If you have only a long weekend to spare for a mini-break, then Malta is your perfect holiday destination. You will be able to pack in plenty of sightseeing without having to travel too far, which is ideal, as there are plenty of sights to see. Here’s what we suggest your itinerary should look like:
The best place to start your first day in Malta is the capital city, Valletta. Whilst it may be one of the smallest capitals in the world, it is home to over 300 monuments, making it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Whilst you can take a bus to Valletta from almost anywhere on the island, if you’re looking for the full experience, then go to Sliema and hop on a ferry from there to the capital. (If you’re stuck, check out our handy guide to public transport in Malta!). This way you will be able to enjoy the picturesque coastal views from right on the water, and the short journey means it is good use of your precious sightseeing time.
Once in the capital, there’s a wealth of options to explore on foot depending on your interests, including museums, churches, gardens and shops. The unmissable monuments are the Upper Barrakka Gardens, from which you can see right across the Grand Harbour or watch the daily cannon blasts, and the richly decorated St John’s Co-Cathedral.
It’s advisable at this point to also make use of one of the many cafes and restaurants in Valletta for lunch.
After a pit-stop, board a bus from Valletta’s main terminus to Malta’s other old capital, Mdina.
Known as the Silent City, there are virtually no cars in Mdina which means you can enjoy the quiet cobbled lanes on foot, making sure to check out St Paul’s Cathedral and the Mdina Dungeons.
Whilst taking in the spectacular Norman and Baroque architecture, you can make your way to the bastions to take in the beautiful views across Malta and, if you fancy an afternoon coffee break, you can then visit the famous Fontanella Tea Garden right next to the bastions.
To complete your busy day, head on over to St Paul’s Bay, which has a beautiful promenade that looks across the bay and a sizeable choice of bars and restaurants for your evening meal. After dessert, you may also wish to finish with a stroll along one of the beaches in the area.
No visit to Malta would be complete without a trip to the sister island of Gozo. A calmer version of Malta, the beautiful countryside and spectacular views of the Mediterranean are worth the trip alone.
Head to Cirkewwa to take the ferry over to Gozo, for a crossing that takes around 20 minutes and can accommodate both foot passengers and those in cars.
Once on Gozo, start with a visit to the capital city Rabat, which is also known as Victoria, and walk up to the Cittadella for a panoramic view of the whole of Gozo.
In the afternoon, visit Ramla Bay, a beautiful sandy beach that is a picture-postcard paradise, and perfect for a refreshing swim in the turquoise blue waters. Make sure to also see the unique Calypso Cave which overlooks the bay.
Catch the return ferry back to Malta, and ready yourself to embrace Malta’s nightlife. Go for your evening meal in the boisterous coastal town of Sliema, which has some of the best restaurants available on the island. Then take a stroll along the coastline promenade to St Julian’s to head to Malta’s nightlife capital, Paceville, for a night of cocktails and dancing.
For the final day of your trip, head to the Blue Grotto, which is a beautiful natural cave with ice blue waters – hence the name – that attracts divers and swimmers, and offers a boat cruise through the rocky arches and intricate caves.
A short bus or car ride will then take you to the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples in Qrendi, which are megalithic sites classed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There is a dedicated interactive visitor centre on-site to satisfy your curiosity for the vast history of the structures, whilst the panoramic seaview that looks out beyond the isle of Filfla treats visitors to a truly magnificent view.
Your final evening in Malta is best spent exploring Malta’s three cities of Isla, Bormla and Birgu (or in their Latin names, Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa).
Vittoriosa, as the most popular of the three, has museums and historical sites nestled within its intimate cobbled streets.
Finish off by booking a table at one of the countless number of restaurants and wine bars in the area, for a meal in front of yet another spectacular seaview – a final memory of Malta fit for daydreaming about on the way home.
Need a place to stay during your long-weekend break in Malta? Discover the Radisson Blu Resort, St Julian’s!