Are you trying to decide where to travel next and you’re debating if Malta is worth visiting? I’ve got you covered!
If you are searching for a new destination to visit in Europe, you should definitely consider Malta. This tiny Mediterranean island is often overlooked in favor of more popular countries like Italy, Greece, or France, but it actually has a lot to offer.
Is Malta worth visiting?! (Quick answer)
Yes, there is no doubt that Malta is a country worth visiting! Whether you prefer hiking, seeing impressive architecture, you’re a history buff, or you’re looking to relax on the beach and take a refreshing swim, there is something to do for everyone in Malta.
So read on for all of the reasons why I think this tiny Mediterranean country is definitely worth a trip!
- Is Malta worth visiting?! (Quick answer)
- 01. Malta has a rich history
- 02. Malta is a great early spring destination
- 03. Interesting mix of cultures
- 04. English is an official language in Malta
- 05. Valletta
- 06. The 3 cities
- 07. It’s a great choice for city breaks
- 08. Popeye's village
- 09. It's easy to get around without a car
- 10. Gozo
- 11. Mdina
- 12. Game of Thrones filming spot
- 13. Beautiful beaches, natural pools and lagoons
- 14. Outdoor activities and sports
- 15. Great culinary experiences
- 16. Many historical sites
- 17. Colorful balconies
- 18. Perfect for sailing and boating activities
- 19. Prehistoric temples
- 20. Sunny almost all year long
- Wrap up
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01. Malta has a rich history
Malta has a long and rich history, with the first settlements going as far as the year 5900 BC. Here you’ll also find the Megalithic temples, a UNESCO Heritage Site dating from 3600 BC – 2500 BC.
During the centuries Malta was ruled by many civilizations among which were the Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, and even the Brits.
The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (commonly referred to as Knights Hospitaller) also governed it between the 16th and the 18th centuries. It was during this period of time that the construction of the current capital, Valetta, began.
Not only that, but Hospitalier Malta was also regarded as a thriving era for arts, architecture, and society in general.
02. Malta is a great early spring destination
Given the fact that it’s a Mediterranean island, Malta has in general warmer weather than most other countries in Europe. Therefore it can be a great choice for a trip in early spring.
The average temperature in Malta during March reaches around 17 – 18 degrees Celsius (62.6 – 64.4 Fahrenheit), while in April it’s already around 20 degrees Celsius (68 F).
I visited Malta in early March for my birthday and the weather was very pleasant, albeit a bit windy.
03. Interesting mix of cultures
Given its location (between Northern Africa and Sicily, Italy’s southern point) and the many civilizations that ruled over the island, it is only natural that visitors will find here an interesting mix of cultures.
Despite the fact that there are basically no surviving buildings from the time Arabs ruled over Malta, they still left a notable influence on Maltese folk architecture. For example, Victoria, Gozo’s capital city, looked very Middle Eastern to me.
However, Malta has also great examples of the Baroque (introduced during the rule of the Order of St. John), Neoclassical or Neo-Renessance architectural styles, just to name a few.
Not only that, but the Maltese language is a Semitic language (the only one in the European Union) that evolved from a dialect of Arabic and was heavily influenced by Sicilian. It is the only Arabic-derived language that is written in the Latin alphabet.
So if it sounds like a mix of Italian and Arab to you, then that’s the reason why.
04. English is an official language in Malta
During the island’s British administration, English became one of the two official languages in Malta (the other being of course the Maltese language). Italian is also widely spoken on the island.
Therefore, when traveling to Malta you don’t have to worry about any potential mishaps because you don’t know the local language.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta and despite its small size, it’s known for its captivating history and incredible architecture.
While in Valletta, you shouldn’t miss seeing the firing of the cannons which takes place Monday to Saturday, at noon and 4 PM on the Saluting Battery, as well as visiting the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens (they’re among the best free things to do in Valletta) and St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
06. The 3 cities
The three cities are located just across the water from Valletta and they are called Vittoriosa (or Birgu – which was my favorite), Senglea (Isla), and Cospicua (Bormla).
The easiest way to travel to visit them is by taking a boat trip or the ferry across the bay. To reach the waterfront I recommend you take the Barrakka Lift down, as it will save you time and effort.
The lift costs 1 EUR/ride and you can find it inside the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
07. It’s a great choice for city breaks
Since Malta is so compact, it’s a great destination for short trips like a city break.
I spent 4 days in the country and it was the perfect amount of time to see the sights that were on my “to-visit” list (I didn’t spend any time at the beach though, since I visited in March).
08. Popeye’s village
Popeye’s Village was initially built for the 1980 musical “Popeye”, starring Robin Williams as the spinach-loving sailor. Now, the film set has been transformed into a tourist attraction that’s entertaining for both children and adults.
You can enter some of the houses, take numerous pictures and participate in different activities.
Also, remember to walk to the Popeye Village Viewpoint located nearby, for a wonderful view of the bay and the village. Be careful not to get too close to the edge as it’s dangerous (the rock can collapse!).
09. It’s easy to get around without a car
Not everyone likes to rent a car when traveling because let’s face it, despite the obvious advantage, driving in a foreign place can be quite stressful. In Malta’s case, this is even more true as it’s one of the countries where people drive on the left side.
But the good news is that the bus network in Malta is pretty extensive and you can reach most attractions by using public transportation. I actually wrote an entire 4-Day Malta itinerary that doesn’t need a car.
Do be aware that you need to flag down the buses, otherwise they might not stop. We learned this the hard way. Also, the buses tend to be late sometimes.
Second in size after the island of Malta itself, Gozo is not only a favored destination for day-trippers but also a perfect place for people looking for natural beauty.
Here, you’ll find great beaches and hiking trails, but also interesting sights like Ta’Pinu Basilica, Marsalforn salt pans, or Ggantija megalithic temple complex.
If you decide to visit Gozo by public transportation as a day trip, I recommend you take the Gozo Hop on Hop off Sightseeing bus in order to see as much of the island as possible in a short timeframe.
Mdina is Malta’s former capital and is located in the center of the island, on higher ground.
Despite its rather small size, its architecture is really beautiful, so spend some time walking around the old town.
Also, make sure you admire the view from the Panoramic Malta Viewpoint, which you can easily find by going almost in a straight line from the main gate (pictured above) until you reach the exterior wall.
12. Game of Thrones filming spot
Game of Thrones fans have an extra reason to want to visit Malta as some of the scenes of the popular series were shot on the island.
Some of the most popular filming locations include Pjazza Mesquita and the Main Gate in Medina, St Dominic’s Priory in Rabat, Fort St. Angelo, Fort Ricasoli, and Fort Manoel, as well as the Azure Window, which sadly collapsed in 2017.
13. Beautiful beaches, natural pools and lagoons
Apart from sightseeing, Malta is also a popular beach destination. While much of its coast is rocky, the country also has some sandy beaches like Ramla Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha, or Għadira Bay.
On top of that, you’ll find here natural pools and lagoons like St. Peter’s Pool near the Marsaxlokk village and the beautiful Blue Lagoon on Comino Island.
14. Outdoor activities and sports
Malta is an ideal destination for outdoor and sports lovers. With its mild winters and favorable climate, there are countless outdoor activities that can be done throughout the year.
The crystal-clear waters that surround the Maltese archipelago offer numerous opportunities for water sports enthusiasts, such as jet skiing, kayaking, and scuba diving.
Meanwhile, in the countryside, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, and rock climbing.
The island also has a unique traditional sport called Il-Gostra, which is a pole climbing competition that dates back to the Middle Ages.
✓ 5/5 stars out of 30+ reviews
✓ Lasts for approx. 3 hours
✓ Perfect for beginners
✓ 5/5 stars out of 40+ reviews
✓ Lasts for about 3 to 4 hours
✓ Small group tour
15. Great culinary experiences
Malta is a foodie’s Heaven, with many tasty local dishes ready for you to sample. One of the most popular is rabbit stew, which is typically slow-cooked with red wine, potatos, and carrots.
Another must-try dish is pastizzi, a traditional pastry filled with either ricotta cheese or peas. For seafood lovers, there’s the traditional lampuki pie, made with dorado fish, cauliflower, and tomatoes among other ingredients.
Malta is also famous for its sweets, such as the traditional figolli, an almond-filled Easter dessert, and kannoli, the local take on the well-known Sicilian cake.
And don’t forget to enjoy a glass of local wine as well, as the Maltese archipelago has a rich wine-making history that dates back to Phoenician times.
16. Many historical sites
As I already mentioned Malta is a country with a rich history that spans thousands of years, therefore it’s also home to several ancient sites.
Some of the most famous are the Megalithic Temples, which are among the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
Another must-visit historical site is the fortified city of Mdina, also known as the “Silent City”, which dates from the 8th century BC.
Other notable historical sites include the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum (a Neolithic underground burial chamber), and St. Paul’s Catacombs (burial chambers from the from Punic, Roman and Byzantine times).
17. Colorful balconies
Malta is famous for its colorful balconies, which are a prominent feature of the island’s architecture. Known as gallariji, these closed wooden balconies are typically painted in bright colors such as blue, green, and red.
They serve both practical and aesthetic purposes, providing shade and privacy while also enhancing the visual appeal of Malta’s urban landscape.
18. Perfect for sailing and boating activities
Thanks to its location in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea and sunny weather conditions for most of the year, Malta is an ideal destination for sailing and boating activities.
You can explore the island’s stunning coastline with a motor boat, catamaran or even a kayak, allowing you to discover secluded coves and hidden bays that are otherwise inaccessible by land.
✓ 4 – 6 hours
✓ 4.5/5 stars from 650+ reviews
✓ 2-3 stops for snorkeling & swimming
19. Prehistoric temples
Malta’s prehistoric temples are a testament to the island’s rich history and culture.
Collectively known as the Megalithic Temples of Malta, the most important are: Ġgantija, Ħaġar Qim, Skorba, Mnajdra, Tarxien and Ta’ Ħaġrat.
As I already mentioned, these structures were raised during the 4th and 3rd millennia BC (in different phases) and they’re considered to be amongst the oldest free-standing constructions on Earth.
20. Sunny almost all year long
Malta’s weather is typically Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers.
The island nation enjoys a warm, sunny climate throughout most of the year, with a recorded average annual temperature of 19.8 °C (67.7 °F) in the last few years.
In fact, Malta is one of the sunniest countries in Europe with more than 300 days of sunshine.
Is Malta really touristy?
Although Malta can get quite crowded during the summer months due to the influx of visitors seeking a beach vacation, I wouldn’t classify it as an overly touristy destination.
Is Mdina Malta worth visiting?
Despite its rather small size, Mdina is definitely a place worth visiting. It’s one of Malta’s most popular destinations as it’s rich in history and filled with beautiful medieval and baroque architecture.
Is Malta worth visiting in winter?
Malta is a great choice to consider for a winter getaway if you’re looking to escape the cold.
Is Valletta Malta worth visiting?
As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Valletta is packed with historic landmarks, a stunning mix of architecture, and vibrant cultural activities. The city boasts several attractions like St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Grandmaster’s Palace, and the Upper Barrakka Gardens, which offers breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour.
Is Malta a good holiday destination?
With its rich history, beautiful landscapes, warm Mediterranean climate, and friendly locals, Malta caters to a variety of interests. Its attractions include UNESCO World Heritage sites like the city of Valletta, prehistoric temples, beautiful beaches for relaxation or water sports, and a vibrant nightlife. In addition, the country’s small size makes it easy to explore.
Hopefully, I have given you enough reasons to consider Malta as your next vacation destination. If this is the case, make sure you also check out my itineraries for spending 2 days or 4 days in Malta for further inspiration.
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