Malta in 4 Days, the Perfect Itinerary for Island Hopping
Malta is a little archipelago between North Africa and Sicily that ticks all the major Mediterranean musts. The main islands of the chain are Malta (the largest), Gozo and Comino – the first being home to Europe’s tiniest capital and the last, the picture-perfect Blue Lagoon. While some travelers plan a week, four days is enough to experience the islands’ best. Spend a long weekend in Malta with this four-day itinerary.
Day 1: The walled city of Valletta
Malta’s limestone-colored capital is so steeped in history that the three-hour walking tour only covers the last 400 years. Valletta has baroque churches, Moorish balconies, medieval architecture and panoramic views; not to mention handmade gelato, delicious pizzas and traditional Maltese food. You’ll want at least a day and a night to explore Valletta – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former European Capital of Culture. Valletta is a compact little city that’s rich in culture and food. We thoroughly enjoyed our time walking the passageways of the Knights.
What to do in Valletta
- Visit all the sightseeing highlights with Colour My Travel’s Complete Valletta Walking Tour
- Overlook the Grand Harbor and Three Cities from the Upper Barrakka Gardens
- See Caravaggio’s ‘Beheading of St. John the Baptist’ in the Co-Cathedral of St. John
- Wander Valletta’s narrow alleys
Where to eat in Valletta
- Share small plates at Grain, Valletta’s new Michelin-starred restaurant
- Try traditional Maltese dishes like rabbit stew (stuffat tal-fenek), fish soup (aljotta) or sea urchin (pasta rizzi) at Rubino
- Create a multi-flavored gelato rose at Amorino Gelato and don’t skip the pistachio
- Sit streetside with a glass of inbid (wine) and local cheese plate at Trabuxu Wine Bar or with a wood-fired oven pizza at San Paolo Naufrago
- Grab a traditional pastizz in the newly restored (and air conditioned) Is-Suq Tal-Belt Food Market – pastizzi are a flaky pastry stuffed with cheese, peas or other savory fillings
Day 2: Day trip to the Blue Lagoon (Comino) and Cominotto Island
Visiting the sister islands of Comino and Cominotto was high on our list; swimming through warm, turquoise waters was too enticing to pass up. The natural attractions include the Blue Lagoon, Cominotto Beach and the uninhabited islands themselves, which make for an active hike with proper footwear and a bottle of water. From the Blue Lagoon you can book additional excursions like a boat tour to Crystal Lagoon or walk across the sandbank to Cominotto Island. There’s also Comino Hotel and Bungalows – a slightly dated hotel with a prime location and private swimming cove – and Saint Mary’s Tower, a manmade fortification from the 1600s.
You can get to the Blue Lagoon from Malta Island a number of ways, including an hourly ferry from Cirkewwa and organized excursions from Sliema and St. Julian’s. There’s no direct boat from Valletta to the Blue Lagoon. Holidays in Malta has the complete rundown on how to get to the Blue Lagoon.
What to pack for the Blue Lagoon
Comino and Cominotto are beautiful but barren with not much on them, including shade – there’s virtually none. There are a few food trucks that sell cold soda, ice cream and other quick bites; and there’s a limited number of beach parasols and chairs for rent in designated areas. When packing for the Blue Lagoon, you’ll want to keep sun protection in mind. It’s better to be prepared than burned:
- Bathing suit
- Sturdy shoes**
- Euros for food trucks or chair rentals
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer
- A bag to take your trash with you off island
** Even if you don’t plan on hiking, sturdy shoes are highly recommended, especially if you want to walk away from the crowds.
Day 3: The Sunday Fish Market in Marsaxlokk and St. Peter’s Pool
Marsaxlokk is a charming little village in the southeast of Malta that’s been the island’s fishing hub since ancient times. The town is home to some of Malta’s best seafood restaurants, an open-air Sunday market and a cerulean swimming cove called St. Peter’s Pool. You’ll want organize your Malta itinerary around visiting Marsaxlokk on a Sunday – it’s the day that the town comes alive. For more on what to see and do check out Sunday in Marsaxlokk.
Day 4: The Blue Hole and Dwejra Inland Sea
Spend the last day of your Maltese adventure visiting two natural wonders – the Blue Hole and Inland Sea in western Gozo. The Blue Hole is a saltwater pool about two cars wide that meets the Mediterranean through a limestone underwater arch. It’s one of the best scuba and freediving sites in all of Malta, but you can also swim or snorkel in and around the hole. Nearby is the Dwejra Inland Sea, an aquamarine lagoon that’s another of Malta’s most popular diving (and sightseeing) sites.
The Blue Hole and Inland Sea are within walking distance of one another in an area called Dwejra on Gozo Island. Dwejra is where the (now collapsed) Azure Window is located, as well as Fungus Rock and the Dwejra Tower. Pack a picnic and spend the day by the sea or take an organized boat tour of the sites. Gozo Island and Dwejra Bay are accessible by public transport.
… And a few more tips
Winter season discounts
October 1st is the start of winter season in Malta, which means less tourists and discounted prices. You’ll save on hotels and tours if you can visit Malta around this time. We were there in October and the weather was still quite lovely.
To rent or not to rent car?
We did this four-day Malta itinerary without a rental car, and used public transport and taxis instead. It was easy to get around especially with eCabs, Malta’s ride-hailing app that’s half the price of the street taxis.
- Navigate dining options with the Malta Michelin Guide
- Figure out bus routes with Malta’s public transport planner
- Charter a boat for a night (or two) with Click & Boat
Last updated March 2020.