things to do in malta

Arriving in Malta by air, you won’t always be treated with the most lush views from the sky. Especially when visiting in the dry, warm months of June-August, before the rain falls. But there is much more to these three small islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea than a first glance would make you suspect. In fact, with a history dating back to 5,200 B.C., cultural influences from all around the Mediterranean and apparently being the country with the best climate in the world, you’ll probably leave with an entire different view of this country that is often overlooked. This article will give you some ideas of things to do in Malta, Gozo and Comino with a focus on the best cultural sights, stunning nature and places to taste the best local food.

malta heritage sites
A street in Valletta at sunset

Things to do in Malta, Gozo and Camino

Enjoy Malta’s nature

Because of Malta’s fair weather all year round, the Maltese Islands lend themselves well to outdoor activities. There are many natural spots to explore and once the rain falls after the long, hot summer, you will see the landscape fill itself with a variety of wild flowers and plants. From mid-November until mid-May, the Islands are green and lush with fields full of vegetables, fennel, clover, wild iris and myrtle.

If you like hiking, Malta, Gozo and Comino are the perfect place for you. From dramatic cliffs plunging into waves to hidden, lush valleys and beaches, it’s all here. On the way, you will come across mysterious prehistoric sites, medieval chapels and secluded palaces of the Knights.

Malta seen from the plane before landing.
Views of Gozo and Camino from the plane.

Don’t let the view from the plane misguide you, there is much more to Malta than the barren look it has from above! The islands are covered in wild plants such as cacti. For a complete list, visit this website.

Relax or get active on the beaches

Malta has beaches for everyone, whether you like to just sunbath or get active. The sand varies from golden to red sand and you can find impressive rocks to blue lagoons and even inland seas. On the larger beaches, you will find cafés or snack-bars that are open during the summer (until October usually, because of the great weather: it’s usually sunny up to 300 days a year!) and you can also hire windsurfing, jet and water skiing, kayaking, para-kiting and fun rides equipment here.

best malta beaches
Għajn Tuffieħa bay

Popular beaches in Malta

Malta’s most popular beaches are Mellieħa Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay. For smaller, quieter beaches, try those at the tip of Malta, overlooking Gozo, such as Paradise Bay and Armier.

beaches in malta
Golden Bay (image by M.Esposito/Unsplash)

The best beaches in Gozo and Comino’s Blue Lagoon

On Gozo, the most beautiful beach is Ramla Bay (Ramla l-Ħamra). This beach has a bit of a myth to it as well, as nearby Calypso’s Cave is said to be the place referred to by Homer in The Odyssey, where the nymph Calypso lived who entertained Ulysses for seven years before he resumed his journey.

Ramla Bay

Another place you do no want miss out on is the island Comino. A boat trip from Gozo to Comino’s Blue Lagoon will show you the ultimate azure water, where you can go for a swim or snorkel.

The Blue Lagoon on Camino.

Dwejra Bay

Dwejra Bay has dramatic coastal formations. You can either swim here in the deep sea of the bay, in the calm shallows of the inland sea or in the foamy waters around the Blue Hole (one of Gozo’s top dive sites) beneath the iconic Azure Window. This is also the place, for all fans of the TV-series Game of Thrones, where the Dothraki wedding scene between Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen in season 1 was filmed. From the inland sea, you can also take a short boat ride through a rock formation to see the cobalt blue water and get up close to the Azure window.

The Azure Window

Malta’s local delicacies

As Malta has seen many civilizations occupy her islands, the local cuisine is a rich blend of Mediterranean flavours. Traditional Maltese food is rustic and based on the seasons. For example, try the Lampuki Pie (fish pie), Rabbit Stew, Braġioli (beef olives), Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouille) and Widow’s Soup, which includes a small round of Ġbejniet (sheep or goat’s cheese).


In the shops, you will often see Bigilla, a thick pate of broad beans with garlic. Other great local snacks are ħobż biż-żejt (bread dipped in olive oil, rubbed with ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, onion, garlic, tomatoes and capers) and pastizzi (flaky savoury pastry parcel filled with ricotta or mushy peas). Pastizzi: depending on where you buy them, you’ll pay between 30-60 euro cents per piece. At the Fontanella restaurant in Mdina, they were lovely.

Fish dishes

When there is enough fish, you will find Aljotta (fish soup) on the menu. Depending on the season, you’ll also see Spnotta (bass), Dott (stone fish), Cerna (grouper), Dentici (dentex), Sargu (white bream) and Trill (red mullet). Swordfish and tuna follow later in the season, followed by Lampuka.

A typical Maltese starter with aubergine, ham, sausage, olives, capers, (sun dried) tomato, salad and (deep-fried) sheep or goat’s cheese.

Octopus and squid are very often used to make some rich stews and pasta sauces. Malta is not very well known for their wines, but many grape varieties are grown on the Islands. The indigenous varieties are Ġellewza and Ghirghentina, producing some excellent wines.


For dessert, try the Kannoli (tube of crispy, fried pastry filled with ricotta), Sicilian-style semi-freddo desserts (mix of sponge, ice-cream, candied fruits and cream) and Ħelwa tat-Tork (sweet mixture of crushed and whole almonds).


Cultural highlights of Malta and Gozo

With 7,000 years of history, there are enough historical and cultural sights on the islands of Malta to keep you busy. An overview with the ten best places to visit in Malta:

1. UNESCO World Heritage sites

There are no less than three UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Malta and Gozo: The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, the megalithic temples and the capital city Valletta.

2. Other historical and archaeological sites

Besides the UNESCO sites, there are numerous other historical and archaeological sites scattered around Malta and Gozo. Find an overview here:

3. St. John’s Co-Cathedral

The Co-Cathedral can be found within the walls of Valletta and was built by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578. A comprehensive audio tour is included in your ticket.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta.

4. Mdina

Mdina is the old capital city of Malta and is also referred to as ‘the noble city’ as many noble families (still) live within the city walls. It is one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and is extraordinary in its mix of medieval and Baroque architecture.

One way to tour Mdina.
Mdina and Rabat have lots of cultural and historic gems to discover.

5. Rabat

After visiting Mdina, make sure to walk to the adjacent town of Rabat. It was important during the Roman period and you can find archaeological and historical sites such as the Roman Domus (Villa), Catacombs, St. Paul’s Grotto and fine churches and monasteries here.

6. Gozo

A ferry runs every 40 minutes from the main island of Malta to the quieter sister island Gozo. Perfect for a day trip to explore more of the culture, nature and calm areas of Malta.

7. The Old Citadel in ir-Rabat

From the Old Citadel in ir-Rabat on Gozo, you’ll get a fantastic view over the city and surrounding area. Have a drink on the rooftop bar and visit the local museums.

Great views of Gozo from the Old Citadel.

8. it-Tokk

Triq ir-Repubblika is ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s main street and you will find all kinds of restaurants and shops here. The center is Pjazza Indipendenza, known as it-Tokk. In the mornings there is an open market here. The magnificent St.George’s Basilica stands in a smaller square just behind It-Tokk in the heart of the old town.

The Gozo Old Town

9. Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary

Every little village in Malta has its own church and they vary from 17th-century baroque to 20th-century neoclassical, from small and intimate to one of the largest domes in the world. The Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary on Gozo is one of the most popular after a woman heard the voice of ‘Our Lady’ at the small chapel that then occupied this site in 1883. It rapidly became a center of pilgrimage and it still is.

Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary on Gozo

10. Xlendi Bay

If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, there are many places to go on both Malta as Gozo. For example in Xlendi Bay on Gozo, you can swim, snorkel, dive, boat, jet ski, kayak or fish. You won’t be bored for a moment.

Find out more about things to do in Malta, Gozo and Comino

Whether you are into history and archeology, getting active, cultural events or just lazing on the beach, there is something for you on the islands of Malta. The sun shines some 300 days of the year and even in January the average daytime high is 15ºC, so you can hardly go wrong with a visit to Malta!

Note: Nienke Krook (The Travel Tester) visited Malta on behalf of Velvet Escape as part of the #MaltaIsMore campaign, organised by the Malta Tourism Authority and iambassador.

All words and photos represent Nienke’s personal and honest views and experiences during her visit of Malta, Gozo and Comino island.

6 Responses

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Appeared In