If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful Mediterranean nation of Malta, then you will likely be wondering if basing yourself on the island of Malta or Gozo is the right move to you. The Maltese archipelago is made up of three islands, two of which are inhabited, and both Gozo and Malta have different things to offer visitors.If you’re short on time with your Malta itinerary or just want to know where to spend the majority of your time while visiting, then determining between Gozo or Malta for your main base is essential.
Depending on what kind of holiday or getaway you’re looking for, both islands have vastly different things to offer (and we wholeheartedly recommend trying to spend time on both islands while you’re there!) and can give you a completely different perspective on the country.So if you’re planning a trip to Malta and are having trouble determining whether Malta vs Gozo is the right place to base yourself in this beautiful country, then look no further.
Having travelled extensively throughout Malta, we know what each island has to offer visitors and are here to make your decision just a bit easier!
The sun-kissed island of Malta might be small in stature, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with pristine beaches, lively culture, and never-ending beautiful landscapes. Even off the main island, Gozo and Comino each hold their own as exceptional tourist destinations.Whether you’re visiting for a day, a week, or a month, there are so many fun things to do in Malta and Gozo that you’ll never want to leave.
1 – Catch a sunset at Għajn Tuffieħa Bay
Just half an hour’s drive from Valetta, on Malta’s eastern shores, curious travelers will find the stunning Għajn Tuffieħa bay. Unlike its neighbor, Golden Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa appears untouched by man, a true natural oasis primed for relaxation, tranquility, and sunbaking. At sunset, the views from these sands are nothing short of magical.
2 – Walk around the Old Town of Valletta
As an entire city designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a walk through Valletta’s Old Town is a non-negotiable when visiting this vibrant island nation. Conventional walking tours lead visitors to must-see landmarks like St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the Grand Master’s Palace, however, for something a little more left-field, try a moonlit ghost tour!
3 – Explore the beaches and mountains of Gozo
While not as big as the main Maltese island, Gozo still overflows with historic attractions, explorable mountains, stunning beaches, and rich culture. Whatever your preference, there’s an activity to fit your needs: choose a tour starting from Gozo with options like Jeep safaris, hop-on-hop-off busses, tuk-tuks, or even Segways!For a more confortable journey, try a day trip from Valletta that includes the boat transfer and the activities on Gozo island.
4 – Take a trip to Mdina
A walled city that once served as the nation’s capital, Mdina combines history with beauty, without all of the tourist crowds.The best way to explore this city is on foot; allow expert locals to guide you through Mdina’s old streets, pointing out notable landmarks and sharing fascinating cultural insights all the way through. You don’t even need to be staying there — hassle-free Mdina day trips depart from Valletta every day.
5 – Check out Comino & the Blue Lagoon
Undeniably one of Malta’s most charming locations, Comino — an island halfway between Malta and Gozo — plays host to the spectacular Blue Lagoon, a naturally-formed swimming cove next to the coral reef.Cruise around the vibrant waters, snorkel with colorful fish in the marina or relax on the beach — whatever your preference, Comino simply can’t be missed.
6 – Admire St. John’s Cathedral
Dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, this stunning 16th-century cathedral is unquestionably one of the essential things to do in Malta. Despite being over 500 years old, the Maltese landmark continues to be used as a place of worship and cultural center to this day; as one of the city’s most important buildings, all walking tours of Valletta will be sure to stop here.
7 – Meet the animals at the Malta National Aquarium
Housing 41 tanks full of reptiles, insects, amphibians, and thousands of Mediterranean fish (particularly semi-native species), plus an intriguing collection of historical artifacts, the Malta National Aquarium is chock-full of fascinating entertainment.For things to do in Malta with the kids, it’s hard to go past the aquarium as the prime activity. Combine it with a visit to the nearby Bird Park for the ultimate animal experience.
8 – Eat dinner… in the sky!
credit to Dinner in the Sky Malta
It’s a meal, but unlike any that you’ve ever experienced before. At Malta’s Dinner In The Sky, 22 (brave) guests take to the open air, soaring 40 meters above the rooftops thanks to a specially-constructed crane, where equally fantastic views and meals await.Whether you’re a foodie, an adrenaline junkie, or both, it’s an unforgettable evening.
9 – Save time for the Blue Grotto
A spot not to be missed on any trip to Malta, the Blue Grotto is a series of nine caves on the island’s southeastern coast. With its radiant hues, brilliant color-changing light reflections, and naturally-formed cave walls, it’s no wonder this place is so popular.Take note: when the villagers approach on their small fishing boats, they’ll delightfully serenade you for a small tip.
10 – Explore the ruins of the Ħaġar Qim Temples
A UNESCO World Heritage-listed site dating back to the 3000s BC, the recently excavated Ħaġar Qim Temples are considered architectural masterpieces — the complex’s intricate engineering was a notable feat for the times.It’s not just a historical attraction though: straddling a hilltop and overlooking the islet of Filfla, the Ħaġar Qim Temples also offer ocean views nothing short of extraordinary.
11 – Appreciate the views from the Dingli Cliffs
Jutting over the sea near the village of Dingli on Malta’s Western coast, at 253 meters above sea-level, the famous Dingli Cliffs represent the highest point on the Maltese islands. Whether looking out to sea from land or vice versa, the views are astonishing.For an unforgettable day trip, combine the cliffs with a stop at Mdina and/or Rabat.
12 – Dive the Blue Hole beneath the Azure Window
With its floor submerged over 200 feet below the surface; and octopi, fireworms, morays, and sea horses calling it home, this underwater limestone cave is heaven on Earth for scuba divers, freedivers, and snorkelers.Emerging from the rock face above the Blue Hole is the equally impressive Azure Window: a towering 328-feet-tall (100-meter) rock formation — a perfect photo backdrop and cliff-diving location.
13 – Swim in St. Peter’s Pool
Just a stone’s throw from the traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk at the tip of Delimara Point, St. Peter’s Pool holds its own as one of the most visually spectacular natural swimming pools across the entire archipelago.It’s an exceptional spot for safe cliff jumping (be careful, of course) and a wonderful stop on any road trip down the island’s southeastern coast.
14 – Dance the night away at St. Julian’s
You’re on vacation, after all, so why not let your hair down a little? For partying, dancing, and an endless supply of drinks, there’s no better place than St. Julian’s in Valletta. The Chalice Bar and Lounge is a crowd favorite, while Thirsty Barber is known citywide for its cocktails.Don’t feel like planning a night out? Just join a locally-led pub crawl! It’s an awesome way to meet like-minded travelers.
15 – Join a stand-up paddleboarding tour
As a series of islands, there’s no shortage of opportunities to grab the board and go for a paddle in the beautiful Maltese waters. No matter your skill level, there’s a place suitable for everyone — stand-up surf the breaking waves, glide calmly through the glowing caves around Gozo, or even explore the Valletta harbor by moonlight!
16 – Visit the Marsaxlokk village
Not only is Marsaxlokk a quaint fishing village looking like something that belongs on a postcard, but it’s also the gateway to the ever-popular Blue Grotto caves. By day, the village boasts ample sightseeing, shopping, and relaxation opportunities; by night, the romantic seaside restaurants await (featuring fully stocked bars, of course).
17 – Stroll around the peaceful San Anton Gardens
Remarkably, the San Anton Gardens, which surround the official residence of the President of Malta, have been open to the public since 1882, and there’s just as beautiful today as ever.
The charming gardens are home to a variety of local birds and plant life; there’s a small maze, perfect for kids; and best of all, the complex is free to enter.
18 – Make your way to the Coral Lagoon
One of Malta’s best-kept secrets, the Coral Lagoon is hidden off the beaten track, meaning that crowds are rare and the serenity is unmatched. Pick your weapon: kayak, scuba gear, or snorkeling kit — and explore the warm, clear lagoon waters.
It’s just a fact — experiencing the Coral Lagoon is of the most amazing things to do in Malta.
19 – See the coastline of Gozo on a boat tour
If you’re after pristine views of the island of Gozo, look no further than a boat tour — the ideal way to soak in the views, serene waters, and toasty sun all at once.
There’s something for every preference: choose from private boat rentals, Turkish gullets, sailboats, and catamarans.
20 – Relax at the Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens
The peaceful, well-manicured Barrakka Gardens — split into two equally lovely sections — serve up wonderful harbor views and a great atmosphere for a picnic, a read, or a nap.
With so much to see on foot around Valletta, the gardens are ideal spots to simply sit back (perhaps with a cup of coffee in hand) and relax.
21 – Learn of spooky history at St. Paul’s Catacombs
Eerie and historical; fascinating yet spooky — St. Paul’s complex of interconnected, underground Roman cemeteries date back over 1700 years, mostly undiscovered until 1894. The main catacomb, which is open daily from 9am until 5pm, covers more than 2000 square meters, making it the largest of its kind ever discovered on the island.
22 – Explore the Island by Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus
While Valletta is certainly walkable, if you’re pressed for time, look no further than the city’s Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. With a number of stops not only in Valletta but over the whole island (plus more routes in Gozo), these open-air busses (wear a hat!) are a hassle-free, affordable way to see all the main sites in a short period of time.
23 – Take a Scuba diving course
With warm, clear, and sea life-abundant waters surrounding the island(s), Malta serves as one of the best scuba diving locations in the Mediterranean. Explore sunken shipwrecks, swim with colorful fish in the Bugibba reef, descend into the dark depths of the Blue Hole, or just learn the PADI basics — no matter your experience level, an unforgettable experience awaits.
24 – Cool off at the Splash & Fun Water Park
About 20 minutes north of Valletta in the village of Naxxar, the Splash & Fun Water Park, true to its name, promises a splash-tastic day out for the whole family. For relaxation, make a beeline for the wave pool, lazy river, or sunbeds; for heart-racing thrills, race down one of the park’s high-speed water slides — the Black Hole, Twister, and Sidewinder are all thrilling!
25 – Devour pastizzis on a food tour
An absolute staple when it comes to Maltese cuisine, the pastizzi is a traditional savory pastry, usually stuffed with ricotta, cheese combinations, or peas. The best way to sample them, and more of the island’s delicious treats, is on a locally-led food tour (because locals know best). If you’re
26 – Snap a photo in front of the Mosta Rotunda
If you’re staying in Valletta, the village of Mosta is an easy and worthwhile day trip, with hassle-free tours departing from the main city daily. With its six iconic columns and two bell towers, Mosta’s main attraction — the Mosta Dome/Rotunda — is an architectural beauty. But if you think that’s impressive, just wait till you get inside…
27 – Go crazy on a pirate-themed boat party!
Unleash your wild side on a 5-hour pirate-themed boat party, a non-stop excursion of booze, music, dancing, swimming, and an all-around good time. For solo travelers or friends looking to meet like-minded partiers, there’s no better place; and with plenty of snacks and an open bar, it’s the perfect pre-game to any night out.
28 – Parasail over the island!
Catch Malta from an entirely new perspective: above! Departing from Valletta, Sliema, or St. Julian’s, exciting parasailing flights typically last around 10 minutes — with expert instructors controlling the sail and the rope, all you have to worry about is relaxing and enjoying the pristine bird’s eye views.
29 – Visit the historic Fort Manoel
An intimidating structure initially built by the Knights to protect Valletta from enemy fire, Fort Manoel is an icon of the city and a must-see attraction for any visitor (even if only from afar).Besides its historical significance, Manoel is also known for being the backdrop in a number of important Game of Thrones scenes, such as Ned’s verdict.
30 – Spend an afternoon at the Esplora science museum
Housing over 200 exhibits (most of them heavily interactive), Esplora encourages hands-on learning, with the aim to get visitors excited about the world of science — and based on the countless positive reviews, it does exactly that! Besides the exhibits, live shows, and workshops, Esplora also houses a planetarium — a surefire hit for youngsters and adults alike.
31 – Take a sailing trip, obviously!
Regardless of whether your trip to Malta is for relaxation, adventure, or a non-stop party, no trip to this paradise island is complete without at least one sailing trip. Depending on your budget, choose from private rentals or group tours, with everything from romantic dinners to snorkeling sessions and open bars all available.
32 – Go Horse Riding in Golden Bay
Venture cross-country through the stunning landscapes of northwestern Malta the old fashioned way: on horseback! The same family has been running this incredible experience since 1981, which means they’ve perfected their craft — visitors of all ages will walk away with a grin on their face, guaranteed.
33 – Climb to the ‘Top of the World’ viewpoint
Without a doubt one of the best things to do in Malta, the Top of the World viewpoint in Għargħur (close to Naxxar) depicts the diverse Maltese landscape in its most impressive light; with terraced fields, rocky cliff faces, dry vegetation, and crashing blue waters all juxtaposed, expect a vista that can be described as no less than picture-perfect.
34 – Enjoy yourself at Popeye’s Village
A blissful seaside theme park that visitors might recognize as the set of the 80s musical comedy film, the colorful Popeye’s Village in the North of Malta (also known as Sweethaven Village) offers fun in the sun for the whole family. With boat rides, food outlets, water trampolines, a winery, and plenty of live entertainment, it’s always a great day out.
35 – Hike along the historic Victoria Lines
Unofficially known as the Great Wall of Malta, the 19th-century, 12km-long Victoria Lines feature watchtowers, fortified walls, and never-ending, top-notch views of Malta’s rolling hills and valleys. For keen hikers looking to experience the outdoors (and appreciate history simultaneously), a Victoria Lines trek is one of the best things to do in Malta and Gozo.
36 – Sample all the cocktails at Thirsty Barber (Valletta)
Looking to wet your whistle? Keen to let your hair down and party a little? Then Thirsty Barber, a notorious prohibition-style bar is ready to satisfy every single one of your beverage needs. Thanks to their expert bartenders, this watering hole is regularly spoken of as the island’s premier cocktail destination, with the colorful drinks sure to light up any social media feed.
37 – Sunbake, then hike at Gnejna Bay Beach
Found not too far from Għajn Tuffieħa Bay, Gnejna Bay Beach is smaller and more secluded, meaning that it’s often exceptionally quiet and peaceful. While many visitors love nothing more than to nap on the sand, the experience isn’t complete without a 15-minute trek to the nearby Qarraba Bay — one of the most beautiful coastal walks in the country.
38 – Let the kids cool off at Bugibba Water Park
While not a water park in the traditional sense (there’s no heart-racing water slides or lazy rivers), Bugibba Water Park does provide a free (for 20 minutes), safe, and fun place for kids to cool off on a hot summer’s day. While the youngsters run around in the pools and fountains, the adults can sit back in the shaded cafe area, recharging their own batteries.
39 – Get ready to party at Gianpula Club!
With nine different clubbing and partying venues all under the same address, the Gianpula Club is the one-stop-shop for a wild night out. All of the clubs — some indoor, some outdoor; some high-energy, some more relaxed — vary their music, ensuring that no matter your taste or tempo, you’ll find something up your alley.
40 – Jet ski around Malta
Feel the thrill of 100+ horsepower as you skid atop the waves, staring in awe at the coastline — that’s the experience you can expect if you rent a jet ski in Malta. Whether you’re staying in Valetta, on the island of Gozo, or even visiting Comino for a day, there’s no shortage of rental options available.
41 – Go underground at the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum
One of the most impressive underground historical places to visit in Malta — scratch that, in all of Europe, the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola spans multiple levels, features countless chambers, and dates back all the way to 2500 B.C. It’s the only known prehistoric underground temple in the world, and it’s not to be missed.
42 – Grab a ticket to the Isle of MTV Festival!
If you happen to be visiting this Mediterranean oasis in June or July, scratch everything off your bucket list and move the Isle of MTV Festival to the top! This annual extravaganza brings world-famous artists from near and far (Martin Garrix, Rudimental, and Bebe Rexha, just to name a few), and over 50,000 screaming fans, creating an atmosphere unlike anything else.
43 – Check out the views from Fort St. Angelo
Smack-bang in the middle of the Grand Harbour in Birgu, Fort St. Angelo not only offers spectacular views of the surrounding waters, but also provides a fascinating insight into over 800 years worth of local history. The fort, just a short boat ride from Valletta, is typically open Thursday through Sunday, making it an easy activity to fit into any day of exploring.
44 – Grab a table at Rampila
Foodies, if you’re hunting for things to do in Malta and places to eat in Valletta, then Rampila should be a top priority. Situated in the historic bastions and overlooking the entrance to the City of Valletta, Rampila serves mouth-watering meals for every palate — choose from fresh fish, Maltese goat cheese parcels, juicy steaks, and so much more. But it’s far more than just a simple eatery; Rampila also boasts a fully-stocked bar, terrace, and educational exhibition.
Do you know any other fun activities to do in Malta & Gozo? Do not hesitate to comment below!