Malta Sightseeing Itinerary: A 24 Hour Guide | While I'm Young (2022)

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Malta is a sun-drenched island known for its historic sights and glittering blue water. The destination’s British influence makes sightseeing in Malta easy for English speakers and its peeling painted ochre buildings and multicoloured doorways give the island an easy charm.

But is it possible to ‘do’ Malta in a day? You’d struggle to walk around Malta in 24 hours, but the island is simple to get around on public transport and you can pack lots of Malta’s top sights into one day –if you follow this Malta itinerary, that is.

I jetted off to the Mediterranean island on a super short weekend break to find out. Here’s how I squeezed all of the best things to do in Malta in to one day.

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This was a landmark trip for me because itmeans I can now tick ‘Visit 30 countries by the age of 30’ off my bucket list!

We spent our day solely on mainland Malta, although when (not if) I go back, a boat trip to Goza is definitely part of the plan.

My one day Malta sightseeing itinerary

This Malta sightseeing guide will give you inspiration for what to do in Malta and help you plan your trip with information about where to stay, what to order in local restaurants and lots more helpful Malta travel tips.

Grab breakfast

Fuel up for a day of sightseeing in Malta with breakfast at popular spot Crudo Cafe. They serve fresh juices, pastries and gluten-free options.

Head to Balluta Bay

Balluta Bay is in St Julien’s and is a handy spot for sunbathing on the flat rocks at low tide. It’s a popular place to swim, snorkel and even dive.

We spent a good ten minutes squealing in delight over the brightly coloured boats bobbing gaily in the deliciously blue water.

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The town rises from the water, a hotchpotch of buildings – homes, hotels and shops all piled haphazardly on top of one another.

Wander Saint Julian’s

Saint Julian’shas a true island-town vibe and you get the feeling that the local community is as tight-knit as its clusters of shabby stone buildings. Until you hear said locals shouting at each other, that is.

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The town’s skyline is a mash of neo-gothic churchesand art nouveau apartment buildings,together with terraced townhouses in the local take onGeorgian-style architecture.

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Have coffee at the Marina

Next, make your wayalong the waterfront to the Portomaso Marina, where gleaming giant yachts and luxury hotels replace the old town’s fishing boats and shabby buildings.

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Explore Valetta

Next, stroll up to the centre of Valetta, aka ‘The Humble City’. Valetta is one of the smallest capital cities in the world, but its 0.8km are chock full of historic sites, monuments and charm.

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After some map shuffling, we delved into Valetta’s core.

Republic Street is the never-ending spine of Valetta, filled with locals going about their days.

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Walkingaround Valetta for the first time makes you feel that youcould lean on a corner and disappear down one of itsdevious little alleyways.

Check out these Valetta tours and activities to learn more about the city.

See the cathedral

St. John Co-Cathedral is one of thetop things to see in Valetta.The Roman Catholic cathedral was built between 1572 and 1577.

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Find the best views in Malta

We made our way to Upper Barrakka Gardens, the highest point in Malta, for sweeping vistas of the Grand Harbour and the ‘Three Cities’: Senglea, Vittoriosa and Kalkara. This was probably my favourite place to visit in Malta. The views are just breathtaking!

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Barrakka Gardens waswhere the Knights hung out back in the day. It’s a pretty shaded area to cool off in during your day exploring Malta, if the Maltese sun is wearing you out.

Sail to the Three Cities

The sleepy activity of the Maltese morning all around us, we wandered down to the water’s edge. Shunning the ferry, we hitched a ride on a tiny fishing boat for 3 Euros across to the Three Cities.

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Discover the Three Cities

We quickly discovered that Malta’s fortified Three Cities arefull of delightful curiosities. One of them dates back to the Middle Ages and they’re all wonderfully picturesque yet somehow, devoid of tourists. Well, except us two eager beavers.

The yacht marina is a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new.

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We could have spent hours wandering the tangle of ochre streets that were just big enough to drive a car down (though very few bothered).

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Learn more about the Three Cities on one of the below tours.

Eat a typical Malta snack for lunch

We ate a cheap Maltese lunch on a rickety table in a lively little square: warm, flaky pastizzis filled with ricotta cheese.

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See if you can find the best knockers in Malta!

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Get lost in Mdina

Next, we went toexplore one of the top attraction in Malta: thehistorical capital city of Mdina.

Mdina’s city walls are still standing, and the sand coloured Medieval streets are home to around 300 people – though you wouldn’t be judged for thinking it was uninhabited.

Mdina’s nickname is ‘The Silent City’ and I imagine it can be quite eerie at night time.

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Labyrinth-like Mdina, its sinuous veins leading to peculiar doorways and fairytale courtyards, is one of Malta’s main tourist attractions. There are restaurants within the city walls, and you could spend an ideal golden hour watching the sun set from one of their crevices.

The buildings in Mdina area curious mix ofNormanandBaroquearchitecture styles.

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You can book a guided tour of the Mdina or one of Malta’s many other historic sights.

Watch the sun set

After a long day of Malta sightseeing (and most likely, two sore feet!), it’s beer o’ clock.

We caught the bus back to the other side of the island and sipped some beers at a bar near the harbour while the sun set.

If you’d prefer to do some kind of activity as the sun goes down on your day of Malta sightseeing, how about a boat trip? Check out the options below.

Eat dinner at a top restaurant in Malta

There are plenty of good restaurants in Malta if you know where to look. Among the highest rated that serve local food are Rebekah’s Restaurant, Acqua Terra E Mare in St Julian’s, which has harbour views, and The Medina Restaurant in – you guessed it –Mdina.

Experience nightlife in Malta

We had done our research and knew exactly where to go in Malta at night.

After dinner, we spilled down into the ‘strip’ in Saint Julian’s. I was the best dancer in Malta until I jammed my finger in a door, Emma puked and we both decided we loved Malta.

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More things to do in Malta

If you’ve exhausted all of the places to visit in this Malta travel guide, check out some alternative attractions below.

Best tours and excursions in Malta

Got longer than one day in Malta? You can use the extra time to visit Gozo, Malta’s sister island. Unwind on a lazy boat trip or hop off the boat and onto a quad bike –it’s up to you!

Check out some available tours from Malta on GetYourGuide below.

The best way to get around Malta

A hop-on-hop-off Malta sightseeing bus tour is a great way to easily take in all of the top Malta sights if you’re short on time. Check prices here.

Public bus tickets in Malta cos just 2 Euros (1.50 in Winter) and are valid for two hours. As long as you’re back at the bus stop after each new attraction in time, you could get two rides on one ticket. Sneaky or brilliant?

If you would prefer a private experience or a guided tour, check out some of the options below.

How to get to Malta

You can fly to Malta International airport, which is southwest of Valetta, and travel from there to your hotel. There are buses, but we found them quite confusing.

You can arrange a private transfer to your hotel from the airport for ease of mind.

Where to stay in Malta

Valetta

If you’re planning on doing lots of sightseeing in Malta, Valetta is the best place to stay as it’s where the museums and a lot of the historic sights in Malta are to be found.

Rosselli is probably the best five-star hotel in Valetta and it has a rooftop bar with sea views, but Palazzo Consiglia has a rooftop pool. On the cheaper end of the scale, The Waterfront is in an excellent location overlooking the harbour.

Sliema and St. Julian’s

There are plenty of bars, shops and restaurants in Sliemaand St. Julian’s, which are both coastal towns so perfect for anyone looking to be close to the sea while visiting Malta.

Check out the ultra stylish AX The Palace Malta in Sliema, or Palazzo Violetta for modern luxury without the hefty price tag.

In St. Julien’s, Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort is the place to stay for luxury while H Hotel is an adults-only oasis at a reasonable price.

Best budget area to stay in Malta

Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay are popular with tourists on a budget. Qawra Palace Hotel looks to be the best bet, with guesthouses like The Bucchaneers being the best option for cash-strapped backpackers hoping to do some sightseeing in Malta.

Use the booking.com map below to find the best accommodation in Malta for you.

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Save money on your Malta trip using my Travel Resources

Is gorgeous Malta on your bucket list? Has this guide given you ideas for what to do in Malta? Let me know in the comments and if you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.

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