One week in Malta, itineraries with things to do based on your type of holiday
One week in Malta is enough to take this small country in all its glory.
However, planning an itinerary could be a little challenging considering all the attractions and their distribution across the 3 islands on the archipelago.
That is where this guide for 7 days in Malta will come in handy.
In this guide, I have organised all my tips to build a one week in Malta itinerary for any kind of holiday, for couples and families, budget or boutique, with or without a car.
So let’s get right to it.
Table of Contents
- 1 One week in Malta – in a nutshell
- 2 One week in Malta on a budget
- 3 Seven days in Malta without car
- 4 Seven days in Malta for families
- 5 One week in Malta for couples
- 6 Getting around Malta
- 7 Frequently asked questions for one week in Malta
One week in Malta – in a nutshell
With one week in Malta, you will be able to explore most of the country, including the highlights as well as the hidden corners.
You can decide to book only one accommodation and from there visit Malta on day trips, or split your stay between two locations to experience both the days and nights in two different places.
Here below a map with the major destinations and the best things to see around the country
The way you can organise your 7 days in Malta really depends on the type of trip you have in mind.
Here below 4 possible itineraries. Leave a comment if you have any question (I usually reply in no-time)
- One week in Malta on a budget: if travelling on a budget, I would split the stay between Valletta and Victoria in Gozo Island. These are the two towns where you can easily find budget accommodations. Moreover, Gozo Island tends to be cheaper overall and a bit stuck in the past with some surprising hidden gems to visit, as the Dwejra Inland Sea used as a film set in the Game of Thrones. Check the detailed day-by-day plan below
- 7 days in Malta without car: with 7 days you can think to either stay the whole week in Valletta or, even better, split the stay between capital of Malta and St Julian to enjoy both the history of the capital and the lifestyle of St Julian with the many bars, restaurants, clubs and a public beach too. From Valletta, you can easily explore by bus the centre-south of the island. From St Julian, you can join a few organised trips or catch a bus and explore the north side of the island with the amazing beaches. Read below the detailed plan for seven days
- For families: when travelling with kids, I usually suggest staying close to the beach and book a single accommodation to avoid stressing out in packing/unpacking (especially when travelling with small children). Mellieha has probably the most child-friendly beach in Malta, wide and shallow. Another option is St Paul’s Bay, either in Bugibba or Qawra. Check below more info for a family stay
- For romantic couples: Birgu, facing Valletta on the Grand Harbour, is one of the most romantic towns in Malta, a medieval maze with local restaurants and bars, great to explore during the day and at night, with the beautiful, enchanting street lights. If you can, however, try to split the week into two locations and book the second accommodation in Victoria (Gozo Island) for a more secluded stay, fewer tourists and more locals. Read below for a romantic trip for couples
Keep reading below for a more detailed day-by-day plan, including also a few suggestions on possible organised tours. These have usually a free cancellation policy up to 24 hours in advance for peace of mind planning (you can always cancel later with no charge)
The best tip here is to book well in advance if you travelling on a budget, that’s when you get the best price.
Usually, you can find the best-priced accommodations in Valletta and Gozo Island. St Julian has also a few options.
In this section, I am going to suggest a 7 days in Malta itinerary starting with a few days in Valletta and following with the remaining part in Victoria.
The sequence really depends on the time of arrival/departure of your flight.
For example, if you have an early morning departure, I would spend the first part of the week in Victoria and then move to the capital of Malta (well connected to the airport).
- Day 1: Arrival day – Assuming you arrive in the morning, you will have the afternoon to wander around Valletta with the sunset at the Hastings Garden, a great spot with a beautiful panoramic view.
- Day 2: Grand Harbour Boat Tour & Iconic Valletta Walk: Start your day off with a 90 minute to 2 hour Grand Harbour Boat Tour of Valletta and other harbour fortified towns. You could then take the rest of the day to explore Valletta itself. The best part is that most of the attractions are within walking distance to each other. Begin your exploration with the St. John’s Co-cathedral which is about a 1 km walk from the port. Then make your way across the street to the National Museum of Archaeology for a couple of hours. Finally, end your day at the Fort St. Elmo for some history and fantastic sunset views. You could also take a guided walking tour instead of exploring alone, which in addition to being affordable is very informative.
- Day 3: Take a day trip to Birgu – Birgu is about 20 minutes away from Valletta and is ideal for a short day trip. Just take the #2 from the stop next to the Triton Fountain. Once there, you have a lot to look forward to, from strolls along the mediaeval streets to the numerous awesome restaurants to check out. Take time for some of Birgu’s iconic attractions, including Malta Maritime Museum, Fort St. Angelo, and The Norman House all with very affordable entrance fees. You can read more on ultimate guide to Birgu, including also the top restaurants on the waterfront.
- Day 4: Marsaxlokk Market & a natural pool – Take a break from all the crowds and visit two of the most beautiful places of Malta, and somehow still not on the beaten path: the charming little fishing village of Marsaxlokk and the St. Peter’s Pool. To get to Marsaxlokk, catch the #81 bus which will take a little over 30 minutes. There is a lot to see including the famous Marsaxlokk Fishing Market which is ideal if you want some of the freshest seafood around. You could also enjoy some more shopping in the main town centre, with some interesting boutique shops. Finally, after exploring the streets of Marsaxlokk, take the afternoon to cool off in St. Peter’s Pool with fun activities like swimming, cliff diving, and even snorkelling.
- Day 5: Transfer to Victoria – Take the bus 41 or 42 to the Cirkewwa Passenger Terminal (about 1 hour). Grab the ferry to Gozo Island and from there grab any bus going to Victoria (there are a few options) where you will stay for the next 2 nights. In the afternoon, explore the town and the Cittadella Fortress (also known as Il-Kastell). You can read my itinerary to Gozo Island in 2 days for more information.
- Day 6: Beach and Salt Pans – Grab the bus 309 to Triq L-Onici. This is a small village close to two great attractions. The first one is the old Salt Pans and the second attraction is Wied il-Ghasri, a coastal gorge with a boutique beach and crystal clear water, a real wonder of nature. Both places are 20 minutes from Triq L-Onici. You can walk between each other using the coastal path where you will spot caves and other salt pans. Exploring Gozo by car will speed up things immensely. Alternatively, you can read about my experience with a tuk-tuk in Gozo.
- Day 7: Time to fly back – Pack up and grab the bus down to the port where you will get the ferry to Malta Island. Once you dock at the Cirkewwa Passenger Terminal you will have two possibilities. Go straight to the airport (direct bus X1) to catch the flight or spend a few hours at the beautiful Paradise Beach (if you do not fancy the walk there you can also go to the beach next to the terminal)
- Hotels in Valletta: 8vilhena (AirBnb style), Valletta Ajkla Mansion (Rooms/Studio), more information on my Where to stay in Malta Guide
- Hotels in Victoria: Maria Townhouse (a great deal in Gozo), The Duke Boutique Hotel (one of the best boutique experiences you can have in Gozo and Malta, read my review)
- Tours: Great value 3-Hours Valletta Walking Tour, Grand Harbour Boat Tour
Valletta is the hub of public transportation and the handiest location to start any day trip by bus.
However, I would try to split the week into two locations, with St Julian being the second great base.
St Julian may lack in medieval walls and historical buildings (something you find every second corner in Valletta) but it will surprise you with its great selection of restaurants and bars, some of which facing the sea.
From St Julian’s, you can get public buses to experience the north of the island or you can easily join organised trips that usually pick you up from your accommodation.
- Day 1: Arrival day – After check-in at the hotel, you can wander around the beautiful Valletta, exploring the narrow streets and the hidden squares. Based on how much time you have left in the day you can also think to join the local walking tour that will guide you to some hidden gems as well as known highlights as the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
- Day 2: Grand Harbour & Iconic sites – Start the day with the Grand Harbour boat tour to see the fortified towns of Valletta, Birgu, Senglea and Karkara from a completely different corner, the seawater. In the afternoon you can visit a few of the iconic and unmissable sites of Valletta as St. John’s Co-cathedral, National Museum of Archaeology, Fort St. Elmo and finish the day at the Hastings Garden (best time to be there is sunset) when you will have a great viewpoint of Manoel Island and Sliema. Alternatively, you can also think of spending the afternoon/evening in Birgu, the romantic old town on the other side of the harbour, reachable either by bus or ferry. The Birgu waterfront is a lovely spot for dinner and late drink, awesome in the summer months when you get that nice sea breeze.
- Day 3: Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour – Take a guided tour of Malta through the hop-on-hop-off bus tour. This day-long trip is a really unique, informative, and an enjoyable way to explore Malta. It is also quite affordable and will only set you back 20 euros per person, which is ideal if you are travelling without a car. You could also make things a little more interesting by hopping off at iconic spots like the Blue Grotto, the Marsaxlokk Fishing Village, the Dingli Cliffs and a few other main attractions of Malta where the bus is going through.
- Day 4: Visit the Mnajdra and Hagar Qim Historical Parks – These two UNESCO world heritage sites, two of the best places to see in Malta, are quite remotely located but are definitely worth the trip. You will have to take the bus #74 from and back to Valletta. The commute itself is about 50 minutes, with a trip around the parks lasting an hour to an hour and a half so it is best to get an early start. As you wait for the hourly bus, you could also head over to the Congreve Memorial Park which is 5 minutes away and has some of the most breathtaking views of the ocean.
- Day 5: Transfer to St Julian & Beach time – Take one of the many buses going to St Julian (25 minutes with #16, #21, #22, #24 and others). Day 5 is about relaxing at the beach. You can do it locally (Balluta Bay Beach or St George’s Beach), however, they are both nowhere as spectacular as Golden Bay Beach (direct bus #225 in 40 minutes), the one I would highly suggest for sunbathing and swimming if you have more spare time for the bus trip.
- Day 6: Time to visit Gozo Island – The best way to truly appreciate Gozo is by taking an organised Jeep tour. You will be picked up from your hotel and taken on a guided trip through some of Gozo Island’s most beautiful spots. They also offer lunch in the deal. There is no better way to end this adventure-packed day than with a powerboat trip back to Malta through the Blue Lagoon and the Comino Caves.
- Day 7: Time to fly back – Based on available time, you can visit the Watch Tower and walk down to Sliema, the shopping destination of Malta. In case you have a late flight, you can also think of catching the local ferry (5-10minutes) from Sliema to Valletta. It costs just 3Euro and it will give you enough time to see the second biggest bay next to Valletta and Manoel Island.
In Valletta, you should add to your culinary bucket list the Piadina Caffe for pastries, coffee and brunch.
67 Kapitali is the best option for drinks, especially for their happy hour cocktails.
In St. Julian, you should try out Buffalo Bill, the perfect place to be if you are a meat lover (great bbq selection).
- Hotels in Valletta: 8vilhena (AirBnb style), Valletta Ajkla Mansion (Rooms/Studio), Grand Hotel Excelsior (access to a private beach and swimming pool)
- Hotels in St Julian: Holiday Inn Express (amazing value for money), Hotel Valentina (one of the best options)
- Tours: 3-Hours Valletta Walking Tour, Grand Harbour Boat Tour, Full-Day Jeep Tour to Gozo, Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
You can read also
For a week-long trip to Malta as a family, the best place to stay would be either Mellieha or St. Paul’s Bay.
Mellieha is fantastic for trips with small children.
Its laid back vibes will allow you to enjoy the little things, including lovely walks.
The clear and calm water is ideal for the little ones.
St. Paul’s bay, on the other hand, is where you take your family if you want an action-packed trip especially if you are travelling with older kids.
You will have lively towns like Bugibba and Qawra to explore together whether it is shopping or restaurant hopping.
This bay area is also home to several child-friendly attractions, including water parks, aquariums, and bird sanctuaries among many others.
The best part is that their location puts you at a perfect spot to explore towns like Valletta and Birgu to the south as well as Gozo Island, Comino Island and the Blue Lagoon to the north.
Here below are a few child-friendly attractions:
- Popeye Village
- Malta National Aquarium
- Bugibba Water Park
- Bird Park Malta
- San Anton Gardens
- BOV Adventure Park, located on the ex-RAF runway, this is a massive playground for kids of any age. Absolutely great fun. It’s located close to Mdina and it’s totally worth the trip there.
- Petting Farm in Ta’ Qali National Park, right next to the BOV (organise both for a great day out, maybe with some exploration of the medieval town of Mdina
- join a boat trip to experience the outstanding Blue Lagoon, Crystal Lagoon and the sea caves (check out this organised trip from Bugibba)
- have fun on a Hop-On Hop-Off Double-Decker Bus Tour where you decide what to see and for how long
- Esplora, the interactive science museum in Kalkara, facing Valletta, a total winner with kids
- the Tal-Karmnu Sheep Farm, another great place with animals where you can learn to milk the sheep and making the cheese.
- Hotels in St Paul’s Bay: Park Lane Boutique Aparthotel (great value), AX Seashells Resort (mid-budget)
- Hotels in Mellieha: db Seabank (great value), Radisson Blu Resort & Spa (lux experience)
- Tours: Blue and Crystal Lagoons Boat Tour, Hop-On Hop-Off Double-Decker Bus Tour
Malta is a real dreamy island for couples.
You can find romantic towns where you can get lost in the historical lanes as well as amazing beaches where you can relax and enjoy the turquoise water.
In this way, you can experience both worlds, with Gozo much less exposed to tourism.
- Day 1: Arrival day – If you land in the morning then spend the rest of the day in Birgu. Have a walk through the historical lanes and stops at the most iconic sites as St. Lawrence Church, The Norman House, the Malta Maritime Museum and, of course, Fort St Angelo. Another option is to book this local walking tour that will take you to the most beautiful buildings and hidden corners that Birgu has to offer, guiding you through the history of Malta. You can read my complete guide to Birgu for more information on all of the above sites
- Day 2: Take a road trip to St. Peter’s Pool – The easiest and quickest way is to go with a rented car and turn it into a fun road trip. Make sure to stop by the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, the 5000 years old cave system. The tickets go for about 30 euros per person. After this, you can drive to the St. Peter’s pool and back conveniently at your own pace. You could also take the public transport route, in which case it will take you two buses and a 30-minute walk to get to the beautiful pool. Take the #2 bus from Birgu to Paola Interchange then the #81 to Marsaxlokk Fishing Village. From there, it should take you about 20-30 minutes on foot to get to the pool.
- Day 3: Mdina and Rabat – There is always something very romantic about the medieval vibes and both these towns have plenty of it. For this full-day trip, take the #41 or #43 bus to Mdina. Once there, there is a lot for you to explore, from the fortress walls and cobblestone streets of Mdina to St Paul’s Catacombs in the adjacent town of Rabat. Take a break between all this exploring to have a meal at the local Medina Restaurant(book a table in the lovely courtyard if you can).
- Day 4: Historical parks and beaches – To truly enjoy the many beaches and historic parks around, you may have to rent your own car. You also need to head out early so you have enough time at each stop. Start things off with the Mnajdra Historical Park and Hagar Qim Historical Park (both a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which are a short walking distance from each other. It will take you about two hours or more to go through all the exhibits and ruins. After this, head to the 1640 Wine Room in the small village of Had Dingli, for a nice meal between locals. Finally, wind up your day of trips and treats with some sunbathing and swimming at the Golden Bay or the Paradise Bay Beach. If you are travelling in chilly weather, you could swap the beach trip for a walk along the Victoria Lines, the fortified Walls of China.
- Day 5: Transfer to Victoria in Gozo Island – Take the direct bus #41 or #42 from Valletta to the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal in the north of Malta Island (for the leg Birgu-Valletta you can catch the #2, #3 or #4). Grab the ferry to Gozo and take the bus to Victoria (good choice of buses going there). Spend the rest of the day exploring Victoria, including the Cittadella Fortress (Il-Kastell) and the Old Prison on your bucket list. If you still have time, you can also check out the Rotunda St. John Baptist Church, just outside Victoria (either walk there or take one of the many buses going to the ferry terminal). You can see also my full 2-days itinerary of Gozo for more inspiration and photos.
- Day 6: Gozo Day – Rent a car and explore the island. Add to your bucket list the Salt Pans in Zebbug and Wied il-Ghasri, a coastal gorge with a small beach. They are close to each other, on the north side of the island, and you can also think of walking between the two sites to discover other salt pans and hidden caves. Another must-see is the Dwejra Inland Sea, used as a film set in the Game of Thrones.
- Day 7: Time to fly back – Make your way back to Malta Island. Once you dock at the Cirkewwa Passenger Terminal you can either go directly to the airport (bus X1), spend some time at the beautiful Paradise Beach, 1Km away from the port, or grab a bus to Valletta to spend the rest of the day where you can visit so many beautiful places like the St John’s Co-Cathedral, Fort St Elmo, the National Museum of Archaeology, the hidden Casa Rocca Piccola and the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
If you have time, take the lovely dgħajsa, the traditional Maltese boat, between Birgu and Valletta (2Euro). It leaves Valletta from the Lower Barrakka Gardens, and Birgu from the waterfront, behind the main gate.
The best time to stay in Birgu is on Tuesday, when you can also visit the street market.
In Victoria, go to the Maldonado Bistro for dinner, the best option for a local experience in a very cosy restaurant.
The perfect place for coffee, breakfast, drinks and food is Café Jubilee, right in the centre of town.
- Hotels in Birgu: Locanda La Gelsomina, one of the best boutique experiences in Malta
- Hotels in Victoria: Maria Townhouse (a great deal in Gozo), The Duke Boutique Hotel (one of the best boutique experiences you can have in Gozo and Malta, read my review)
- Tours: Birgu walking tour with a local guide
Getting around Malta
I have written extensively about how big is Malta and how to get around in a separate guide.
Here below just a quick few points
- the organised trip is the easiest option to experience the island. They usually provide pick-up and drop-off from and to the hotel. Most, if not all of the tours I suggest have a free no-worry cancellation policy up to 24 hours prior to the experience, so handy.
- the public bus network is excellent and usually on time. Plan your trip on the Journey Planner tool (the Malta Transport website), easy and handy. There is only one drawback with the bus network. It is very Valletta centric (a sort of hub and spoke network). Moving around the island will mostly take you back to Valletta every time, even if you do not plan to.
- renting a car will give you plenty of flexibility and you will be able to see much more in a day (the bus network has a hub-spoke layout with Valletta being the centre). I personally use the car hiring site DiscoverCars.com, a company that compares the best deals and provides the best price.
I wrote a full guide to renting a driving a car in Malta that may want to read before making any commitment.
Frequently asked questions for one week in Malta
Is 1 week too long in Malta?
Not at all, especially if you want to visit Gozo and the small island of Comino. In fact, I suggest renting a car in Malta to squeeze as many destinations as possible, including the beautiful beaches.
How many days in Malta is enough?
Between 7 and 10 days would be the optimal time if you want to see most of the highlights of the country, less if you are only into beaches which, honestly, are not the best in the Mediterranean Sea.
How much should I budget for a week in Malta?
Budget between 700 and 2,500 per person, based on the type of accommodation and restaurants you like to go. You can also go lower than 700 Euro if you stay in a hostel and you eat mostly street food.
How can I spend 7 days in Malta?
With 7 days, you can plan to stay 2 nights in Gozo and 5 nights in Malta Island. In this way, you will be able to see most of the country’s main attractions.
Is Malta worth visiting?
Totally is the short answer. There is so much to see and experience, and in a short distance too, making things much simpler.
Is 10 days too long in Malta?
No, it is not too long. In fact, on my last trip I was there for 9 days and I felt I just scratched the surface of this beautiful country.
Are there beaches in Malta?
There are a few beaches in the country. Ghadira is my favourite one, with its turquoise and shallow water. The Riviera Beach is also another good one. Don’t forget also St. Peter’s Pool, just off Marsaxlokk.