Best Day Trips on Malta

The heart of Mediterranean, Maltese Islands, might be small in its size but the amount of its historical, cultural and other attractions is astonishing. As it is a perfect summer destination because it is surrounded by the clear Mediterranean sea and beautiful coast, so is a great option for autumn when moderate temperatures let you explore the area with ease. With so many interesting places, we will help you plan your trip to Maltese archipelago by pointing out the most attractive places which can be visited in a day.

1) Valletta

Although small, this Malta’s capital city is often called ‘an open-air museum’ for a reason. It is a city which was one of the first sites inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage list in 1980. In 2018, Valletta was designated European Capital of Culture by the European Union. One of the most notable sights include the Renzo-Piano designed City Gate, Saint John’s Co-Cathedral, Grand Master’s palace, Manoel Theater and many more. Don’t miss the Grand Harbour surrounded by massive fortifications, bastions and defensive towers. From there, take a panoramic lift to the Upper Barrakka Gardens and enjoy the beauty of peaceful gardens filled with flowers and fountains, and with an incredible view on the harbour. Visit the National Museum of Archaeology and National Museum of Fine Arts, but in the breaks of visiting so many sights, relax in one of the numerous cafes and vine bars.

How to get there:

  • By Bus: Most of the bus lines on the island of Malta start and end their journey on the island’s main bus station which is right in front of the main gate of Valletta. In case you’re arriving directly from the airport, take a bus route X1. See timetable.
  • Check all the routes and timetables
  • By Boat: You can get to Valletta by boat from several points. You can take a ferry from Sliema or the Three Cities across the Grand Harbour. In both cases, the price is 1,50 € in one way, and ferries depart every 30 minutes.

2) The Three Cities

This name unites village-like cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, each of them known by multiple other names due to the long history they carry. They are situated right across the Grand Harbour in Valletta, surrounded with fortifications. Whether you are a history lover or not, these cities will amaze you with their authentic atmosphere, picturesque narrow streets and stunning views. Some of the things that you should definitely not miss are Gardjola Gardens, Senglea Basilica, Maritime Museum, Fort Saint Angelo and Inquisitor’s Palace. Try not to miss the nearby, newly open Esplora science center, a huge tourist attraction. Besides that, to soak up the incredible atmosphere of these places, simply explore the streets and backstreets, visit the Victory Square and stroll along the waterfront of Vittoriosa Yacht Marina packed with boats.

How to get there:

  • By Bus: You can get to The Three Cities by public bus lines no. 2 (See timetable), 3 (See timetable) and 4 (See timetable) from Valletta.
  • By Boat: You can take a ferry from Valletta’s Grand Harbour that will take you there in a few minutes for 1,50 €. There is also an option of water taxi from the same spot which will cost you 2,00 €.

3) Comino and the Blue Lagoon

Comino is the island situated between the islands of Malta and Gozo, known for its crystal, turquoise, shallow waters surrounding it and making it a real tourist attraction. With the surface of only 3.5 square kilometers, it is car-free and mostly uninhabited with just one hotel. Its coast is incredibly beautiful and favorite swimming destination. Even if you arrive during the winter months, this is still a perfect area for photographers and hikers. The most attractive spot on the island is the Blue Lagoon, often a choice of film makers. During the day, you will find a lot of boats anchored in the bay, but at night, it is empty. So, if you’re looking for a peaceful getaway; a place where you can scent pure herbs and the sea, Comino is the excellent option for both summer and winter period.

How to get there:

  • Depending on your previous destination, you can take a bus from several places. From Gozo – you can get to the port Mgarr with bus lines no. 301 (See timetable) and 303 (See timetable) and take a ferry to Comino. From Malta – buses are much more frequent and you can catch a bus line no. 41 (See timetable) or 42 (See timetable) from Valletta to Cirkewwa and take a ferry to Comino.
  • Additional options to Cirkewwa are: bus line no. 101 (See timetable) from Golden Bay area, 222 (See timetable) from St. Julian’s or X1 (See timetable) from Malta airport.

4) Gozo

This island is simply perfect for anyone who wants to choose between so many activities. Whether you want to relax and experience a pure wellness treatment or have an active day filled with exercise, you can have it all on the island of Gozo. Some of the places you should visit on Gozo are villages of Xlendi, Marsalforn and the capital Victoria. Visit the prehistoric temples Ggantija in the village of Xaghra, the main attraction and the UNESCO Heritage Site with significant archaeological discoveries. Explore the century-old houses and cobblestone narrow streets in Victoria. Don’t miss its Citadel, a fortified center and a gem of Gozo that once protected the city against invaders. In the end, if you want a spa treatment, head to Kempinski Hotel Spa where you can retrieve the balance back to your body and mind. While there, don’t forget to enjoy great Mediterranean cuisine of Gozo.

How to get there:

  • If you’re arriving from Malta, you can get to Cirkewwa port by the public bus lines mentioned in the previous day trip (41, 42, 101, 222, X1). The ferry you take from Cirkewwa takes you to Mgarr port in Gozo from where you can take a bus line depending on your desired destination. Check the routes and timetables for Gozo here.
  • There is also an option of Gozo Sightseeing Tour by bus (Hop on Hop off Bus) which starts in Mgarr port and includes 2 bus routes (Purple Line and Blue Line) from which you can choose. They take you to 14 locations and provide you with multilingual audio commentary (in 16 languages). Daily ticket for unlimited rides costs 18 €. This is the perfect way to explore Gozo since the public transport routes are not that frequent.

5) Popeye Village

This Maltese village that started as a set for a movie Popeye (1980) starring Robin Williams, remained an open-air museum that attracts numerous tourists. This place is dedicated to all youngs and those that feel young at heart, so it is a perfect day trip for friends and families, especially those with little children. It is open the whole year and some of the things visitors can enjoy are Popeye’s film set, access to comic museum, the cinema and a variety of animation shows, and more. This colorful place guarantees a lot of fun, for sure. You and your friends can even experience what is it like to be an actor and take part in daily filming in the popular ‘’Take 2 filming’’. The opening hours of the Popeye set are: September, October, March – July 09:30 – 17:30, and for November – February 09:30 – 16:30. There is also an entrance fee that varies depending on the season (14,50-16,00 € for adults and 11,50-13,00 € for children).

How to get there:

6) Mdina and Rabat

The old capital of Malta, Mdina, is also called ‘’The Silent City’’ because of the peaceful atmosphere that takes you back in time thousands of years. It is an ancient walled city, surrounded with fortifications and bastions mixing medieval and baroque style. Mdina was a home of noble families for centuries, that is why you can see a lot of impressive palaces. Don’t miss the waxwork exhibitions that tell the stories of the knights in Malta. One of the most authentic souvenirs you can bring home is Mdina glass which most shops sell. Nearby Rabat, originally the suburb of Mdina, is also culturally and historically essential place in Malta. Explore its gardens, churches and museums, definitely visit Saint Paul’s Church, Roman Villa, Buskett Gardens, and get to know Malta’s history a bit more.

How to get there:

7) Marsaxlokk

This Malta’s fishing village is recognizable for its colorful and picturesque scenery with numerous famous, colorful painted boats called Luzzu. It is located on the southeastern coast of Malta and its name literally means south-east port. The most attractive and popular thing in this village is the daily open-air market which offers a variety of finest fish. The biggest throng happens on Sunday mornings when everyone visits the market in order to buy something from the morning’s catch. As a result of that, Marsaxlokk has an amazing offer of finest fish restaurants, so be sure you try that. Besides that, take a walk by the sea, grab an ice cream and enjoy the peaceful nights in this lovely place.

How to get there:

  • If you’re arriving from the airport, take a bus line no. 119 (See timetable) which is the only direct route. From Valletta, you can take direct bus lines no 81 (See timetable) or 85 (See timeline).

NOTE: The price for bus tickets is 1,50 € during the summer, and 2,00 € during the winter. Night lines cost 3,00 €. Also, Malta Public Transport offers tallinja cards with reduced fares which you can top up with additional credit anytime. You can choose between the options of unlimited travel for 7 days (21 € adults, 15 € children) and 12 single day journeys (15 €).

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