We went, we saw and we’re presenting you the ultimate list of the best places to visit in Malta.

The island country of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea may not be large but it’s filled with treasures. From spectacular beaches with crystal clear water to historic towns with beautiful local architecture to archaeological sites that date back to prehistoric times, Malta has it all. Keep reading to discover the best places to visit in Malta.

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Where Is Malta

Boasting a strategic location between Italy and North Africa, the tiny island nation of Malta consists of three islands: Malta (the main island of the small archipelago), Gozo and Comino. The capital of Malta is Valletta, a UNESCO-listed fortified city. A fun fact about Malta is that no matter its small size, it has one of the highest population densities in the world.

Best Time To Visit Malta

Similar to all countries with Mediterranean climate, Malta is best to visit from spring to autumn. That said, summer is the high season and it should be avoided for the unbearable temperatures and crowds it brings. In our opinion, spring in Malta is the perfect time to explore the island without the heat and hordes of tourists.

People sunbathing and swimming in Ghar Lapsi. A man is about to dive in the water, a woman is standing behind him and another woman is basking behind them on the pier.
Swimming in spring, outside the peak season

Do You Need a Car To Visit The Best Places in Malta?

If you plan to visit all – or most of – the best places in Malta on our list, then, yes, you need to rent a car to get to even the remotest locations and enjoy them at your own pace. Keep in mind that driving in Malta can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to driving on the left-hand side of the road.

Alternatively, Malta’s public transport is reliable and a great way to get around. However, it can only take you to the main towns and points of interest. You can check bus routes and timetables on Malta’s official public transport website.

A concrete bench on the top of a cliff with stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea.
To reach even the remotest locations in Malta, you need a car

27 Best Places To Visit in Malta

1. Blue Lagoon & Comino Island

Even though it’s the smallest among Malta’s three islands, Comino is home to the country’s indisputable highlight. With its insanely clear blue water, the Blue Lagoon stretches between Comino Island and the smaller Cominotto Islet.

You can visit the Blue Lagoon on an organised boat tour either from Gozo or Malta Island. As there are no hotels to extend your stay there, Comino Island is ideal for a day trip. Apart from the Blue Lagoon, the island has plenty of other things to do that you can read about in our detailed guide to Comino.

This image shows a panoramic view of the Blue Lagoon with the Gozo Channel in the background.
Walking around Comino offers stunning views

2. Valletta

Founded in the 16th century by the Knights of St. John after the Ottomans’ Great Siege of Malta, Valletta is one of the best places to visit in Malta and one of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities. With its stunning Baroque architecture, charming narrow streets, historic buildings and rich history, the entire town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Playing a significant role during the Second World War when Malta was under British rule, the capital city of Valletta is a history buff heaven. Fort St. Elmo, the Lascaris War Rooms, the Upper Barrakka Gardens and St. John’s Cathedral are some of the must-see attractions in Valletta. For further reading, see our thorough guide with more things to do in Valletta.

Panoramic view of Valletta from Tigne Point during the blue hour with pit holes filled with water in the foreground.
Valletta in the blue hour is a sight for sore eyes

3. Three Cities: Vittoriosa – Senglea – Cospicua

Set on the tips of two peninsulas overlooking the Grand Harbour and Valletta, the Three Cities are often overlooked by tourists. Among the three, Vittoriosa (former Birgu) is the oldest as it used to be Malta’s capital, before Valletta. Like the biggest part of Malta, the Three Cities were rebuilt after the devastating Second World War.

A man fishing on a rock in Vitorriosa. Senglea with the Gardjola gardens and the watchtower are in the background.
A view of Senglea from Vittoriosa

Most of the highlights are situated in Vittoriosa. That said, don’t skip Senglea for outstanding views of Valletta from the historic watchtower in the Gardjola Gardens. You can get to the Three Cities by bus from Valletta. However, the best way is to take the ferry or a dghajsa, the traditional Maltese boat, from Valletta Waterfront.

A traditional boat called dghajsa in the Three Cities harbour. The elaborate wooden boat has gorgeous red, white and brown details and a white canopy.
A boat ride on a traditional dgħajsa is an experience not to be missed

4. Dingli Cliffs

Situated near Malta’s highest point on the island’s west coast, the Dingli Cliffs are ideal to enjoy a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea. Plan your walk around the 15th-century St. Mary Magdalene Chapel where you can find plenty of vantage points for a mesmerising sunset and stalls selling Malta’s delicious traditional prickly-pear liqueur.

The view of the Mediterranean Sea from the Dingli Cliffs.
Breathtaking sea views from the Dingli Cliffs

We visited the Dingli Cliffs a couple of times and in several ways. The most fun was on a segway tour. This 2-hour segway tour will take you from the nearby Busket Woods to historical sites and Dingli Village through the picturesque cliffs.

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5. Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

A short drive from Valletta, Hal Sflieni Hypogeum is one of the first monuments in Malta to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Structured in three underground levels, Hal Sflieni Hypogeum was a subterranean necropolis between 4000 BC and 1500 BC.

For conservation reasons, you can only visit the site on a guided tour of a maximum of ten people. Therefore, if you want to secure a time slot, book your tickets way in advance via the official Malta Heritage website.

6. Tarxien Temples

A short walk from Hal Sflieni Hypogeum, the complex of the Tarxien Temples is another UNESCO-listed site. With four megalithic prehistoric temples dating back from 3600 BC to 2500 BC, the Tarxien Temples complex is the largest prehistoric site in Malta.

One of the Tarxien Temples. There is a massive white tent over the temple offering shade.
Ancient ruins – and visitors – are protected from the scorching sun

7. Mdina

Also known as the Silent City, Mdina is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malta. The walled city of Mdina used to be Malta’s capital before the Knights of St John transferred it to Birgu (now called Vittoriosa) in the Three Cities. With stunning architecture and impressive monuments, there are plenty of things to do in Mdina.

Crossing the magnificent Mdina Gate, one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones, appreciating the grandeur of St. Paul’s Cathedral and stepping inside Palazzo Falson for a glimpse into Malta’s past during the Middle Ages are only a few among them.

View of the moat with the main gate and its bridge in the background. People stroll along the moat's promenade.
Mdina looks like a film set

8. Rabat

Right next to the fortified city of Mdina, Rabat is home to two of the most important sites in Malta: the renowned Catacombs of St. Paul and the Catacombs of St. Agatha.

Covering an underground area of 2000 square metres, St. Paul’s Catacombs is a subterranean burial complex with interconnected passages and chambers, dating back to Roman times.

Although the massive area of St. Paul’s Catacombs is more than impressive, the depths of the neighbouring – and much smaller – St. Agatha’s Catacombs are equally awe-inspiring, revealing unique murals as you walk through the underground tunnels.

After exploring Rabat, before you leave, don’t miss the chance to try the delicious crispy Pastizzi at Crystal Palace Bar.

Graves in St Paul's Catacombs.
Inside St. Paul’s Catacombs

9. Popeye Village

Built at Anchor Bay near Mellieha, Popeye Village is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Malta. Popeye Village is a wooden village constructed as the film set for the 1980 musical film Popeye, starring Robin Williams. Today, the film set is converted into a theme park with plenty of attractions that promise an amusing experience for children and adults alike.

The best way to get to Popeye Village is by car. Another option is to book your Popeye Village tickets with an optional private transfer.

Panoramic view of Popeye's Village.
Popeye Village is a great place for adults and children alike

10. Marsaxlokk

Translating to Southeastern Port in the Maltese language, the difficult-to-pronounce Marsaxlokk (marsa-schlok) is Malta’s main fishing village. Marsaxlokk is of great historical significance as it was there that the Ottomans started their invasion of Malta before the Great Siege.

The charming seaside village is among the locals’ favourites for a Sunday lunch at one of its high-quality restaurants. Its sheltered harbour is dotted by Luzzi, Malta’s traditional colourful boats with eyes on their bows. One of the best things to do in Marsaxlokk is to visit the seafront market. On Sundays, it’s a fish market but on any other day of the week, you can find great souvenirs there.

Panoramic view of Marsaxlokk harbour where numerous blue traditional boats are moored.
Marsaxlokk and its Luzzi boats are utterly picturesque even on a gloomy day

11. St. Peter’s Pool

Positioned on the Delimara Peninsula near Marsaxlokk, St. Peter’s Pool is one of numerous coves formed on Malta’s coastline. St. Peter’s natural pool is one of the island’s popular spots in the summer as it’s ideal for swimming in emerald crystal clear waters and sunbathing on the surrounding flat limestone rocks.

You can reach St. Peter’s Pool on foot after parking your car along a narrow steep road near the pool. However, the best way to get there is by a boat tour that departs from Marsaxlokk’s harbour, as we did.

View of St. Peter's Pool from the boat. People are relaxing on the limestone rocks.
St Peter’s Pool and its dramatic rocky shores on a cloudy day

12. Clapham Junction Cart Ruts

Situated near the Dingli Cliffs and unlike what its name suggests, Clapham Junction is a prehistoric site that got its name from an archaeologist who thought the ancient cart ruts carved in the limestone rocks resembled London’s Clapham Junction railway station. Although their purpose is yet to be confirmed, similar tracks can be found in several other areas across the Maltese Islands.

The Clapham Cart Ruts Junction with multiple wheel tracks side by side.
The impressive landscape of the Clapham Junction Cart Ruts

13. Blue Grotto Caves

Located on Malta’s southern coastline and consisting of several caves, the Blue Grotto is perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling. When it’s sunny, the waters reflect radiant colours on the limestone walls.

To fully appreciate the splendour of the Blue Grotto Caves, take a boat trip that departs from the nearby Wied Iz-Zurrieq harbour.

Shipwreck hunters will also have the opportunity to dive into the depths of the Um-El Faroud Wreck. If diving is not your thing or weather conditions are not suitable for such activities, it’s worth making a stop at the cliffs above to marvel at the gigantic arch of the caves.

The gigantic arch of Blue Grotto Caves from the road atop the cliff. Two boats are exploring the caves.
A view of the Blue Grotto from the main road

14. Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra Archaeological Park

Not far from the Blue Grotto, the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra await atop a gorgeous outlook overlooking the uninhabited islet of Filfla and the Mediterranean Sea. Both temples are partially restored and protected by large tents. Upon entering the archaeological park, step inside the visitor centre to gain valuable insight into Malta’s prehistoric legacy.

Hagar Qim Temple protected by a large white tent and surrounded by visitors.
The prehistoric temple of Hagar Qim

After visiting Hagar Qim Temple, follow the 500-metre downhill path to the Mnajdra Temple. You’ll be amazed to know that the latter’s entrance is aligned with the sunrise during the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes and Winter and Summer Solstices.

Visitors walking along the downhill path towards Mnajdra Temple, one of the best places to visit in Malta.
Walking to the Mnajdra Temple

15. Għar Lapsi

As you roam around Malta’s south coast, the idyllic bay of Ghar Lapsi is worth a stop. Having lunch at the quaint restaurant-café or swimming in its emerald waters, Ghar Lapsi is a great place to relax and unwind. The small harbour is a favourite with locals during the summer months. Divers and snorkelling enthusiasts flock to Ghar Lapsi for its rugged surroundings and rich seabed.

View of Ghar Lapsi Bay with its transparent emerald waters. People are sunbathing and relaxing on the rocks.
Ghar Lapsi is insanely photogenic

16. Mellieħa

Developed in the 18th century when Malta was under British rule, Mellieha is a large modern town on the western part of Malta Island. Mellieha is near Popeye Village and several gorgeous beaches, thus an excellent base to explore the island on a road trip.

Perched on a hill overlooking Mellieha Bay, the town’s historic centre is home to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha where you can marvel at a fresco allegedly painted by St. Luke. Other highlights of Mellieha’s historic centre are the underground chapel of Il-Madonna Tal-Għar and Mellieha’s Second World War air-raid shelter, one of the largest in Malta.

Panoramic view of Mellieha's town from the bridge over the ravine. On the left side, the imposing Parish Church whereas on the right side, huge resorts overlooking Mellieha's Old Town.
Mellieha blends old and new

The town of Mellieha extends to Mellieha Bay where you can find luxury hotels with easy access to Ghadira Bay, Malta’s largest sandy beach with all kinds of facilities and water sports.

Panoramic view of Mellieha Bay from the road leading to Mellieha town. Along the bay, there are massive resort complexes.
There are several seaside resorts in Mellieha

17. Xemxija Heritage Trail

We love less-travelled roads and we’re so happy we discovered one of them while walking the Xemxija Heritage Trail. With over 20 attractions along the way, the also-known as Pilgrim’s Way is an ancient Roman road that ends at the Sanctuary of Our Lady in Mellieha. The preserved part of the trail is near Xemxija Bay in the north of Malta.

The symmetric facade of the Roman Apiary. There are two short entrance doors and two rows of several niches on the wall from where the bees used to enter the apiary.
The Roman Apiary along the Roman Xemxija Trail

18. Golden Bay Beach

One of Malta’s most popular sandy beaches, Golden Bay is a great spot for swimming, doing water sports and partying on the golden sand. Thanks to its western orientation, this Blue Flag beach is also an excellent location for captivating sunsets. Golden Beach is easy to reach either by public transport or car and there’s enough parking space nearby.

View of the Golden Bay from the top of the cliff. Enormous resorts on the opposite cliff overlook the beach.
Malta’s famous Golden Beach

19. Għajn Tuffieha Bay

Unlike the nearby buzzing Golden Beach, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay is ideal for those seeking chilled vibes and a relaxing atmosphere. Moreover, the beach is perfect for surfing and sunbathing on its spectacular red sand. There are also sunbeds and umbrellas to hire and a bar restaurant from where you can enjoy epic sunsets and great views.

You can reach the beach by bus which leaves you at the parking area atop the cliff. From there, you go down the almost 200 steps that lead to the beach. Sadly, you have to climb back up via the same steps.

On top of the cliff, near the parking lot, there’s also one of Malta’s defensive towers from where you can take in panoramic views of Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha Bay.

Panoramic view of Ghajn Tuffieha Bay from the top of the stairs that lead to the beach. People are making their way down to the beach via the steps.
With its spectacular scenery, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay might be our favourite beach in Malta

20. Red Tower

Formerly called St. Agatha’s Tower, the Red Tower is one of many watchtowers that the Order of St. John built to protect Malta from invasions. The Red Tower features a small museum on its ground floor and a fantastic terrace with panoramic views over the Marfa Peninsula.

The Red Tower's terrace with two cannons pointing to the surrounding area.
The iconic Red Tower

21. White Tower

With an advantageous location on the eastern tip of the Marfa Peninsula, the White Tower boasts excellent views of Comino Island and the Gozo Channel. Similar to the Red Tower, the Ahrax Tower, as it’s called officially, is one of the towers of the Order of St. John’s network.

The 17th-century watchtower was recently restored to its original condition. It only opens to the public on very limited days and times. Therefore, you’ll most probably admire it only from the outside.

The three-storey white tower with a few windows and doors on its facade.
The White Tower

22. Coral Lagoon

Unlike the Blue Lagoon, the Coral Lagoon is one of Malta’s unspoilt gems. The small sea cave is accessible either by kayak or on a boat trip. Besides making it more spectacular, its collapsed roof allows visitors to see the Coral Lagoon from the top of the surrounding rocks, too.

If you visit on foot, watch your step and look down, as the sea cave appears suddenly in front of you. To get to the Coral Lagoon, you can leave your car at the parking lot near the White Tower.

View of the Coral Lagoon from the top of the rock. The almond-shaped lagoon has crystal clear emerald waters.
The beautiful Coral Lagoon

23. Mosta Rotunda

Built in the 19th century on the same site where a 17th-century Renaissance church stood before, Mosta Rotunda has one of the largest unsupported domes in the world. With its impressive circular shape and neoclassical portico on the facade, Mosta Dome reminded us of the Pantheon in Rome.

However, Mosta Dome is mainly famous because of a miracle that took place there in the Second World War. During German air raids in 1942, a bomb pierced the church’s dome and fell on the floor, without ever going off. The church was full of people waiting for the evening mass but nobody was hurt. A replica of the bomb is displayed at the back of the church.

View of Mosta Rotunda's interior.
Inside Mosta Rotunda

After you visit Mosta Rotunda, right outside the church, you’ll find the Mosta World War II shelter. Although small, the shelter is worth a visit, especially if you haven’t visited any of the many shelters dug in Malta. Inside the shelter, many displays are unravelling Malta’s war history.

The displays in Mosta's Air Raid Shelter.
In the depths of Mosta’s WW2 shelter

24. Victoria Lines

Under the tourist radar, the surviving part of the Victoria Lines is one of the best places to visit in Malta. Built by the British in the 19th century, Victoria Lines is the 12-kilometre fortification that cuts Malta Island into two: the northern and southern parts. Protecting Malta from invasions from the north, the fortification complex was one of the finest examples of military architecture.

The stone fortification wall of Victoria Lines crossing the ravine.
The utterly impressive Victoria Lines

The remaining part of Victoria Lines is located near Mdina and Mosta. From the Chapel of Our Lady of Hodegetria on the main road to Mgarr, you can admire the impressive fortification wall crossing the ravine.

If you feel more adventurous, leave your car near the chapel, walk a bit down the main road and follow the downhill path that runs along the wall. The trail is a bit neglected, so make sure you’re wearing proper walking shoes.

The Chapel of Our Lady of Hodegetria with ample parking space around it.
The beautiful Chapel of Our Lady of Hodegetria

25. St. Julian’s

Situated north of Valletta and next to Sliema, St. Julian’s is a nice place in Malta for nightlife and clubbing. Probably the most touristic place in Malta, St. Julian’s is a modern town with tall buildings that remind nothing of Valletta’s quaint architecture. However, walking along the seaside promenade, you’ll get glimpses of the scenic Spinola Bay.

View of Spinola Bay in St. Julian's. Traditional blue boats are moored in the harbour. Along the bay, there is a promenade lined by tall modern buildings.
St. Julian Bay

26. St. Paul’s Bay

Set on Malta’s north coast, St. Paul’s Bay feels as touristy and buzzing as St. Julian’s, especially in the peak season. Named after St. Paul who was shipwrecked in Malta around 60 AD, St. Paul’s Bay used to be a fishing village. Yet, at some point, it turned into a resort town with many hotels, restaurants and shops.

If you’re not planning to drive in Malta, St. Paul’s Bay is a good place for a laid-back vacation near gorgeous beaches and sea coves. It’s also the starting point for several boat trips to the Blue Lagoon and Comino, like this one.

The seaside promenade at St. Paul's Bay.
The seaside promenade of St. Paul’s Bay

27. Gozo Island

We saved the best for last. The island of Gozo is the perfect place to escape the crowds and feel Malta’s authentic vibes. If you’re wondering if the small island is worth visiting for more than a day trip, we’ve listed the best things to do in Gozo that will make you want to book this trip to Gozo.

From beautiful beaches, like Ramla Bay, to nature wonders, such as the Inland Sea, to megalithic ancient temples with awe-inspiring standing stones, Gozo is definitely one of the best places to visit in Malta.

Top down drone view of the Inland Sea in Gozo, one of the best places to visit in Malta.
The beyond-words impressive Inland Sea in Gozo

Although most people consider Malta a primarily beach destination, there’s a lot more to this island nation than just its – undoubtedly – beautiful beaches. Malta is known for its exciting history that spans many centuries, unique architecture and remarkable natural beauty. A multi-day trip to Malta is necessary to appreciate everything this tiny Mediterranean country has to offer.

We hope this thorough list of the best places to visit in Malta not only inspires you to plan a trip to Malta soon but also helps you decide which stops to add to your own Malta itineraries.

Maria and Katerina at the top of Victoria Lines. Katerina is wearing a light blue jacket and Maria a black one. They both wear sunglasses. Behind them, the fortification wall that cross the ravine.
Until next time, Malta

WORDS & IMAGES: Katerina

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