Malta is a tiny island nation, measuring only 27x14km. Its size makes it easy to get around, and all of the top attractions can be seen on day trips from the capital, Valletta. You can read my itinerary for 2 days in Valletta here, and then if you have longer in the country here are 5 fun day trips to see more of Malta on a visit to this beautiful little country.
Malta’s main island (home to Valletta) neighbours the island of Gozo, so it’s just a short hop across the water to visit it (there are regular ferries from Ċirkewwa). Gozo encompasses storybook scenery, beautiful cliffs, and it’s even smaller than the main island, so you can see many of its prime sights in a day. Making a full day trip of a visit to Gozo will enable to you to see a lot of what the island has to offer, whether that’s hiking the coastal path for sea views, bike riding through the windy streets, visiting the sites, or taking a boat trip around the Inland Sea to see some impressive cliff faces.
All roads on Gozo lead to The Citadel and on a clear day it can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. Much of it now lies in ruins but some buildings have been restored and it is interesting to visit with amazing views and an incredible history involving Barbary Corsairs, Saracen Raiders, Knights of St John and others.
I also recommend visiting the Ta’Pinu Basilica. It’s located in the middle of nowhere, but the basilica is an important pilgrimage site for the Maltese people. In 1883, a local woman heard the voice of the Virgin Mary from what was then just a chapel – a series of further miracles followed so the villagers built the church bigger and bigger to honour the Virgin Mary – being completed in 1931.
Also in Gozo you can visit the Marsalforn salt pans. These salt pans are over 350 years old, and span over 3km. The pans are still utilised today by several families, and during the high season you can purchase some from vendors at the side of the road.
2. Dingli Cliffs
The Dingli Cliffs are are the highest point on the Maltese Islands, and are a great place for a windswept walk. I’ll be honest – they were a little underwhelming, but still worth a visit. You can also lunch on local Maltese delicacies like rabbit stew at Bobbyland, overlooking the beautiful sea views. I don’t think the cliffs need a full day, so a nice leisurely start and a post-lunch walk means it won’t take too much time out of your schedule.
You could also add in a boat trip visit to the Blue Grotto, and a visit to Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Prehistoric Temples, which are a bit like an undercover mini Stone Henge!
3. Mdina and Rabat
Mdina, also called the Silent City, is surrounded by fortified walls and sits on top of one of the highest hills of Malta. Stone walls encircle the narrow lanes, and much of its original Medieval architecture has been preserved. It feels like an Arabic citadel, with beautiful mansions and convents – and the restaurants on the city walls are perfect for lunch. Whilst there, you could visit the cathedral, Bishop’s palace, or the National Museum of Natural History.
After lunch head on to the neighbouring village of Rabat, which feels rural and local. It’s also home to an excavated Roman villa and some spooky catacombs – in use up to the 4th Century AD, they represent the earliest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta.
4. Playmobil Fun Park
If you have children with you (or if you don’t in my case), then the Playmobil Fun Park is a great trip out. A short bus ride to the middle of nowhere will bring you to a Playmobil production factory. There are tours around the factory where you can see Playmobil being made, as well as make your own characters! There are also a number of themed rooms with lots of Playmobil to play with, and a few outdoor areas as well with giant dinosaurs and the like. The big kid in me loved it!
At the Playmobil Fun Park
Marsaxlokk is home to Malta’s biggest fish market, selling everything from sharks to oysters. The market happens on a Sunday, where you’ll find brightly painted fishing boats bobbing in the harbour and delicious food to indulge in at the harbourfront restaurants. Though it’s also worth visiting on other days of the week, when it is much more tranquil and you can see the fishermen fixing their nets in the harbour. Overall though, I’d say you don’t need more than half a day here and I’d prioritise other day trips above it.
And that rounds off 5 day trips from Valletta which will enable you to explore more of beautiful Malta. Thank you so much for reading – stay safe and happy travelling!