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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 I will show you 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 about a place before visiting and not enjoy it there. I always say that I am learning so I can enjoy myself 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, and the places that are a must to see. When I travel, I appreciate everything, not only the view.


MARSAXLOKK fishing village in Malta

IF YOU LOVE VISITING ISLANDS AS MUCH AS I DO, CHECK MY POSTS ABOUT GRAN CANARIA AND TENERIFE, IN SPAIN.

5 Days itinerary:




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 perfect. I booked an amazing room with The Golden Tulip Vivaldi in St Julian’s, the city being ideally situated and having great bus connections. I was so happy with the room 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 excellent service at the hotel. The breakfast was amazing, and the view from the restaurant was breath-taking. I also need to admit that I spent my nights watching Disney Channel, and I enjoyed every second of it!


The Golden Tulip Vivaldi in St Julian’s Malta

The bus system is excellent around Valletta, Sliema, and 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 summertime. The streets are old and not appropriately built, so between the big cities is an adventure to go by car or bus. Even 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.


 

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 changed into some summery clothes because in the UK it was freezing that morning and left the hotel to see around. My walk started from St Julian’s beach, a 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 St Julian Bay for food because my stomach had been 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.


St Julians waterfront in Malta

 

DAY 2 – VALLETTA AND THE THREE CITIES

Valletta is the capital of Malta and a UNESCO heritage site, having 320 monuments in an area of 55 ha, making it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. The beauty of its streets is created by these old buildings that kept their original look, unlike the other capitals of the world, where you can only see new buildings, skyscrapers and huge hotel chains. The city is surrounded by water on three sides, so anywhere you go, you have a fantastic view of the vintage city and the sea. The city's streets are up and down on the hills, creating perfect spots for admiring it and restaurants and pubs put outside tables to give the customers a great place for food and drinks.


My hotel was in St Julian’s, so I took the bus in the morning and stopped at the Valletta bus station at the city's entrance. The city is protected by a fortress, so the access is very unique, having a big piazza with a fountain and then the actual entrance to the city. My itinerary included most of the must-see places in Valletta and the Three Cities, and it was as follows:


TRITON FOUNTAIN


The fountain is an impressive work of art, but what I liked the most was that it was created, along with the piazza and the fortress, an incredible entrance to the city. It is a very touristic place and can be easily observed by the number of tourists around, taking photos and enjoying the weather.


TRITON FOUNTAIN in Malta

CAFÉ CORDINA


A very traditional and unique café shop that was there since 1837, where I stopped first for coffee and cakes. I needed my morning coffee, and I decided to pair it with a Maltese speciality, the cannoli ricotta cake. I loved the cake so much that I had to try it again, but the one from this café was the best I tried in the country.


STREETS OF VALLETTA


After I had my coffee, I was happy and ready to start exploring this city. I started walking around the city between the streets and admired all the beautiful balconies and doors that Malta is famous for. Everywhere you turn, there is a beautiful street you want to walk on, so it may take you more than you think to go around.


FORT ST ELMO, THE MARINA AND THE SEA VIEWS


Going around the streets, I finally got to the end of the city at Fort St Elmo and decided to go on the shoreside, from the Fort to the Marina. It is impressive how you can see three different cities (Sliema, Gzira and Ta’Xbiex) on the other side only on this short walk. The walk is entirely worth it!


Sunset in Valletta, Malta

THE THREE CITIES: VITTORIOSA (IL BIRGU), COSPICUA (BORMLA) AND SENGLEA (L’ISLA)


My walk on the left side of the city brought me back to the Triton fountain, where the bus station was, so I decided to take the bus to Vittoriosa, explore the Three Cities and come back in time to see the sunset in Valletta. The bus left me at the entrance of Vittoriosa, so I started walking into the city and then around the Marina. Each of the Three Cities has a mix of forts, bastions and churches to explore and great views across the harbour to Valletta. Going around the Marina, I passed from Vittoriosa to Cospicua and Senglea.


LOWER AND UPPER BARRAKKA GARDENS

Coming back to Valletta, I first went to the Lower Barrakka Gardens, where you have a great view of the open sea, harbour entrance and the War Siege Memorial. Going from Lower to Upper Barrakka Gardens, I stopped for a pizza and a glass of wine at Cibo, a great Italian restaurant in the city's heart. I was planning to take some lovely sunset photos at the Upper Barrakka Gardens, but my plans changed when I arrived there. The place is amazing for a picnic and for the views over the grand harbour but was not what I had in mind, so I decided to go to the Marina and take the ferry to Sliema, this way catching the sunset on the boat, and the result was exactly what I hoped for.


I would recommend doing all of this in two days or two afternoons, don’t be like me and walk the whole day without stopping, but it was completely worth it. Living in Birmingham or anywhere in the UK, you will feel like home in Malta, but in a good way. The traces of British rule are very prominent, but you can count on good weather and great views.


 

DAY 3 – MDINA, RABAT AND BUGIBBA

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. During this time, I had time to shop for 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 roads 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 chance 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 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 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 city's streets.



After a stroll around the city, I took a bus to Buggiba in the hope that I would 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 chicken, but it was properly cooked and melted in the mouth. Pepinos is also famous for its great views on the terrace across Spinola Bay, and it is tough 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.


Buggiba sunset in Malta

 

DAY 4 – BLUE LAGOON, COMINO AND GOZO

At least this is what I would recommend you do! I booked a fantastic 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 at 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 on 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 an excellent 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 Pretty Bay, which 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 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 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 colourful fishing boats are taken in this place. I stopped first to have lunch because I was hungry and thirsty after carrying around my luggage for half of the day. Because of the large number of recommendations online, I had lunch at Tartarun, where I ordered their seafood linguine and some wine, and I would also recommend it further. Great food, a lovely place, and it was full, but I was lucky to get a table.


MARSAXLOKK marina fishing village in Malta

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 come for the fish market to buy fresh fish for the week. I spent some time taking a lot of photos of all the interesting boats in the harbour and enjoyed a little sun before taking the bus to Luqa.


I arrived at 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 tough, 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!


RECOMMENDATIONS WHEN VISITING MALTA:


  • 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! Italian cuisine has a strong influence on the food in Malta, and if you love seafood as much as I do, you will be in food heaven.


Sunset in Malta

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