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One week in Malta | The perfect holiday itinerary

One week in Malta is the perfect time to see many of the island’s highlights. The small island country of Malta has so much to offer visitors in terms of history, culture and intrigue.

This sun-drenched Mediterranean island is full of sparkling blue seas, culture, incredible diving, traditional restaurants and a variety of fun attractions.

My seven-day Malta itinerary includes things to do in Malta, as well as where to stay and suggestions for what to eat.

One week in Malta

10 ways to have an amazing adventure in Malta

Malta seven day itinerary

The country consists of five islands, Malta, the largest of the islands, Gozo, Comino and the uninhabited islets of Kemmunett and Filfla.

The landscape on each of these islands is quite diverse. Malta has your typical Mediterranean landscape of rock, dry vegetation and urbanisation.

Comino and Gozo however, are actually very green with little development.

10 ways to have an amazing adventure in Malta

When planning a Malta holiday, you need to decide what parts of the island you want to see and where you want to stay?

The island might be small but it is brimming with fun things to do and places to explore.

If you are wondering what to do in Malta, hopefully, my bumper Malta guide will help you decide on the best way to spend your time on this diverse island.

Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with Travel Insurance Explained.

10 ways to have an amazing adventure in Malta

One week in #Malta is the perfect time to see the island's highlights. It has so much to offer visitors in terms of history, culture and intrigue. Click to Tweet

Malta map

In this seven day Malta Itinerary you can visit the following locations:

  • Valetta
  • St Julian’s
  • St Paul’s Bay
  • Comino
  • Gozo
  • Mdina
  • Marsaxlokk

Malta is only 27 kilometres (17 mi) long and 14.5 kilometres (9 mi) wide. This means you can pack a lot into a week as the distances between places are relatively short.

Here’s a map of Malta with the locations in this guide pinned, so you can see the various places you can visit.

Day one Valletta

In 2018 Valletta was the European Capital of Culture, it’s easy to see why. Malta’s stunning capital has historic sights, cultural events, restaurants, parks and museums to explore.

The Valletta peninsula is very small and is best explored by foot, wander down alleyways, seek out hidden courtyards and hunt down the most Instagrammable spots!

10 ways to have an amazing adventure in Malta

One day in Valetta

One day in Valetta will require you to make a list of the Valetta attractions you want to see. There are many churches and museums to visit, as well as cafes and restaurants to choose from.

One of the best ways to see Valetta in 24 hours is to go on a Valetta walking tour with a guide. This way you can see the main sights of Valletta and discover off-beat places too.

Some of the best things to do in Valetta include: 

St. John’s Co-Cathedral: this intricate 15th-century church is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture and is beautifully photogenic.

Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens: these relaxing and pretty green spaces provide a fantastic view of the grand harbour.

Valetta waterfront: The pretty promenade of Valletta Waterfront is full of restaurants, shops and cafes to explore.

Church of Our Lady of Victory: this church is crucial to the history of Malta.  It is the first building and indeed, the first church of Valletta.

Valetta activities

Other worthwhile sites in Valetta are the Grand Master’s Palace, an impressive 16th-century building located in Palace Square.

The Grand Harbour is also a brilliant place to explore, with its towers, fortifications and bastions.

It has a rich history and now caters to cruise ships, ocean liners, as well as having quieter spots for yachts and boats.

Valetta boat trip

Valetta is definitely best seen by water, you can get some great shots of the city when you take a boat trip.

Book a Valletta and The Three Cities Harbor Cruise and see the highlights of Valletta’s two natural harbours and creeks.

You will also learn more about the history and culture of the region from the live commentary on board.

Where to eat in Valetta

Valletta has a big variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. here are some of the best places to eat in Valetta:

Day 2 St. Julian’s

Spend the next part of your holiday exploring picturesque St. Julian’s. It is around If you have rented a car in Malta, driving from Valletta to St Julian’s is around 20 minutes.

A fun option is to get the Valletta-Sliema Ferry, it takes around 10 minutes to reach the Sliema ferry landing and you can then walk to St Julian’s.

The Sliema ferry costs around €3 per person and the boat departs approximately every 30 minutes.

Things to do in St. Julian’s.

St. Julian’s is a hub for trendy restaurants, cool cafes and luxurious hotels. It is popular with visitors and locals who come to stroll along the seafront promenade and enjoy cocktails and glorious sunsets.

Some of the best things to see and do in St. Julian’s:

Check out the lovely cafe’s in the Balluta area of St. Julian’s and sip on expertly brewed cups of coffee.

Visit the beautiful gothic church of ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’, mass is celebrated here around six times a day.

Take a dip at St George’s Bay, this small sandy beach is great for swimming and sunbathing.

Have a stroll along the waterfront promenade and stop for cocktails at sunset.

St.Julian’s nightlife

Many visitors come to St. Julian’s to experience the lively nightlife and swanky cocktail bars.

If you like to party, why not go on an organised Bar crawl in St Julians around the nightlife district of Paceville?

On this fun tour, you can mix with the locals as you walk the streets of Paceville and visit the pubs and clubs of your choice.

The added benefit is the local knowledge of guides who are familiar with all the establishments and can be flexible according to what your group prefers.

Where to eat in St. Julian’s

There are lots of dining options in St. Julian’s and many restaurants and cafes have gorgeous sea views. Walk to Portomaso Marina and check out some of the lovely marina restaurants and bars.

In St. Julian’s, you will be able to feast on Italian classics like pasta and pizza, traditional Maltese dishes, tapas and fresh fish.

Some of the best places to eat in St. Julian’s include:

Day 3 St Paul’s

St Paul’s Bay area also encompasses the villages of Qawra and Bugibba, so there is plenty to explore.

In this area, you’ll find water sports, beaches, boat trips and easy access to indoor activities and to the famous Pop Eye Village.

You can take a public bus to reach the St Paul’s Bay area, or if you have hired a car, it’s a short drive from St Julians.

Things to do in St Paul’s Bay

There’s a range of fun activities and day trips in St Paul’s Bay, here are a few ideas on what to do in St Paul’s Bay, to get you started.

Malta National Aquarium

Lean a little about local marine life as well as gaze upon all manner of tropical fish at the Malta National Aquarium in St. Paul’s Bay.

It’s not a large aquarium by most standards but you can definitely spend an hour or two gazing at the range of fish and corals.

There is a glass tunnel you can walk through with shark and rays swimming above you.

You can also see seahorses, tropical fish and sea anemones, as well as local fish including grouper and sea bream.

You will definitely get some colourful snaps for your Instagram account, just remember not to use your camera or device’s flash!

Tickets to the malta Aquarium are €12.50 for adults and €6.30 for children when booked online.

Popeye Village

Only in Malta would you find an attraction made from a bizarre and universally panned 1980’s musical.

Popeye Village in Anchor Bay has been constructed around the rustic and ramshackle film set from Popeye the Musical, starring Robin Williams.

Popeye was filmed in Malta with the set constructed at the end of 1979. It’s a fun yet ever so slightly surreal day out in all honesty.

Popeye Village tickets

At Popeye Village, you will find a range of Popeye-themed buildings including Popeye’s Cabin where you can meet the man himself.

Definitely make sure you bag a ‘Popeye selfie’, you want to be the utter envy of Facebook right? There are also various Popeye exhibitions and a Film information room.

Buy your Popeye Village Admission Ticket with Transport tickets online.

Buying online tickets means you will have the added benefit of hotel pickup and drop-off, in an air-conditioned vehicle, for just £21 per person.

Is Popeye village worth a visit?

Possibly the best part of the day is when Popeye and friends come out and have a sort of dance-off in the middle of the village.

It’s bizarre and wonderfully charming all at the same time. You sort of think to yourself, “Is this really happening, maybe I had too much wine at lunch?’

If you aren’t perhaps a die-hard popeye fan there are other activities here, you can take a short boat ride, snorkel in the beautiful waters of the bay, or sunbathe on the Lido.

I personally think Popeye village is worth visiting just because it is an unusual day out in Malta and offers lovely swimming and snorkel opportunities. It’s also a great place for some off-beat travel photography.

Enjoy Sunset drinks

Why not check out the bars and restaurants in Bugibba, part of the larger St Paul’s Bay area?

Here you’ll find a range of places to eat, cafes and a selection of bars on the waterfront.

Check what time the sun is setting and find a spot near the water for a cheeky wine and watch the sky blaze with colour as the sun sets in Malta.

During the summer months, check out beach club Nine Lives for great eats, delicious cocktails and amazing sea views.

Where to eat in St Paul’s bay

You should definitely try some fresh seafood in St paul’s bay. Malta is a seafood lovers paradise!

The island has a delicious selection of fresh seafood dishes served in gorgeous restaurants and sea-facing cafes.

In Malta, you can expect to find Tuna, Grouper, Snapper and Lampuki, a delicately flavoured white fish found off the coast of Malta.

One of my favourite places to eat in St Paul’s bay is Ocean Basket a modern seafood restaurant serving sushi and sharing platters.

Feast on sushi and enjoy incredible sea views at this waterfront restaurant, a total win I reckon? Ocean Basket is located on Qawra Road in the Saint Pauls Bay area.

Good places to eat in St Paul’s Bay

There’s a range of good places to eat in St Paul’s serving a range of cuisine including Italian, modern European and Maltese.

Where to eat in St Paul’s: 

Day 4 Comino

Spend an extra day in the St. Paul’s Bay area and book a boat trip to Comino and the Blue Lagoon.

Comino is a beautiful uninhabited island that is home to the famous Blue Lagoon. A small bay with shallow, aqua blue water that’s located on the West coast of Comino.

You can get to the Blue Lagoon by booking a boat trip that leaves from Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay.

Food and drinks are usually part of the boat trip package and the cost of a Blue Lagoon boat trip is normally around €25-35 per person for the day.

Boat trips to Comino and the Blue Lagoon

There are also several Comino sunset cruises and fishing trips in the area. Many include drinks and food too.

I would suggest booking a Comino, Blue Lagoon & Caves Boat Cruise online so that you can secure your place on a boat trip.

Spend a good few hours swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing around beautiful crystal clear waters.

If you want to snorkel in the Blue Lagoon, make sure you book a Blue Lagoon Cruise with a Swim & Snorkel option and check that they provide snorkel equipment for you to use.

Alternatively, you can bring your own snorkels, flippers and an underwater camera with you. That way you can capture lots of underwater snaps.

Comino is wildly popular with visitors, despite the island being car-free and virtually uninhabited, so try and visit in off-peak months for a more peaceful experience.

Day 5 Gozo

It’s time to head to Gozo for day 5 of your Malta holiday. Gozo is the smaller, quieter and more laid back and neighbour of Malta with fresh seafood, beautiful nature and world-class diving.

To get from Malta to Gozo you will need to catch the Gozo ferry. The Gozo ferry departs from Ċirkewwa, (which is located at the Northernmost tip of Malta).

You can get to Ċirkewwa by local bus from the major Malta tourist hotspots like Sliema, St. Julian’s and also from the St. Paul’s Bay area.

The ferry leaves at frequent intervals, with trips that continue even throughout the night.

Day trip to Gozo

If you just want the Gozo highlights, why not book a Full-Day Gozo and Blue Lagoon Cruise and Tour?

On this trip, you will cruise along the northern coast of Malta. Then you’ll have a stop at Victoria [Rabat], the capital city of Gozo and have a tour.

You will also see the famous Azure Window, and have time to enjoy a swim in the Blue Lagoon.

Things to do in Gozo

There are lots to see in Gozo for history and culture fans. The Citadel in Rabat is a ‘must-see’ place in Gozo.

This historic, fortified city is believed to have been the acropolis of the Punic-Roman city of Gaulos.

Other must-see places in Gozo include:

  • The Cittadella Cathedral,
  • The onyx covered Żebbuġ church
  • The Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu

Gozo beaches

For the beach lovers, there are a few beautiful beaches in Gozo, Ramla l-Ħamra and San Blas Bay are particularly lovely.

Whilst they aren’t sandy beaches, they are two of the most popular and easily accessed beaches in Gozo.

If you want to go Snorkelling in Gozo, book a Gozo snorkel tour, and discover the incredible the underwater world and different species of marine life.

Diving in Gozo

Gozo is home to some of the best diving in the Mediterranean. There are a variety of dive spots that are suitable for all levels of diving experience, from beginners to pros.

Explore amazing underwater landscapes, colourful marine life and shipwrecks in Gozo.

Some of the best dive sites in Gozo include:

  • Anchor reef
  • Blue Hole-Chimney and Reef
  • Crocodile rock
  • Cathedral Cave-Għasri Valley
  • Il-Margun

Dive trips Gozo

Diving is very popular in Malta, and a great place for beginners thanks to the crystal-clear water and calm conditions.

There are plenty of dive shops around that can organise diving courses in Malta for you. If you are already PADI certified, ask about guided dives that suit your level and interests.

Make sure that you do your research and choose a Gozo dive shop that has experienced, professional and qualified diving staff.

Some of the best diving centres in Gozo include: 

If you haven’t dived before and want to give it a go, book you First scuba diving experience with an instructor in Malta and try diving in crystal clear waters with a dive pro.

What you will learn on a PADI Discover Scuba experience:

  • Correctly use the diving equipment
  • Learn how to equalise the water’s pressure on your ears
  • How to swim underwater with fins
  • Master how to use hand signals to communicate underwater

What to eat in Gozo

Gozitan cuisine is all about the small and local. You can try traditional favourites such as sheep milk cheeses [known as gbejniet], miniature pastries, fresh bread and local olive oils.

Some of the best places to eat in Gozo include: 

Day 6 Mdina

Malta’s old capital has a long-ranging history and is full of beautiful and historic architecture.

It is known as the ‘silent city’ due to its calm atmosphere and its no car policy, except for a limited number of residents.

It’s an extremely charming town with narrow, cobbled streets and a mix of Norman and Baroque architecture.

How to get to Mdina

Mdina isn’t really a popular place to stay with visitors. There are a few really nice hotels in Mdina that you can book if you want to spend a night at the medieval walled city.

If you want to do a day trip to Mdina, you can either drive there if you have hired a car in Malta and park in one of the public parking spots or get the bus to Mdina.

You can get the bus to Mdina from popular Malta towns such as the Bugibba/Qawra area, St Julians and Valetta. Use the Public Transport Malta journey planner to plan your route to Mdina.

Things to do in Mdina

There are a number of museums, chapels and historic buildings to visit in Mdina.

This fortified city is an ideal place for history and culture lovers,  entering Mdina is a little bit like stepping back in time.

Some of the best places to visit in Mdina include: 

  • Natural History Museum
  • Mdina dungeons
  • Nunnery of St Benedict
  • Chapel of St. Agatha

I would also recommend simply wandering the quiet alleyways in search of hidden spots, preserved noble houses and interesting architecture.

Where to eat in Mdina

There are several local, family-owned restaurants in Mdina serving a range of cuisines.

Some of the best places to eat in Mdina include: 

Day 7 Marsaxlokk Fishing Village

The pretty village of Marsaxlokk is Malta’s largest fishing village and is popular with locals and foodies visiting the area. 

Fresh fish and seafood are available to buy from local fisherman and you can also sample stunning fish dishes in the local restaurants in this relaxing and pretty village.

Getting to Marsaxlokk

If you are driving a hire car in Malta, you can drive to Marsaxlokk. Be aware the roads near the village aren’t very well maintained, so pay careful attention when driving.

You can also get the bus to Marsaxlokk from popular Malta towns such as the Bugibba/Qawra area, St Julians and Valetta. Use the Public Transport Malta journey planner to plan your route to Mdina.

Things to do in Marsaxlokk

Wander amongst the colourful fishing boats and browse through stalls of local products including jams, honey and a variety of souvenirs.

Swim in secluded waters – Marsaxlokk has a little rocky beach around 15 minutes walk away that is really lovely for swimming and snorkelling.

Buy fresh fish from local fishermen  – On Sundays, fish is sold directly to customers at the Marsaxlokk Sunday fish market.

Have a leisurely lunch –  Dine at one of the waterfront restaurants serving freshly-caught fish and local white wine.

What to eat in Marsaxlokk

There are some great places to eat in Marsaxlokk, especially if you like fresh fish dishes.

Some of the best places to eat in Marsaxlokk include: 

Where to stay in Malta

There is a full range of hotels in Malta, from budget options, apartments and luxury resorts.

Why not treat yourself to a hotel with a pool or a fantastic seaside view, you are on your holidays after all!

It’s worth thinking about where you want to base yourself whilst in Malta? Are you looking to stay in the capital Valetta, or perhaps St-Julian’s or St-Paul’s Bay?

Best places to stay in Malta

You could base yourself in one location for your week in Malta and either hire a car or use public transport to get around.

Alternatively, you could book hotels in different locations and have a bit of variety in your accommodation.

Best places to stay in Malta

Some of the best places to stay in Malta include:

Do you need travel insurance for Malta?

You might not think you need travel insurance for a week-long trip to Malta but I would urge you to buy a comprehensive policy.

Trust me when I say accidents can happen when you least expect them on holiday.

On my Malta trip, I slipped, fell into the harbour and broke my wrist. One of my more epic travel fails. Luckily I had a comprehensive, annual travel insurance policy that covered me for my hospital bills.

We were able to continue our trip as I was able to get treatment sorted quickly and stress-free.

Travel insurance policy

If you are planning a one-week break in Malta then probably a ‘Single Trip’ policy would be best.

Planning on doing a few adventure activities in Malta like diving, snorkelling, parasailing or going on a banana boat? Make sure to check these activities are covered under your travel insurance policy.

Good travel insurance policies cover several activities as standard and will require a small additional premium to cover those that are a little riskier.

Travel insurance cover

Depending on what activities you are planning on doing on your trip, you might want to look for a policy with more cover. You don’t want to sustain an injury while participating in an activity without the proper cover.

This could mean your policy will not pay out for any medical or associated expenses and you will be stuck with the bills.

For more information on making sure you have the right travel insurance policy for your trip visit the Travel Insurance Explained website.

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One week holiday in Malta

If you follow my Malta travel guide you will find you have a mix of beaches, cultures, activities and history on your Malta holiday.

You can always set your own Malta itinerary and pick and choose the places you most want to visit or spend more time in.

The beauty of Malta is that it is small but densely packed with fun things to do, so you can actually fit a lot into a week.

What do you think of my Week in Malta guide? Would you visit this incredible island?

Planning your trip to Malta

Ready to book your trip to Malta? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:

Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page!

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Bumper guide to one week in Malta! One week in Malta is the perfect time to see many of the island's highlights. The sun-drenched Mediterranean island of Malta is full of sparkling blue seas, culture, incredible diving, traditional restaurants and a variety of attractions. My seven-day Malta itinerary includes things to do in Malta as well as where to stay and suggestions for what to eat. #Malta #divingholiday #europe #traveltips #diving

Bumper guide to one week in Malta! One week in Malta is the perfect time to see many of the island's highlights. The sun-drenched Mediterranean island of Malta is full of sparkling blue seas, culture, incredible diving, traditional restaurants and a variety of attractions. My seven-day Malta itinerary includes things to do in Malta as well as where to stay and suggestions for what to eat. #Malta #divingholiday #europe #traveltips #diving

Bumper guide to one week in Malta! One week in Malta is the perfect time to see many of the island's highlights. The sun-drenched Mediterranean island of Malta is full of sparkling blue seas, culture, incredible diving, traditional restaurants and a variety of attractions. My seven-day Malta itinerary includes things to do in Malta as well as where to stay and suggestions for what to eat. #Malta #divingholiday #europe #traveltips #diving

 

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Travel Insurance Explained. This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no additional cost to you. By clicking these links you are supporting Pip and the City and helping to keep the content free. Massive thanks for your ongoing support.