A Family Holiday to Malta: How to Keep the Kids Entertained
If you’d like to have a great Malta family holiday with kids, do not fret! There are plenty of places to go to and lots of fun-filled activities that will keep your kids entertained for hours.
From family-friendly hotel kids’ programme activities to child-friendly restaurants and cafeterias, museums, parks, pools, picnic areas, playgrounds and gardens, through this article I’ll have your back covered.
Things to do in Malta for Kids
Looking for a few ideas for activities and things to do in Malta for kids while on holiday?
Here’s my list of suggestions.
- The Petting Farm (Ta’ Qali) is a fun experience for children to mingle with farm animals and get up close with them to a point where they can even feed them fodder available on the farm. Some of the animals there are llamas, goats, and sheep. There is also a section that hosts rabbits as well as an aviary with colourful birds like cockatiels, parakeets, budgies, finches, and close by there is an emu, a guinea fowl and a pheasant.
- Malta Aviation Museum (Ta’ Qali), is based in 3 hangars and covers the story of aviation on the islands, mostly centering on WWII and its aftermath. It also includes the presentation of certain aircraft found on the island, which were preserved and restored to a pristine condition.
- Dreams of Horses Farm (Xagħra, Gozo) provides horse-assisted activities to the children. This is located close to Ramla l-Ħamra bay and farm animals include ponies, horses, donkeys, goats and sheep amongst others.
- Esplora Interactive Science Centre (Kalkara) is the very first interactive Science Centre and a true innovation here in Malta. With over 200 exhibits, hands-on workshops and exciting science shows, this makes the experience not only fun but an educational one as well. Another addition is the Planetarium, which is one of the latest additions.
- Fort Rinella (Kalkara) houses one of four 100-tonne gun batteries that were built to fortify and safeguard Malta’s harbours. Families can enjoy a guided tour and a film showing the history of the fort along with informative and fun re-enactments by soldiers in costumes.
- Malta Maritime Museum (Birgu) tells the story of Malta’s link to naval ships and fleets since its very first settlers, who landed here via sea. Malta’s strategic position in the Mediterranean made it a great asset for whoever held it under his rule until 1964.
- Natural Museum of Natural History (Mdina) is found in a palace of the 18th century restructured by Grandmaster De Vilhena in 1726. The display areas depict Malta’s Geology and Paleontology, exotic mammals, marine fauna, insects, shells, birds and also other topics like human evolution. It’s not exactly the most modern museum around but for kids interested in flora and fauna it could be an entertaining visit for them.
- Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens (Siġġiewi) retell Maltese History from the angle of its stony past. There is also a small animal park and you could also be part of a stone-sculpting demonstration.
- Malta Falconry Centre (Siġġiewi) offers an entertaining tour of the falconry centre with guided instructions on how to interact with the birds of prey themselves, as well as daily shows. A truly unique experience!
- Malta 5D (Valletta) is not usually on my list of recommended attractions for adults but it’s a highly entertaining attraction for kids telling the story of Malta’s past with visual, auditory and sensory effects.
- Mediterraneo Marine Park Malta (Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq) gives your children the opportunity to swim with dolphins, watch sea lions, exotic birds, reptiles and more as part of your Malta family holiday.
- Buġibba Waterpark (Buġibba) is a great place for kids to cool down in summer. The enclosed area is divided into 3 parts, reflecting the height and age of the kids. You can find different water features and fun activities. Being more of a summer activity, the waterpark is only open in summer from July to September.
- Popeye Village (Anchor Bay) is one of the oldest theme parks around and is located on the set of the 1980 movie starring Robin Williams. Although the little village isn’t super entertaining for adults, kids and families can enjoy different activities, including the water park in the bay itself, in summer.
Older kids and teenagers
Although the many historical landmarks and places to visit in Malta and Gozo could still be of interest to older kids and teenagers, these are a few options they might find a little more entertaining.
- Scavenger Escape (Sliema) is an escape game, which can be played between 2 to 6 players as family, friends, colleagues or even for a birthday celebration or anniversary. Players have to solve clues and work their way through the puzzles thrown at them to get out. There are different games at different difficulty levels, starting with a timer of 60 minutes.
- Take a Segway tour of Valletta or Dingli with a tour guide and rented segways. More info here.
- Badger Karting (Ta’ Qali) has a local raceway with a fleet of 30 petrol-powered karts that can reach up to 80 kph. Once their race is over, participants can relax and watch others race. There is also a bar serving hot and cold snacks and a selection of drinks.
- Laser Tag (Rabat) is a great fun-packed activity where players amass points by tagging opponents with the taggers provided. Once all opponents have been tagged out, the game ends.
- Eden Bowling (Paceville, St. Julian’s) is a small bowling alley which is ideal for kids, teenagers and adults alike. There is a dining area as well as a number of amusement games and tables.
Have a look at my recommendations for sightseeing tours in Malta and Gozo.
Family-friendly places for your Malta Family Holiday
Best places to stay with kids
Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay
In the this part of Malta, further up North, you can find a small cluster of villages called Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay which is a popular resort in Malta for family holidays. You can find the Malta National Aquarium here, and a few water parks to swim in.
There’s an artificial beach as well and you can find decently-priced hotels and resorts in the area that are family-friendly. It’s a pretty lively area during the evenings in summer as well and Maltese families tend to have holiday apartments in the area so local kids will be out and about as well.
Mellieħa is a lot quieter but the area has some of the best sandy beaches around, so days at the beach are a great option, especially at Mellieħa Bay where the sea is pretty shallow. The downside is that you won’t find cinemas or play parks around in the area, so for longer stays it might not be the best choice for family holiday in Malta.
Sliema/St Julian’s area
The Sliema/St Julian’s area is surrounded with rocky beaches and most hotels or resorts there have a swimming pool, where kids can splash around in. Sliema and St Julian’s have a lot of child-friendly cafes and restaurants but activities in the area aren’t really suitable for kids and as such it does get pretty busy here.
I’d only recommend staying in this area on a family holiday if you’re interested mostly in a short resort holiday where you have everything what you need at the hotel and just want a few day trips out and about. It’s easy to get to Valletta by ferry from Sliema, for example, and public transport connections are pretty good.
Particularly the St. Julian’s district of Paceville known for its nightlife (and unfortunately increasing crime levels) isn’t kid-friendly nor kid-safe and I’d avoid it altogether.
Places that are great to visit with kids but not necessarily to stay
Valletta, which is also the capital city, is full of pedestrian lanes, large squares, forts, fountains, museums, historical landmarks, gardens and a round-Valletta tourist train that can take you around the capital for 45 minutes with a tourist guide.
Should you opt to stay in Valletta, taking a bus from Valletta to anywhere else on the island is the easiest option. You could also take the ferry to Sliema from the Marsamxett area or else the ferry to Birgu from close to the Valletta Waterfront.
Unless your kids are interested in the many historical sites which the city has to offer, it might not be the most entertaining area for them to stay in.
At the centre of Malta are Ta’ Qali and Attard, which are very close to each other. They are full of places that appeal to both kids and adults alike. Ta’ Qali is home to the National Park (which sounds grander than it is), which is a good option for some outdoor fun with the kids outside of the hot summer months.
You can also find the Crafts Village there where a few local manufacturers of traditional crafts are located. You can find the glassblowers’ factory of Mdina Glass shop there, as well as Ċeramika with its pottery events, where children can learn everything about making pottery and ceramics (hands on as well!).
Between Ta` Qali and Attard, around the corner from the Crafts Village, you can also find an animal petting farm.
Attard is a quiet and calm village although traffic can get a bit heavy there at times.The beautiful San Anton gardens are the big attraction here if you’re going around with the family.
Finally, Mdina is the old capital of Malta that goes back to the times of the Arabs in Malta. It is host to a lot of interesting museums and horse-drawn carriages. Walking through Mdina with its cobbled streets really leaves an impression. If you have kids with you, you don’t have to worry about holding their hand all the time. When the odd car does drive through the ‘silent city’, it is usually at a very slow pace as the place is not too car-friendly. Outside the Mdina walls, there is also a large playground, where kids can run around and play.
If your kids like hikes, why not take them for a walk across the natural landscape close to the Ħagar Qim and Mnajdra temples in the Żurrieq/Qrendi area? From here, you could also walk it to the rocky beach of Wied iż-Żurrieq, where you could also take the boat ride to the majestic Blue Grotto.
There is also Marsaxlokk’s Sunday market as well as the caves of Għar Dalam near Birżebbuġa. The three cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Conspicua, also known as the Three Cities, have their own particularities and distinct characteristics, especially Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu) with its quaint and historical streets.
Whilst staying in Gozo would probably be a bit too quiet for a family holiday in Malta, taking the ferry or a boat trip can be quite an adventure. Whilst life on these two islands is at a much slower pace than Malta, Gozo especially, is much greener than Malta and a stroll around the Citadel Victoria, its capital, will transport you back in time.
Taking the kids swimming in Gozo is also a good idea, with the beaches there being generally a lot quieter. (More on that below!)
If you decide to visit with the family during the months of July and August, I’d recommend taking a boat trip. Boats berth at the Blue Lagoon normally and that makes for a safer environment for kids than the small crowded beach there.
Since there’s little shade to be had there, make sure your kids are well protected from the sun and keep an eye on them at all times. The water isn’t very shallow there.
Family-friendly Hotels and Resorts in Malta/Gozo
This is a list, in no particular order of some hotels and resorts that are quite child-friendly.
- db Seabank Hotel in Mellieħa faces Mellieħa Bay as well as a bus stop, which stands just opposite. The kids’ activities at this hotel include face painting, water-colour painting, kids’ disco and an interactive animation programme.
- db San Antonio hotel in Buġibba has separate beds for the kids and also has a kids’ club which offers activities such as face painting, pools, games and treasure hunts.
- In the same area (Qawra specifically) you can also stay at the Seashells Resort at Suncrest, which has a large outdoor pool with kids pool (across the street) and good family-friendly options for food nearby
- The Westin Dragonara Resort in St Julian’s has the most fantastic kids’ activities programme not to mention the PADI Scuba Dive Watersports provider just nearby.
- Radisson Blu Spa & Resort Golden Sands in Mellieħa is situated in the hillside area of Golden Bay and has a really good Spa service with activities for children that include pizza-making, cupcake decorating activities not to mention great fun and animation. Do keep in mind, however, that the area is pretty quiet and a little remote.
- Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa in Attard is ideally situated close to Ta` Qali, where you can find several activities catering for children such as the petting farm, San Anton gardens, and the President’s Kitchen Garden. Good option outside of the high season.
- Grand Hotel Excelsior in Valletta has a small swimming pool for small children and bedrooms come in a good size not to mention the fact that the walk to Valletta offers some lovely sea views.
If you’re visiting Malta in summer, it is best to know which beaches are the best to take your kids to. The following are a list of some well-known family-friendly beaches.
- Mellieħa Bay is the largest sandy beach in Malta with lots of water activities taking place, such as jet-skiing and renting a paddle boat (for an hour or so). The water remains shallow far out and it is ideal for kids who cannot swim in deeper waters. This is a firm favourite amongst most Maltese families.
- Armier Bay is located in the very North of Malta and consists of actually 2 beaches not 1: Armier and Little Armier. Both beaches are family-friendly, clean and safe. The shoreline is also very shallow, making it a great location to swim at, with kids.
- Golden Bay must be one of the most accessible beaches in Malta along with Mellieħa Bay. It has a lot of facilities and activities including a few restaurants. It is situated close to the village of Manikata. A popular location for many, it is one of the few beaches that remains popular even at night as beach parties and late-night Bbqs give it that chilled summer vibe that a glamorous beach like Golden bay surely deserves.
- Ġnejna Bay lies 2 km down from Mġarr. Characterised by boat houses built on the side, it is surrounded with many clay and limestone slopes. The sandy beach covers almost all of the beach area. A mobile van provides ice cream, snacks, drinks, sunbeds and umbrellas.
- Marsascala Żonqor Point is a bit less of an obvious choice but makes for a lovely rocky beach, high up, overlooking the wide-open sea and is ideal for bathing, diving and sunbathing.
- Ramla Bay is also known as Ramla l-Ħamra meaning the Red sandy beach and it is located in Gozo down a fertile valley, which can be reached from Xagħra or Nadur. Characterised by its bright, orange-red coloured sand and clear waters, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Malta and Gozo and is popular with snorkelers, families, tourists, and locals alike. It does tend to get a bit crowded in the summer.
- Daħlet Qorrot is a small rocky beach in the vicinity of Nadur, which is perfect for snorkeling. There is usually a small snack bar open in the summer months.
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