Malta travel guide and tourism info for the curious traveller

So you’re thinking of travelling to Malta and you’re looking for a Malta holidays and travel guide to help you plan your trip? You’ve come to the right place!

Table of contents

My name is Edward and I’ll be your virtual Malta travel guide to the Maltese islands. All information and most photos that you’ll come across on MaltaUncovered.com was written by myself, from personal experience as a life-long tourist in Malta.

How is this Malta travel guide different from all the others?

My mission is to go beyond what you’d get from a standard Malta travel guide and show you what you can expect, with insider info only the locals know about. Off the beaten path tips, a balanced view of what’s worth doing and where the best place to stay is, etc. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask me a question. I’ll skip past the basics about Malta (although they’re definitely worth a read), and focus on the most important travel info you came here for. Behind all major topics you’ll find on this page you can click through to more detailed articles on each.

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A quick preview into this Malta holidays and travel guide.

Why visit Malta?

I can think of at least 10 reasons to visit Malta. The main ones are:

  • The Maltese are generally very hospitable and the vast majority speak English well
  • The weather is great: Over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, an average daytime temperature of around 30 C during summer months and 15 C during winter months
  • There are various types of beaches around if you’re looking for a beach holiday
  • Few countries in the world can offer visitors as much in terms of history and culture as Malta can, in so little space. If like exploring points of interest on your travels, you will not be bored. Guaranteed. Malta’s capital of Valletta alone is a big treasure trove of things to discover.

When to go

Deciding during what time of the year to travel to Malta can be tricky. July and August are the busiest months in terms of tourism and they’re also the hottest months of the year. If your main priority is hanging out on the beach, enjoying the sunny weather, and not much else, you’re good. If you want to explore Malta and enjoy some beach time as well, you’re probably better off going in June or September.

Although the weather can be a little unpredictable, especially in September when the weather system is often affected by the long spell of heat and humidity in July/August. If beach holidays just aren’t your thing, April/May is probably the best time to go. That way you get to enjoy the lovely spring weather and at the same time avoid the business of peak season. During the winter months, Malta is also a great winter escape.

The weather can be unpredictable in terms of cloudy/rainy weather but the sun is always around and gloomy weather rarely lasts. You’ll be able to enjoy points of interest in relative peace and good quality hotels with favourable rates during that time of the year means there are plenty of opportunities to relax as well.

How to get there

The two most popular ways to get to Malta are:

  1. By air – Various European airlines fly to Malta from most major cities in Europe and you can easily get a reasonably-priced flight to Malta if you book in advance.
  2. By sea – Either on a cruise liner or taking a ferry. The most popular ferry route comes in from Pozzallo in Sicily (Italy)

Where to stay and best hotels

Where to stay in Malta really depends on what type of traveller you are and what you plan on doing during your visit. Whatever your plans are, travelling to different parts of the island doesn’t take long at all, especially if you decide to hire a car. Public transport can be a little trickier, however, so it’s still worth choosing your location carefully.

I offer some advice on doing that here: Where to stay in Malta.

Malta offers a good selection of hotels that suit different budgets and requirements, but not all are as good as advertised.

Here are my recommendations for the best hotels in Malta and I also offer recommendations for the 33 Best Malta Airbnb Holiday Lets.

Getting around

Driving yourself

You can hire a car from major touristic places like Sliema and BuġibbaQawra and St. Paul’s Bay, but also from the airport with internationally recognised car hire companies being represented. Driving in Malta can be tricky. It’s one of the few countries in the world where people drive on the left-hand side. Although if you were to ask the Maltese where they drive, they’ll tell you “In the shade”. Which is funny but sometimes rather accurate.

Drivers tend to be temperamental and not particularly interested in abiding by the law of the road. That means you need to be focused and aware of your surroundings more so than anywhere else. Especially at junctions and roundabouts where “give away” is sometimes interpreted in a creative way (or simply ignored altogether), it’s important to be cautious. Should you hire a car in Malta? If you’re a confident, experienced driver, yes. If not, you might be better of using other modes of transport.

Public transport

The only mode of public transport are buses, which will take you to even the remotest parts of the islands but will take significantly longer to get you from A to B than when you drive yourself. Nevertheless, despite a rocky reform in recent years, public transport is reasonably reliable, comfortable and reasonably priced.

Taxis and mini buses

Several operators of taxis and minibuses (for transport of larger groups) are available in Malta and are reliable. More here: Getting around in Malta and Gozo.

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Top 10 Things to do

  1. Explore Valletta, Malta’s capital city and treasure trove of historical interest
  2. Wander through the streets of Mdina, the small medieval looking town surrounding by tall bastions and overlooking most of Malta from on top of a hill.
  3. Take the ferry up to Gozo, to explore that island, visiting the citadel in Victoria, going for a swim at Ramla l-Hamla and eating some super-fresh fish at Marsalforn.
  4. Visit Comino for a day, taking a cheap ferry in the morning from Sliema or Bugibba and spending a good part of the day enjoying the crystal clear water around the Blue Lagoon.
  5. If you’re into fish, have lunch in Marsaxlokk. The place is known as THE place for fresh fish among the locals. Sundays are busiest but it rarely gets TOO busy and you might find a few interesting Maltese snacks and sweets at one of the market stalls.
  6. Spend a day at the beach at Mellieha Bay or Golden Bay and go paragliding or hire a jet ski.
  7. Take a boat tour around the Grand Harbour near Valletta
  8. Enjoy the nightlife in the open air at Gianpula Fields or Marrakesh on the outskirts of Rabat.
  9. Visit one of the megalithic temples, some of which are older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt
  10. Sample some Maltese wine and take a tour through one of Marsovin’s (one of the major producers of Maltese wine) wine cellars.

Many more things to do here: 101+ Things to do in Malta and Gozo.

Also: 59 Points of interest, places to visit and attractions in Malta.

Top 10 Annual Events not to miss

A number of great annual events are organised around the Maltese islands and are well worth planning to attend during your holiday:

  1. February – Carnival celebrations in Valletta are something to behold. Teams of volunteers work tirelessly every year to create the coolest themed, most colourful floats you can imagine and parade through the city.
  2. April – Medieval Mdina takes you back into the past in the medieval-influenced setting of Mdina itself. Various re-enactments of knights in battle take place, there’s a falconry display, music, a small market and food stalls, and more.
  3. April – The Malta Fireworks Festival. Fireworks are popular in Malta and several smaller factories around the island manufacture fireworks in support of the annual village feasts. Together with a few international pyrotechnic companies, some of the best local manufacturers stage a spectacle not to be missed, in different locations. There’s usually a display in Valletta and on different nights in Bugibba and Marsaxlokk.
  4. July – Isle of MTV brings some of the biggest international musicians and acts to Malta for what’s become one of the biggest parties of the year. Thousands flock to il-Fossos, the big square of Floriana, right outside Valletta, to enjoy MTV’s event of the year. Various local clubs organise warm parties in the preceding days as well.
  5. July – The Malta Beer Festival is the perfect location to cool down after a hot summer’s day enjoying a variety of local and international beers while enjoying some of the best musical performances from local artists. Held for around two weeks towards the end of July at Ta Qali (at the Malta National Park).
  6. September – The Victory Day Regatta sees teams from various localities take to the water in Grand Harbour and fight for the win in a traditional race that was held as early as 1822.
  7. September – The Malta Airshow brings together aviation displays and demonstrations from across the globe, from rescue helicopters to jets and bombers.
  8. October – Birgu Fest is an event that’s gained popularity in recent years when thousands flock to wander through the candle-lit streets of Birgu (also known as Vittoriosa). Aside from the food and entertainment, the focus is on the historical significance of Birgu as the first home of the Knights of Malta, with several free tours taking you around points of interest.
  9. October – Notte Bianca. Valletta truly comes to life in a cultural celebration which includes visual art exhibitions, theatre performance, street musicians and dancers, while state palaces and museums open their doors for the evening.
  10. Last but not least, village feasts are held throughout the year in most localities around Malta and Gozo and are a great opportunity to get a taste and feel of something that lies at the core of Maltese culture: celebrating religion. Food, drink and fireworks but more importantly religious processions and a coming together of local families.

Restaurant recommendations

A couple of quick tips on where to eat:

  • If you’re looking to get a taste of Maltese food, try Tal Petut in Dingli. Curious to try the local favourite of rabbit? The village of Mgarr is known for a few places that prepare a delicious fenkata (rabbit dinner), e.g. Tal-Ingliz and Sunny Bar, both right next to the parish church
  • Not on too strict a budget? Da Pippo in Valletta and Giuseppi’s in Mellieha are a few personal favourites with quality food at reasonable prices. Also, try the Xara Palace Trattoria while you’re going around Mdina and Fratelli di Buffala if you’re staying in Sliema.
  • Looking for a quick bite? Cafe Jubilee in Valletta, Gzira and Victoria (Gozo) has a quirky/fun setup and offers good food at reasonable prices.

Looking for more recommendations? Check out my full my favourite restaurants in Malta.


Malta has several beaches around its ~250 km long coastline, some of which are sandy, others rocky. The water quality of the bathing water at most beaches is excellent and the island has multiple Blue Flag certified beaches, which indicate the presences of safety measures (including lifeguards), amenities and environmental protection, amongst other criteria. Without a doubt, the most popular beaches are Mellieha Bay (also referred to as Ghadira), Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha. I put together my personal Top 10 beaches in Malta, together with a few beaches “off the beaten path”.

Top tips for travelling to Malta

  1. If you expect to get to know Malta, the places popular among tourists may not necessarily give you that opportunity. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Malta is a safe country to travel to and the Maltese are generally helpful. Ask your local contact (or receptionist) for some tips on good village feasts to visit, or maybe an event mostly locals would know of. It pays to explore in Malta.
  2. If you decide to take a taxi, always agree upon a fare beforehand and don’t be afraid to shop around at taxi stands
  3. If you want to go swimming at a nearby beach outside of the high season (July-September), always be informed of the safety systems in place at the bigger beaches (flags). If there’s no flag to indicate that the bathing water is safe for swimming, always check with the locals.

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  1. Hi Ed,
    My friend and I (2 senior, fit women) are thinking of going to Malta in January or February for 2 weeks, but we are wondering if attractions are closed or less available then and we also want to have a clear idea of the climate (wind, rain, temperature) we should expect.

  2. Congratulations on your amazing website! I’m going to Malta in 2 months, just can’t wait! Will be diving on 3 days then exploring on 4 days, will hire a car so we can see the real Malta! I love finding little gems wherever I go and I’m sure Malta has many of them! I’m looking forward to reading more about Malta! Thank you sooooo much for all the great info!

  3. Great site! Very informative, to suit all interests, including varied ‘need-specific’ options. ‘Food’ for thought, and choice!

    1. Hi Lesley, it’s hard for me to judge and it depends on where you stay. A village like Mellieħa will be pretty tough to navigate, with steep hills, steps, etc and in general the local government aren’t particularly good at pavement and road maintenance, so you’ll find cracked cement, broken pavement shoulders, etc in places.

      On the other hand, places like Sliema, St. Julian’s, Buġibba and the core part of Valletta are easy to access. The buses are also equipped for easy access and drivers are trained to be helpful to accommodate for the lesser-abled, while most of the Blue Flag-certified beaches offer facilities for easy access as well.

      Feel free to contact me if you’re looking to stay in a particular area/place and I’d be happy to provide more info.

  4. We recently spent a two-week holiday on Malta, a family of four (parents plus two adult children, early 20s) and had a wonderful time. We stayed in the Mellieħa Bay Hotel, which was an excellent base with delightful views from every room. The accommodation, food and staff were all excellent During our stay, we visited Mellieħa town, a short ‘bus ride from the hotel, and it was well worth a visit. The Church and Grotto were beautiful and the air raid shelters simply amazing.

    A good cafe, situated in a prime location overlooking the bay, was well-used by our family; sitting outside under an umbrella, looking out across the bay whilst enjoying a meal and a drink, was bliss. Public transport on Malta is inexpensive and easy to use, with frequent buses going all over the island.

    We visited Valletta, Malta’s capital, which I would thoroughly recommend; |St John’s co-Cathedral boasts many beautiful paintings including a Caravaggio, and St Paul’s Shipwreck Church, a work in progress, was astonishing. We took a pony and trap ride around the city as well as a dotto train, and ate in some lovely street cafes. Popeye Village was hugely entertaining, even for adults. The aquarium in Qawra was a good day out. The dome at Mosta is well worth seeing. St Agatha’s Tower (the red tower) near Mellieħa was splendid; a bit of a climb, but worth it to see this amazing building.

    Mellieħa Bay itself is gorgeous, so do take as many boat trips as you can. Do not return home until you have taken a ferry across to Gozo; this is easy and straight-forward from Mellieħa. Gozo itself is beautiful, a smaller, more rural version of Malta, and if you do nothing else on Gozo, you must go to the capital, Victoria, and visit the fantastic Citadel, which overlooks Victoria, and is simply breath-taking. It is a large, walled city within a city, with much to see, including ancient prisons and a splendid Cathedral with a perspective painting of a dome which gives the impression of a dome where there is only a flat roof. The views from the top of the citadel, spanning the whole of Gozo and beyond, are stunning.

    We had a marvellous holiday; it was very hot, though, so carry a bottle of water if you are travelling any distance, especially on foot. Use the local buses, but the Maltese have no concept of queuing, so it’s every man for himself when you get on! Almost everyone speaks English, road signs are in Maltese and English, so getting about is no problem. Go and enjoy!

  5. Edward:
    I look forward to your updates and have been TRYING to get a break in health issues to visit. That said, what medical facilities are available either on the island(s) or accessible? I HATE having to ask but it’s a reality I have to deal with… 🙁

    1. Hi Gwendolyn, so sorry to hear that, I hope you manage to find a good time for that break and hope you recover well and quickly! You can find more info on medical facilities in Malta in this article

  6. Well we leave for Malta in 4 days, and I have not managed to work my whole way through Edward’s guide, but what I have read has been a great help. A lot of local knowledge, hidden places and great tips.

    When we arrive home after this amazing trip we are about to begin, I will come back and let you know how well the guide worked.

    Thanks Again Edward

  7. I’ve just signed up for your email updates! I really want to make our trip to Malta very special. My Mom and Dad lived in Valletta for almost 3 years (1959-62) when Dad was in the Royal Navy and it was the happiest time for them. I want to see and experience something of their time there. I’ll be in touch for tips!

  8. Love the site: it’s so helpful and the hotel I chose was listed first of the hotels to stay in Malta! I have a question: I am arriving on 14 April and leaving way too early on the 19th. How much of Valletta and surroundings will be closed on Easter Sunday? Planning an itinerary I wanted to visit the Three Cities (or maybe two of them on Sunday), that is, after I watch them run the risen Christ down the streets! Will places for lunch, snacks, drinks be closed do you think? How about the ferries in the Harbour – will they be running? Wish I could stay longer! Thanks for any information you can provide

    1. Hi Andrew, quite a few places of interest will be open, for example, those managed by Heritage Malta, while others like the Lascaris War Rooms and National War Museums will be closed on Easter Sunday, so it really depends on the place. Restaurants, bars, etc will definitely be open. The challenge there is that local families will be booking places for lunch (more so than usual on Sundays) so I’d highly recommend making a reservation well in advance! The ferries will be running as usual.

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