Malta is a tiny European country located in the central Mediterranean. It is a perfect place for you to visit if you are chasing the last summer rays before the winter without the crazy crowds.
In this blog post, you will find out everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip to Malta: Where is Malta, what is the best time to visit Malta, where to stay in Malta, how to travel around Malta, and 3 day Malta itinerary.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I am not receiving any compensation for writing this. Any links included in this post are not affiliate links and I'm only including them for reader's convenience. I am writing this because I want to share my experience with you. Any reference links are clearly marked with *.
Even though Malta is one of the smallest European countries, there is a lot to see there.
This guide gives you information and tips to plan your perfect holiday and also includes a three-day itinerary. The itinerary includes all the highlights without being over packed so you can enjoy Malta as a relaxing holiday and also get the most out of it.
I have spent 3 full days in Malta and I hope I can one day return to explore more of this beautiful island.
Table of content
Where is Malta
Best Time to Visit Malta
Where to Stay in Malta
How to Travel Around Malta
3 Day Malta Itinerary
1. Where is Malta
Malta is an archipelago (group of islands) in the central Mediterranean. The Maltese Archipelago is made up of three main islands: the largest Malta (also referred to as mainland), Comino (home of the famous Blue Lagoon) and Gozo. Whilst the archipelago consists of many other smaller islands as well, those three are the only inhabited ones.
Its geographical position between Sicily and the North African coast is a reason for the country’s long and hot summers, thus making it for the perfect summer escape when the rest of Europe is dealing with cold and rainy days.
2. Best Time to Visit Malta
High season: June to August
Average daily temperature: 29C - 32C / Average nightly temperature: 24C - 28C
Advantages: Almost guaranteed great weather
Disadvantages: Can be too hot to do much during the day, high humidity, high season is also the most touristy time, attracting the most crowds and high prices
Shoulder season: September to November - the best time to visit
Average daily temperature: 28C - 25C / Average nightly temperature: 25C - 22C
Advantages: great weather, not too hot, ideal temperatures of seawater for swimming, lower rates than in high season
Disadvantages: can still be quite busy, especially on the weekends, can get colder and rainier towards the end of the season
Low season: December to February
Average daily temperature: 18C - 16C / Average nightly temperature: 15C - 13C
Advantages: Low prices and no crowds
Disadvantages: A lot of rainy days, strong winds
Shoulder season: March to May
Average daily temperature: 20C - 24C / Average nightly temperature: 15C-20C
Advantages: less rainy days than in low season, temperatures on the rise, fewer tourists than in high season thus lower rates and not too crowded at main tourist attractions
Disadvantages: sea might still be too cold for swimming
3. Where to Stay in Malta
There are many places you can stay in Malta depending on what you are after.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta. The rates in high season can be quite high as there is limited accommodation available.
We found Sliema a perfect base for our travels as it is located 10-minute ferry ride away from Valletta, offers more affordable accommodation than Valetta, and is also very well connected with all the other points of interest.
St. Julian’s is perfect for you if you are looking for a place with the most active nightlife and plenty of hang out spots.
If you would prefer to stay away from the more popular and busy areas of the mainland, then staying in Gozo might be ideal for you.
I would advise you to think about how important are the following things to you when choosing your accommodation:
You can get a discount if you book your room via this Airbnb link*.
4. How to Travel Around Malta
Public transport in Malta and Gozo is quite good and very affordable. The disadvantage of public transport is that it can be a bit slow or the buses can be very packed at peak times.
You can find public transportation routes map here.
Rent a car for maximum mobility. I would love to return to Malta and rent a car one day to visit all the numerous small villages that can otherwise be a bit hard to reach with public transport.
All the road signs are in English and they drive on the left side of the street. Keep in mind that the streets in Malta are very narrow and driving can be quite a hassle.
Taxis are the easiest and most hassle-free way of travelling around Malta. If you are based in Valletta or Sliema, it will take you 40 minutes to reach the most further away point on the island.
Me and my friend used eCabs app which is Malta’s version of Uber. You can preorder a cab and also see how much the ride will cost you. Your card is charged at the start of the journey so you always know how much you are going to pay. You can also pay with cash then you will be charged at the end of the journey.
A word of caution. We have prebooked our cab from the accommodation to the Airport and it looked like the request for the ride was only sent out at the time we have booked the pick up for the night before. We had to wait for 10 minutes before the driver arrived at the destination (10 minutes later than our original requested time).
It is not unusual for drivers who are more than 10 minutes away from you to accept the rides so be prepared to occasionally wait for your driver to arrive.
Overall, we had no major issues with the eCabs service and I would recommend you download the app and use their services.
Regular ferry services link Valletta and Sliema (10 minutes ride, 1.50 EUR one way, 3 EUR return) and Malta and Gozo (20 minutes ride), there are also regular boat services between each island and Comino (10 minute ride).
5. 3 Day Malta Itinerary
Day 1 - Boat day trip and Popeye Village
We have booked a Hornblower Cruises Gozo, Comino, Blue Lagoon and Caves Tour.
This day trip is a perfect choice for you if you want to explore all three islands but you are short on time.
The boat departed from Bugibba at 10:30 and we returned back at around 17:30.
Tip: Arrive early to get a good spot on the top deck for your beach towel.
The boat cruises alongside the Maltese coast and you get to see some caves from really up close as well as beautiful crystal blue water.
First stop is the famous Blue Lagoon. The boat will take around one hour and a half to two hour stop here and you can enjoy lounging on deck chairs provided, sliding or jumping from the top deck into the beautiful blue water, there is snorkelling equipment provided, or you can simply explore the island.
You have two options available to you. You can spend the rest of your trip at the Blue Lagoon or you can opt for a bus tour of Gozo for additional 5 EUR.
I would definitely advise you to take a bus tour as well. The bus takes you around the island and you get to see some really beautiful sites.
I have especially enjoyed Gozo’s capital Victoria which is full of cute little side streets and perfect for anyone who enjoys exploring.
If you are not that bothered about sightseeing and you prefer to just relax, then you can stay at the Blue Lagoon for the remaining of the afternoon.
Blue Lagoon can get quite busy in high season. However, I feel like our boat arrived at the lagoon earlier than most of the other ones and we also had a good location of where the boat was docked.
Everyone was too scared to slide down first so I volunteered - no people on a photo? A win :D
I feel like the trip is a great value for money and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s planning on visiting Malta. This trip, especially the Blue Lagoon, was one of the highlights of my holiday. I have never seen water so crystal clear and clean. I would definitely visit Blue Lagoon again if I ever come back to Malta.
The food is also available on the boat and it is reasonably priced. We have paid 7 EUR for a burger and chips/fries.
I really wanted to see Popeye Village. However, we only had very limited time available and the location of the place is not the best. Even though we couldn’t fit the visit to the Village, we have decided to take a cab from Bugibba to the Popeye Village Lookout and then the cab back to Sliema.
We have arrived at the lookout an hour after the closing and just in time for the sunset so there were no crowds and the light was perfect for some nice shots of the village.
In total, we paid around 40 EUR for the trip but it was absolutely worth it.
Day 2 - Explore Valletta
Valletta is the capital of Malta full of historical places to visit and bustling streets to explore.
Have breakfast at Cafe Jubilee Valletta, a cosy cafe just off of the main street and away from the noisy tourist crowds. The interior reminded me of traditional Austrian coffee houses due to its old-style furniture, paintings and other wall art.
Visit Upper Barrakka Gardens for one of the best views in Malta. Don’t miss the cannon fire that goes off at noon on the dot!
In the past, the cannon used to be fired on midday so that the Ship Masters could calibrate their chronographs (a type of watch) on board and on special occasions.
Tip: Arrive early as the viewing platform gets packed with viewers.
St John’s Co-Cathedral hosts famous baroque art and architecture, and gold everywhere you look. St John's Cathedral can be found in Mdina.
Tip: Sadly we have missed out on the church as we did not check opening times. On Saturdays church closes at midday, the church is also closed all day on Sundays and public holidays so that services can take place.
All visitors to the cathedral need to cover their shoulders and knees. St John’s also has a no-high heels policy as they damage the marble floors.
Explore limestone streets
Valletta is a very walkable city and easy to navigate with its grid street system. The long streets were built to allow the sea air to travel around the city and to let the light in around the tall buildings.
Knights of Saint John (medieval military order in Malta) ordered that every street corner street should be decorated with colourful balconies, shrines and statues which make Valletta a very colourful city.
Find the chandelier side alley - St. Lucia's Street.
Have a sunset dinner at Cockney’s.
Made famous by KPop band BTS in their third season of Bon Voyage, Cockney’s restaurant is located right next to the ferry terminal. It offers a beautiful harbour view and they serve delicious food.
Tip: We arrived at the restaurant just a few minutes after the opening and we just managed to get a seat. I would advise, especially on the weekends, to make a reservation to guarantee yourself a good spot. Alternatively, you can wait for a table to become available at their outdoors cocktail lounge just across the street that offers beautiful views on the harbour and Sliema.
+ Make a quick visit to Saint Julians to admire the LOVE statue.
The reason behind the upside-down and back to front spelling of the word LOVE is to read it from its own reflection in the sea-water In the Spinoza Bay. Sadly it only works when the water is calm enough to be a mirror. 💛The reflection is thus not visible all the time. But neither is love.
Have a drink with a view at San Giuliano Restaurant.
Day 3 - Marsaxlokk and Mdina
One of my favourite stops on this trip was without a doubt Marsaxlokk village. The village is especially famous for its Sunday Fish Market.
Marsaxlokk Sunday Market was originally a fish market but has since has developed and now also sells locally produced foods, wines, souvenirs and much more.
Whist the market is open every day of the week in a smaller capacity, you will want to visit it on Sunday when it is at it’s biggest. The market stalls are located on the promenade next to the harbour and I was really surprised how long it actually was.
Tip: I would advise you dedicate at least 2 hours to exploring the market. And always ask for a price before buying! We bought some very expensive pastries because we haven't. 😂
Mdina, also known as The Silent City, is the former capital of Malta. Mdina is a relatively small town contained within the city walls and easy to see in short amount of time.
Explore the numerous streets.
Even when it is hot outside, tall stone walls of the buildings keep the streets of Mdina cool, making them perfect for wandering around and discovering all the little shops hidden within city walls.
The instagrammable blue door in Mdina is probably one of the most photographed places in Malta.
The door is located just around the corner from Coogi's Restaurant & Tea Garden. I would definitely recommend you stop here for a drink and take in the beautiful surroundings. The outdoor area is kept in pleasant shade with greenery and umbrellas, whilst the small fountain creates pleasant relaxing background noise.
Malta is most definitely one of the hidden European gems and I would love to visit it again. Next time, I would love to do a road trip and visit smaller towns that might be slightly harder to visit with public transport.
Tip: Follow Malta themed Instagram accounts and hashtags to plan your perfect itinerary.
Follow me on Instagram for my latest travel adventures or to check out my Malta Stories Highlights!