Get ready to explore the captivating island of Malta, where ancient history meets vibrant Mediterranean culture. And what better way to start your adventure than with an action-packed first day itinerary?
If you’re staying at the Radisson Blu Resort, St. Julian’s and wondering how to make the most of your first day on the island, then you’re in the right place. In this blog, we’ve put together an ideal itinerary to help you get a taste of the island’s vibrant culture, rich history, and beautiful landscapes – all within easy reach of your hotel.
So, let’s dive in and start exploring!
Morning Magic in Valletta
After a filling breakfast, you’ll have the energy to embark on a day of exploration, starting with a visit to Malta’s capital, Valletta. Located just 15 minutes by cab or around 30 minutes by bus from the Radisson Blu Resort, Valletta is a must-visit on any Malta itinerary. Built by the Knights of St. John, there is so much to do and see inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site that you could easily spend a whole day in the capital alone. But if you’re short on time and looking to pack in some highlights, we’ve got you covered.
As you arrive at Valletta’s Triton Fountain, head towards the iconic City Gate and stroll towards Castille Palace. This grand building is the office of the Prime Minister and is an impressive sight to behold. From here, it’s a short walk to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, where you can take in sensational harbour views from this peaceful garden.
Next, make your way to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, one of the most popular landmarks in Valletta. This baroque-style cathedral is adorned with intricate artworks and breathtaking marble floors, with the graves of knights laid out throughout. And for a spot of art, head to MUŻA, the national art museum housed at the Auberge d’Italie, where you’ll find a collection of works by Maltese and foreign artists, mainly representing the major European artistic styles. Finally, soak up the atmosphere on popular streets such as Republic Street, Merchants Street, and Strait Street. These bustling streets are filled with shops, cafés, and restaurants, where you can easily while away the time until noon.
Sailing Away to Sliema
For a change of scenery in the afternoon, make your way down to Marsamxett Harbour in Valletta and catch a ferry to Sliema. The short journey on the ferry offers stunning views of the harbour and the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Manoel Island. As soon as you dock in Sliema, you’ll be greeted by fashionable shopping and dining options galore.
While Sliema doesn’t boast any major historical sites, it is a lively destination that attracts visitors from all over the island. A must-see attraction is Fort Tigné, a polygonal watchtower built by the Knights of St. John, which served as a vital part of the island’s defence system. Another highlight is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Sliema’s main parish church since 1918. This church features five paintings by the famed Maltese artist Giuseppe Calí.
An Afternoon Splash
If you’re visiting Malta during the summer season, be sure to pack your swimming gear for a refreshing dip around Sliema’s rocky shoreline. There are plenty of fantastic swimming spots to choose from, but for a truly unique experience, head to Fond Għadir. These shallow rock-cut pools, once used as salt pans, are sheltered from the sea currents and are ideal for a lazy lounging in their cool waters.
For a swim with a historic touch, head to Tigné Point beach, which is located at the tip of the Sliema peninsula and boasts spectacular views of Valletta spread out in front of you. As you swim in the refreshing waters, you’ll be able to see the city’s imposing fortifications and iconic skyline. And if you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere, Exiles Beach is a great option. This popular beach club offers a range of amenities and features a laid-back bar, where you can enjoy refreshing drinks and cocktails while soaking up the sun.
A Sunset Stroll
When it’s time to head back to the hotel, why not take a leisurely stroll along the Sliema and St. Julian’s promenade instead of catching a cab or bus? This charming coastal walkway, which winds its way around the town’s coastline, is the perfect place to stretch your legs and take in the sea air.
As you amble along, you’ll see joggers, dog walkers, and tourists enjoying the soft sea breeze. The stunning views of the Mediterranean will take your breath away, and as the sun sets, the sky is awash with vibrant colours. Why not stop at one of the many kiosks along the promenade for a chilled cocktail and a front-row seat to the sunset show?
The walk back to St. George’s Bay in St. Julian’s takes about 40 minutes, but it’s worth taking your time. When you reach the bay, treat yourself to a delicious gelato and sink your toes into the warm sand while you listen to the gentle sound of the waves as they wash up on the shore.
As the sun sets over the island, the night is just beginning in Paceville, the ultimate destination for dinner and drinks in Malta. After freshening up at the hotel, the options for dinner are endless. You can choose from Radisson’s many first-rate restaurants, which offer a variety of cuisines to satisfy any craving. But if you wish to explore further, head to Paceville, a short 10-minute stroll from the hotel, where you can take your pick from a plethora of eateries and restaurants. And after dinner, the area’s trendy bars are the ideal spot to enjoy some drinks and soak up the buzzing nightlife.
With venues staying open until the early hours, you’re sure to find the perfect place to dance the night away or simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere. This marks a fabulous end to your first day in Malta and will undoubtedly set the tone for the rest of your unforgettable stay.