Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty waiting to be explored. With its ancient temples, medieval towns, crystal-clear waters, and warm hospitality, Malta offers a unique blend of experiences that will leave a lasting impression. In this Malta bucket list, we’ll guide you through the must-see sights and unforgettable experiences that will make your trip to Malta truly special. From wandering through the charming streets of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage site to diving into the azure waters of the Blue Grotto, every corner of this island nation holds its own unique allure. Whether you’re a history buff, an avid adventurer, or simply seeking relaxation in picturesque surroundings, Malta has something for everyone.
History of Malta
In ancient times, Malta served as a strategic crossroads in the Mediterranean. It was initially inhabited by a prehistoric civilization that left behind the remarkable Megalithic Temples, which stand as a testament to Malta’s status as one of the oldest known human settlements in the region. The islands were subsequently colonized by the Phoenicians around 800 BCE, followed by the Carthaginians and eventually the Romans, who took control in 218 BCE. Malta flourished under Roman rule, becoming an important naval base and trading hub in the Mediterranean.
The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century CE ushered in a period of successive occupations by various powers, including the Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, and the Knights of St. John. The latter, also known as the Knights Hospitaller, was a military monastic order that made Malta their stronghold in the 16th century. Their heroic defense against a formidable Ottoman siege in 1565, known as the Great Siege of Malta, solidified the island’s historical place and earned them enduring respect. This victory marked a pivotal moment for Malta, and the Order of St. John remained a dominant force on the island for centuries.
Malta Bucket List
Wander through the UNESCO-listed capital city, known for its Baroque architecture, historic sites, and stunning views of the Grand Harbour.
Visit the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples
Discover the ancient Megalithic Temples, some of the oldest standing structures in the world.
Go to the Blue Grotto
Take a boat tour to this natural wonder, where the sunlight creates a mesmerizing blue reflection in the water.
St. John’s Co-Cathedral
Admire the opulent interior of this Baroque cathedral, home to Caravaggio’s masterpiece, “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.”
Stroll through the silent city, a beautifully preserved medieval town with narrow winding streets and stunning views.
Dive or Snorkel in Comino’s Blue Lagoon
Experience the crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life of this iconic lagoon.
Explore Malta’s sister island, known for its rugged coastline, stunning countryside, and the iconic Azure Window (now sadly collapsed, but still a beautiful site).
Marsaxlokk Fishing Village
Experience the charm of this traditional fishing village, known for its colorful boats and lively Sunday market.
Għar Dalam Cave and Museum
Delve into Malta’s prehistoric past in this cave, which has revealed fossils dating back to the Ice Age.
Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua)
Discover the history and charm of these historic towns, each with its own unique character.
Visit the Tarxien Temples
Explore another set of Neolithic temples that offer further insight into Malta’s ancient history.
National Museum of Archaeology
Immerse yourself in Malta’s prehistoric and ancient history with an impressive collection of artifacts.
Visit the Hypogeum
Descend into this underground temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important archaeological sites in Malta.
Hike the Dingli Cliffs
Enjoy panoramic views from the highest point in Malta, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Visit the Popeye Village
Explore the whimsical film set from the 1980 movie “Popeye” and enjoy family-friendly activities.
Relax on the largest sandy beach in Malta, perfect for swimming and water sports.
St. Paul’s Catacombs
Explore the underground Christian burial site, one of the earliest and largest in Malta.
Visit the Inquisitor’s Palace
Gain insight into Malta’s complex history with a visit to this historic building, which once served as the seat of the Inquisition.
Enjoy a leisurely walk along the seafront promenade, lined with cafes and restaurants.
Visit the Fortifications of Mdina and Rabat
Discover the ancient walls and fortifications that have protected these historic towns for centuries.
Where to eat in Malta
Choosing the absolute “best” restaurants can be subjective and may vary depending on individual preferences. However, here are five highly regarded restaurants in Malta that offer exceptional dining experiences. These restaurants are known for their high-quality cuisine, attentive service, and unique atmospheres. However, there are many other wonderful dining establishments in Malta, each with its own special charm. It’s recommended to make reservations in advance, especially during peak dining times or if you’re planning to visit a particularly popular restaurant. Enjoy your dining experiences in Malta!
- De Mondion (Mdina): Located within the historic Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux in Mdina, De Mondion offers a refined dining experience with panoramic views of the island. The menu features creative Mediterranean cuisine using locally sourced ingredients.
- Noni (Valletta): Situated in the heart of Valletta, Noni is known for its contemporary take on Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create innovative dishes.
- Rubino (Valletta): A family-run restaurant in Valletta, Rubino is celebrated for its traditional Maltese cuisine, including specialties like rabbit stew and fresh seafood. The warm and inviting atmosphere adds to the dining experience.
- Barracuda Restaurant (St. Julian’s): Overlooking Spinola Bay, Barracuda is renowned for its picturesque setting and exceptional seafood dishes. Guests can enjoy a meal on the terrace while taking in the beautiful views.
- Ta’ Frenc (Gozo): Located on the sister island of Gozo, Ta’ Frenc is a well-established restaurant set in a charming farmhouse. It offers a menu that combines local and Mediterranean flavors with an emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients.
Where to stay in Malta
Malta offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some popular areas to consider for your stay in Malta. Remember to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Consider factors like proximity to attractions, preferred atmosphere, and budget when choosing where to stay in Malta.
How to get to Malta
Getting to Malta is relatively straightforward, as the island nation has an international airport and is well-connected to various European cities. Here are some common ways to reach Malta:
Malta International Airport (MLA) is the main airport serving the island. It is located near the village of Luqa. Many major airlines operate regular flights to Malta from various European cities.
- From Europe: Direct flights to Malta are available from major European cities such as London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Madrid, among others.
- From North America, Asia, and Other Continents: If you’re traveling from North America, Asia, or other continents, you will likely need to connect through a major European hub before flying to Malta.
Ferries and Cruise Ships
While Malta is an island nation, regular passenger ferry services between Malta and other countries are limited. However, cruise ships often make stops in Malta, particularly in the capital city of Valletta.
Yachts and Boats
Malta’s strategic location in the Mediterranean makes it a popular destination for yacht owners and sailors. There are several marinas around the islands where private boats and yachts can dock.
Once you arrive at Malta International Airport, you can easily reach your accommodation by taxi, shuttle service, or rental car. Additionally, there are public buses that serve various destinations on the island.
Enjoy our discounts in Malta
Useful information about Malta
Where to find Malta?
Malta is an island nation located in the central Mediterranean Sea. It is situated approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Sicily, Italy. The Maltese archipelago consists of three main islands, Malta, Gozo, Comino.
Is Malta safe?
Malta is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. It has a low crime rate compared to many other European countries. However, like in any destination, it’s important to exercise standard precautions to ensure your safety and well-being.
When is the best time to visit Malta?
The best time to visit Malta is during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November). During these months, the weather is pleasantly warm, ideal for exploring the island’s rich cultural heritage, outdoor activities, and beautiful coastline. The tourist crowds are thinner, allowing for a more relaxed and authentic experience. Additionally, sea temperatures remain inviting for swimming and water sports. While summer (July and August) brings higher temperatures and vibrant festivals, it can also be busier and hotter, making the shoulder seasons a more comfortable and enjoyable time to explore all that Malta has to offer.
Best experiences in Malta
Malta has everything a visitor needs to have a great experience. Its natural beauty draws visitors worldwide – along with its numerous important sites and cultural heritage. As far as things to do in the place go, there are plenty of activities available for visitors.
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