Malta is an unrecognized country that you can visit for a few days. You can reach Malta, which is part of the European Union, in about 2.5 hours by plane. Turkish Airlines and AirMalta are the airline companies you should check before buying your ticket. After landing at Malta International Airport, Malta’s only airline, we take a bus to Valletta. Since the island is small, we make our transition to Valletta in a short time. It’s time to explore Malta, we tried to cover every place to visit and everything to do in Malta. First, let’s try to give some basic information.
Does Malta require a visa?
Yes, Malta is a country within the borders of the European Union and you can enter Malta with a Schengen visa without any problems. If you already have a valid Schengen visa, you don’t need to bother again.
What is the Maltese currency?
Malta is part of the European Union, so its currency is the euro. Don’t expect a place that is much cheaper than other European countries. After all, since we pay in euros, everything is very expensive for us.
When to go to Malta?
Malta is a country with a Mediterranean climate. You can think of it like Antalya. Malta, which is very crowded in summer due to its beaches, is the ideal time in the fall. It is not crowded, you will not be exposed to the sweltering heat of summer, and you have the opportunity to find cheaper hotels and flight tickets.
Malta, the island country of the Mediterranean, which contains all the beauties of history, dazzling with its historical buildings from the Middle Ages, is located in the south of Sicily. It is possible to see geographical formations made of limestone on the sea-facing sides of the island of Malta. Natural phenomena, mainly caused by water waves, have led to the emergence of high cliffs such as cliffs, as well as wonderful bays where you can go to the sea and dive. There are also great diving spots for those who love diving.
Those who have not been to Malta may have a small prejudice about Malta. Because Malta, which is not well advertised, actually allows you to spend a fun and historical vacation. Moreover, it has a young population, because most of the young people are in Malta for language education. With an average temperature of 30 degrees from June to September, the number of people who go to Malta for summer vacation is quite high.
Since Malta is on an important trade route, it has been constantly changing hands throughout history and has come to this day. With the British gaining supremacy, it came under British rule. The Republic of Malta gained its independence from the UK in 1964. However, like other countries under British colonization such as England and Cyprus, traffic in Malta is on the left. In 2004, Malta joined the European Union and in 2008 it was subjected to Schengen visa and started to use the euro as its currency.
We devote the first day of our Malta trip to Valletta. Valletta is the capital of Malta and was named after Jean de Valette, the leader who managed to repel the attack of the Ottoman Empire. Valletta is a very organized city with parallel streets and alleys. The busiest street in the city is Republic Street where only pedestrians are allowed. You can find everything here.
Valletta, the city of knights, is the best starting point to visit Malta. The whole city is surrounded by high walls. Everywhere there are similar buildings made of yellow stones.
We start our Valletta tour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens where we can enjoy a panoramic view of Malta’s major harbors. This is located at the highest point of Valletta. This hill is the best vantage point from which to view the great harbor and the area that Malta calls the three cities. Since it is high, they built an elevator to this level for those who are in the harbor. With the 58 meter high elevator you can reach Valletta, the center of the city.
Valletta’s most famous garden, the Upper Barrakka Gardens, used to be the private domain of knights in previous centuries, but today it is free for everyone to visit. There are sculptural monuments to a number of men who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign and World Wars I and II, including Winston Churchill.
Under the Upper Barrakka Garden is a museum. You have surely seen the cannons on the balcony side of the garden. The Lascaris War Rooms is a museum with rooms where the leaders of Malta during World War II made their plans and developed their war strategies. The rooms are recreated as they were during the war. After the war, the area was used as a strategic communication center by NATO and opened to visitors as a museum after 2009.
Although the entrance to the museum is on the floor where the cannons are located, the secret rooms are dozens of meters below the Barrakka Gardens. Nearly 1,000 people, including soldiers, worked there during the war. You can enter the Lascaris War Rooms for €10.
Meanwhile, from the balcony of Upper Barrakka Gardens overlooking the grand harbor, you can watch the cannon firing. Every day at 12:00 and 16:00 a soldier fills the cannon with gunpowder and fires it. Dozens of tourists wait on the balcony to watch this show. Therefore, if you want to watch it, you should be there at least 10 minutes before.
We are heading towards the Malta 5D theater, which should be the first stop of the Malta trip. Malta 5D offers its visitors an 18-minute tour of Malta with moving movie seats. It is both visually and sensory satisfying. While we are here, we are not leaving without our Malta Pass card. Because Malta Pass will be very useful for us at other points in Malta. Moreover, it is also valid in transportation.
After Malta 5D, we go to the Museum of Fine Arts, a small art gallery located on a side street. The museum is a very small art museum. The works of the painter Mattia Preti, who has an important place for the Maltese, are the majority. We can see the works of a few more painters and sculptors but we can’t spend much time in the museum.
Among the unique and historical streets of Malta, we are heading towards the National War Museum, one of Malta’s most popular museums. The museum is located in Fort St. Elmo, a fortress built to protect the harbors in Malta. In the rooms of the fort, which mainly contain materials used in World War II, there are also weapons, war equipment and scrap war vehicles such as airplanes used in the war.
When we leave the museum and continue along the harbor road, we come across Malta Experience. We didn’t enter this place because we thought it was in the style of Malta 5D, but if you want to enter, know where it is.
Malta, which is strategically located, was very popular especially because it was on the passage route to North Africa. For this reason, Italy and Germany, who wanted to take control of the island, organized a war with the Maltese against England, to which Malta was attached. When we follow Valletta harbor, we come across a monument. This modest bell tower with a single bell was built in honor of the nearly 7000 Maltese and British who lost their lives during the siege between 1940 and 1942. A 10-ton bell, the Siege Bell Memorial rings every afternoon to make people aware of the events that took place.
In the space next to the Siege Bell is another statue. The plaque beneath the reclining statue reads in English and Maltese: “Every evening and every morning we will remember them.” This statue is also a memorial to those who lost their lives during the siege of Malta in World War II.
Right next to the war memorial we go to the Lower Barrakka Garden. This is similar to the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Since we traveled all this way on foot, you can relax and relax against the big harbors of Valletta with a temple in the middle of the park.
We reach St. George Square in the center of Valletta. There is a musical pool right in the center of this very large square. The square with fountains that move according to the classical music playing looks very beautiful. There is also a palace next to the square. Luckily, we happened to be at the time of the change of duty of the soldiers at the gate.
The Palace Armoury and State Rooms is where the mission changes take place. This is a palace, but it is also a museum dedicated especially to armor and weapons from the Middle Ages. Also, one of the rooms is colored with projection shows. It should definitely be added to the list of places to visit in Valletta.
When you go to Valletta, be sure to see St. John’s Co Cathedral. Even go inside if possible. Built in 1573 exclusively for knights and considered one of the most magnificent baroque architectural structures in the world, the cathedral depicts the life of St. John in gold reliefs and depictions. On the floor of the cathedral, there are paintings about the knights who lost their lives in order to immortalize them.
During our visit to Malta we came across a music festival. It was an exciting activity that started in the streets of Valletta and ended inside the church. Many groups from many countries, young and old, sang songs. So it was free that day. But on a normal day you have to pay 10€ to enter here.
The National Archaeology Museum, the last point of our Valletta trip, is located on Republic Street. The archaeology museum, which examines the history of megalithic temples and exhibits the artifacts excavated in these temples, sheds light on the prehistoric age. Visiting this museum will give you an idea about the temple visits we will make in the following days. You can continue the 2nd day of Malta Travel Guide in Gozo in our Malta Travel Guide Day 2 article.
The 2nd day of our Malta trip is devoted to Gozo, the 2nd largest island of Malta. To go to Gozo island, you should take buses numbered 41, 42 from Valletta. After about 1 hour of travel, the buses drop you off in Cirkewwa. It takes 1.5 hours from Valletta. This stop is both the last stop and the closest stop to the ferry.
After you get off, you have to enter the pedestrian section of the ferry. The ferry fare is 4.65€ per person and is paid on the way back. If you get on at night, you have to pay 4.05€. If you have a car, this amount increases to 15.70€. The ferry departs every 45 minutes. After a 25-minute ferry ride, you arrive at Gozo island. You can find Gozo ferry schedules here.
On the island of Gozo you will find a small harbor with fishermen. Your first goal here is to reach the center of Gozo. Bus number 301 and 303 will take you to the center of Gozo. After 10 – 15 minutes you reach the center of Gozo called Victoria. Then you depart from here wherever you want to go.
We first head to a small but well-preserved city in the center of Victoria, known as the Citadel. In 1998, the Citadel was protected by UNESCO and there are several places to visit. But before you start your tour, make sure you take every opportunity to climb the walls of the Citadel and admire the beautiful scenery around.
The first thing we do is to go to Gozo Cathedral. Entrance here is paid. We can enter after buying a ticket from the ticket office on the right side of the stairs. You can also enter the museum next to the cathedral with the same ticket. We couldn’t take any photos because photography is forbidden.
The next destination is the nearby Folklore Museum. Set in a small 18th century village house, the museum has 28 rooms. Each room exhibits traditional tools and agricultural equipment of the artisans.
Then we go to the nature museum, which is also very close by. At the Museum of Ecological Life, you can see the ecological life on the islands of Malta and Gozo over millions of years. It is also a two-story museum built in one of the oldest buildings in this region.
On our route, there is an old prison called Old Prison. However, the museum was closed during our visit due to restoration. Active from the 16th century until 1962, the museum hosted some important people in history. One of them was Jean Parisot de Valette, after whom Valletta, the capital of Malta, was named due to his outstanding success. The leader of Malta was imprisoned here in 1538. Be sure to visit the prison where ships, hand drawings, names, dates and various games are carved on the walls. You can enter the museum for 3€ between 09:00 – 17:00 every day. Even though we couldn’t enter the museum, the view from the road leading to the museum is very spacious.
Our next stop is the Gozo Archaeological Museum, where we can learn about Gozo’s culture of life from prehistory. Opened in a 17th century house, the museum gives you an idea of what happened in Gozo from prehistory to the new age.
We have visited the sights in the center of Gozo and now we will take bus 307 to Ta’ Kola Windmill. Built in the 18th century, the windmill was still working until a few years ago. However, after the owner died, it became a museum. Inside you can see the tools the owner made, the bed where he slept and the kitchen where he ate. The attendant tells the visitors what happened to the windmill with great enthusiasm.
After our visit to the windmill, we head to the oldest Megalithic temple in the Maltese islands. The Ggantija Temples are one of the oldest stone temples and before reaching here you visit a beautiful archaeological museum where the finds from the temples are exhibited. Here you can get an idea of how the locals transported large stones weighing tons.
The buses come every hour, so you need to time yourself accordingly. If you miss the bus, you can spend some time in the small square in front of the Xaghra Parish Church by the windmill.
If you have time and are able to adjust your bus schedule, you can visit the Azur Gate, one of Gozo’s most famous landmarks. But the buses there are even less frequent than the windmill buses. Maybe you may want to use the Hop On Hop Off buses that are included in your card in Gozo.
After that, we started our way back and waited for our ferry. Until the ferry time arrives, we spend time in the harbor with fishing boats next to the ferry pier. If the weather is nice, you can get some great shots. We end our trip in Gozo and return to Valletta. But our Malta trip is not over yet. You can read the rest of the article in Malta Travel Guide Day 3.
On the 3rd day of our Malta trip, we will conquer Malta, the largest of the Maltese islands, from the inside. We will see the most important and historical buildings we can see up close.
We set off early for Mosta, our first stop. At the bus stops in Valletta, buses numbered 31, 41, 42, 45, 47, 48 all pass through Mosta. To go to Mosta Dome, one of the largest domed structures in the world, you should get off at the stop called Rotunda 4.
The church is very important to the locals because a 500 kg bomb dropped on the church during an air raid in World War II did not explode, thus sparing the 300 or so people inside. You can see a replica of the bomb in the church. Just time your visit well, because the church is open from 09:00 to 11:00 in the afternoon.
We leave Mosta Dome and head towards the aviation museum. We take bus number 205 from the bus stop opposite the church and after 15 minutes we get off at the Qali Interchange stop. We have to walk 1.2 km to reach the Malta Aviation Museum. Malta Aviation Museum is a museum with 3 hangars where airplanes used in World War II and afterwards are exhibited. You can also get into the cockpit of an airplane and hang out there.
At the end of our airplane world tour, we take the 202, 203 or X3 buses from Snajja stop towards Rabat to go to Mdina, the center of history. Mdina, the former capital of Malta, is a city built between medieval walls. Known as the silent city, Mdina was first founded by the Phoenicians.
As we mentioned that Mdina is a city between high walls, you have to cross a long bridge to enter this city. When we cross the bridge, we find ourselves in a completely different city. Built on a hill slightly above the average height of Malta, Mdina was also strategically important.
Malta Dungeons, located on the right side of the entrance as you enter Mdina, used to be the dungeon of the palace. Now used as a museum, the underground passages and dungeons shed light on the tortures of the ancient times. All kinds of tortures are portrayed with wax sculptures and realism is enhanced by the sounds in the background.
We leave Malta Dungeons and continue our tour in the city of Mdina. There is another museum on the right, the Malta Museum of Natural History. This museum is a must visit. Because it is a museum mainly about animal history. You can see the stuffed mammals, birds, fish and skeletons of many mammals, birds and fish that we can see around the world.
When you continue to the right from the history museum through the narrow and quiet streets of Mdina, you will come across the cathedral of Mdina. You can enter St. Paul’s Cathedral and Museum for 5€. It is a beautifully decorated cathedral, but don’t expect anything different unless you are particularly interested.
On the long walled roads where we continue to soak up history, we come across Mdina Experience. Mdina Experience is like a movie introducing Mdina. You have the opportunity to watch several different movies between 20 minutes and 30 minutes, but we didn’t find it necessary and we didn’t have enough time to watch a movie. Our journey between the historical walls of Mdina comes to an end and we exit through the other gate of the city. Vehicles can also enter and exit through this small tunnel.
Just ahead on the right is a museum called Domus Romana. This is a Roman house built in the 1st century BC. One of the mosaics found on the floors of Roman houses has survived until today without any damage. They turned this place into a museum. The museum is actually as small as a room with this floor mosaic that you will often see in Malta brochures.
One of Rabat’s most famous archaeological structures is the catacombs. Both the St. Paul and St. Agatha catacombs were built during the Roman period in a spot far from the center for hygienic reasons. Some of the catacombs, which were created by carving the rocks underground, can be visited by visitors today. Be sure to visit St. Paul’s Catacombs.
Our journey through history continues and we visit Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, similar to the temples in Gozo. Both of these megalithic structures in the south of the island of Malta are worth seeing.
How Many Days to Visit Malta? We need to come back to Malta to explore its magnificent bays and many more unexplored spots. Although it is a small island, important places to visit are scattered in different parts of the island. I am sure that traveling with your private car will allow you to visit faster. I think Malta can be visited in 4 days, if you are traveling like us, less than 4 days does not seem possible, but of course it is up to you to extend it. For our travel routes in the previous days, you can check our Malta Travel Guide Day 1 and Malta Travel Guide Day 2 articles that we spent in Gozo.