Valetta is one of the top things to do in Malta

Malta Travel Guide

This travel guide covers the archipelago of Malta, a great destination with sun-drenched beaches, fascinating Knights of St John’s history, mysterious megalithic temples, and more, including the top places to visit, how to get there, safety, common scams, and logistics, all designed to help you plan your trip.

This travel guide and posts on Malta are updated as of January 2022.

Malta beaches are a highlight in Malta Travel Guide
Mellhiela Bay | Park

The Archipelago of Malta

Malta is an archipelago of three main islands, Malta, Gozo, and Comino, located between Sicily and Tunisia, the passageway from Europe to Africa.

The Main Island of Malta

Malta is the largest island, and its commercial and cultural center.

One of its highlights are its many beaches, ranging from golden sand to limestone plateaus. With its year round temperate climate, it’s an ideal spot for sun seekers throughout the year.

Malta beaches in the Travel Guide
Coast of Malta in the Travel Guide

Ruled by the Knights of Saint John, from the 16th to 18th century, it’s a treasure trove of historical monuments, charming architecture, and fascinating history, especially in the capital Valletta.


Even if you’re not into churches, the guilded baroque beauties here are stunning.

Saint John’s Co-Cathedral | Florival

There’s also the old capital of Mdina, a town from the Middle Ages. It’s so photogenic it’s used in scenes form the Game of Thrones. Wandering the narrow streets to admire the architecture, museums, and the views is a must-do day trip.

Old Mdina is one of the top things to do on Malta
Mdina Gate

Malta is also fascinating for its prehistoric, megalithic temples. Some, older than the oldest pyramids, are over 5,000 years old. And like the pyramids, they’re shrouded in mystery. Some, built to align with the solstice, have massive stones, some weighing over 50 tons!

Although many temples have been discovered here, and more are probably buried in the sea, 6 are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Mnajdra one of the megalithic temples of Malta Travel Guide
Mdnaja
Tarxien, the most complex of the megalithic temples of Malta Travel Guide
Tarxien

They’ve also found an ancient underground necropolis here, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, built by the temple builders. Some of the dead here had elongated skulls, which is also still a mystery.

And if this isn’t enough, there are also natural phenomenon like the caves of the Blue Grotto, charming fishing villages like Marsakloxx, and more on Malta.

Gozo Island

Malta’s little sister, Gozo, is a quieter island. A great place to escape the faster pace, and crowds of Malta.

It’s capital, Victoria, has a must-see citadel, which offers beautiful views of the island and insight and information into history here.

The oldest megalithic temple, Ggantija, is located here. Ggantija is Maltese for “belonging to the giant”. As this temple has a slight curve at the top of one end, they think it may have also once had a dome.

Ggantija One of the top things to do on Gozo in Malta Travel Guide
Ggantija
Megalithic Temples are a highlight in the Malta Travel Guide
Megalithic Temples are a highlight in the Malta Travel Guide

There’s also natural phenomenon like the Blue Hole, which was rated as one of the top dive spots in Europe, as well as an old watch tower, trekking, interesting caves and grottos, beaches, salt pans, and more.

Comino Island

Nestled between Malta and Gozo is Comino, known for its picturesque Blue Lagoon. This is a very popular day trip for locals and tourists, to experience the stunning turquoise waters here. Unfortunately, it’s often very over crowded, especially during peak season.

Comino’s Blue Lagoon is a highlight in the Malta Travel Guide
Blue Lagoon, Camino

There are, however, other sites on the island as well, like Santa Maria and San Nikolai Bay. It’s also popular with divers, with caves, interesting rock formations, and old wrecks to explore.

Best Time To Visit Malta

With about 300 sunny days a year and mild winters, it’s really a year-round destination.

Weather-wise, the best time to visit is Spring, April, May, and June, and again in Fall, September and October. Days are not too hot and there are fewer tourists, although the water, and evenings, may be cool. July and August are peak tourist times and also very hot.

There are also several festivals/events to consider. For example, Carnival is big here, usually held 7 weeks before Easter. There’s an International Music Festival and Fireworks Festival held in April/May, an annual Film Festival in June, and many more. Be sure to check the schedule if you want to align your trip with one.

Languages of Malta

English and Maltese are the two official languages on Malta. Malti is fascinating, a mix of a Sicilian dialect and North African Arabic, with some Italian, English, and French.

As most everyone speaks English, your biggest language challenge will be pronouncing places like Wied iz-Zurrieq and Marsaxlokk.

Malta Money Matters

Currency: The currency of Malta is the Euro. The conversion rates below are as of January 1, 2024.

  • 1 USD=.91 Euro
  • 1 CNY=.13 Euro

Credit Cards & ATMs: Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, with Visa and MasterCard the most common. ATMs are easy to find in larger cities.

Tipping: A 5-10% tip at restaurants for good service is common, but check to make sure it’s not already added to the bill. A 10% hotel charge is often added to your bill, so no need to tip extra. Tip around 10% for tours and simply round up for taxis.

Safety In Malta

Malta is safe. As in any touristy area, however, petty theft, pick-pocketing, and purse-snatching can occur. Take normal precautions, but always be aware of your surroundings.

If you’re offered something too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious if you sense this. If things don’t feel right, trust your instincts.

Drinking Water: Malta’s tap water is desalinated seawater and groundwater, and although they say it’s safe to drink, it’s not the tastiest. It’s best to stick to bottled water (or boiled).

Scams In Malta

Malta is relatively safe, but there are always a few people trying to take advantage of tourists. The following are some of the most common.

Pickpockets

Pickpocketing is an issue just about anywhere. Keep your purse or wallet close, and don’t carry more cause with you than you need. If someone tries to jostle you, bump into you, or divert your attention by spilling something on you, be very vigilant.

Fake Tickets/Tour Operators

Never buy tickets or tours from people on the street. Always buy from reputable sites, the ticket booth, or your hotel. If you do, alway check their website for reviews and verify that the phone number actually works.

Broken Taxi Meter

This is a common scam everywhere. Make sure the meter works before closing the door. Also make sure you see the driver turn the meter on. Even better, get an estimate of your fare before you get in (from hotel or local) and discuss your expectations with the driver.

As of November 2023, Uber and Lyft are not operating in Malta. The two most popular taxi hailing services here a Ryde and Bolt.

Free Gifts

In some areas, people will claim to be part of services for deaf/mute people and give you a cheap souvenir, or place it on your table, then demand payment. They will not be officials with the organization in question. Never accept anything for free, as it will likely turn around on you.

The Blue Grotto of Malta is one of the top sites in the Travel Guide
Blue Grotto, Malta

Getting Around Malta

Driving: The islands are small, so driving is feasible, but known to be crazy. Parking is also known to be impossible to find. If you do chose to drive, you also need to be comfortable driving on the left side of the road.

Hop On Hop Off Bus: I sometimes find the Hop On Hop Off Buses limiting, but it is a good option for getting around here, with many key stops on Malta and Gozo.

Public Bus: The Malta public bus system is a good, inexpensive way to get around the island, but very slow. One thing to know is that people do not queue in an orderly manner for buses here. Maybe it’s due to the fact that more people want to ride them than buses available. This means when the bus arrives, it’s first come first serve onto the bus, so you need to be assertive. I missed a few buses by being polite. You need to push your way on.

Taxi: See Broken Taxi Meters under Scams above. For more information on taxis in Malta, see this article on Malta Taxis.

Ferry: There are regular ferries between Malta, Gozo, and Comino as well as ferries to/from various cities adjacent to Valletta, see visitmalta.com for an overview of ferry options.

Marsaxlokk Harbor in one of the top sites in Malta
Marsaxlokk Harbor, Malta

Visa Information for Malta

Malta is part of the Schengen Visa Agreement. US citizens can visit visa free for 90 days every 180 days. Citizens from China need to apply for a visa.

For more details and information on other countries, see schengenvisainfo.com.

Malta Travel Guide: Top Destination Blogs

Click the icons below for more detailed information on the key sites on the archipelago of Malta.

If this travel guide has helped you to plan your trip, or inspired you to think about visiting Malta, add a comment below.

Safe Travels!

Julie

Note: All efforts are made to ensure the details in this travel guide to Malta are accurate, but from time to time, things change. Please leave a comment if you see an issue.

To learn more about me and my philosophy on travel, see my about me page.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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