Maltese Archipelago, Malta
The Maltese archipelago is located in the center of the Mediterranean, between Sicily and the North African coast, and consists of the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino.
On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about must-see places, beaches, local delicacies, and ferries to/from Malta. Take a look at our travel tips and available crossings, and book your ferry tickets without hidden fees!
Discover more about Malta and its islands:
One of the beautiful main streets in the center of Valletta, Malta
Vacation in Malta
Malta is one of the most popular destinations during the summer, but the island offers so many attractions and activities that it's perfect all year round.
Families, groups of friends, couples, or singles will find a place here to relax, but also have fun. With its history, art, sea, beautiful countryside, and good food, Malta and its islands are ready to create truly authentic moments.
To fully enjoy all the beauty of Malta, Gozo and Comino, you need at least a week. Alternatively, you can spend 2-3 days exploring Valletta, Mdina and St. Julian's, combining a few day trips to the islands.
How to get to Malta
You can reach Malta by ferry or plane.
By taking the ferry from the town of Pozzallo in Sicily, you can reach Valletta in less than 2 hours. This way, you can enjoy a beautiful crossing, admire the historic port of Valletta from the sea and also board your vehicle. Find out more about ferries to Malta in the section below.
As for the plane, several airlines offer daily flights to the island from many cities in Italy and Europe. Malta International Airport is located in Luqa, 5 km from Valletta, and is served by 4 bus lines connecting it to various localities around Malta.
Once in Malta, you can easily get around the island and also visit the nearby Gozo and Comino for an island-hopping adventure in the Maltese archipelago.
The beautiful landscape of Valletta's Grand Harbour
What to do in Malta
Your journey to Malta begins in Valletta, the island’s capital. With more than 300 monuments, this city brings together churches, palaces and forts, and is also full of craft shops.
In addition to Valletta, there are other historic cities not to be missed, such as Mdina (one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world), Rabat (with its Roman catacombs) or the famous Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua), built by the Knights of Malta.
But Malta is also an ideal destination for those who love nature, breathtaking views and unspoiled places. Get ready to admire scenic cliffs, sea caves and stunning underwater landscapes!
Among the to-dos is the excursion to Gozo, a paradise for sports lovers. Here, you can try snorkeling, rock climbing and hiking.
Then, take the ferry from Malta or Gozo and reach the beautiful Comino! The small island has very few inhabitants, but its Blue Lagoon is among the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Malta is also known for its party scene, with cool clubs and discos for all ages.
Fun fact: Malta was also a prominent Game of Thrones filming location. The Azure Window, Mdina, Fort Manoel, and the Mtahleb Cliffs are just some of the places where the series was shot.
Beaches in Malta
One of the reasons so many people visit Malta is its sea. Although the coastline mostly consists of rocky bays and caves, there are also stretches of sand and coves. In Malta and its islands, you will find both equipped beaches and unspoiled places ideal for those who want to escape the crowds.
However, it would be impossible to talk about all of them, so we have selected the top 8 beaches in Malta:
- Golden Bay: located on Malta’s west coast and surrounded by beautiful vegetation, it is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It has golden sand, crystal-clear waters and several amenities. The seabed is shallow, making it a perfect place for families with children.
- Paradise Bay: this is a small bay located on the north coast and enclosed between two promontories. It has fine sand and rocks, and stunning turquoise waters. There is also a natural cave a short distance away. Nearby you can also find some kiosks and a restaurant.
- Ramla Bay (Gozo): famous for its fantastic reddish sand, this is the perfect place to relax in a beautiful natural setting. The beach is equipped with a restaurant and several kiosks, and it can be reached from the town of Nadur or by bus from Victoria. Just a little further west of the bay, you'll also find the famous Calypso's Cave.
- Dwejra Bay (Gozo): among the most picturesque on the island, it owes its fame to the Azure Window (collapsed in 2017). It is not a sandy beach, so it is advisable to wear water shoes. Here you will find the beautiful Blue Hole, ideal for diving enthusiasts.
- Blue Lagoon (Comino): one of the most famous beaches, it is a wild and charming place that attracts many visitors every year. The entire lagoon is surrounded by beautiful vegetation and its waters are crystal clear with cobalt blue reflections. The perfect spot for snorkeling lovers.
- Imgiebah Bay: located in the north of Malta, it is a small, secluded and uncrowded beach where you can spend a relaxing day. There are no facilities and the landscape is untouched. Keep in mind that in order to reach it you have to travel along a fairly winding dirt road.
- Ghajn Tuffieha: popular among the locals, it is a tranquil beach in northwest Malta. It is also an archaeological site where you can admire ancient Roman ruins. It has golden sand and calm turquoise waters, making it ideal for families with children. The beach is public and you have to descend 200 steps to reach it.
- St. Peter's Pool: little-known and far from mass tourism, it is a rocky bay located at the tip of Delimara. Its waters shimmer with different colors and they are perfect for snorkeling. It is not difficult to reach, but there are no facilities, so it is advisable to come prepared.
The striking cliffs of St. Peter's Pool, Malta
Sightseeing in Malta
In addition to its beautiful beaches, Malta’s archipelago holds so many historical, artistic and natural treasures. From fortified cities to gilded cathedrals and UNESCO archaeological sites, there are plenty of activities for culture lovers.
Among the most beautiful cultural and natural attractions to discover in Malta, we recommend:
Top Cultural Attractions in Malta
- St. John's Co-Cathedral (Valletta)
- Upper Barrakka Gardens (Valletta)
- Republic Street, a 1 km pedestrian street (Valletta)
- Grandmaster's Palace (Valletta)
- National Museum of Fine Arts (Valletta)
- Fort Ricasoli (Valletta)
- The Three Cities of Malta (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua also known as Birgu, Isla and Bormla)
- The St Julian's to Sliema waterfront promenade
- The historic town of Rabat
- The fishing village of Marsaxlokk
- The Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady (also known as the Rotunda of Mosta)
- Anchor Bay and Popeye Village
- Malta’s National Aquarium (Qawra)
- Saint Agatha's Tower or the Red Tower (Marfa)
- Megalithic Temples of Tarxien, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and Ggantija
- Hal Saflieni Hypogeum (Paola)
- The Cittadella (Victoria, Gozo)
- The Ta' Pinu Sanctuary (Gozo)
- Saint Mary's Tower (Comino)
- The fortified medieval town of Mdina and its buildings
The magnificent Mdina illuminated at night
Malta's most beautiful natural attractions
- The Blue Grotto, 2 km from the town of Zurrieq
- St. Peter's Pool (Marsaxlokk)
- The Dingli Cliffs, the highest point in Malta
- Ghar Dalam, Malta's oldest prehistoric site (Birżebbuġa)
- The Azure Window (Gozo)
- The Ta' Ċenċ Cliffs (Gozo)
- The Saltpans of Xwejni (Gozo)
- Fungus Rock (Gozo)
- Calypso's Cave (Gozo)
- The Wied il Mielah canyon (Gozo)
- The Comino Caves
The extraordinary natural arch of the Blue Grotto, 43 m high
Nightlife in Malta
Malta is among the most exciting European destinations for those seeking nightlife and vibrant entertainment.
Malta's most famous clubs are located in St. Julian's, especially in the Paceville district. Here, you will find clubs and discos with free entry, to dance the night away to the rhythm of Latin, reggae and techno music.
During the summer, open-air clubs, such as Cafè del Mar in the Qawra area, are more popular. Pub crawls as well as pool and boat parties are also sought-after entertainment options for locals and tourists alike.
In addition, Malta hosts concerts and local events of great interest. One of these is the End of Summer Fest, which lasts for 3 days.
On the other hand, Gozo and Comino are quieter destinations, but even here it is possible to find some evening entertainment, especially during the summer.
Food in Malta
Malta has been the crossroads between Europe and Northern Africa for centuries, something which is also reflected in its cuisine. The blend of Arab and Mediterranean flavors creates unique recipes with fish, meat and beloved street food delights.
Here are some must-try dishes in Malta:
- pastizzi (phyllo pastry filled with ingredients such as ricotta or peas)
- Maltese rabbit stew
- fenek moqli (fried rabbit)
- timpana (a type of baked pasta)
- Maltese ftira (a disc-shaped semi-flat bread)
- hobz biz-zejt (similar to bruschetta)
- bigilla (broad bean and garlic dip)
- goat cheese
- Maltese olives and capers
- lampuki pie
- brunġiel mimli (stuffed aubergines)
- kinnie (a bittersweet soft drink made from orange)
Useful tip: in the town of Gzira, 5 km from Valletta, Mr. Maxims bakery bakes Malta's best pastizzi every day.
The mouth-watering Maltese pastizzi
Tips for Malta
Here are 9 tips that we hope will be useful to you before and during your trip to Malta:
- To fully explore Malta, we recommend renting a car. Prices are very affordable.
- Remember to pack an adapter as the power plug sockets in Malta are of type G.
- By purchasing the Malta Discount Card, you will be entitled to discounts on many museums and monuments.
- Every Sunday in the village of Marsaxlokk, the famous fish market takes place. In addition to seafood, you can find a variety of souvenirs and enjoy a budget-friendly lunch at the harbor restaurants.
- If you love the underwater world, you should book a snorkeling excursion to Gozo and Comino. Through various private tours, you can explore the rich seabed far from the classic tourist destinations.
- Malta offers many activities for families with children. Don't miss the Playmobil Fun Park (with a beautiful playground and a toy factory to visit) and the Popeye Village (the film set of the musical feature film Popeye).
- If you decide to visit Mdina, keep in mind that a traditional mode of transport here is the karozzin, a horse-drawn carriage. You can either do this or explore the citadel on foot and get lost in its narrow streets.
- On June 29th, Malta celebrates Imnarja, the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. The most beautiful celebrations take place in Buskett and Rabat, with music, performances, dancing, bonfires, food stalls, and even a donkey and horse race
- If you're looking for the best local souvenirs to buy in Malta, you should focus on handmade glassware, lace, cheeses, and traditional liqueurs.
Hand blown glass Christmas decorations displayed in a small store in Malta
Useful information about Malta
Malta is not a very large island, but each region has a different character. In cities like Valletta, Mdina or Rabat, there is a quieter atmosphere, while Sliema or St. Julian's are seaside resorts suitable for those looking for a more lively environment.
In Malta, there are various accommodation options and prices are quite affordable. If you’re looking after a more authentic experience, we recommend staying in Mdina or Gozo, while the areas of St. Paul's Bay and Mellieha in the northern part are perfect for those who want to enjoy a seaside vacation. Valletta is, however, the most central and well-connected location on the island.
Like Malta, Gozo also offers many services to its visitors, but most of them can be found in Victoria. Comino, on the other hand, is the smallest of the 3 islands and only has 4 permanent residents. Given its size, it has 1 hotel and 1 campsite that is very popular in summer.
Regarding healthcare facilities, Malta has 2 hospitals: Mater Dei (in the center of the island, between Birkirkara and Msida) and the General Hospital in Gozo.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Malta
Here are some useful contacts to keep within reach during your trip to Malta:
- Gozo Hospital: +35621561600
- Malta Hospital: +35625450000
- Police: +35621224001-7
- Malta Public Transports Bus: +35621222000
- Gozo Passport Office: +35621560770
- Malta Passport Office: +35621222286
- Helicopter Emergency Rescue: +35621244371
- Coast guard rescue: +35621238797
- Veterinary emergencies: +35650043888
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Malta
In Malta, the best means of getting around are either by car or public transport. Even though the island is compact enough to drive across in 1 hour, it can be problematic to do so in the city due to the tight road curves and one-way streets. Parking spaces are also limited, so it is always best to look for parking outside the city walls and continue on foot or by using public transport.
There are no trams or trains on the island and the only means of transportation is by bus. Bus routes are operated by Malta Public Transport. Bus tickets are sold exclusively on board.
As for Gozo, the best means of getting around are by car and motorcycle, but you can also enjoy the island's landscapes by bicycle. Comino, on the other hand, is only 3.5 km² in size, so it can easily be explored on foot or by bike.
Another experience to try in Malta is a boat tour, which allows you to explore the coast and make stops at some points that are inaccessible on foot.
Useful info: if you decide to rent a car, remember that in Malta they drive in the English style and you must be at least 21 years old by law. Additionally, the speed limit on national roads is 80 km/h on the open road and 50 km/h in built-up areas.
Ports in Malta
Malta and its islands have some larger ports and a number of smaller harbors.
There are 2 main ports in Valletta: the Grand Harbour (Porto Grande) and the Marsamxett Harbour, strategically located in the center of the Mediterranean.
The Grand Harbour is situated on the east coast, very close to the historic center, and is Malta's most important port of call. It is a natural harbor that primarily serves routes to Italy, Gozo and Comino. The Marsamxett Harbour, on the other hand, sits on the north-west side of Valletta and is primarily a port dedicated for leisure boats.
Another important port in Malta is the Ċirkewwa port, located to the north and about 30 km from Valletta. Daily ferries to the islands of Gozo and Comino depart from here.
Gozo’s main port, on the other hand, is located in Mgarr, in the southeast of the island. Ferries to Malta and Comino arrive and depart from here every day, and the entire port area is very picturesque.
The Fort Chambray and the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes overlooking Mgarr harbor in Gozo
Island hopping from Malta
During your trip to Malta, you should take the opportunity to visit the nearby islands of Gozo and Comino. You can organize a day trip from Malta to Gozo or go on a day excursion to Comino.
Ferry routes to Gozo from Malta are available from both Valletta and the port of Ċirkewwa (north of the island). The companies operating these routes are Virtu Gozo (Gozo Highspeed) and Gozo Channel, with crossings ranging from 25 to 45 minutes depending on the departure port and operator.
As for the island of Comino, you can visit it from Malta by participating in organized boat trips from St. Julian's, Bugibba and Sliema, or by taking the ferry from the port of Ċirkewwa.
The Ċirkewwa - Comino crossing is operated by local companies Ebsons Ferries and Comino Ferries, and it is active from March to November (with sporadic trips in winter as well). Departures are every 30 or 60 minutes and the ferry journey takes just under half an hour.
You can also reach Comino directly from Gozo by taking the ferry from the port of Mgarr. The Gozo - Comino crossing takes only 15 minutes and there are various local companies and taxi boats operating this route.
Malta ferry: schedules and tickets
If you're wondering how to get to Malta from Italy by ferry, you should know that the only available route at the moment is from Pozzallo, Sicily.
This seaside town in the province of Ragusa is connected year-round to Valletta through the routes of Virtu Ferries.
The Pozzallo - Valletta ferry route is available from 1 to 3 times a day depending on the season and the crossings take 1 hour 45 minutes.
Vehicles can be transported on board the ferries and you can also travel with your pet.
Useful info: until September 2022, it was also possible to reach Malta from the small port of Augusta, in the province of Syracuse in Sicily. The company operating the Augusta - Valletta ferry route was Ponte Ferries, with direct connections. The service is currently suspended, but you can always check for any updates on our page.
The two lighthouses located at the entrance to the port of Valletta, Malta
Book ferry tickets online to Malta
On Ferryhopper, you can book your tickets to Malta and Gozo easily and quickly. Find all available connections on our Map of Ferries and plan your adventure in the Maltese archipelago!