Malta is one of the southernmost countries in Europe, and it’s located in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. The archipelago is made up of several islands, largest ones being Malta, Gozo, and Comino. For me, Malta was the last European country and my 105th country.
Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. Maltese sounds like a combination of Italian and Arabic, and it was very interesting to listen to. Malta was under British rule before its independence in 1964, and as a result, English is still widely spoken and an official language. Nowadays, Malta is part of the EU, and the currency is the Euro.
Table of Contents
- 1) Getting Around
- 2) Where to Stay in Malta
- 3) Where to Stay in Gozo
- 4) One Week Itinerary
Getting around Malta can be a little challenging as the buses don’t run often and most of the times they are behind schedule. I’m usually not a fan of hop-on-hop-off buses, but for Malta, I would recommend them. I was only using the local buses but next time I would either rent a car or buy a ticket for the tourist bus. There’s no Uber in Malta, but you can download an app called Taxify that works just like Uber. I used it when getting from the airport to my hotel. I used Google Maps and Malta Public Transport for checking the timetables.
Where to Stay in Malta
On the main island, I stayed at Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa, and it turned out to be a perfect choice. It’s strategically located just outside of the capital, and the hotel offers a free shuttle to both Valletta and St. Julian’s. It’s also very close to Mdina, and you can take a public bus there. Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa is a five-star hotel featuring a swimming pool, gym, spa and an excellent breakfast buffet. While I was staying there, they were renovating the hotel so some of the pictures here might look outdated if they have already finished the refurbishment. You can book the hotel on HotelsCombined.
Valletta is a bit tricky for finding cheap accommodation, but Palazzo Sant Ursula is a great option.
Where to Stay in Gozo
If you want to base yourself in one place and make day trips to other parts of Gozo, I highly recommend you to stay in Victoria. This town is in the middle of the island and also works as the main bus hub. Pretty much all the bus routes start/end in Victoria, so if you stay somewhere else, you would have to change buses to get to your final destination. In Gozo, I stayed at this lovely hotel called Casa Gemelli Boutique Guesthouse. It’s a family-run luxurious boutique B&B, and I highly recommend booking this place early if you would like to stay there because they are often fully booked! You can book the hotel on HotelsCombined. My room had a lovely view of the Citadel, and they also have a small outside sitting area from where you can admire the views. They accommodate vegans too if you just let them know. During my stay, they even baked a vegan cake for the breakfast table, and they also offered plant milk and cooked me some fried vegetables with toast.
One Week Itinerary
I had a one week in Malta which was enough to see most of the highlights in both Malta and Gozo islands. There are still tons of places I didn’t get to see, but when can you ever see everything? I decided to stay most of my time in Gozo and less in Malta. Most people probably would do this the other way around, and stay longer in Malta or just make a day trip to Gozo. You could spend less time in Gozo, especially if you rent a car or do a tour there, but I really liked the small island vibe there, and it’s a lot less touristy than Malta island. Because the distances are short, you can have plenty of time for relaxing too.
Here is my recommended itinerary if you have one week in Malta and want to make the most of it.
Day 1: Valletta and the Three Cities
Valletta is the capital of Malta and also European Capital of Culture in 2018. It’s a small city so you can easily walk all the streets in a few hours but I enjoyed it so much that I kept on coming back to the same places.
Some of the highlights to see in Valletta are St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Upper Barrakka Gardens, Lascaris War Rooms, Valletta Waterfront, National War Museum, Lower Barrakka Gardens and Saint Paul’s Shipwreck. Also, see the saluting battery at noon at the Upper Barrakka Gardens and take pictures of the colorful balconies that can be found for example on St Ursula Street. Check out some of the walking tours, day cruises, boat parties and learn about the dark side of Valletta.
The Three Cities are Birgu (also known as Vittoriosa), Senglea and Cospicua, and you can get a great view of these from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. There’s a ferry running between Valletta and The Three Cities. Check out the fares and schedule here. You can also do a private tour there if you wish.
Day 2: Sliema and St. Julian’s
Take a ferry from Valletta to Sliema to get amazing views of Valletta from a different perspective. Sliema offers lots of nice swimming places, or you could just take a stroll on the promenade and enjoy the views. For anyone interested in shopping, there’s also a decent sized shopping mall with lots of clothing stores. The ferry schedule and fares are available here.
St. Julian’s is famous for its nightlife, and if you stay at Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa, you should take advantage of their free evening shuttles taking you to St. Julian’s and Valletta. If you’re not into partying, St. Julian’s is a great place just for dinner and drinks. For anyone wanting to get the full St. Julian’s experience, join a pub crawl.
Day 3: Mdina
Mdina, Malta’s silent city and the old capital, is a must-see for anyone visiting Malta. It’s a truly magical place with its narrow streets and city walls. This medieval town has also been a filming location for Game of Thrones, and I don’t wonder why.
Mdina is a small town and walking all the streets doesn’t take too long. If you have time and you’re feeling energized, I highly recommend visiting Mosta too. There you can see Rotunda, a church with the third largest unsupported dome in the world. Check out this full-day tour that includes both Mosta and Mdina, or if you’re pressed for time there’s also a half-day option.
There are also lots of other places in Malta I didn’t get to see like Blue Grotto, Dingli Cliffs, Golden Bay, St. Paul’s Bay and Cafe del Mar. If you have more time in Malta, I highly recommend checking out some of these places.
Day 4: Comino Island and the Blue Lagoon
Comino is a small island between Malta and Gozo, and you can take a trip there from either of those islands. I was already staying in Gozo at this point, so I took a boat to Comino from Mgarr Harbour. Coming from Malta, you can take a boat from Cirkewwa Harbour. If you would like to have the easiest option, you could also book a full-day cruise.
The most famous spot on the islands is the Blue Lagoon, and yes, the water is amazingly clear and blue, but it can get very crowded. You can walk around the Comino Island by yourself, and there are plenty of other swimming spots too.
Day 5: Gozo Island: Victoria Citadel
Gozo, Malta’s sister island, is in my opinion highly underrated. Most people skip it all together or some just visit it as a day trip (and usually only see the Azure Window Ruins). Even though the island is small, I recommend staying there for a few days to enjoy everything the island has to offer. For more ideas on what to do in Gozo, check out my post 20 Things to Do in Gozo. If you want to base yourself in one place in Gozo, choose Victoria, the capital city of Gozo. See my hotel recommendation above. This town is located in the heart of the island and offers the best bus connections to other parts of the island. But even from Victoria, most of the buses only run once an hour, so you need to plan everything according to this. Another option is to buy a ticket for a hop-on-hop-off bus that takes you to almost all the main sights.
The main attraction in Victoria is the Old Citadel and you can’t miss it as the majestic fortress can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. The Citadel’s history goes back to the late medieval era, but the hill has been settled even before that. A great time to visit the Citadel is just before the sunset as the golden hour offers the best photography opportunities and watching the sunset from the fortress is a fantastic experience.
Great news for vegans and health-conscious people is also that Malta’s only vegan restaurant is located in Victoria. Check out Green Mood situated on the main street. I felt like finding healthy, nutritious vegan food was a little tricky in Malta, so this restaurant was a great find.
Day 6: North of Gozo: Wied il-Għasri, Salt Pans and Ramla Bay
Visiting the sights in the north part of Gozo takes some time if you’re using public transport. You can take one bus to Wied il-Għasri first and then walk to the Salt Pans. You then need to take a bus back to Victoria, change buses and then take another one to Ramla Bay.
Wied il-Għasri is one of the secret spots in Gozo as the tour buses don’t go there. You can have a private swimming spot all to yourself and enjoy the crystal clear, blue water. A short walk from Wied il-Għasri are the salt pans in geometric patterns by the ocean. Ramla Bay is Malta’s best sandy beach, and from there you can also hike up to Tal-Mixta cave to get some stunning views.
Day 7: Gozo: Azure Window Ruins & the Blue Hole
Even though Gozo’s most famous sight, the Azure Window, collapsed in 2017, the place is still a popular tourist destination. After the arch collapsed, it has become island’s newest dive site where divers can swim around the chunks of rocks and see a different kind of fish.
Azure Window ruins are also just next to the Blue Hole, and existing dive site and an impressive sight for non-divers too. For more things to do in Gozo, read my other Malta post: 20 Things to Do in Gozo.
Pin to share: