Valletta, the capital of Malta, was built by the Knights of St John in the 16th-century. It is a baroque city which has often been described as an open-air museum due to the amount of historic buildings concentrated in the area, such as St John’s Co-Cathedral and the Grand Harbour, all built by the Knights as well as the over 25 churches all concentrated in an area of 900m x 630m. The city is officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Across the Grand Harbour, to the south of Valletta, are the historic fortified towns of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea, commonly referred to as the three cities of Cottonera. If you only have time for one of them, Vittoriosa is the one most worth a visit. Here you find Fort St Angelo, the Inquisitor's Palace and the Vittoriosa Waterfront was refurbished in the early 2000's to once again reach up to its former glory.
Marsaxlokk is the main fishing village of Malta, known for its famous fish market held on the docks every Sunday morning. It's a true spectacle and something you shouldn't miss. It isn't just fish that's on sale here - souvenirs and handicrafts are up for grabs at decent prices too. There are, naturally, a multitude of seafood restaurants in the vicinity.
The remains of temples erected in the fourth and third millennium B.C. are a unique sighting. Stone idols, animal representations carved in relief, stone tablets, altars and screens decorated with spirals and other patterns enhance the attraction of these magnificent sanctuaries. Some of the places worth a visit are Hagar Qim in Qrendi, Tarxien Temples in Tarxien and Ggantija in Gozo.
Malta is famous for its clear blue water and the perfect conditions for diving. Plenty of reefs, caves and remains of old shipwrecks make it an unforgettable experience. Make use of the chance to go on a boat cruise to one of the many fenced ponds with giant tuna. Swimming among these 2-meter long and 500-kg heavy fish is absolutely fascinating.
The sister island, Gozo, is well worth a visit on its own. Hire a car or book one of the day jeep safari trips that are offered by multiple tour operators. Upon disembarking, you will immediately notice the difference between the islands. Gozo has a more tranquil atmosphere and is packed with lush farms. While you are here don't miss the Citadel in Victoria, the Saltpans, the Inland Sea and the cliff where the Azure Window (formerly one of the most famous landmarks of Malta) once stood before its collapse in early 2017.
This is a unique pre-historic site, accidentally discovered in 1902. Over 500 square metres of chambers, halls and passages date back to the period between 3600 and 2500 BC. To conserve the stone precaution must be taken, and the number of visitors per day is therefore limited.
Just a short ride from St. Julian's is the marine park, a fun attraction for both children and adults. The park offers shows with sea lions, parrots and dolphins (it is even possible to book a swim with the dolphins). Snakes, turtles, frogs and spiders - among others - also call the park home.
St. John's Co-Cathedral is known as the home of knights and Grand Masters of Malta. The cathedral's golden, elaborate interior and Baroque exterior count as one of Europe's finest. The adjacent museum contains works of art, among which "The Beheading of St John the Baptist" by Caravaggio.
This fort was built by the the British to support Malta in the resistance against Italy. To make it extra safe, a 100 ton gun, designed to be the world's biggest, was placed at its entry (fortunately, never to be used). Do not miss the on-site museum to learn more about military history of Malta.
The name Malta comes from Italian "Melita", or "honey". The reason for that is quite banal - when sailors first saw Malta, the islands' limestone silhouette appeared dark yellow, not dissimilar to the colour of honey. Limestone Heritage Park & Gardens outline the stone's 22,000,000 year history.
This is Malta’s largest and most popular sandy beach. There are no undercurrents here so the bay offers safe bathing and the shallow waters make it ideal for children. There is a pleasant choice of activities, from banana boat rides to pedalo hire, windsurfing and water skiing.
This small beach is located on Comino and to get here you either must have your own boat or book one of the many boat trips going here or around the islands. The sandy beach is really tiny so most people bathe from their boats. The water is crystal clear and it's a perfect place for snorkelling.
Dinner In The Sky is a once-in-lifetime kind of a experience, an evening of dining on a suspended construction floating above the Maltese capital. This one is not for the faint of heart, but absolutely safe - the set up is sturdy, and guests are required to buckle up prior to "departure."
The Osteria is run by a Venetian couple, who bring rich Italian flavors to the varied menu of meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes. Try the intriguing-sounding tagliatelle with sea bream and asparagus with a tuna carpaccio as antipasti, and be advised on suitable Venetian wine to pair it with.
The elegant, modern restaurant is set on the cliffs of Dingli, with incredible views of the sunset unfolding from its beautiful, airy terrace. Food served is made with locally-sourced, fresh ingredients - and very skillfully. One visit here is almost guaranteed to turn you into a return customer.
The Blue Creek Restaurant warmly welcomes diners, whether for a light snack, a relaxing lunch or a sumptuous dinner. With its location not far from Blue Grotto and Dingli Cliffs, it is a perfect place to have a meal after a visit to one or both of these sights. Serves Mediterranean food with a view.
D’Office Bistro and Wine Bar lies in the city centre of Valletta. The menu consists of Mediterranean and European dishes - all artistically presented. The restaurant's interior is decorated with collectibles and curiosities, enough to keep diners occupied in anticipation of the arriving order.
Restaurant Tarragon is a classy fine dining restaurant. Do not be surprised if the chef comes to your table to say hi and make sure you are happy with your meal. The gorgeous surroundings and the great views over St. Paul’s Bay combined with the delicious food create one unforgettable experience.
Hidden away in one of the small alleys of the ancient Mdina is the fine dining Bacchus Restaurant. Under historic vaults, traditional Maltese dishes are served. There is a "secret garden" on the rooftop terrace, where most diners head during the summer months. Serves Mediterranean cuisine.
In one of the beautiful limestone buildings along the promenade from Sliema to St. Julian's you'll find the elegant, award-winning Barracuda restaurant. It is one of the island's top restaurants that has served consistently high-quality dishes for over 30 years. Cuisine served is Mediterranean.
Trattoria da Pippo is a charming and rustic restaurant in the city centre of Valletta, mostly visited by locals. They are only open for lunch, which makes it perfect place for a mid-day stop on a sightseeing tour of the Maltese capital. Serves Italian and European cuisine. Advanced booking is recommended.
Enjoy a delicious freshly-baked pizza at this family-run pizzeria and trattoria. Housed inside an 18th century Maltese villa with a fantastic view over Balluta Bay, the restaurant is ideal for a romantic dining experience. Serves a wide selection of incredible dishes, from seafood to steak.
Perhaps a rather unexpected find in Malta, the Mint cafe is a New Zealand-themed establishment that serves excellent seasonal food (vegan and vegetarian options available) and decadent desserts in the inviting outdoor seating area. Delicious muffins and home-made cookies are simply not to be missed.
With its impressive selection of craft beers and tapas-style foods 67 Kapitali is nearly unbeatable in Valetta for a quick lunch or afternoon break in a very modern, yet somewhat rustic atmosphere. Food served includes cheeses and meats, savory pastries, sandwiches, as well as coffee and dessert.
Café Cuba enjoys a presence in three different locations throughout Malta. They serve food and drink of rather high quality - from filling mains and pizzas to lighter snacks and salads, as well as specialty coffees and even alcoholic drinks. Salsa nights are held every once in a while.
Fontanella Tea Garden has indoor and outdoor seating, and offers breathtaking views of the picturesque island of Malta. They are famous for their home-made cakes (especially the chocolate cake) and pastries. It is, perhaps, one of the cafes best fit for a mid-day break.
The refreshing outdoor cafe looks incredibly inviting with its sidewalk seating area, and delivers on its silent promises via a well thought-out menu with unusual takes on menu items featured in many local cafe menus. Serves drinks and quality cocktails with just the right amount of ice.
The establishment is one of its kind on the island - a combination of seafood restaurant and bar/club-type venue in the basement, where live gigs and parties are far from being a rare occurrence. Serves Sicilian cuisine (with seafood as focus) and some very decent cocktails.
Trabuxu was once Malta’s first authentic wine bar. The establishment is located in a 400-year-old wine cellar, which sets the mood to the night and creates a fantastic atmosphere. It is a rather spot for a low-key evening drink in Valletta. Serves cheese and fruit platters to accompany wines.
The Hard Rock Cafe chain know the world over is a restaurant and bar with decor centered around (primarily rock) music, with memorabilia displayed all over the walls. Service is casual in the typical Hard Rock Cafe fashion, food is American steaks and burgers, drinks come in a variety.
This stylish lounge, located on the 22nd floor of the Portomaso Business Tower, attracts a rather exclusive crowd. In the early hours of the evening, sip on a cocktail while taking in the view. After dark, the designer lounge transforms into a hip club with patrons filling up the dance floor.
At Baia Beach Club, with a location in one of Malta´s most hidden bays, their restaurant is a perfect choice for a culinary experience on a day out in the sun. It holds a casual feeling but serves excellent food and drinks. They also provide the Beach Club with lighter snacks.
With its famously welcoming owner, dim lights, and a great selection of beer, the Jack of All Trades is a pub with personality and a very magnetic atmosphere, where guests are welcome to play board games and socialize to classic rock and legendary bands upsides with Pink Floyd.
For all Elvis fans, the Elvis Tribute Bar bar offers prime entertainment in the form of the "rock and roll king" impersonators performing for eager crowds. The bar is quite a local hit, so do book a table in advance to ensure being seated. Drinks are priced more than reasonably.
With four bars and a terrace, Plush is a spacious nightlife establishment idea; for those looking to dance the night away to tunes spun by professional DJs. The establishment boasts a high-quality sound system, in- and outdoor seating areas, as well as VIP "purple room" (open weekends 10pm-3am).
The establishment is a heaven for plant-based eaters in Malta, a place where the menu is dominated with vegan and vegetarian foods of superb quality. It's great for an evening out on the town for meat-eaters just as much - food is universally delicious, complemented by a nice selection of drinks.
With its white sunbed mattresses and infinity pool, Cafe del Mar breathes luxury. It is a day- and night-time venue for stylish twenty-something socialites, who flock here to parade designer swim suits and savour elegant cocktails to lounge music and some of the best sunsets on the island.
The bar is known for its famous jazz night, held every Friday between 8pm and midnight. At that time, guests are welcome to grab a (fairly priced) drink, find a spot on the cushions of the stairway leading up to the bar, and imbibe the magical atmosphere created by dim lighting and beautiful jazz.
A lively Irish pub in the early hours of the evening, Ryan's beats turn dancier as the night progresses, when DJs start spinning tunes. Serves food (ribs and burgers are some of the highlights), broadcasts live sports, and is a place fit for a social evening as much as a night of partying.
Sliema is a good shopping destination, much due to the fact this is the place where the largest shopping center in Malta - the Plaza Shopping Centre - is located. Shops are open from 09.00 till 13.00 in the afternoon, and then open again at 16.00, to stay open till 19.00.
At Ta’ Qali you will find lace, pottery, silver filigree jewellery, ironwork, woodwork and leather-work. Check out for bargain "seconds" in the glassware - some products are greatly reduced in price for very minor blemishes. Other areas to check out for crafts include Bugibba, Sliema and Valletta.
In the newly developed Tigne Point is located The Point Shopping Mall, a relatively recent addition to the Maltese shopping scene that packs a punch with its abundant stores that sell everything from latest fashions to electronics. There are a few cafes and a supermarket inside.
To marvel at typically Maltese craft creations, drop into the Mdina Glass outlet and see the unique glass creations made by local craftsmen. Glass is blown into a plethora of shapes and comes in many different colors - take your pick or visit the factory and watch the process of their creation.
Enticing aromas fill the air at this boutique, where it's all about artisan, ecological soaps. These come in all the different shapes and sizes - from cake slices to slates with a message (tongue-in-cheek quotes by well-regarded authors), all equally well-suited as gifts and useful souvenirs.
The shop's name says it all - Prints of Wales is where the savvy traveler goes to stock up on custom-made, Malta-themed souvenirs that are a world of a difference away from your typical mass-produced magnets and post cards. Pick from magnets, mugs, buttons, T-shirts and other quirky designer items.
Every Tuesday, Vittoriosa comes alive with busy vendors' stalls selling all manner of fresh produce and local items. Shop for meats and cheeses, honey, jams, freshly grown, organic produce, and even traditional clothing and souvenirs (the Sunday flea market is even better for non-edible items).
This hole-in-the-wall sweet and pastry shop is a good place to come for Maltese dessert delights - perfect for both to have on the spot and possibly even bring home and savour later. Pick and choose from the cakes in the glass display, and do try the traditional local nougat.
Bay Street Shopping Centre is an open-air mall, with shops that remain open till 10pm (in pleasant contrast to much of the island, with most shops calling it quits as early 7.30pm). Multiple local and international brand stores are represented, and there are quite a few great eateries.
One of the biggest shopping malls on the island of Malta, the Plaza Shopping Center offers visitors an array of stores and boutiques, as well as quite a selection of cafes perfectly fit for a daytime break. Items on sale range from clothing to beauty and household products.
Malta can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
Malta International Airport is located between the villages of Luqa and Gudja, 10 kilometres away from Valletta. The Airport is only about 40 minutes away from popular tourist destinations such as Sliema and Bugibba. The most viable form of transport on the island are buses. Special express lines X1, X2, X3 and X4 run to and from the airport. Taxis can be found at the airport entrance.
Distances on the island are very short and getting about by bus is very cheap and easy. There is a good transport network and most places of interest are accessible by local transport. Malta bus transportation is operated by Malta Public Transport, prices and more information can be found on their website. Tickets may be purchased directly from bus drivers on board.
Pharmacies are generally open from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 16.00 to 19.00. The Pharmacy at the airport is open daily, including Sundays & public holidays between 07.30-22.00. Round-the-clock pharmacies operate on a rota basis. St Julians Pharmacy George Borg Olivier St, St Julian's +356 2136 9426 Chemimart Pharmacy Floriana, Malta +356 2123 9310