Malta morphs seamlessly from an outdoor lover’s paradise into a historical treasure trove. This Mediterranean nation, floating between Sicily and Africa, is comprised of a trio of islands that have been shaped over the centuries. The French, Phoenicians and Romans are just a handful of those who have left their mark on Malta.
Come here and experience this cultural splendour, along with gorgeous gastronomical delights and balmy weather. The sun blazes down here for more than 300 days a year. Bliss? We think so.
Not sure where to start a getaway here? We’ve pulled together the top 10 things to do in Malta.
- Blue Lagoon
- St John’s Co-Cathedral
- Mdina Old City
- Upper Barrakka Gardens
- Fort St Elmo & National War Museum
- Ħaġar Qim
- Rotunda of Mosta
- St Peter’s Pool
1. Blue Lagoon
Venture to the north-west corner of Comino and discover the Blue Lagoon. Malta’s greatest natural treasure, the bay boasts jaw-dropping aquamarine waters that are crystal clear, perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
So beautiful is the Blue Lagoon, it can get busy during the summer months. Head here early in the day to experience this slice of paradise in peace and quiet.
2. St John’s Co-Cathedral
Regal St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is a total showstopper, built in the 16th century for the Knights of St John. While the honey-hued baroque façade is pretty, the real magic lies inside. Head through the heavyset doors and you’ll find the colourful ceiling frescoes, gold-encrusted arches and decorative walls are all as flamboyant as each other. The result is truly staggering and needs to be seen to be believed.
Malta’s capital defines elegance. Valletta was established in the 16th century and is a truly charming city. Spend a day wandering among this tiny UNESCO World Heritage Site, soaking up the history that oozes from its walls.
Much of the city’s architecture has been painstakingly preserved so you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you tour around the atmospheric streets, stuffed with gorgeous churches and handsome townhouses. Don’t miss the impressive Grand Master’s Palace!
4. Mdina Old City
There’s even more to marvel at Mdina, one of the best things to do in Malta. Perched upon a hill, this fortified city is enveloped by golden stone walls and connected by a maze of narrow passageways. Its rich heritage is etched deep within the cityscape, with churches and mansions hidden behind unassuming doors.
Start a visit here at the grand Mdina Gate, then amble around the atmospheric streets, soaking up the history. From the battlements, you’ll have mesmerising views across the island.
5. Upper Barrakka Gardens
Enter a lush oasis of green at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta. This shady retreat was created in the 16th century and is utterly charming. Stroll among the towering trees, flowerbeds in full bloom and time-old arches, heading in the direction of the garden’s balcony. Here you can enjoy mesmerising vistas across the Grand Harbour and the cannon-studded Saluting Battery below.
6. Fort St Elmo & National War Museum
Guarding Valletta’s waterfront, Fort St Elmo has long played an important role in the island’s defence since its establishment in 1552. Today, it takes a different guise – Malta’s National War Museum is housed within the star-shaped fort, chronicling the nation’s military history through the ages. While a number of different periods are touched upon, a great emphasis is given to how Malta was affected during World War I and World War II. It’s an interesting place to spend an afternoon.
7. Ħaġar Qim
Journey across the island to the south-west coast to see UNESCO-listed Ħaġar Qim. This megalithic temple sits atop a hillside, with commanding views out to sea, and dates all the way back to 3200 BC. You can learn more about it at the visitor centre, before taking a look around the pre-historic site itself.
8. Rotunda of Mosta
Another layer of Malta’s history is waiting to be peeled back at the Rotunda of Mosta. This 17th-century church is a beautiful demonstration of neoclassical architecture and took 27 years to build. The enormous dome is its focal feature, though the blue, gold and white interior is stunning, too.
It’s a miracle the church is still standing, after a bomb plunged through the dome in 1942 and into the nave, where 300 people sat waiting for mass to begin. By a stroke of luck, the bomb failed to detonate – a replica of it can be seen in the Rotunda of Mosta today.
More history can be found in this minute fortified city, located across the water from Valletta. Lose yourself in the tangle of alleyways, admiring the quaint architecture that’s squeezed into the centre. Best of all is Fort Angelo, a medieval stronghold with sweeping views across the Grand Harbour.
10. St Peter’s Pool
Love swimming in the sea? You’ll adore St Peter’s Pool. This natural lido at the tip of the Delimara Peninsula is blessed with azure waters and is relatively secluded, creating a quiet place to spend an afternoon in the sun. Lie back on the rocks for a dose of vitamin D, then use the ladders to plunge down into the sea.
This list of the top things to do in Malta is only the beginning – there’s plenty to see among the islands. Book your trip to the archipelago now with Jet2holidays.