For such a tiny country, figuring out what to do in Malta can feel like a multiple-choice question with a thousand choices. The sheer amount of Malta attractions means that all kinds of interests are catered for, but if you’re the a la carte kind of tourist – wanting to try a bit of everything – it can be daunting to figure out an itinerary. Luckily, we’ve sunbathed on beaches and wandered around ancient burial sites all over the archipelago nation and have collated our favourite things to do in Malta. If you’re looking for inspiration, read ahead…
Visit Hagar Qim and other Megalithic Temples
These ancient temples are scattered all over the island and many are older than Stonehenge. For a long time, they were considered the oldest free-standing structures on earth, but even without this accolade they’re a must-do on your list of what to do in Malta. Six of the sites have UNESCO world heritage status: Ggantija, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Ta Hagrat, Skorba, and Tarxien. As far as Malta attractions go, you can’t get more iconic.
Ride in a traditional Malta Bus
One of the more fun things you’re likely to spot around Malta are the uniquely designed buses. Originally, buses in Malta were locally owned by the drivers, who would customise them to their own specification, making for some iconic decorations that captivated visitors. Modernisation of the service means that most buses are now standardised, but a lot of the original fleet remain, and you can hitch a ride on them for a fun blast from the past.
Although the biggest and eponymous island Malta is where most of the action in the archipelago country is, its little sibling to the north Gozo is the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main island. When it comes to Malta attractions, Gozo is a certainly sparser than Malta, but it also has some of the best food in the country, as well as local artisans crafting trinkets for souvenirs, and fishermen who still make their living with the daily catch. Easily accessible from Malta by boat or a short flight, Gozo is worth taking a day or two to explore.
Scuba diving in Malta
Malta is a scuba diver’s paradise, with clear, warm waters for most of the year, and plenty of colourful marine life to keep everything interesting. In fact, when it comes to things to do in Malta, there’s very little that can beat diving into the shimmering waters, especially around the island of Comino, the third and smallest in the archipelago. It’s also a great spot for beginners to learn to dive, with excellent infrastructure, plenty of easier dive sites, and world class instruction available all over the island.
Get wet and wild at Splash and Fun Waterpark
There are only a few Malta water parks, but our favourite by far is Splash and Fun Waterpark. There are a number of reasons this makes our list of what to do in Malta, the main one being it has the most amenities and best rides. There’s also a selection of pools, slides, and a lazy river for those who want to take things a bit slower. Suitable for kids and adults, there’s also food on-site and parking, which means you can spend the whole day there. And, on a scorching summer day, what could be better than visiting the best Malta water park?
Malta has more than one church per square mile, which means that if you’re a fan of baroque architecture, or gothic revival architecture, or pretty much any sort of building philosophy that’s shaped Christian places of worship over the past two millennia, you’re sure to find it here. While many of the churches are simply places of worship, there are a cornucopia of truly gorgeous buildings that will make you stand and stare in awe. We have plenty of favourites, from the imposing Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the capital Valetta, to the Sanctuary of our Lady, Mellieha, which overlooks the gorgeous bay in the city. Without a doubt some of the best Malta attractions you’ll get a chance to see.
While visiting a nation’s capital is on most people’s lists when they come to a country, Valletta is a must-see when it comes to deciding what to do in Malta. It’s not just all the great food, interesting cultural spots, and buzzing atmosphere that makes it great: the capital is one of the most aesthetically pleasing places in the world. Built by the Knights of St John on a tiny peninsula, this walled fortress city has everything from airy townhouses to ancient armaments in its borders.
Eat seafood at Ghar Lapsi
There are only a few restaurants in this tiny Maltese village, which is passed by a lot of people as they go to scuba dive around the nearby Blue Grotto, but each of them serves some of the best and freshest seafood you’re likely to eat in your life. You can digest your meal on the nearby, often secluded rocky beach, before heading to the natural swimming pool that also calls this inlet home.
Walk with the dead in the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni is another UNESCO heritage site, this time dating from the Neolithic period. A subterranean structure, it’s not too far out from Valletta by car or bus, so it’s easily accessible. Although we can’t be a hundred per cent sure, most archaeologists are convinced it was once a sanctuary and necropolis, a theory borne out by the documented remains of thousands of people found in its depths. One of the best Malta attractions, and a must-see on your island trip.
Go back in time at Ghar Dalam Museum
While you can’t quite take a wonder deep into the bowels of this cave-turned-museum, it’s still astounding to see the same things the archaeologists who did penetrate deep into the earth did: bones of long-extinct animals – some roaming the earth as long as 10,000 years ago, and other important artefacts that tell us about life in Malta all those years ago. It’s not just our friends in the animal kingdom who left remains down there either: Ghar Dalam (Cave of Dalam) is also home to the earliest evidence of human settlement in the country, almost seven-and-a-half millennia ago. An awe-inspiring spot.
Manoel Theatre and Museum
While many people come to Malta for its storied past, the current culture is just as worth exploring, reflecting the distinctive character of this Mediterranean gem. The theatre building itself is one of the oldest in Europe, so a must-see Malta attraction if you love history. Don’t just come and admire the old architecture, though – nowadays the theatre hosts a variety of different acts, from a variety of disciplines. There’s opera, ballet, musicals, and even panto if you’re around for the Christmas period. Music-lovers will also be pleased to know they put on tonnes of gigs here, from local acts to bigger, international ones. If you want a break from living in Malta’s past, then this is the best way to get to know their present.