In this blog post, I will present 8 of the most stunning tourist sights in Malta. Make sure you do check them out if you travel to Malta any time soon.
A couple of years ago, I was extremely fortunate to live in Malta for 3 months. Thanks to this, I got to know the country very well and covered pretty much all the tourist sights. As I know most of you will consider Malta for your upcoming summer holiday, you might be interested in what else is there to visit on top of swimming and going to the beach.
Malta is a small European island in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a former British colony and an EU member. The country has 2 official languages: English and Maltese. The Maltese language is mainly Arabic. However, some of the Maltese words come from the Italian and French languages.
Apart from being famous for stunning tourist sights and beaches, Malta is also famous for the Knights of Malta order. The order was established in the 11th century and had a humanitarian mission to care for the wounded. More recently, Malta gained international fame after several Hollywood blockbusters were filmed on the island, such as Troy, The Da Vinci Code or Gladiator.
Valletta is one of the tourist sights you must visit while in Malta. Valletta is the capital city of the island and one of the busiest places too. It is mainly famous for its ancient vibe and stunning fortified city walls. My top recommendations to check out in Valletta are:
Saint John’s Co-Cathedral is the most beautiful and imposing cathedral on the island of Malta. There is an entrance fee if you want to visit the cathedral. You can check out all the details here.
Since Malta is a catholic country, churches play an important role in Maltese society. There are many festivities and religious events taking place on the island. One of these religious events I attended when I lived in Malta was the feast of Santa Marija. The festivities take place in mid-August and are similar to the ones in Spain or France. Local authorities organise fireworks shows in the evening, and processions take place throughout the day.
Upper Barrakka Gardens is one of the gardens offering spectacular views of Valletta.
Lower Barrakka Gardens is part of a gardens system Valletta has. This enables visitors to have lovely walks around the fortified walls of the city and capture spectacular views.
Valletta Waterfront is probably the most beautiful and famous place for pictures in Valletta. Everyone should take a picture at the waterfront before leaving the island.
Strait Street is one of the many narrow streets in Valletta, and it’s full of interesting shops and places to eat out. You should definitely check it out, even if it’s for window shopping only.
Il-Berga ta’ Kastilja is nowadays the house of the Prime Minister. I remember one time I witnessed something similar to changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Don’t forget that Malta was a British colony for over 150 years. So it’s normal that they still keep very similar UK traditions in place.
Hastings Gardens is one of the many places you can walk around in Valletta. I’ve really appreciated that Valletta is a place where you can walk pretty much everywhere.
Other places of interest in Valletta are the museums. A very good selection of the most interesting museums you can check out is here.
2) Comino and the Blue Lagoon
The country of Malta is made up of 3 main islands: Comino, Gozo and Malta. Comino is thus one of the islands that form Malta. In my opinion, Comino and the blue lagoon are the most instagramable places on the island of Malta.
Comino is mostly famous for its stunning blue waters. Tourists go there mainly to swim, visit the blue lagoon and for sunbathing. The island is not habited, so you will need to return at the end of the day. To visit Comino, you will need to get the ferry.
Comino became very popular after scenes from the movie Troy starring Brad Pit was were filmed on the island. I will ever be grateful to our local guide for telling us all these stories when I lived on the island.
Marsaxlokk is a fishing village on the island of Malta. Fishermen catch fresh fish from the sea and sever it at their restaurants or sell it. Marsaxlokk is famous among tourists for fresh fish dishes and lovely walks alongside the beach. Whenever I think of this place, a strong flavour of freshly caught fish comes to my mind. That’s because that was the first thing that hit me when I arrived in Marsaxlokk. If you like fish dishes and want to go somewhere quiet on the island of Malta, I recommend a day trip to Marsaxlokk.
4) Popeye Village
Popeye Village was originally a film set village used for the filming of the 1980 live-action musical feature film Popeye. Nowadays, Popeye Village is an amusement park, and it’s an excellent choice for both families with children and adults.
5) Mdina and Rabat
Mdina and Rabat are two of the oldest cities in Malta. Mdina is in fact, the old capital city of Malta. Both cities look very similar to Moroccan cities. On top of the Arab influence, both Rabat and Mdina were Phoenicians settlements. This means that both cities are centuries old and have witnessed many amazing civilizations rising and falling throughout history.
As I already said, you will notice the influence of the Arab architectural style right away. The best way to discover both places is by doing a walking tour. It was lovely spending a full day discovering these two places and walking down the cobbled narrow streets. You will notice the defence walls are pretty much like the ones in Valletta. However, there is a distinct vibe in Mdina and Rabat, something you don’t get in Valletta. When I visited Mdina and Rabat, I felt I entered an Arabian story. And only a flying carpet was missing. Mdina and Rabat are also a good alternative to the busy Valletta as fewer people usually visit it.
Some of the places I recommend visiting in Mdina and Rabat are The Mdina Cathedral, The Bastion, St Paul’s Grotto and Buskett Gardens.
Gozo is the 2nd biggest island that’s part of Malta. Usually, quieter than the island of Malta is nevertheless as fascinating as the rest of the islands. Until 2017, Gozo has been home to the Azure Window, a 28 m tall natural arch. Unfortunately, the arch collapsed during a strong storm. However, I was lucky to have seen it long before this happened (see picture above). Gozo offers more or less the same tourist attractions as the island of Malta. You can explore cliffs, go hiking, visit sandy beaches and explore the old city.
Some of the highlights I recommend in Gozo are the Citadel, the Cathedral, the Independence Square or the Saint George’s Basilica. For more natural landscapes, I recommend checking out Ir-Ramla il-Hamra (Gozo’s best beach), Ta’Cenc Cliffs or the fishing village Xlendi. As you can tell, there is an equivalent in Gozo for everything you can visit in Malta. Nonetheless, I recommend exploring both islands if you have time because there are differences.
After all, you would not want to miss out Calypso’s Isle-the same island Homer refers to in the Odyssey. Regular ferries run between Malta and Gozo. You can choose to either stay in Gozo for a few days or come back at the end of the day.
7) Dingli Cliffs
Dingli Cliffs are the highest point in Malta. This site offers spectacular views of the northern part of the island. This is a must-see site I recommend to all nature lovers and photographers alike. Dingli Cliffs are also very good for hiking and outdoor walks.
Mosta is a small city on the island of Malta which it’s mainly famous for Rotunda. Rotunda is a large basilica located in the main square. Mosta is a good alternative to the busy Valletta (especially in summer). And also a good way to experience more of the real Maltese culture, away from the tourist-driven areas of the island.
With these 8 tourist sights in Malta, I’m sure your holiday is set for success. I hope everyone visiting Malta anytime soon will have their best time there. If you are interested in alternative summer destinations, I recommend having a look at this blog post: Why Make Finland Your Next Summer Destination?
Let me know in the comments below what other tourist sights in Malta should have been added to this list?