Malta Travel Guide - 5 days itinerary
Malta is a beautiful island, and because it has an area of only 316 km2, it is easy to see the best that the country has to offer in a short holiday. The 5 days itinerary that I took covers all the most beautiful places on the island, plus some that I didn’t get to see.
My friends always ask me why I study so much a place before going to visit and not enjoy it there. I always say that I am studying so I can enjoy there. I am sure I am not the only one, but I think that every country is different, and if you don’t know about their culture how can you enjoy it? I like to study beforehand the culture, the food, the places that are a must to see. When I travel, I enjoy everything, not only the view.
If you love visiting islands as much as I do, check my posts about Gran Canaria and Tenerife, in Spain.
So, to start my trip to Malta, I took a plane from London, Stansted to Luqa, Malta. The flight was only 70£ return, probably because the end of March was off-season, but the weather was just perfect. I booked an amazing room with The Golden Tulip Vivaldi in St Julian’s and the city was perfectly situated having great bus connections. I was so happy with the room that I got because it was a perfect mix between a comfortable bed and a little “office” to do my writing and editing. The view could be better, but I can’t complain at all about the great service at the hotel. The breakfast was amazing and the view from the restaurant it was breathtaking. I also need to admit that I spent my nights watching Disney Channel and I enjoyed every second of it!
For accommodation in Malta check the following links:
If you prefer an AIRBNB instead of a hotel, follow this link to get 25£ off on your next stay.
For cheap flights use Skyscanner:
These tools are what I personally use in order to book a great value holiday.
The bus system is really good around Valletta, Sliema, St. Julian, but if by any chance you decide to go to Mdina or another part of the island, the bus will come every hour and even then some of the buses are not running, or maybe it is just better in the summer time. The streets are old and not appropriately built so between the big cities is an adventure to go with the car or bus. Even now in March the buses were full of tourists and they were not stopping between stops, so I can’t imagine how hard it is to catch a bus in the summer.
I got myself the Explore card from the airport and with 21€ I had 7 days of unlimited travel all around the island. If you want to plan your trip or get some more information, this is the official website for transport in Malta.
My 5 days itinerary
Day 1 – Walking from St Julian to Sliema
Because I had my flight in the morning, I arrived at 2pm and by 4pm I was already in the hotel to change and prepare myself to start exploring. I change into some summery clothes because in the UK it was really cold that morning and left the hotel to see around. My walk started from St Julian’s beach, a really small beach and bay close to the area with pubs and restaurants. From that beach I walked around the shore to see the harbours and the streets of the city, admiring people drinking outside and enjoying their day.
My first stop was Spinola Bay and I got there exactly when the sun started to set, so the rest of the walk was simply perfect. From Spinola Bay to Balluta Bay and I stopped after the St Julian Bay for food because my stomach was crying for a while already. I stopped at a nice restaurant called the Surfside Beach Club, I got a table on the terrace with a great view of the sea and the city and I ordered the best cashew shrimp and chicken pasta with a glass of wine, of course. I really missed staying at night listening to the waves. The perfect dinner on the seaside, enjoying some good food, a glass of wine and watching the waves. After dinner, I continued walking until I arrived in Sliema, but I decided to take the bus back to the hotel because I was tired after a long day.
Day 2 – Valletta and the Three Cities
For my second day I planned a lot of walking, and I mean A LOT. By the middle of the day I was already tired, so I would definitely recommend doing Valletta and the Three Cities in 2 days or 2 afternoons, or maybe just take more buses. I spent the whole day walking around the streets of Valletta, then Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea, enjoying the history, the views and the food in the capital of Malta. Check the full itinerary in this post!
After a long day of walking, I took the ferry from Valletta to Sliema to see the sunset on the boat and stopped for a quick shopping spree at The Point Shopping Centre in Sliema, before heading back to the hotel for my Disney channel relax!
Day 3 – Mdina, Rabat and Buggiba
I spent my lazy morning enjoying a great breakfast and coffee at my hotel, the view from the restaurant was amazing, so I started my day a little later, being tired from so much walking one day before. I finally convinced myself to leave the comfortable room of the hotel and went to take the bus from Paceville to Mdina. I waited for one hour at the bus station because 3 buses didn’t bother to show up. In this time, I had time to shop some souvenirs in the shops around the station, I met two lovely ladies that I spent half of the day wandering around the city of Mdina with.
Finally, one bus decided to come, and we left Paceville. It took us around 40-50 minutes to get to Mdina. Mdina is a fortified city in Malta which has been frozen in time and it is called The Silent City. Everything seems caught in the 16th century, most of the streets are so small that cars can’t go through, people are walking around in horse-drawn caravans, the streets are lamp lit and Mdina was actually the capital of Malta before Valletta. The fans of Game of Thrones will instantly recognise the city from the series and if by any change you haven’t seen it, there are signs everywhere about GOT.
It is a beautiful city to walk through and it’s the most authentic experience that you can get in Malta. After going through the city of Mdina, you can stop in Rabat, a big city across the street from the fortified entrance of Mdina.If you’re not claustrophobic, I would recommend visiting St Paul’s catacombs. We stopped in the city centre for a break at a terrace and tried the Maltese beer with some chips. I said goodbye to my new friends and went to see the streets of the city.
After a stroll around the city, I took a bus to Buggiba in the hope that I will get from there another bus to Popeye Village just in time for the sunset, but because I waited too long for the buses in both of the stations there was no way I was getting there, so I decided to take a walk around Buggiba and find a nice spot to see the sunset. I got the best spot, but unfortunately, I never got the chance to go back to Popeye Village, but I would definitely recommend seeing it.
I came back to St Julian for a quick stroll around Spinola bay at night and I stopped to try a traditional recipe for dinner at Pepinos. I tried the rabbit stew that is one of the most typical cuisines for Malta and I really liked it. I personally am not a big fan of meat, so for me, it tasted similar to the chicken, but it was properly cooked and melting in the mouth. Pepinos is also famous for their great views on the terrace across the Spinola Bay and it is really hard to get a seat outside.
With my stomach full I walked back to the hotel and bought on my way some traditional patisserie like qassatatt peas rikotta, traditional Maltese rings and pastizzi.
Day 4 – Blue Lagoon, Comino and Gozo
At least this is what I would recommend you do! I booked an amazing full day tour with Get your Guide to see Blue Lagoon, Comino and Gozo, but unfortunately, because of heavy rain they cancelled the trip and I spent a lazy day. I would definitely recommend taking the trip because it is amazing and is the only thing, I am really sorry that I missed!
After I spent some time in the hotel having breakfast, writing and downloading some photos, I decided to have a me day and spoil myself a little, so I went to the Bay Street shopping centre in St Julian and started with a big cup of coffee. After a shopping spree and trying a lot of clothes, I got hungry, so I went to have a delicious Norwegian salmon with mashed potatoes, broccoli and a Long Island at the Hard Rock Café on the top floor of the shopping centre. I went back to the hotel to leave my bags and went to see a movie. After the movie, the rain stopped for a while, so I walked a little on the wet and empty streets, stopped to some souvenir shops and bought some sweets to come back to the hotel with. I spent the night in, doing some work on the laptop and it was actually nice to have a break and enjoy myself.
Lucky me got a rainy day in the day that I was expecting you the most. I guess I will have to come back to Malta one day. So, don’t forget your umbrella!
Day 5 – Pretty Bay and Marsaxlokk
After a rainy day, the next morning we had a perfect sunrise and a nice, hot day. I spent the morning having a nice breakfast and coffee in the hotel and packed all my bags. Because my flight was at 9pm, I had the whole day to still visit and walk around the island. For the last day I planned to see the south of the island, the only inconvenience was that I had to carry my luggage around with me because I didn’t want to go back to St Julian to pick it up.
I took the bus to Valletta and from Valletta to Birsebugga, where I stopped to see the Pretty Bay, that is one of the few sandy beaches in the South of Malta which is very popular with the locals during the summer season. The light blue and green waters combined with buildings around the bay create a perfect scenery and it is easy to see why it is called the Pretty Bay. Even though it is a man-made beach, it is very popular, and the locals tend to move there for the summer in order to avoid the crowded touristic places.
After a walk in the bay, I took the bus to go to the famous village of Marsaxlokk. All the photos that you see on Instagram with the fishing colourful boats are taken in this place. I stopped first to have lunch because I was hungry and thirsty after carrying around my luggage half of the day. Because of the big number of recommendations online I had lunch at Tartarun, where I ordered their seafood linguine and some wine, and I would also recommend further. Great food, a lovely place and it was full, but I was lucky to get a table.
With my belly full I left in search of the perfect spot for some photos, but I must say that every spot around the shore is just perfect. Marsaxlokk is the biggest fishing village in Malta, and it is famous for its markets. Every Sunday a lot of people are coming for the fish market to buy fresh fish for the week. I spent some time taking a lot of photos to all the interesting boats in the harbour and enjoyed a little sun before taking the bus to Luqa.
I arrived in the airport 3 hours before my flight, so I got myself a big cup of coffee and a panini at Costa Café, took out my laptop and started working before heading back to the UK.
My itinerary for 5 days in Malta is complete and it covers the most beautiful places on the island. It is though, a little busy for some people so you can just choose whatever you want to see from here, I am the kind of person who wants to see everything, and I love walking!
Check this short video that I created with the videos on my phone:
Get your Malta Guide from Lonely Planet!
Some things that I would recommend when visiting Malta would be:
- Avoid high season! I went there in March, so the weather was nice and sunny, it was not as crowded as the summer, the prices were lower, and I didn’t have to wait for hours in cues;
- Rent a car! Even in low season the buses are overcrowded, and they don’t stop in most of the stations, but at least you get buses every 5 minutes around the cities close to Valletta. If you want to go on day travels, the buses are not really reliable, as I waited at the bus station for more than 40 minutes and 3 buses didn’t come at all.
- Check the forecast and prepare some activities to do in case you get a rainy day or 3, especially if you go during the spring or autumn, where there are more chances to rain.
- Try as much food as you can! The Italian cuisine has a strong influence on the food in Malta and if you love the seafood as much I do, you will be in food heaven.
Equipment used for this post!