12 Unmissable Things to Do in Malta – What I’d Do If I Were You in 2024

Looking for the best things to do in Malta? Here are the places, sights, and activities that should ensure you have an unforgettable trip.

Malta is geographical proof that size doesn’t matter.

It’s a tiny archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, but history’s greatest empires coveted it, and bloody wars were fought over it – realities that shaped Malta into the fascinating destination it is today.

From fortified cities and paradise beaches to cave systems and ancient temples, there is a huge and eclectic mix of things to do in Malta.

To help you decide how to spend your time there, I’ve reviewed my recent 3-month trip to the country and compiled a list of 12 sights, activities, and attractions I think belong on anyone’s Malta itinerary.

1. Explore Valletta

Valleta in Malta
Valletta offers a captivating blend of history and culture, making it a must-do in Malta.

Malta’s capital city is part of the country I could write an entire article about.

The place is magical – a history lover’s dream – and jam-packed with things to see, do, and experience.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this fortified city, with its huge, imposing stone walls, seems like something straight from Game of Thrones. And for good reason. Various “Kings Landing” scenes were filmed here, not to mention scenes in Gladiator and other popular movies.

Valletta’s so unique that my main recommendation is simply to explore on foot and soak it all in.

However, specific highlights include St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, and the Grandmaster’s Palace.

Visit the Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua) while you’re there.

You’ll see these magnificent fortified towns across the Grand Harbour and can get to them from Valletta by boat – a fantastic experience in its own right.

2. Visit Mdina, the Silent City

Mdina city of Malta
Explore the enchanting streets of Mdina, the Silent City, for a truly magical thing to do in Malta.

Mdina (pronounced em-dee-nah) was Malta’s capital city throughout most of the country’s history.

However, most of its inhabitants left when this shifted to Valetta in the 16th Century. Apparently, this is one reason for its rather evocative nickname, the Silent City.

Of course, it could also have something to do with Mdina’s knack for leaving you speechless. This walled city opens another portal to the past.

Cobbled streets, laid aeons ago, twist and wind past sandstone palaces and pretty piazzas. Eventually, you hit the walls themselves, where epic views of the surrounding area await.

Like Valletta, you can while away a happy afternoon simply strolling around, embracing the heavy sense of history in the air.

3. Go Underground in Rabat

Underground in Rabat, things to do in Malta
Explore underground in Rabat for a unique Malta activity.

Adjoining Mdina is Rabat. At face value, this town isn’t the most enticing part of the island. Yet dig a little deeper, and you’ll find some of the best things to do in Malta.

Take St. Paul’s Catacombs.

These underground burial chambers go back thousands of years and are the largest in Malta. You can walk the stone passageways for a small fee, duck through narrow chambers, and see where ancient Romans laid their dead to rest.

Rabat’s piazza is full of charm and authenticity, too.

Sitting and watching the world go by grants visitors a taste of Maltese life. The town is also a great spot to gorge on the famous Maltese pastries, called pastizzi, or indulge in a night out.

4. Visit Ancient Temples

Megalithic ancient temples of Tarxien in Malta
Malta’s ancient temples reveal the island’s rich archaeological heritage.

Malta’s history is long, complex, and utterly fascinating.

Drawn to its strategic location, the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Knights of St. John, and the British, among others, have all ruled here.

However, people have lived in Malta since Neolithic times – and possibly even before.

You can witness this distant history first-hand at Malta’s extraordinary megalithic temples, such as Tarxien, Hagar Qim, and Mnajdra. Gozo, which I’ll talk more about later, is home to the remarkable Ggantija temples, too.

Questions remain over how such immense structures, which pre-date the Great Pyramids of Egypt, were built. But one thing’s for sure: they’re worth seeing.

5. Chill Out at St. Paul’s Bay

Saint Paul bay in Malta
St. Paul’s Bay is another great place to visit in Malta.

Although it lacks the charm of other places, St. Paul’s Bay provided a perfect base for my trip. A mid-sized town on the north coast, it’s relatively built-up and modern.

Expect lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants, a lovely promenade along the waterfront and beaches ideal for swimming. Another perk of St. Paul’s Bay is its strong public transport connections. Regular buses take you almost anywhere in Malta. 

There are some hidden gems nearby, too.

For example, if you head west to a suburb called Xemxija, a heritage walk up a hill connects several ancient landmarks. Among the coolest is an ancient apiary (somewhere you keep bees) carved straight into the rocky hillside.

In typical Maltese fashion, there’s no fanfare about any of this.

In other countries, having these age-old sites in such proximity would be a major tourist attraction, complete with paid entry and a museum. Here, you can stumble upon it and are free to roam.

6. Explore Popeye’s Village

Popeye village in Malta
Exploring Popeye’s Village is one of the most unique things to do in Malta.

Welcome to one of Malta’s more unusual attractions.

Popeye Village is precisely that – the “village” (AKA film set) built for the 1980 musical production of Popeye, starring Robin Williams. Rather than knock it down when filming finished, they kept and transformed it into a themed tourist attraction.

It’s the definition of kitsch. Expect something a little tired and cheesy, with actors dressed in tacky costumes who may or may not want to be there.

But don’t let that put you off. It’s just a bit of fun. The novelty value alone makes it worth visiting – when was the last time you explored a movie set on a Mediterranean island? And anyone (especially kids) tired of cultural activities will love it.

There are cafes, a water park, a mini-golf course, a cinema showing a documentary about the movie, and more.

7. Venture South to Marsaxlokk

Boats at the village of Marsaxlokk in Malta
Marsaxlokk is a picturesque fishing village famous for its colourful boats.

Marsaxlokk is a small fishing village in the south renowned for its bustling marina, markets, and brightly coloured fishing boats called luzzu.

The latter is one of the main draws, with people coming from all over to see/photograph them. You can also pay for luzzu tours that take you out along the coast.

Feeling hungry? Marsaxlokk is a great place to buy fresh seafood.

If you want to cook it yourself, the markets have stalls overflowing with the day’s catch; if you want it cooked for you, several high-quality restaurants line the waterfront.

Overall, Marsaxlokk offers something vibrant and different – a glimpse into traditional Maltese culture with a modern touristic twist.

8. Visit St. Peter’s Pool

St. Peters pool in Malta
Experience Malta’s pristine coast at St. Peter’s Pool.

Anybody going south to visit Marsaxlokk should spend a few hours swimming and sunbathing at St. Peter’s Pool. Colourful luzzus aside, this scenic natural swimming spot is arguably the most popular attraction in the area.

It’s a funny place in some ways.

Unlike typical beaches, there’s no sandy expanse to lay your towel down. You’re directly on the limestone – the same limestone that’s eroded over time to create the swimming spot.

Ignoring that slight discomfort, you can see why people gravitate to St. Peter’s Pool.

It’s a classic Instagram spot: an emerald alcove that glistens in the sun, inviting you to jump from rocky ledges into the clear waters below.

With trails leading up to and around it and with such close proximity to Marsaxlokk, you should definitely check it out.

9. Go to the Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto in Malta
Visiting the Blue Grotto is one of the most popular activities in Malta.

Talking of Instagram spots, next on this list of things to do in Malta is the beautiful Blue Grotto on the southwest coast.

Another unique geological feature, countless years of erosion have hollowed out a distinctive archway in the cliff. It almost looks like the land is pouring into the sea, which glistens in brilliant blue hues below – hence the name.

If you come in peak season, you can pay to explore the sea cavern by boat tour. You can also see it from a viewing platform at the top of a nearby cliff. This platform is right next to a bus stop.

A bonus of the Blue Grotto is that it’s close to Haqar Qim and Mnajdra. Why not kill two birds with one stone? See the Grotto, then venture further up the coast to explore two world-famous megalithic temples.

10. Visit Gozo

Wied il-Ghasri bay at Gozo, Malta
Don’t miss the chance to explore Malta’s gorgeous sister island, Gozo.

Before I went, I had yet to learn that Malta was an archipelago. It comprises three separate islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo. If you have enough time, I strongly suggest you visit the other two – especially Gozo, Malta’s sister island.

This beautiful island shares many of Malta’s main draws. For example, there is a lot of history here, too, including a breathtaking ancient citadel that rivals places like Mdina and Valletta. You’ll find impressive geological features, as well – not to mention pristine sandy beaches.

However, Gozo also feels very different.

Although it’s definitely still popular with tourists, it’s not as busy. There‘s masses to see and do, but Gozo’s smaller and feels more rural. It has a peaceful, local vibe. History and nature lovers seeking a tranquil escape will love it.

11. Go by Boat to Comino

Blue Lagoon in Comino Island, Malta
Getting a boat to Comino’s azure waters and secluded coves makes for a memorable day out.

If you visit Gozo, it’s almost obligatory to take the short boat ride to Comino, as well.

This rocky landmass between Malta and Gozo is tiny – only 3.5 square kilometres, in fact. Likewise, other than a hotel, there’s practically no infrastructure.

You won’t find any paved roads or cars, either. It’s just nature and history.

Comino’s most famous attraction is the aptly named Blue Lagoon. The crystal clear turquoise water at this heavenly beach begs to be swum in.

Similarly, snorkelling and diving are popular activities here. And, if you want to stretch your legs, you can walk to an impressive 17th-century watchtower called Saint Mary’s Tower.

Comino’s a place of simple pleasures. But it’s definitely worth spending an afternoon or two there.

12. Go Scuba Diving, Visit the Inland Sea

Dwejra Inland Sea in Malta
Scuba divers will love the chance to explore Malta’s Inland Sea.

Most people visit the Maltese archipelago for its historical attractions, gorgeous Mediterranean weather, and glorious beaches. Others go scuba diving.

I don’t dive, so I can’t speak from personal experience.

But it’s common knowledge that Malta’s clear waters, interesting geological features, and countless shipwrecks make it a haven for enthusiasts.

You’ll find two famous dive spots on Gozo’s glorious west coast. One is the Inland Sea – a turquoise lagoon separated from the ocean by a tunnel through the cliffs.

And right next door is the Blue Hole – a fitting name for a small pool of water that descends 10m to an archway connecting it to the ocean.

Diver or not, this part of Gozo is worth seeing. Once upon a time, you’d have seen a huge rock archway called the Azure Window. But, unfortunately, it collapsed in 2017.

Thankfully, it was just one feature of this stunning and otherworldly landscape.

Don’t Miss These Things to Do in Malta

This list of the best things to do in Malta is far from exhaustive!

However, these are the places, activities, and attractions that helped make my time in Malta so special – plus one or two I wish I’d ticked off my bucket list but wasn’t able to.

With any luck, the recommendations will also help you have an unforgettable Maltese adventure!

Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including MSN.com and news sites across the US.