The 25+ Best Sightseeing Tours in Malta and Gozo
Got your bookings done and wondering what the options for sightseeing tours and excursions in Malta and Gozo are?
You’ve come to the right place!
I’ve reviewed and listed the best tours in Malta and Gozo in this article, so that you have everything you need for your sightseeing excursions around the Maltese islands.
Boat tours and trips
Malta being an archipelago surrounded by beautiful crystal clear waters could never exist without boats. And boat tours, day trips and excursions over sea are very popular especially during the long summer season.
These are some of the best options to choose from
Full day boat tours around Malta, Gozo and Comino
Visiting a small island nation in the Mediterranean, part of exploring Malta has to be by sea and taking out a full day to tour all around the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino is a great way to do so.
Through these options you can spend a day at sea, with the comfort of a larger boat with on-board catering in the form of a buffet lunch. You also get an open bar (basics – water, soft drinks, beer and wine) included in the price for the full duration of the tour.
If you’re taking this type of tour during the warmer part of the year (May-Oct), always remember to go dressed for swimming because you usually have the opportunity to go for a swim at one of the many spots along the route.
Transfers to/from accommodation can be included so it’ll be a hassle-free boat tour.
The two options I recommend are:
1) Round Malta cruise (also includes Comino) – Departure from Sliema (Malta) for a full tour around the islands of Malta and Comino. Starts at €34 p.p. including lunch/drinks.
2) 3-Island Sailing Trip – Departure from Mġarr (Gozo) for a full-day boat tour between Malta, Gozo and Comino and some of the nicest locations. Starts at €62 p.p. (also includes lunch/drinks but also covers transfer to/from accommodation)
Comino and Blue Lagoon boat tours
Although you can take a simple ferry to get to Comino itself, getting the most out of a trip to the Blue Lagoon is best when going there with a boat tour. Having limited space on shore at Comino, several boat tour operators offer day trips there, some with stops on the way and others combining a boat tour with a few hours’ excursion on land at Gozo.
Here are the best options to consider:
- Option 1: Full day at the Blue Lagoon boat tour (departure from Sliema at 10am, return starting at 3pm from Comino)
- Option 2: Combining your Blue Lagoon visit with an excursion to Gozo
Grand Harbour Boat tours
The Grand Harbour contains an incredible wealth of things to see that can only be seen from the sea. Being one of the larger natural harbours in Europe, there’s a lot of history to this area, not least because it’s located near Malta’s capital city of Valletta.
So if you want to take a boat tour that doesn’t take up a full day, this is a great option to consider if you want to learn a bit more about the history of Valletta and the harbour area.
There are two options I suggest:
- Taking a full Grand Harbour tour (usually 1-2h) is something I highly recommend and you can find tour providers in this article: Valletta Grand Harbour tours
- You can get a glimpse (but no more than that) by taking one of the harbour ferries between Valletta and the Three Cities (Grand Harbour) and Valletta and Sliema (Marsamxett Harbour). Both will take just 10 minutes but it’s a fun mode of transport, it’s cheap and it gives you a quick impression of the area at the same time.
Malta Underwater Safaris
If you’ve never heard of underwater safaris before, you’re in for a treat. The underwater world around the Maltese islands is beautiful, full of marine life and interesting sights. It’s also the reason why Malta and Gozo are a top scuba diving destination worldwide.
If you prefer staying dry but still want to have a look underwater, you can take an underwater safari around St. Paul’s Island, which departs from St. Paul’s Bay (which is close to Buġibba and Qawra and easy to reach from other parts of Malta using public transport).
During each trip, passengers have a minimum viewing time of 20 minutes in the observation keel.
The safari lasts for about an hour and a half aboard a purpose-built Underwater Safari Boat. Cost is €18 for adults and €13 for children.
Blue Grotto Boat Trips
The Blue Grotto, near the village of Żurrieq on the South West of Malta is a stunning place where you can take some unique selfies. Apart from the many cafeterias and restaurants that line up the road going down to the sea, you can take a boat ride around the caves to see the sparkling blue of the water from where the place takes its name.
It is said that that blue is also the reason why the nearby village is called Żurrieq, which in old Maltese means ‘Blue’.
Although you can get a 30-minute boat ride from near the Blue Grotto itself, for most tourists it’s not an easy spot to reach and it may be more worthwhile visiting the location as part of a bigger tour.
For that reason I’d suggest combining the Blue Grotto visit with a tour of the fishing village of Marsaxlokk.
Are you an avid angler?
The deep blue Mediterranean offers a great opportunity to take a fishing trip and it’s a real treat if you’re a morning person.
You can either join a group or organise a fishing tour with a group yourself, for a 4-5 hour trip. An experienced captain will sail to the best spots around the Maltese islands, transportation to/from your location of stay is included and you don’t have to worry about drinks and snacks either (also included in the price).
High-quality equipment and bait are also provided and if you’re not an experienced deep-sea fisherman, don’t worry: You’ll be hosted by experienced anglers who will teach you the tricks to catch a few beautiful specimen of fish. Don’t forget your camera!
Prices vary depending on how many in your group will actually be fishing (€95 p.p.) and those who join as a spectator (€50 p.p. for adults, €30 p.p. for children)
Click here for more info and bookings. Book early – these trips are popular and there aren’t many providers around!
Day trips to Sicily from Malta
Sicily being so close, you’ll find it really easy to hop between the islands. There’s much to see in Sicily, an island that has at least as much history as Malta does.
To be honest, a 1 day trip would offer you just a taster of the island, and is definitely not the best way to experience Sicily.
Having said that, this is a great option if you just want to see some of the best highlights of Sicily for a day:
Mt. Etna and Modica
You’ll be taking a high-speed ferry catamaran from the Valletta Waterfront in Malta to Pozzallo, a small fishing village in the South of Sicily. After arrival you’ll be taking a tour by air-conditioned coach to a few of the most popular locations that the island has to offer: Mount Etna and the city of Modica.
You’ll be accompanied by an experienced guide who will be providing a running commentary along the way. There will also be an opportunity to sample some of the local flavours of food along the way.
The first stop takes you up to the Sylvester Craters of Mount Etna, after which you’ll be visiting the baroque city of Modica. It’s a gentle pace with free time at both locations.
Keep in mind that this will be a full day excursion with ferry departure at 6:30h in the morning and return trip departing at 19:30h from Pozzallo.
Prices are €139 for adults and €109 for children from 4-13 years old. Infants travel for free.
Malta Tours Packages
If you’re looking for a full package that includes tours/excursions, accommodation and meals for a set period of time, there are a few great options available on Tourradar.com, who work with some of the better providers locally.
This is basically a “book and go” type of option where you leave your itinerary in the hands of experienced guides who will show you the highlights of Malta and Gozo in well-organised tours.
Although really fully booked, these tours are considered “small group tours” where you’ll have a maximum of 6-12 participants that you’ll be travelling with during your stay in Malta.
Included in these tour packages are:
- High-quality accommodation
- An experienced and highly-rated tour guide
These are the options I recommend considering.
Maltese Islands Tour (5 days)
The Maltese Islands Tour is a 5-day tour that covers the most popular areas across Malta, Gozo and Comino.
- Day 1: Arrival, transfer to and settling in at your hotel in Valletta
- Day 2: Starting in capital city Valletta (where you’ll be staying at a 4-star hotel), you’ll be visiting the beautiful Silent City of Mdina for a tour through its narrow, old streets and alleys.
- Day 3: Next up, you’ll be heading to the Three Cities, which lies across Grand Harbour from Valletta and holds more history than Malta’s capital itself. You’ll also visit the fisherman’s village of Marsaxlokk and take a boat tour to the Blue Grotto, with its beautiful blue hues visible from within a large deep sea cave.
- Day 4: Today’s main destinations are Comino (and its well-known Blue Lagoon) and a flash tour (3 hours) of Gozo, both reached by boat.
- Day 5: Departure
Although the itinerary is solid in terms of covering the major highlights, this is a good option for those on a time budget really. To put things into perspective: If you’re a curious traveller, there’s enough to see and do in Valletta itself to fill 3 full days.
If you have a few more days I’d consider either taking a longer package tour, or (since flights need to be booked separately anyway) adding a few extra days to stay in Gozo, for example.
Malta and Gozo Discovery (8 days)
If you want to get a little more out of your tour to Malta, the Malta and Gozo Discovery package offers you a little more value, with a total of 8 days of travel.
Here’s what the itinerary with this tour package looks like:
- Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Gozo
- Day 2: Your first out of two days discovering Gozo, visiting the beautiful Xlendi, Victoria and its Citadel in the centre of the island, the Ġgantija Megalithic Temples and finally Ramla Bay for a dip at this beautiful red sandy bay.
- Day 3: On the menu in Gozo this day are: Dwejra (beautiful scenery and nature) and its inland sea (weather-permitting you get a short boat tour around the location), the Ta Pinu Basilica, the village of Żebbuġ in the North, the salt pans along the coast, the seaside village of Marsalforn, after which the trip back to the main island of Malta starts.
- Day 4: Staying in Sliema, this day is dedicated to Valletta and its many points of interest and places to visit, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral and Fort St. Elmo
- Day 5: This part of the tour is all about exploring the Three Cities, the fisherman’s village of Marsaxlokk (for lunch as well – great seafood!) and Grand Harbour with a leisurely cruise over water to help you discover the fortifications and history of the area.
- Day 6: You’ll be exploring more of Malta’s prehistoric past with a visit to the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples and visitor centre, while taking a boat tour to and inside the Blue Grotto (weather permitting). The afternoon is dedicated to sampling local food and wine with typically Maltese flavours, dishes and ingredients.
- Day 7: On your last full day of the tour, you’ll be ending on a high by exploring the beauty of Mdina, the Mosta Dome and the San Anton gardens in Attard, the location of the private residence of the President of Malta.
- Day 8: Breakfast at the hotel and departure.
Malta Highlights – Back-roads tours (7 days)
The Malta Highlights tour package may be a little pricier but these are the upgrades you get:
- Boutique accommodation for added comfort at St. Julian’s
- Entrance fees and tickets are included
- Food tasting experiences and more interactivity: Cheese and pizza making classes, and lesser-known local food sampling.
This is an outline of the stops you’ll be making on this tour:
- Day 1: Guided tour through Valletta and its highlights, including the Upper Barrakka Gardens and St. John’s Co-Cathedral
- Day 2: Senglea and Vittoriosa tour, the nicest part of the Three Cities and a visit to Marsaxlokk (fishing village) during the morning, followed by a Grand Harbour boat tour in the afternoon.
- Day 3: A visit to the Mosta Dome, stop at Dingli Cliffs (the highest point in Malta), followed by a visit to Buskett Gardens on the outskirts of Mdina, which you’ll be visiting right after. You’ll then be going for a wine tasting tour at one of the best local producers of Maltese wine and meeting at a carefully selected local restaurant close to the hotel in the evening.
- Day 4: You’ll be exploring a few of Malta’s Megalithic Temples and taking a tour around the Blue Grotto area. Next, you’ll be heading to catch the ferry to Gozo with a quick photo stop on the way at Anchor Bay (the location of Popeye Village – a film set and small theme park)
- Day 5: On your first of two days in Gozo you’ll be touring Victoria and its Citadel, the Ġgantija Temples and taking on the challenge of making local cheese at a local producer.
- Day 6: Finishing off your tour in style, you’ll be heading to Dwejra, the salt pans at Xwejni Bay and the beautiful sandy beach at Ramla Bay, followed by dinner at a selected local restaurant.
- Day 7: Breakfast and departures.
Sightseeing tours around Malta and Gozo and tour operators
Sightseeing tours by (Hop On Hop Off) bus
A popular phenomenon in most tourist destinations, Hop On Hop Off buses also provide easily accessible tours in Malta and Gozo. If you want a quick tour around to see the highlights it can be a reasonably priced option, however, there are better ways of sightseeing across the Maltese islands.
Why? Here’s my disclaimer:
- Although reasonably priced, the buses used are pretty old and unreliable
- Audio isn’t great and it’s not always easy to understand where exactly you’ve arrived
- Buses don’t drive around frequently enough sometimes, leaving you waiting on busy stops.
- Open top buses aren’t always safe. Unfortunately there was a bad accident earlier in 2018 thanks to a low-hanging branch that got dislodged after a storm and I highly recommend that if you decide to take this kind of tour you do not sit upstairs on an open top bus.
For completeness’ sake, these are the two options that are available:
CitySightseeing bus tours
CitySightseeing is an open-top bus operator offering a Hop On Hop Off service with bus stops on three main routes going around the North and South of Malta as well as Gozo.
Cost (day tickets): €20 for adults and €12 per child (5 – 14 years) but only travels along two main routes. You can also buy the affordable 2 day ticket which costs €37 for adults and €20 for children between 5 and 14 years old.
The tours come with a choice of nine multi-lingual commentary channels. Along the routes, there are over 30 stops and 40 points of interest and you can hop on and hop off as much as you like.
The Blue and Red routes start from Valletta and visit sites such as San Anton Presidential Gardens, the Historic City of Mdina, Ta Qali Crafts Village, Mosta, the Three fortified cities of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea, the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, the Blue Grotto at Wied iz-Zurrieq (April – October) and Valletta city centre. The Green route leaves Buġibba centre every 30 minutes passing by St Julian’s and Sliema before linking up with the Blue and Red routes in Valletta.
Heading to Gozo?
There’s a CitySightseeing bus tour there as well – Get your tickets here.
You can stop at several stops at the popular highlights of Gozo, including Victoria and its Citadel, Marsalforn, Ta Pinu Basilica, Nadur, Ġgantija Temples, Xlendi and more.
You can catch one of these buses at the ferry port in Mġarr Harbour and make your way around the island at your own pace.
With so much to see and learn about Malta and Gozo, taking a private tour is ideal to give your trip a kickstart. A private tour makes it easy to get to know different locations in Malta better, with an experienced guide who can provide deep insight, personalise your experience and answer any questions you may have along the way.
Private tours usually last around 2-3 hours and cost between €100 and €130 for 1-4 people, depending on the tour.
There are a number of providers of private tours but these are the tried and tested ones that I’d recommend.
Private tour across Malta
If you’re looking to tour a few highlights of Malta with a private guide, this Malta private tour is a great way to do so, especially when you’re on a time budget (e.g. cruise passengers).
Your private tour will take you to the following locations:
- Marsaxlokk fishing village
- Blue Grotto
- Mdina & Rabat
- Crafts village at Ta` Qali
- Naxxar and cart ruts
- Red Tower
- Golden Bay
Private tours around Valletta
Valletta itself holds enough interest to keep you entertained for three full days (cheeky plug – my travel guide to Valletta can show you how 😉 ) but if you’d like to get a head start and explore some of the stories the city has to tell before you visit the actual points of interest, these are a few good options:
- This Valletta private walking tour covers some of the best parts of town in around three hours. Your private guide will take you past a number of landmarks and highlights and provides the backdrop to their significance in Valletta’s history.
- Valletta was one of the most heavily-bombed cities in Europe during WWII, when the Axis powers desperately tried to get control over the strategic fortress of Malta, an strategic stronghold in between Europe and North Africa. You can get in-depth knowledge of the period and the scars that Malta’s capital city still shows today by taking this tour: Valletta World War II Private Walking Tour.
- There’s plenty of beauty and history to be found in Valletta, but what about the stories from the city’s past that most would rather not talk about? The Sins in the City tour will teach you about some of the darker sides of the Knights of St. John and the decline of their Order in Valletta. A lot of intrigue and not your usual private guided tour!
Private tours around Mdina
Mdina is a location that almost takes you back in time and which breathes history inside and out. If you’d like to get insight into its past and some of its key landmarks, this 2-hour private tour is a great way to go: Mdina Private Walking Tour.
You’ll be walking through the Silent City’s narrow winding streets to explore some of the influences of Malta’s past that can still be found there. Detail on architecture, stories of battles and uprising and rich information about landmarks like the St. Paul’s Cathedral.
If you’re looking for a fun way to explore some of Malta’s most interesting places, taking a segway tour might be the right option for you.
Segways are easy to ride and never go faster than 20 km/h.
Tour prices (€70 p.p.) include segway rental and safety gear, and you get guided by a professional tour guide along the route.
These are the locations available on segway tours:
- Valletta – Malta’s capital city
- Dingli Cliffs (don’t worry, sounds scarier than it is and perfectly safe 😉 )
Jeep safari tours
Jeep tours are fun and tend to explore the remote areas of the islands. A whole day (9am to 5pm) costs around €50-60 per adult and €40-50for children and would include lunch, visits to several places of interest and a guide. The following options are available:
These trains, popular in many European cities, operate in several locations around Malta. There is one in Rabat that departs from a parking area outside the Domus Romana, and takes passengers on a tour on the outside of Mdina and all the way around the outskirts of Rabat. Another similar train operates daily in Valletta, departing from St. John’s Square.
Marsaxlokk and Buġibba have their train tours as well. A tour typically takes around 45 minutes, costs around €5 per person and you can get tickets on the trains directly.
If you’re looking for a tour with a difference, then the ones I selected for this section might just be what you’re looking for. Malta is known not only for its history, sun-kissed beaches and crystal clear seas, but also for a great number of movies shot on the islands, for the local food and, why not, its ghost stories. Take your pick.
Film tours and Game of Thrones tours
Film aficionados should know that Malta hosted major filming productions such as Gladiator, Troy, Assassin’s Creed, Game of Thrones, 13 Hours, The Count of Monte Cristo, World War Z, The Devil’s Double and many others. Malta Film Tours organises visits to locations that appeared in some of these movies, including Valletta, Marsa, The Three Cities and Fort Ricasoli.
Tour duration is approximately 4 hours, generally held between 2.00pm and 6.00pm and prices start at €69 per person for group tours and €350 for a private tour for up to 4 people.
There are two options for tours:
- Various film locations featured in blockbuster movies like Gladiator, Troy and Assassin’s Creed
- Game of Thrones (Season 1) film locations across Malta and Gozo
Wine Tasting and Food Tours in Malta
A taste of the local wine and cuisine is a must and these kind of tours offer an experience that is different than what you can enjoy in a normal restaurant. Blessed by sunshine for most of the year, Malta and Gozo produce very good wines and tasting it right at the source where wine is pressed, aged and bottled is probably the best way to experience the wine.
Wine cellar and tasting tour
What better place to sample some of Malta’s best wines than in a 400-year old wine cellar built by the Knights of St. John?
Local producer Marsovin invites you into their cellars accompanied by a professional wine taster who will first give you a tour around how the wine is produced. You’ll then be tasting a variety of wines accompanied by a few typical local snacks from bread to olives and cheese.
The tour and wine tasting session takes approximately 60-90 minutes and costs €39 p.p.
Maltese food tasting eco-tour
No trip to Malta is complete without sampling the local food. With typically Mediterranean, homegrown flavours from olives, cheeses and tomato paste, having a taste of Maltese food in the setting in which they’re produced is a special experience not easily forgotten.
This food and wine tour at a local farm is a shared tour with a small group of fellow travellers. A guide will tell you all about the historical and cultural importance of local produce and takes you on an eco-tour at a local farm.
The tour will take you to the Northwestern region of Malta and enjoying a lunch with locally grown wine out in the fields that grew the delicacies on your plate.
This is a fully-organised tour with pick up from your place of stay and limited to a small number of people, while all food is covered by the ticket purchase of €120 per person.