Being half Maltese, Malta holds a very special place in my heart. It’s the place where I first learnt to swim, the place that I once had many family and friends and the place that as an adult, I continue to visit again and again. Over the past 37 years I have been to Malta over 15 times so I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of the beautiful island destination with this Malta summer travel guide.
Malta’s Rich History
Dating back to about 5200 BC, Malta has a very colourful history. Malta has been invaded and conquered by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Carthaginians, the Byzantines, the Arabs and finally the British over the course of its 7000+ year history. Each conqueror has left their mark on Malta’s language, food, history and most importantly its architecture. Most people find it interesting to hear Maltese people speak because the language sounds part Arabic, part Italian and is another important nod to the island nation’s colourful cultural past.
Things to See in Malta
Comprising three islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino) and located between Sicily and the North of Africa, the beautiful archipelago has become a very popular spot for tourists particularly in summer. These are the top things to see in Malta.
Wander the Beautiful Streets of Malta’s Old Town, M’Dina
One of the first places you should explore is the old town of Malta called M’Dina. The old town was once the capital of Malta and contains a number of beautiful mediaeval buildings and baroque and Norman architecture.
Visit Malta’s Capital of Valletta
The capital city of Malta is Valletta, which is also known as a il’ belt. You can spend a fair amount of time exploring the great walls and The Cathedral of Saint John. Make sure to visit the very cosmopolitan waterfront which is home to a number of beautiful, modern cafes. It is one of my favourite spots to eat of an evening and there are so many restaurant choices.
Malta’s Blue Grotto
One of the very well-known spots in Malta is the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto (cover image) is made up of a number of caves and once inside the water is crystal clear and blue. Visit the Blue Grotto first thing in the morning, that way you can avoid the crowds that you are sure to encounter later in the day.
See the Traditional Luzzu Boats
You will find these colourful boats featured on the covers of most Malta travel guides or postcards. The traditional fishing boats are called Luzzu. To see them in person head to the bay of Marsaxlokk. The area also holds bric-a-brac markets on Sunday between 10am and 4pm and you can also find a number of fresh seafood markets and restaurants nearby.
Visit the Island of Gozo
Take the time to visit the island of Gozo. I found Gozo to be much quieter with a very relaxed way of life. There is a lot to see in Gozo including the Ġgantija temples, The Cittadella and the main town. You can reach Gozo from the mainland of Malta and the journey by boat is just under 40 minutes. You can arrange for tickets online or go directly to the Sliema promenade.
Go Clubbing in Paceville
If you are into the party life and looking to explore the night scene then the place to be is Paceville. There are a number of large clubs in the area, but be warned it’s pretty intense.
Malta’s Best Bays, Beaches and Lidos
When it comes to beaches Malta has both sandy beaches and rocky beaches, both equally as gorgeous. Here are my favourite lidos (beach clubs), bays and beaches in Malta.
Cafe Del Mar
If you are the type of person that likes to sit in a deckchair, be served cocktails by the pool, and listen to some relaxed tunes, then Cafe Del Mar is for you. Cafe Del Mar is located at Saint Paul’s Bay and is very funky location to visit.
Other Popular Lidos in Malta
Some of the other popular lidos around Malta include Ray’s Lido at Armier Bay, Playa Del Sol and Luzzu Lido.
Ghajn Tuffieha is one of my all time favourite spots to swim on a hot summers day. You can park the car at the top of the location and walk 200 steps to the beach below. There is not only the beach but a beautiful beach bar which is perfect at sunset.
Pretty Bay is an area that my parents used to take me when I was just a young girl. In fact Pretty Bay has both Sandy and rocky areas, making it ideal for families and kids. The area is always bustling with activity and you’ll find a number of cafes nearby.
Found at the northern point of the mainland of Malta is Paradise Bay. It’s one of the smaller beaches of Malta, but it has stunning crystal blue water.
The Blue Lagoon
Located on the island of Comino is the blue lagoon. The blue lagoon can be reached by a short boat ride, which can be done as a day trip or as part of a duel island package ie. Gozo and Comino. The Blue Lagoon definitely attracts the crowds, but it’s worth a visit because the water is just so crystal clear. We decided to go to both Gozo and Comino that day which was a little rushed, but if you only have limited time it’s a very good option.
There are number of rocky beaches which are also very nice to visit. Don’t be put off by the rocky beaches they are equally as beautiful you just need to ensure you bring appropriate footwear so that you don’t hurt yourself on the rocks. Some of these rocky beaches include Saint Julian‘s, Saint Georges Bay, Mistra Bay, Anchor Bay and Saint Peters pool.