Nicknamed ‘the Rock’ by locals, some of Malta’s best swimming spots are rocky bays and secluded coves, as opposed to long sections of sand, which means privacy and plenty of room to sunbathe! Sandy stretches are still available, however, in places like Golden Bay, Mellieħa Bay or Ramla Bay on neighbouring Gozo; all of which boast awards for beach quality.
- With visibility up to 50 metres in parts, Malta is the perfect location to don a wet suit and scuba dive through the underwater world. There are plenty of caves, wrecks and reefs to discover on all three islands. Dive depths vary and there are various schools and courses available, catering for first-timers, diving pros and everyone in between!
Malta’s capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valletta is most famous for its Baroque architecture, dating back to the 16th century, and its breathtaking harbour views. Not only is this fortified city bursting with historical buildings, including St John’s Co-Cathedral, but it’s a great choice for an iced coffee in one of the square’s cafes, when you need a break from a spot of shopping.
This quaint fishing village, tucked into the south-eastern part of Malta, hosts a daily market and has an even bigger one on Sundays. The majority of the island’s fish supplies come from this port, so there’s no better place to park yourself outside a restaurant and sample the local finned and shelled delicacies. Chock full of colourful boats, Marsaxlokk offers a picturesque setting in which to enjoy your meal.
Due to its Mediterranean location, seafood and fish dishes are widely available; so too are pasta and pizza meals, thanks to Sicily’s location just across the pond. Other traditional Maltese foods include rabbit stew, Kapunata (their take on ratatouille) and Lampuki pie, a form of fish pie. For a snack, Bigilla (a dip made of broad beans and garlic) is delicious on a slice of Maltese bread, or the pastry-based Pastizzi, filled with either cheese or peas, can be picked up from any local bakery.
Located on a hill in the island’s centre, medieval Mdina offers spectacular panoramic views of Malta; a perfect photo opportunity! Once the capital, it’s steeped in history, boasting beautiful buildings like St Paul’s Cathedral. Nicknamed the ‘Silent City,’ Mdina is a great setting for a stroll thanks to the restrictions forbidding cars, other than those of residents or emergency vehicles, driving through.
Home to one of the island’s most popular beaches, Mellieħa is a great choice for families as the bay is packed with water sports and an inflatable fun park. Popeye Village can also be found here. Having developed from its days as the 1980s musical set, kids can be entertained by the costumed staff and enjoy various activities on offer.
As the shopping capital of the island, one of the best things to do in Malta is visit Sliema, for souvenirs and holiday treats (it wouldn’t be a getaway without a new summer dress!). Sliema is home to Malta’s largest mall, the Point, which is worth checking out, even if it’s to take advantage of the air conditioning! There’s a café culture vibe to be enjoyed in the town too, so it’s the perfect spot to sample the food, as well as a few iced beverages.
Gozo is the second largest of the Maltese archipelago, covering a measly 26 square miles, and is easy to reach via ferry from Malta (just don’t forget to check the last trip back). From the traditional alleys of capital Victoria, to the historical Ġgantija temples, this wee island isn’t short on cultural hot spots. Game of Thrones fans must take a trip to Dwejra too; home to the Azure window as well as the Dothraki.
When the sun goes down, Malta’s streets come alive. Lined with bars and clubs - some stretching over numerous floors - Paceville is a clubber’s dream. Gianpula, the island’s largest open-air nightclub, is also perfect for partygoers. Time your visit right and you could visit the annual Isle of MTV Festival; previous performers include Nicole Scherzinger and Lady GaGa. If sipping a Mai Tai with an ocean backdrop is more your thing, there are plenty of cocktail bars lining the shores of Sliema for you to sample too.