Three Cities
Overall, the area is very compact. So, if you wanted to stay on this side of the harbour, you’d get a unique opportunity to explore attractions over here. Of course, you’d still have the capital city, Valletta, just a ferry ride away.
Here are some great accommodations to get you started looking. It’s a healthy mix of hotels, apartments, and B&Bs over here!
- Nelli’s B&B – A bright, authentic B&B in Cospicua with rooftop terrace breakfast served each morning
- Cugo Gran Macina Grand Harbour – A modern, luxurious hotel in a historic building in Senglea – close to the Valletta ferry – with rooftop pool/terrace views.
- 50th Boutique Hotel – A trendy hotel in Birgu with balcony rooms and a nice breakfast (also close to ferry)
Malta Tip: The seaside area of Marsaskala isn’t too far from the Three Cities. Much like Marsaxlokk (see below), Marsaskala also has a quaint, seaside atmosphere, long promenade, restaurants and cafes to enjoy, and loads of accommodations.
Mellieħa is a large area located in the north end of the main island of Malta. Mellieha or – more specifically – Cirkewwa, is the town at the top where you catch the ferry to Gozo.
Mellieha is an area with a few smaller neighbourhoods/towns like Santa Maria Estates, Għajn Tuffieħa (where Golden Bay Beach is located), L-Armier, and more.
It’s also the name of a physical bay that you can stay close to and swim in. The beach is fittingly called Mellieha Bay Beach at Għadira and is one of the most popular on the main island.
In the area, there are a few things you can hop on the bus or drive to go see like Popeye’s Village and the Inland Sea at L’Ahrax Point.
One of the coolest and unique things is St. Agatha’s Tower which is also called “The Red Tower“. Perched high up on the hill, this stone tower built in 1649 was used by the Knights of St. John and in World War II.
We made the trip and we got amazing views of the area. You’ll have to get off the bus in what feels like the middle of nowhere and walk up the hill but it’s worth it!
Accommodations in Mellieħa
You can make this area your base for your Malta trip. It’s much quieter up on this part of the island and you’d have sea views available all around you.
You’ll also be close to the ferry to Gozo, the nightlife in Bugibba, and many of the best beaches on Malta. You’d need to grab the bus or drive back to the busy capital region but that’s quite easy to do since the island is so small and well-connected.
Here is a healthy mix of different accommodation styles if you want to stay in this area:
- Solana Hotel & Spa – A colourful, trendy hotel (popular) with rooftop pool views close to Close to Mellieha Bay Beach
- Radisson Blu Golden Sands – An exceptional resort overlooking the sea and beach at Golden Bay
- Claureece Court Mgarr – Clean, functional apartments close to beaches in the town of Mgarr
Marsaxlokk is one of the most famous/popular places to visit in Malta. Marsaxlokk is a small fishing village located on the southeast tip of Malta, southeast of Valletta.
The area is beautiful with traditional fishing boats lining the harbour. The thing to experience is the Sunday Fish Market. On Sundays, the daily catch is taken from the boats and sold right there on the shore in the market.
The market itself has grown and developed from the days of just fish trading to including other shops and stalls that sell local honey, jam, fruits, and much more.
The scene has also developed to have a variety of places to grab a bite to eat and a drink looking out over the sea. You might even head out on a scenic boat tour of the bay.
The restaurants all specialize in seafood so if you’re a seafood lover (Eric is) then head to Marsaxlokk.
Accommodations in Marsaxlokk
Overall, Marsaxlokk would make for a nice place to stay in Malta if you’re looking for a relaxing time. It’s not far from the airport or the capital area meaning you can be from the tranquil seaside to the busy city and attractions in no time at all.
As a quaint seaside village (much like Marsaskala), Marsaxlokk has several guesthouse accommodations. These accommodations fit the vibe of the area well.
You may choose to stay here at the end of your Malta adventure and just want to unwind before you fly or ferry away!
- Port View Guesthouse – A clean, simple guesthouse with a nice breakfast just a short walk to the main promenade/water
- Fisherman’s Cove Guesthouse – A charming, boutique guesthouse with a rooftop pool also a short walk to the harbourfront
- Dun Gorg Guest House – A bright and modern B&B steps from the harbour with a rooftop sun terrace and breakfast
Bugibba/St. Paul’s Bay
Another very popular area to visit and stay in on Malta’s main island that isn’t Sliema, St. Julian’s, or Valletta is Bugibba/St. Paul’s Bay.
This area is located along the northeast coast of the main island. Due to the sweeping views out to sea, this area has developed into one of the best areas for the resorts in Malta.
Aside from some smaller bays and beaches, this area offers a good nightlife/social scene with a very high number of restaurants, bars, and clubs. There are several great accommodations options (hotels, resorts, and apartments) here as a result.
Overall, this area is a good alternative to staying in the capital area. The amenities available make staying here great and it’s in a nice location to access the other parts of the island via car or bus.
Accommodations in Bugibba/St. Paul’s Bay
If you’re considering staying in the Bugibba/St. Paul’s Bay area, here are a few different accommodation options to get you started.
Some are hotels and resorts while others are self-catered apartments – so there’s accommodation for every traveller.
- AX Seashells Resort – A very popular seaside resort with balcony views, pools, and more overlooking Salina Bay
- The Village Apartments – Clean, simple apartments with kitchens in the heart of Bugibba steps from restaurants and bars
- Salini Resort – A classy yet simple resort with pools and quiet views of Salina Bay
Msida, Gzira, and Manoel Island
Tucked away between Sliema and Valletta are some smaller towns that each have their charm along the waterfront.
If you take the bus from Valletta to Sliema or vice versa, you’ll pass through these places without a second thought. Luckily, because we accidentally walked all the way to Valletta from Sliema we got to walk the shore and discover them for ourselves.
Extending from Gzira is a small island that’s mainly for boat docking. Nonetheless, Manoel Island has a Fort at the tip of it called Fort Manoel.
It’s beautiful to photograph but it’s been open and closed in recent years due to renovations – so check before you make a point of seeing it. You can always walk about the shoreline of the island for stunning yet quieter views of the harbour.
One amazing food recommendation in Gzira is to go to Good Thaimes/Jungle Joy. From the outside, you might miss it but inside you’ll find some of the best Thai dishes in the area.
Malta Itinerary – 10 Days
If you were planning on staying in Malta for more than 7 days, then we would certainly recommend changing bases once (if not twice) to shake up your experience. This, of course, depends on factors like who you’re travelling with, your budget, etc.
A family travelling to Malta with kids might not want to uproot from their holiday apartment but a light-travelling couple might want to accommodation hop from the main island to Gozo.
There’s another good reason to change bases over a longer Malta itinerary – and it has to do with what you’ll be able to experience.
You see, being based in Valletta or Sliema is popular and serves many purposes. However, it makes it more difficult to explore other places in the evening because you always have to head back home at the end of the day.
So, with that much time available to you we’d recommend changing your sleeping base by adding on a night or two on Gozo since there’s plenty of accommodation options across the sister island.
If you then wanted to change sleeping locations for the third time (or didn’t want to stay on Gozo), then stay in whichever area suits your length of trip and interests best. The better options are for accommodation not in Sliema or Valletta are Bugibba, Mdina, Mellieha, or Marsaskala/Marsaxlokk.
All of these “centres” are on the major bus routes and are accessible by car very easily. As we’ve mentioned, Mdina is in the middle of the island for quiet romantic views while Bugibba is on the coast with nightlife available.
Marsaskala is at the south end of the island near Marsaxlokk, making for a more relaxing end to your Malta trip.
So, to see the whole country, your updated 10-day Malta Itinerary could look something like:
Malta Itinerary 10 Days
- *Accommodation in Valletta or Sliema*
- Day 1: A day in Valletta or Sliema
- Day 2: A day trip to Golden Bay
- Day 3: A day trip to Mdina/Rabat
- Day 4: Wander The Three Cities
- *Optional Accommodation Change to Mellieha or Bugibba or Gozo*
- Day 5: A day on Gozo and/or Comino
- Day 6: A day in the Mellieha Area
- Day 7: A day in Bugibba/St. Paul’s Bay
- *Optional Accommodation Change to Marsaxlokk/Marsaskala or back to Sliema*
- Day 8: A day at the Beaches (see below)
- Day 9: A day in Marsaxlokk/Marsaskala
- Day 10: A day/half-day in towns like Msida, Gzira, and Manoel Island + then fly home.
If you’ve moved your accommodation to Bugibba, Mdina, or Mellieha which are all in the middle to the northern end of Malta, then you can extend your list of things to do by visiting more of the beaches in that area very easily.
Of note, a few of the other well-known beaches are Ghajn Tuffieha, which is usually uncrowded but close to Golden Bay, Mellieha Bay which is the longest sandy beach in Malta, or Paradise Bay, which is located very close to where the Gozo ferry leaves to make its crossing in Cirkewwa.
If you move your base to the south end of the island to either Marsaxlokk or Marsaskala, you’ll get some peace and quiet before you fly. Also, these seaside areas are close to the airport which makes things easier when you go to leave.
There are also things to see and do in the south end of the island to give merit to staying here for a few nights. One top thing to experience is the Fish Market in Marsaxlokk. Another would be an adventure to the Blue Grotto.
There are also a few swimming spots/beaches down this way – both sandy and rocky – like Pretty Bay, St. Peter’s Pool, and St Thomas Bay. There’s a very natural, rocky beauty to this area with seaside caves and coves all over the place.
To answer some questions about visiting Malta and planning the perfect trip, have a read through this Malta itinerary planner FAQ:
How long to spend in Malta?
If you’re wondering how many days to spend in Malta, the answer will vary depending on when you’re going, why you’re going, and what your budget is.
To immerse yourself in and experience the different sides of the island – culture, history, nightlife, adventure, food, etc. – then you’ll need at least 5-7 days in Malta.
Any shorter and you won’t have to get an in-depth understanding/appreciation of the country. Any longer and you’ll have plenty of time to fill up your days with places to go and things to do – and even have time for rest.
Is Malta worth visiting?
Absolutely! Malta might be a small country but there’s so much to do and see – it’s not all about resort sunshine and weekend breaks for partying.
Malta has a very rich historical side that dates back many millennia. The country also has a unique culture and connection to the rugged, wind-swept geography that isn’t to be missed.
Foodies will have things to taste, kids will have things to entertain them, and couples will have the opportunity for an ultra-romantic getaway.
What’s the best time to go to Malta?
The best time to visit Malta will change depending on why you are visiting and what you’d like to do while there.
The most popular time to visit Malta is the warmest, sunniest summer months from June to August. Of course, this is when the crowds are also the busiest.
December in Malta is the coolest and has the most potential for rain – but it’s still warm for Europe (lows of 11 degrees Celsius and highs of around 18 degrees Celsius). December can also be busy due to Christmas and New Year.
We went in April as the shoulder season was warming up. It was plenty warm enough (but not scorching) with basically no rain.
How long is Malta in miles?
Malta (the main island) is approximately 17 miles long – this is about 27 kilometres. It’s easily drivable from end to end in around one hour.
And there you have it, a sample of the areas and attractions in Malta so you can create your perfect Malta itinerary.
Of course, there are a few other towns to discover and attractions to enjoy across Malta. These sample itineraries should serve as a great backbone for however many days you spend in Malta. You can add in a day or half-day trips – or just lounge on the beach for days – it’s your Malta trip!
As always, Happy Waddlin’,
If you want to learn more about Malta, have a look at our other posts to help with planning everything about your Malta trip: