Malta Weekend Itinerary & Travel Guide

Malta Weekend Itinerary & Travel Guide

March 26, 2021 18 By Kerry

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Malta, Gozo and Comino Islands are located south of Sicily, Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea. Many people book Malta for a summer holiday due to its hot Mediterranean weather, beautiful beaches and the ocean teeming with sea life. You can explore some of the best that Malta has to offer in a few days. So read on for an action-packed Malta weekend itinerary to discover beautiful beaches and immerse yourself in the islands’ culture and rich history

Malta Itinerary & Travel Guide | Quick Links

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Can you do Malta in a Weekend?

As a central archipelago between Italy and North Africa, Malta and the surrounding islands are steeped in culture. Malta’s exciting history and traditions stem from the many different historical rulers. This makes Malta and Gozo Islands great destinations to discover and explore. So while a weekend trip will mean you have to prioritise how you spend 3 days in Malta, you can still see the key sights and things to do. 

People often ask how many days you need in Malta. Of course, this depends on what you want to get out of your holiday, but 3 – 5 days is enough to visit Malta for most people.

This Malta weekend itinerary will give you everything you need to know to make the most of your travel.


How to get around Malta

Getting to Malta

The Malta international airport connects Malta with many European destinations. As it isn’t a large Island, driving around Malta is easy, and taxis are affordable. It is also possible to catch a ferry to Malta from other ports. 

If you haven’t booked your travel yet, be sure to check out my pick of the best travel resources online for quick and easy links you will need for your trip. 

Driving around Malta for 3 days 

It is effortless to hire a car and explore Malta and Gozo islands. However, be sure to book your car rental in advance so you can easily pick it up from Malta airport.

If you choose to drive around Malta, consider booking additional car insurance. It is often cheaper or requires a lower deposit/excess if you take out the rental companies policy. Ensure to thoroughly check the car in advance and photograph and report any damage before driving away.

Car rental also gives you more freedom and the option to pack food for your road-trip to save costs from eating out. If you are travelling with the family, plan some road trip activities for kids in advance.


The map of the route covered in this Malta Itinerary & Travel Guide is below:

This map was made with Wanderlog, a trip planner app

Travel Malta by Public Transport

There are ample public bus options to travel cheaply and easily around Malta. There are over 80 public bus routes available, and the buses run from the early hours until late at night. You can find out more about the bus stops and bus schedule on the official Maltese transport site.



Where to Stay in Malta

There are many popular areas to stay in for your weekend break in Malta, so it really depends on what you want to get out of your holiday. The best locations are listed below.

St Julian’s & Paceville – Perfect for nightlife

If you’re looking for a good choice of restaurants and bars within easy reach on foot, then St Julian’s might be for you. St Julian’s is a famous, modern and lively town located to the west of Sliema. It has the distinct features of an old seaside town contrasted with a thriving nightlife known as Paceville.


Booking.com

Whether you’re looking for budget accommodation or a luxury 5-star resort, there are many places to stay in St Julian’s. However, the closest beach, St George’s Bay, is artificial and undesirable, so it isn’t somewhere I’d recommend for beach lovers.  


Locations close to the best beaches in Malta

  1. Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay. These three villages border each other across the Maltese coastline. Each beach is different. You have rocks at Qawra, artificial sand at Buġibba and a bit of everything at St. Paul’s Bay. These are popular tourist places that are well connected to the island. You can take a catamaran tour from here to see all the stunning beaches and bays.
  2. Mellieħa. This village is located north of the island with easy access to Mellieħa Bay, Malta’s largest sandy beach. Known for its iconic castle on the top of the mountain, it is a less touristy village than other places. It is well connected with other beaches of Malta but not a place known for its nightlife, so it is excellent for a family beach holiday.
  3. Sliema. This village is a popular tourist place, close to the capital city. However, Sliema only has rocky beaches, and the nearest sandy beaches are still a fair distance away. It caters more for budget travellers due to its good public transport connections to the rest of the island.

Looking to stay away from the tourist areas?

If you’d prefer to spend your weekend break in Malta away from the busy tourist areas, consider staying in Valletta, the Maltese capital.

Valletta has an excellent choice of restaurants and bars and is well connected by a ferry ride and public transport. However, there is no beach, but you will find a few rocky places to take a dip in the sea.


Booking.com


Malta Three Days Itinerary

Depending on where you’re staying, you might want to swap this Malta weekend itinerary around to create the best journey for your route.

3 Days in Malta | Day 1

The first part of your Malta weekend itinerary will give you some beach time with a bit of culture thrown in. 

Malta Highlights in a day:

1. Golden Bay Beach

Golden Bay Beach is a popular sandy beach located on the Northwest coast of Malta. The majority of the beaches and the surroundings provide lovely views and a place to relax. This beach is easily accessible via public transport if you don’t have a car. Parking is available and a short walk from the beach. You can rent a sun lounger and parasol, as well as buy food, snacks and drinks while you’re on the beach.

2. Mdina, the Silent City of Malta 

The Mdina cathedral formed the centre of the medieval city of Malta. If you’re into your history, this is a brilliant example of an ancient walled city. You can book guided tours or self-guided audio tours from the Old Town to learn all about Mdina’s history, which makes a brilliant Malta day trip. 

The Old Town itself is simply beautiful, which makes either a peaceful end to your day or if you prefer, an inspiring way to start your morning before heading to the beach. In addition, there are guided walking tours available so you can take in all of the histories of this impressive architecture. Additionally, you can opt for a full day Game of Thrones tour. Discover King’s Landing and the Red Keep, amongst so many other fabulous locations (not to mention all the showbiz gossip!).




Malta Weekend Itinerary | The first night

If you’re staying in St Julian’s, you might want to get your bearings for the first night. I suggest choosing one of the many lovely restaurants around Spinola Bay. The pretty fairy lights of the restaurants light up the bay with a soft, inviting glow. There are many cuisines to choose from, and as it is a bustling area, it is excellent for people-watching.

You will also find the upside-down love monument in this location, which you must take a photo against! If you want to head to a few bars, then there are a few to the right of the Love monument that locals particularly enjoy. Finally, if you head to the left, you can lead to the heart of St Julian’s. Find more about this later in this Malta travel guide.




Malta Weekend Itinerary | Day 2 – Historical Sights in the Capital

If you’re a history buff who’s interested in discovering more about Maltese culture, then one of the best malta day trips is a visit to Valletta. This fortified city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site described as one of the most concentrated historical areas of the world and a brilliant example of Maltese architecture.

Valletta has a fascinating and somewhat gruesome history as many nations battled to rule the country. However, from the Romans to the Knights of Saints John, the city is rich in culture.


Valletta, Malta highlights in a day

  • Upper Barrakka Gardens – the best viewpoint in Valetta, providing panoramic views of the harbour. 
  • Grand Masters Palace. This impressive building from the 1500s is the historic seat of government and is very beautiful and ornate. 
  • Auberge de Castille. Linked to the rule by the Knights of St John, this 15th-century castle is located at the highest point in Valletta.
  • The National Museum of Archaeology. Located down Republic Street, you can see ancient artefacts and piece together ancient history.
  • St John’s Co-Cathedral. Roman Catholic cathedral from the 1500s.

In Valletta, you will also find old fortifications, the historic Manoel Theatre and the Grand Harbour. The best way to discover Valletta in one day is through a guided walking tour. That way, you don’t miss out on the capitals fascinating hidden history. If museums aren’t for you, Valletta is still worth a stopover for a few hours, even if to grab a bite to eat from the capital



Guide to the beaches close to Valletta

St Peters Pool

St Peters Pool is one of my personal favourites despite not being an actual beach. If you like to jump into clear turquoise waters from beautiful rocks, then stop here! You need to pay 3euro for parking, but after a short walk, you will arrive at a fantastic rocky bay. It doesn’t get that busy, and aside from jumping into the sea, you can easily sunbathe here.

Pretty Bay Beach

If you want to kill some time, you can grab something to eat and sunbathe at Pretty Bay. The beach itself is lovely, quiet and you will be able to relax. The view, however, is spoilt by the view of Malta’s freeport.



Blue Lagoon – Comino Island

If you can’t get enough of beautiful beaches, then you have to explore the Maltese islands. First, take a boat tour to the Blue Lagoon, which is on the cusp of Comino Island, with stunning azure waters.

The Blue Lagoon and Comino Island is a must-do on your Malta Weekend Itinerary. The Blue Lagoon is a day trip in itself, and you will typically also get to see what is left of the Azure Window, an iconic stone ridge in the ocean. 

The Blue Lagoon is sheltered from the winds you might have in other places in Malta. That being said, strong winds will prevent the boat tours from operating, so pay attention to the weather forecast and plan this one accordingly. Take a look here for some excellent full-day blue lagoon and Comino island tours.


Malta Blue Lagoon


Malta Weekend Itinerary | Second Night

For your second night in Malta, it will be fun to explore the more lively area of St Julians. So why not have an evening meal at the Portomaso Marina.

The Portomaso Marina is chic and sophisticated, framed beautifully by soft lighting and the view of sailboats in the harbour. You will walk down some steps with several bustling restaurants to choose from on either side. 


Malta weekend itinerary - View from the Marina in St Julians

If you put ‘Paceville’ into your GPS, you will find so many other restaurants and bars in a short walk. The more you walk towards it, the more bars/clubs you will find. The nightlife isn’t as crazy as you see in other European holiday destinations, but you’re likely to encounter many people on a pub crawl on Friday and Saturday nights.

We found a quirky cocktail bar called ‘The Thirsty Barber’ with an excellent live rock band. The décor was stylish and relaxed, and we ended up spending most of the night sipping delicious cocktails and enjoying the music. I recommend this bar when you visit Malta.

If you want to party and experience Malta nightlife, there is many more bars and clubs around the area. Many of them are cheap and cheerful, enticing you in with cheap shots.


Malta 3 days - Rock Band playing on stage in front of a large lit up victorian clock face
Rock Band and ‘The Thirsty Barber’


Malta Weekend Itinerary | Day 3 – Explore Gozo Island

Malta Gozo Island is a popular destination in itself. Gozo holidays are particularly desirable for travellers who enjoy diving, as Gozo island is one of the best places in Europe for it.

If you’re only planning a day trip to Gozo Island, then take an early ferry ride. There is a lot to see and do, which makes a beautiful road trip within itself! Signage for the Gozo ferry terminal is prominent and tells you the next departure time. The ferries typically run every 45 minutes and take 25 minutes to get to Gozo Island.

You will need to buy your ticket from the Gozo Mgarr Terminal (15.70 euro return for car/drivers) as you wait. Just join the back of one of the rows of traffic, and once you’ve paid, you’ll be ready to board. Once you’re on and parked, you can leave your vehicle to find a seat or visit the store. You’ll be notified when to return to your car, so wait for the signal, and away you go. The best thing about the ticket is that you don’t have a specific time to return and they run until after 11 pm.



Malta Highlights on Gozo Island

  • Hondoq Bay. This pretty little beach is perfect for snorkelling and has sand and pebbles. There are a few small caves at the water level, which is one of the reasons this place is popular. You can get drinks and snacks from a nearby cafe.
  • Tal-Mizta Cave. This cave is high up in the hills, providing incredible views of Ramla Beach below. The cave itself acts as a beautiful natural window to the beach; you can drive there directly, and the entrance is free. You also can walk up some very steep stairs from the beach.
  • Ramla Bay beach. This is the first sandy golden beach on this Malta road trip located on the East of Gozo Island. If you visit Tal-Mizta Cave, you’ll already be familiar with the stunning views of the golden yellow sands and significant marble monuments. Parking is free, and you can grab snacks and drinks from a nearby stall.

Related Read Top 10 Best Gozo Beaches



Where to go for lunch on Gozo Island

Marsalforn Bay is a stunning location that provides an ample selection of restaurants to choose from. Most of them will have fantastic views of the ocean.

I recommend Otters Bistro as it is on the shore, and it makes a great place to watch the waves, particularly on a windy day. This restaurant is excellent for vegetarian/vegan food with exceptional service. 


Malta Weekend Itinerary -view of fair lights and the ocean bay in the heart of Malta
View from the restaurant in Marsalforn Bay. The waves were spectacular!


Where to spend your afternoon on Gozo Island

Citadel

Located in Ir-Rabat (Victoria), the capital of Gozo Island, you can’t help but see the Citadel high in the distance. You can enjoy a free walk around the Citadel or pay to enter the museum. Victoria itself is home to the ‘Independence square’ known locally as ‘It-Tokk’. Perfect for a wander and a quick coffee.

Paradise Bay – Back on Malta Island

Paradise Bay is a pretty little beach close to the ferry terminal in Malta. If the tide is in when you visit or it is windy, it might be best to give it a miss. That being said, Paradise Bay is very picturesque and would make a lovely stop off for a few hours.


Malta Weekend Itinerary  - Paradise Bay
Paradise Bay – the waves were strong at this point

Alternative options to explore Gozo

If you’re only going to Gozo for a day, this Malta weekend itinerary will cover a lot of stops while still giving you some relaxing beach time. However, should you have 4 nights in Malta, you can spread this itinerary out to take the haste out of your trip.

However, if you prefer to sit back and let someone else take the hassle out of planning for you, then check here for an unforgettable full-day tour of Gozo. There’s even option’s to explore Gozo Island in some quirky, fun ways:

Step into a cartoon car and zip around Gozo Island in a fun, unique and exciting way. See all the main sites while having pictures of you by people jealous of your go-car!

If you’re only going to Gozo for a day, this Malta weekend itinerary will cover a lot of stops while still giving you some relaxing beach time. However, should you have 4 nights in Malta, you can spread this itinerary out and stay at one of the wonderful boutique hotels in Gozo.

However, if you prefer to sit back and let someone else take the hassle out of planning for you, then check here for an unforgettable full-day tour of Gozo. There’s even option’s to explore Gozo Island in some quirky, fun ways:

  • Full day Go-Car tour: Step into a cartoon car and zip around Gozo Island in a fun, unique and exciting way. See all the main sites while having pictures taken of you by people jealous of your go-car!
  • Jeep Tour from Malta: Save yourself the hassle of taking the ferry ride on your own and visit Gozo Island as part of a Jeep convoy. There are many parts to Gozo that a 4×4 off-roader will come in handy!
  • Quad bike tour: See the main sites of Gozo Island zipping around on-road and off-road behind the throttle of a quad bike.
  • Segway tours: If you’d like to try your hand balancing on a Segway, this is the one for you. Indeed a fun experience all in itself.


Final Night of your Malta Weekend Itinerary

If you enjoyed Portomaso Marina in St Julian’s, I highly recommend the Blue Elephant Thai restaurant within the Hilton Hotel. It will need pre-booking, and you will see why due to the stunning décor resembling a beautiful Thai village. The food is superb too. 

I do not recommend the Sahara Shisha Bar in Paceville. The traditional Moroccan inspired décor is attractive from a distance, but it’s shabby, dirty and the service is terrible.   




Malta Weekend Itinerary | Final Thoughts

By now, you will have a good idea of what you can do in three days in Malta. Swap and change things up in this Malta weekend Itinerary to suit your style and take as long or as little as you want. If you choose a weekend break, read these tips on how you can pack light to save costs.

Read my travel guides for the Amalfi Coast, NaplesSorrento if you’re looking for similar travel destinations.

I’d love to know which parts of this Malta weekend Itinerary & travel guide that you like best. So, please let me know about your plans or adventures in the comments.



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