15 Things to see in Malta and Gozo

Malta is not a country where you can discover an endless number of fantastic sights, but for a great sunny holiday with picturesque villages, fantastic beaches and delicious food you are in the right place. Rent a car and explore Malta, Gozo and Comino. That way you can be sure that you'll not miss out on all the highlights of these Maltese islands. I tell you the best things to see in Malta and the surrounding islands.

 

things to see malta

Malta actually consists of five islands, but only two of them are inhabited (actually three, but there are only three people living on Comino, so you can’t really say that this one is inhabited… Right?).
It’s therefore mainly on Malta (the largest island) and Gozo (the second largest island) that you’ll find things to see and do. A day trip to Comino should also be booked, however. But I’ll talk about that further down in the article.
In this article I’ll list both my favorite things to see in Malta and Gozo.

My favorite things to see in Malta

Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk is located about twenty minutes from Valletta and I think it’s one of the prettiest places in Malta. This small port city is known for the colorful boats that can be seen here, but also for the delicious seafood restaurants that embrace the sandy embankment. Stroll along the floating boats or sail with one of the fishermen to a paradise bay that you can only reach by boat.

marsaxlokk things to see in malta

The colorful boats of Marsaxlokk are one of the most beautiful things to see in Malta!

A day tour to Comino

This is undoubtedly Malta’s most popular excursion! Comino is a small island that lies between Malta and Gozo. There are two possibilities to reach Comino: from Valletta you can organize a day trip for €30 per person, or you can hop on a ferry from Cirkewwa (€10, but keep in mind that Cirkewwa is located about 45 minutes from Valletta with your own transport).

During the boat trip you are spoiled with fantastic views over the island. The small boats sail past fantastic gorges and visit a few small coves or inlets. In the meantime, you may be amazed by the thousands of shades of blue that slosh past you.
Once arrived at Comino it can be very busy (especially in the summer season), but don’t start to freak out right away! Although the white beaches with turquoise waters look fantastic here, there is even more of that if you don’t mind climbing the island a bit further. After all, there are many other (rocky) beaches spread out over Comino. And with a little bit of luck, you’ll have them all to yourself.
Do you still prefer a sandy beach? Then you’ll have to share it with the other tourists. But if you leave early enough, that shouldn’t be a problem.

comino things to do in malta

As you can see, it can get pretty busy at Comino.

comino malta things to see

But if you climb a bit further you’ll also find very quiet places!

Popeye village

If you drive towards the Gozo ferry, you’ll pass Popeye village at a certain moment. It’s only a small detour, so I definitely recommend making it. This picturesque town has nothing to do with the rich history of Malta, as it was only built in 1979 as a film set. After the live-action film ‘Popeye’ (with Robin Williams) was recorded, Popeye Village got a new goal: it became a theme park for children.
You don’t have kids or are you not a big fan of theme parks? Then just visit the viewpoint right in front of Popeye village: the perfect location for some holiday snaps of Malta! To see this attraction, I recommend to book a rental car.

popeye village malta

Nice to see, but the water attractions also look great!

Valletta

During a holiday to Malta you of course can’t miss the capital, Valletta. I recommend just walking around in the city center and enjoying the cozy atmosphere. Be sure to visit the ‘Upper Barrakka Gardens’. From here, cannon shots are fired at 12 am and 4 pm. Don’t be alarmed if you’re in the neighborhood!
There also are many museums and other historical or cultural attractions, but what I liked the most was a boat trip in the port of Valletta (€15). From on the water you get the most beautiful views over the Maltese capital.
Do you want to party in Malta? Then go to Sliema: the best neighborhood to enjoy the nightlife of Malta!

things to do in malta valletta

You get the best views over Valletta from a boat.

Saint John’s Co-Cathedral

If you’re in Valletta, a visit to the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is very worthwhile. For me this was one of the most beautiful things to see in Malta.
This gigantic sand-colored structure looks fantastic from the outside but wait until you have seen the inside!
The impressive golden ceiling with fantastic paintings is the first thing you see when you enter. This opulent interior wouldn’t even be out of place in the Vatican! Don’t keep looking up all the time, because the floor also deserves your attention. Fantastic stories are displayed on every tile and they seem to go on in the abundantly decorated walls. Along the sides are some masterful sculptures and of course there also are various valuable paintings on the wall.
You might’ve already understood: all of your senses will go in overdrive when you visit this place!
Don’t forget to climb the stairs (just before the exit). From the balcony you get a fantastic view over the St. John’s Co-Cathedral.

st john's co cathedral malta

I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that this cathedral was lavishly decorated!

things to see in malta saint john's co cathedral

Don’t forget to climb the balcony!

Organize a boat trip to the blue cave

The blue cave (or the ‘blue grotto’) is located about five kilometers from the Maltese airport. From the island itself, you don’t actually see much of this attraction, but once you’ve bought tickets and climbed into a small motorboat, your eyes will definitely be spoiled. For about half an hour long you sail around several sea caves and dark coves of the Maltese coastline. Unbelievable how beautiful the colors of the ocean come out here! Due to the many depth differences, the shadow of the caves and the light of the sun, thousands of hues of blue can be seen.

blue grotto malta blue cave

I promise you that this is not a photoshop! The different shades of blue that you see here are enchanting!

boat blue grotto malta

And if you don’t like all that blue, then the boat ride through these sea caves is also pretty cool!

Hagar Qim and Mnajdra

Have you always wanted to see Stonehenge, but has it not happened so far? Then visit the Maltese Stonehenge! The Megalithic temple of Ħaġar Qim was built between 3200 and 2300 BC by one of the first civilizations to settle on Malta. That means that these megaliths are older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt!
These stones have a great historical value because they prove that an organized community developed in Malta. I think these megaliths are pretty impressive, because they are one of the first signs of human civilization. You must of course keep in mind that so many thousands of years ago no modern building techniques existed, let alone architects!

malta things to see mnajdra

Mnajdra, one of the most impressive megaliths in Malta.

Mdina

The former capital of Malta is actually tiny, but oh so cozy to walk around in. The narrow streets and sand-colored houses are fantastically beautiful and provide cooling shade when it gets hot. Visit the Vilhena gate (the gateway to the city) and St. Paul’s Cathedral during your visit. These are the two most impressive eye-catchers in the city, but as I said before, just go walk around and maybe having a drink is not a bad idea either!

mdina things to see in malta

Mdina is very quaint and fun for a short visit.

Dingli Cliffs

Personally, I found this a less impressive piece of nature in Malta, but maybe you think differently about it.
The Dingli cliffs are limestone rocks that almost go down vertically. At the highest point you stand 253 meters above the sea and you get extensive panoramas over the ocean surrounding Malta.

dingli cliffs malta highlights

The Dingli cliffs. A sight that I personally didn’t find so great…

The paradise beaches

One thing you just can’t deny in Malta: the beaches here are fantastic. Whether it’s the vast golden beach of Għajn Tuffieħa or the rather touristy Golden Bay, there is something for everyone. Rent a parasol and beach chair and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches that the Mediterranean has to offer.
Are you looking for the most beautiful beaches on the largest island (Malta)? My favorites were the breathtaking Ġnejna Bay, the less crowded Imġiebaħ Bay, the beautiful St. Peter’s Pool (note that this is not a sandy beach but a rock!) and the impressive Għajn Tuffieħa.

malta sights ghajn tuffieha

The Għajn Tuffieħa beach. One of the best beaches in Malta!

The most beautiful things to do in Gozo

After you’ve seen all the things to do in Malta, you can relax even more in the quiet Gozo. This second largest island of Malta hasn’t yet been discovered by the masses, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to see!

The Blue Hole and Dwejra Bay

Near this location you could find the gorgeous ‘Azure window’, but due to a violent storm this fantastic sight has unfortunately collapsed. No worries! Because in the immediate vicinity you’ll also find ‘the blue hole’, a deep blue sea cave that divers can explore (or snorkelers perhaps). Are you not so fond of deep sea caves? No worries! You can also just stare at this attraction from the not so deep water around it. And if you don’t like water at all, you can also stare at the deep from up on the cliffs.
Be sure to visit the bay behind these cliffs (Dwejra Bay). Because the inlet is almost completely enclosed by cliffs and rocks, the seawater here is very calm and thus perfect for relaxing. If you can swim well I definitely recommend to swim through the cave on the other side of the bay. It’s really a heavenly feeling to hear the echo of splashing water in this magical environment. Are you keen on swimming a little further? Then you end up in the open sea and that is pretty exciting too!

blue hole dwejra bay malta

The ‘blue hole’, near Dwejra Bay.

dwejra bay malta highlights

Aren’t you scared quickly? Then swim through this cave in Dwejra Bay!

Ta ‘Pinu

There are many impressive churches and cathedrals in Malta, but Ta ‘Pinu on Gozo is definitely one of the most beautiful. If you’re looking for the most beautiful things to see in Malta, then I wouldn’t skip this spot. According to a legend, several miracles have been performed here. Whether that is true, I leave it in the middle. But I think it’s certainly worthwhile to visit this building. Not only the basilica is beautiful, but also the environment in which it stands.
Before you walk into the basilica, there are some life-sized statues waiting for you. Inside it’s mainly the large canopy and the snow-white interior that’ll need your attention.

ta pinu gozo things to do

One of the most beautiful (cultural) sights on Gozo is surely this Ta ‘Pinu.

Victoria

Of course you can’t skip the ‘capital’ of Gozo. This small village is very charming to walk around for an hour or two. Moreover, you’ll also find some nice restaurants here. Be sure to visit St. John’s Basilica (but be sure to wear clothing that can cover your legs and arms!). I don’t think they looked at a single cent when they built this building, because I don’t think it can get more opulent!
You must also visit the Citadel opposite to Victoria. This walled city towers high above Gozo and is therefore a beautiful view if you see it from afar. In the citadel itself you get the best views of Gozo, but don’t expect too much because the surrounding country mainly consists of dry plains and farmland.

things to see in malta gozo victoria

And of course Victoria is also full of beautiful buildings. Like this St John’s basilica!

Fantastic beaches

Malta has nice beaches, but Gozo still has the most beautiful beaches. Some amazing places are San Blas, Mġarr ix-Xini, Xwejni Bay and Ħondoq ir-Rummien, but my favorite is undoubtedly Ir-Ramla il-Hamra (Ramla Bay). This elongated golden beach is certainly no secret anymore, but it never gets too crowded. The transparent ocean is also very calm (and warm!). The area around Ramla Bay is also very beautiful. If you have your own car, I recommend visiting the Tal Mixta cave. From this open cave you get breathtaking views over Ramla Bay and Gozo.

ramla bay beaches malta gozo

Ramla Bay, my personal favorite beach in Gozo.

tal mixta cave gozo ramla bay malta

The Tal Mixta cave provides you with a beautiful view of Ramla Bay!

Malta and Game of Thrones

As you might already know, there are a lot of scenes from the popular TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ that were filmed in Malta. Fans of the brainchild of George Martin should certainly not miss the following locations:

Fort Ricasoli in Valletta

This fort from the seventeenth century might be recognized as the Red Keep. Also scenes from Gladiator and the Assassin’s Creed film were recorded here.

The Blue Window in Gozo

This natural wonder is a dream location for your wedding. That’s what Daenerys and Khal Drogo thought, because they got married here. Unfortunately, this beautiful piece of nature collapsed several years ago by a violent storm at sea… But don’t worry! The area around this ex-sight of Malta is still worth discovering!

Saint Dominic’s Priory in Gozo

This monastery served as the courtyard of the above mentioned Red Keep. Here the legendary words “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die” were pronounced by Cersei.

The Palace of San Anton in Balzan

The President of Malta lives in this beautiful palace, whose courtyard and horse stables were used as the ones of the Red Keep. Even for travelers who haven’t yet seen the series, this is certainly worth a visit.

Mdina

The original capital of the country was also used for film recordings. You probably saw the streets and squares as a part of King’s Landing. Dubrovnik is also often seen as the capital of Westeros, but here you only really have that feeling.

malta game of thrones mdina

Mdina, the former capital of Malta, also played a role in Game of Thrones.

Excursions in Malta

Are you already in Malta and are you looking for day trips or other things to do? You might maybe find these interesting:

 

» All tours and excursions in Malta

 

Malta will never be my favorite holiday destination in Europe, but already having so many attractions and sights on such a small area (barely 316 km²!) is of course impressive. Are you looking for a quiet holiday where you can relax on the beach and only visit a few things, then this is the ideal holiday destination. Do you prefer more culture, even more beautiful beaches and a dizzying amount of sights? Then opt for a holiday to Sicily. It’s close to Malta and the food is (at least) just as tasty!

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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