A hidden jewel in the central Mediterranean Sea, set between Sicily and the coasts of Northern Africa, Malta is a tiny archipelago country steeped in history. Our guest writer Adam Cheshier, who lived in Malta for a couple of years, shares his tips on the best things to do in Malta for a weekend break.
As you walk the the pedestrian streets of its capital, Valletta, historic cathedrals and centuries-old stonework will attract your attention as you walk the brightly colored fortress city. Whether you are looking for a relaxed beach getaway or a cultural trip that’s rich in history and tradition, a weekend break in Malta is an ideal way to experience this beautiful island.
You may also enjoy: Valletta in one day – Things to see and do in Malta’s capital
More than just history and culture, Malta offers a list of summer festivals in local villages, clear blue water perfect for a summer swim, and a food scene that will have any foodie craving more. It’s easy to find a Malta itinerary that will keep any visitor busy!
Things to do in Malta
There are plenty of things to keep you busy for a short break in Malta – here are a few of my favorite recommendations to get you started:
Game of Thrones filming locations
The walled city of Mdina in Malta doubled up as King’s Landing, the island’s forts served as the Red Keep, and the stunning natural arch known as the Azure Window in Gozo was the setting for Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding.
Many of these locations are included on these tours of Malta
The Three Cities of Malta
The three fortified cities of Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea are all are gorgeous and must-sees. These ancient harbour cities have a long history of maritime, mercantile, and military activities and prior to the establishment of Valletta, they enabled the military powers to control access to the Grand Harbour.
Suggested Tour: Malta’s 3 cities tour and wine tasting
Popeye Village Malta has grown from its days as a Film Set of the 1980 Musical Production ‘Popeye’ into an attraction filled with a number of colorful fun activities for all young and young at heart.
Lower Barrakka Gardens
Situated at the lower end of Valletta on the bastions overlooking the entrance to the Grand Harbor, this botantical garden of Malta was strategically placed for a superb view of the harbor and surrounding cities of Malta.
Suggested Tour: Valletta Medieval Walking Tour and The Malta Experience
St. Paul’s Catacombs
Interconnected underground Roman cemeteries that were in use up to the 4th Century A.D. They are located on the outskirts of the old Roman capital – now modern day Mdina.
Located on a mildly untamed stretch of Malta’s southwestern coast overlooking the isle of Fifla. They are a mere quarter of a mile from Hagar Qim Temples, the first and oldest free-standing structure in the world.
Suggested Tour: Prehistoric Temples of Malta Tour
The Blue Grotto
To enjoy the caves at their best, go early in the morning when the sun is lower in the sky and the sea is calmer. There’s also a very nice viewing area at the top near the bus stop called “Panaromic”.
Where to stay in Malta
As Malta thrives off of their tourism industry, there are no shortages of big name hotel chains. However, to get a more authentic feel, I suggest trying one of these boutique hotels, apartments and guesthouses:
Boutique Hotels in Malta – Casa Ellul
A charming, small luxury hotel in the heart of Valletta, Malta’s capital. The eight suites are in a Victorian former palazzo with traditional patterned tiles, antiques and artworks.
Boutique Hotels in Malta – The Saint John
A small boutique hotel in a former merchant’s residence in Valletta, with strong design and architectural features to suit the modern traveller.
Apartments in Malta – Valletta Vintage
A collection of self-catering apartments in older buildings around Valletta, stylishly furnished with designer and vintage pieces, yet with all the comforts you’d expect in a good hotel.
Boutique Townhouse in Malta – Loggia Mariposa
A boutique guesthouse set in a restored 16th-Century historical building in the centre of the old town of Naxxar, with antique furnishings, a roof terrace and exposed stone walls.
Best time to visit Malta
The best time to visit Malta is in the late summer and early spring. During this time, you will beat most of the busy-season tourists and find that prices are cheaper, lines are shorter, and accommodation is more plentiful. The Mediterranean is still warming up, so the water may be a little cold, but it’s all worth it so that you don’t have to share an over-crowded beach! Plus, outdoors activities such as hiking and quad-biking are much nicer in the cool of the late spring time.
The Secret Gem of the Mediterranean
In short, Malta is the perfect weekend break destination to get away from it all. It has remained relatively distanced from the normal European tourist route which makes it one of the prime destinations to visit in Europe. Come on down and see for yourself!
Author Bio: Adam Cheshier has been traveling and living abroad, telling stories on his blog Wanderway for the past three years as a digital nomad. He is a perpetual experience-seeker and self-proclaimed adrenaline-junkie. Adam has written two autobiographical novels (or Roman à clef) pulling stories from his iconoclastic lifestyle. You can also connect on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Photo Credits: Most photos by Adam Cheshier | Hotel photos from each hotel website