Things to do in Malta: Travelzoo Deal Experts share their tips
Malta is only a small Mediterranean archipelago - home to less than half a million people - but despite its diminutive size, it manages to cram in a huge amount of historical sites and relics for culture buffs, and enough bars and restaurants to satisfy even the most avid foodie. It's also a favourite with many of our Deal Experts, so who better to guide you through its narrow, winding streets?
The following Deal Experts from Travelzoo’s London and Manchester offices contributed to this post: Stephen Dunk (SD), Melissa Motmans (MM), Michelle Brister (MB), Aurora Johnson (AJ) and Claire Stapleton (CS).
Places to eat & drink in Malta
"There's also a new place called The Thirsty Barber in Paceville, which has amazing cocktails. It’s a little bit pricier than everywhere else, but it's worth the extra euro."
CS: "It's definitely worth visiting the capital city, Valletta, while in Malta, as it's such a pretty place. If you do, be sure to eat at Scoglitti Restaurant - it has brilliant sea views and tasty seafood."
SD: "Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar is an exceptional old palazzo with wonderful grounds. You can eat outside in lovely surroundings, and it has very good food - especially for lunch. I’ve been to a couple of parties there and it’s fabulous. Caviar & Bull in St Julian’s has very imaginative dishes - almost alchemy - and a molecular menu, which is amazing! The chef Marvin Gauci also has the trendy Buddhamann bar and restaurant, which serves Asian food.
"Pearl Beach is the new "in" beach club. There's an excellent restaurant and it's a great space for sunbathing."
Free things to do in Malta
MM: "Mdina Glass factory is something you must do when you are in Malta - it's free and a really cool thing to see, with a nice show."
SD: "There's a gorgeous walk along the coastline and around the countryside from Marsaxlokk to Marsaskala - get up early make the most of the stunning sunrises."
"For sunbathing, swimming and cliff-diving, head to in Delimara - it has 6-metre-deep, crystal-clear waters. It's like looking into an aquarium when you're wearing your mask and snorkel!"
If you do one thing in Malta, make sure it’s…
Anyone not fazed by the slightly macabre should head for St Paul's Catacombs in Rabat - this underground complex of connected tombs covers an area of around two square kilometres, and is the earliest evidence of Christianity on the island, in use until around the 4th century.
SD: "Mdina is just a lovely hilltop walled city, the old medieval capital - great to explore and there are no cars at all."
Activities & tours
Malta has always been a popular destination for walkers, with miles of beautiful coastline and dozens of little villages dotted around the island. However, cycling is now taking off for those looking for a higher-octane holiday. Gozo is small enough to cycle around in a day, and has an array of hidden bays, archaeological sites and stunning panoramic views.
Of course, you don't have to keep your feet on the ground to explore the islands - there are around 1,700 rock climbing routes, but the island's real treasures lay offshore - it is one of the Med's top diving destinations. Check out the Visit Malta site for a handy list of dive centres.
MB: "We did a sightseeing bus tour, which is the easiest way to see Malta - one day we did the north, and the other day the south. The island is very small and this way you can make sure you have seen the best parts."
AJ: "Malta is a paradise for history-lovers, but the famous three cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua are a highlight. It was here that the Knights of St John first settled in medieval times, and these cities are still packed with amazing sights today, like the Fort St Angelo in Vittoriosa, the views over the Grand Harbour from Senglea, and Cospicua's marina, which is great for an evening stroll."
SD: "The Mnajdra megalithic temples in Qrendi, near Zurrieq, date back to 3500 BC - they are just mind blowing!"
What you might not know…
SD: "The Maltese are very pro-British and they were awarded the George Cross in the war."
"The Queen lived in Malta, too, when the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed there with the royal navy. There is a long naval history, because the grand harbour is very deep; its strategic position meant the island was bombed a lot during World War II."