Things to do in Malta – 3 day itinerary

by Kelly

Malta is a wonderful country, somewhere you can keep returning to discover its magic time and time again! This blog covers the things you can’t miss on your 3 day Malta itinerary.

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Where is Malta?

Malta is a country that is located right between Sicily, Italy and the North African Coast. It is not a large country but is made up of 3 islands, Malta, Comino and Gozo.

How many days for Malta?

We have set this itinerary out for 3 days but you could easily spend 14 days here exploring more thoroughly and slowly. We usually prefer to do this but we had 3 days up our sleeve and decided to get a taste of Malta!

Do you need a car for Malta?

We didn’t hire a car for Malta but it would be perfect to be able to get around to more locations quickly. We always hire a car from Rental Cars, they are really reliable and we’ve not had a problem using them.

Public transport is fine and easy to use. We used buses to get around. Bus tickets only cost about €1.5 and are valid for an hour after purchase. We bought our tickets on the buses and paid with card or cash. Usually buses were on time and there are digital displays telling you what numbers are about to turn up in most locations. You can also purchase a 7-Day ‘Explore Card’ from the airport which allows travel on buses around Malta. There is a bus stop at the Airport in Malta also. You can find all the bus routes on their website here. There is also an app to download on their website.

We used the Grab app to get to and from the airport, there was a coupon code at the airport offering 2 free rides. The rides were super cheap and very convenient.

Where to stay in Malta?

There are so many great areas to stay in Malta it really depends on the type of trip you are looking for.

The 3 Cities, Cospicua, Birgua and Senglea

We decided to stay in Cospicua in the 3 Cities of Malta are very historic. Close to Valletta and the centre for public transport. Our top choice for accommodation in the 3 cities are:

Budget accommodation in the 3 Cities:

Semi-basement, cosy apartment interconnected to our residence a traditional Maltese townhouse – Great location, hosts and apartment.

Midrange accommodation in the 3 Cities:

Casa Cara – Beautiful historic building, great hosts, great rooms

Marina Studios – Great hosts, immaculate clean and fresh rooms, lovely location

Luxe accommodation in the 3 Cities:

The Mike Hotel by CX Collection – Great rooms, very clean, excellent location, very modern inside of historical house, great breakfast.

The Lodge – Immaculate modern rooms in historical setting, beautiful service, great location.

Casa Maria Tereza – Incredibly beautiful, pool, wonderful service.


The old city of Malta and one of the most beautiful. You will find lots of historical sites here and also many food options. Our top choice for accommodation in Valletta are:

Budget accommodation in Valletta:

Luciano Valletta Boutique – Great staff, room spacious and clean.

Babel Suites – very central and convenient location, close to bus stop, clean rooms with charming decor.

Grand Harbour Hotel – clean and comfortable rooms, excellent breakfast and incredible views of the harbour.

Midrange accommodation in Valletta:

Paulos Valletta – very clean and comfortable stylish rooms, great location and breakfast.

Casa Asti – beautiful boutique hotel, very pretty décor, clean, comfortable and excellent location.

Sally Port Suites – excellent rooms, great location and staff

AX The Saint John – clean comfortable, central hotel, very good staff, quiet rooms and lovely décor

Luxe accommodation in Valletta:

Palazzo Paolina Boutique Hotel – lovely unique stay in a historic period property with ornately decorated interior.

Casa Ellul – Small Luxury Hotels of the World – magical rooms set in historic house, beautiful boutique hotel, excellent staff and breakfast.

The Gomerino Hotel – excellent location, wonderful rooms, perfect rooftop pool and sunbeds.

The Embassy Valletta Hotel – excellent staff, magical views, rooftop area, comfortable beautiful rooms.

The Phoenicia Malta – beautiful rooms, amazing location, great staff and pool onsite.


This is the most modern part of Malta, you will find great shopping and modern cafes and restaurants. This area has excellent cheaper options. There is a beach there as well. Our top choice for accommodation in Silema are:

Budget accommodation in Silema:

Cozy Rooms Hotel – great location, views, breakfast and comfortable clean rooms.

Urban Rooms by NEU Collective – great rooms, very clean and spacious, location and staff are great as is the breakfast.

Azur Hotel by ST Hotels – great rooms, excellent breakfast, lovely staff and close to transport.

Midrange accommodation in Silema:

Ta’ Tereza In Manwel Dimech – clean and comfortable, great breakfast, pool and lovely décor.

Fort40 Guest House – great location, modern décor, clean and comfortable.

The Londoner Hotel Sliema – beautiful décor, clean rooms, great location.

Luxe accommodation in Silema:

AX The Victoria Hotel – clean modern, very well located, pool and breakfast included.

1926 Le Soleil Hotel & Spa – Fabulous rooms, breakfast and location. Wellness centre including a fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool, sauna and terrace.

AX The Palace – exquisite rooms, excellent service, breakfast and pool area.

St Julien’s

St Julien’s is a beach area, there are lots of beach resorts available here. There are many luxury resorts and also beautiful landscapes. Our top choice for accommodation in St Julien’s are:

Budget accommodation in St Julien’s:

Rotas B&B – great location, clean room.

Antoniel Suites – great clean rooms, friendly staff, well located.

Midrange accommodation in St Julien’s:

V Hotel – great pool, rooms clean and fresh, very comfortable and modern.

The G Hotel by JL – great rooms, lovely décor, great breakfast.

Luxe accommodation in St Julien’s:

Mercure St. Julian’s Malta – lovely rooms, clean and comfortable, helpful staff and great pool.

Hotel Juliani – Boutique Hotel – beautiful elegant rooms, great views and rooftop area.

Cavalieri Art Hotel – exquisite hotel and rooms, excellent breakfast and location.

St Pauls Bay

Another beach resort area in the north of Malta. Our top choice for accommodation in St Pauls Bay are:

Budget accommodation in St Pauls Bay:

Buccaneers Boutique Guest House – great price, clean and comfortable rooms, pool area.

Midrange accommodation in St Pauls Bay:

Hotel Santana – great hotel and staff, rooms were good as was breakfast.

Luxe accommodation in St Pauls Bay:

Park Lane Boutique Aparthotel – tasteful beautiful rooms, service and location

AX ODYCY Hotel – excellent breakfast, stunning modern rooms, great location.


The cute fishing village is the perfect little idyllic getaway for a few nights, although we met a lady who was spending a month here. Our top choice for accommodation in Marsaxlokk are:

Budget accommodation in Marsaxlokk:

Harbour Lodge – great budget option, breakfast included, clean rooms

Midrange accommodation in Marsaxlokk:

South Wind Guesthouse – close to bus stop, clean and comfortable, great breakfast.

Dun Gorg Guest House – lovely breakfast, pretty rooms, clean and well located.

Quayside – We loved this one! Located right at the waterfront this hotel has the cutest colourful doors! Rooms are so pretty, a lovely hotel.

Luxe accommodation in Marsaxlokk:

Seagull Penthouse Marsaxlokk – Amazing apartment, very clean and well furnished.


The ancient heart of Malta, stay here to experience a true step back in time. Our top choice for accommodation in Mdina are:

Budget accommodation in Mdina:

Point de vue Guesthouse – beautiful traditional styling, 5 min walk to old town, lovely staff

Midrange accommodation in Mdina:

100 Boutique Living – charming rooms, great breakfast and pool.

Luxe accommodation in Mdina:

The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux – stunning historic hotel and rooms, great staff

Palazzo Bifora – magical ancient building, rooftop pool, beautiful stay

Malta, 3 cities views to Valletta

3 day Itinerary for Malta

This is the 3 day itinerary that will give you just enough of a taste of Malta to keep you coming back! Below I have listed more details of the must do activities for this itinerary and others you can substitute in or add on if you have longer than 3 days.

Day 1 – Check out Valletta the beautiful capital of Malta, take this walking tour to learn about this history. Spend the afternoon over in Birgu, take the local boat across and explore the marina, make sure to stay for aperitivo at our favourite bar, see below for details!

Day 2– Go to Mdina and explore the ancient capital of Malta. This is a beautiful area with lots to see, I have put all the best things to do in the list below as well as our locals secret you have to try.

Day 3 – Go on a tour to Comino Island, Gozo Island or both! This is the best boat tour to visit Comino, Blue Lagoon, Gozo, & Caves.

Things to do in Malta

These are our top things to do in Malta, you will fit them in to your 3 day itinerary easily. I have also added extra things to do in Malta at the end that I would include if you have extra time.


Valletta is one of the most important cities in Europe and Malta’s capital. It was the first planned city in Europe and the most enchanting in Malta, walking around you will fall in love with the many charming streets. This guided walking tour will take you through the city, including St John Cathedral. Check out Triton Fountain, we climbed up on to the ledge at Hastings Gardens which overlooked the fountain and the square. It was a lovely place to sit and relax away from the bustle of exploring. Take this street food tour of Valletta and experience the local flavours.

The upper and lower gardens

The upper and lower gardens are just beautiful and located in Valletta at the waterfront. You will find lots of people here hanging out enjoying the views. While we were there a wedding was taking place which would be just magical. The views out to the 3 Cities of Malta are stunning. You can take a lift for 1€ or walk down the stairs, we chose the latter and it was really easy! At 12pm everyday there will be a gun salute from here.

The 3 cities of Malta

The 3 cities of Malta comprise such a lovely historic area. Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua are right next to each other with Senglea and Vittoriosa jutting out into the water. They are often referred to as the ‘cradle of Malta’s history’ as they have been the home to almost every people that have settled Malta, beginning with the Knight’s of St John. They are older than Valletta and their inlets full of churches and beautiful streets are very much worth a visit to experience an older, more authentic slice of Maltese life.


Birgu is the oldest of the 3 Cities and lies across the water from Valletta. It is the prettiest of the 3 Cities and has the most stunning marina and views. In Birgu you will find the Fort of St Angelo, Malta’s Maritime Museum, Inquisitors Palace and Malta’s War Museum. The streets are incredibly beautiful to walk and take in the sights. Notice the colourful balconies and letterboxes, the little historical points on signs will inform you of the importance of almost every building you pass.

Birgu waterfront aperitivo at sunset

This is one of our favourite things to do in Malta. We made our way here each afternoon to enjoy aperitivo, stroll and watch the sunset. It is the perfect place to sit back and relax after a full day exploring. Take a drink at our favourite, Cargo Bar. While we were there they had 2 for 1 cocktails (same type only). They were delicious but be sure not to make a mistake and order 2 as you will get 4 drinks without warning. We saw this multiple times. Order 1 Aperol spritz during the 2 for 1 hours and you will be brought 2. Order 2 and you will get 4!

Take the € (local boat) across to Valletta

this is one of the most charming things to do in Malta. For 2€ you can take a local boat called a dgħajsa across to Valletta from Birgu or vice versa. Yes there is a ferry that is slightly cheaper but not at all as charming. I will always go the sweet local experience over a commercial option any day. Make sure to have the right change or small change for the man who runs the boat, it is a great way to support locals. You wont have to wait long as there are a group of men taking their boats back and forth. They can be found at the Lascaris Water Taxi station and the Il-Birgu Water Taxi station on the waterfront of Birgu. It is right near the Happy Train which you can do a tour of the area on if you prefer not to walk.


The Mdina is one of the best things to do in Malta. It is the oldest city in Malta and one of the most beautiful. Walk the ancient streets of the countries first capital and take in the charming surrounds. Once known as the ‘silent city’ as it was virtually uninhabited when the capital was moved to Birgu, it is now bustling and full of life.

Set on top of a hill, it was perfect to watch out for approaching attacks, now it allows for stunning views. Walking over the stone bridge you will feel like you have stepped back in time. The stone walled city is a fortress full of history. There are restaurants, cafes and stores available to shop eat dine in. A visit to Mdina is a great day trip. If you are a Game of Thrones fan you will notice locations that were used in the show. There is no cost to enter the Mdina, only to visit the attractions.

What to see at Mdina, Malta

Mdina Gate is the main entry gate and the one you will most likely walk in through. The elegant families an wealthy people would use this main gate.

Brama Grecka also called the Greeks Gate. It was interesting to hear the history about this gate. As it was the less beautiful entry/exit it was call ed this as a slur to those lower class people who used, it.

Make sure to take in all the colourful doors of the Mdina, they are one of the best things to see. We loved the famous blue door of Mdina although it did get a little busy.

There are many churches in Mdina, the largest is the St Paul’s Cathedral. It is full of Baroque frescoes and art. The cost to enter is €10 and includes entry to the cathedral and its museum. You purchase this from the museum.

Archbishop’s Palace, Palazzo Falson, Palazzo del Prelato, Howard Gardens are all lovely and open to visit. You will see a London-esque red phone booth here as well!


Literally translating to ‘suburb’, Rabat is the suburb outside of Mdina. It is really pretty also and worth a walk around. Make sure to check out the traditional pastry and sweet shop at Parruccan Confectionery – Traditional Maltese Cakes & Nougat. The nougat is particularly good!

Right nearby you will find the St Pauls church and catacombs. You can pay to visit these or cross the small road to St. Catald Catacombs. This one is entry via donation and you can see a smaller catacomb. It is very interesting, but I am glad we didn’t pay to go into the St Pauls, this one was enough for me.

Dont miss this locals secret!

Don’t miss this locals secret! One of the oldest and best pastizzeri in Malta. Is-Serkin – Crystal Palace Bar is a super old and traditional place. Try the excellent Maltese traditional pastizzi – cheese and pea or chicken pastries. They also sell traditional coffee and tea. You will be eating amongst the locals and loving every bite. They are also very cheap, about €0.50 each.


Marsaxlokk is the cutest fishing village, it feels like you are in Greece! The bright colourful boats bobbing about on the azure blue water is such a refreshing sight. The little village is just idyllic and we could have easily spent a few nights here. The wharf edge is lined with restaurants selling fresh seafood pasta dishes that smelt incredible! Sitting here in the sun under the umbrellas eating a plateful of fresh seafood is a dreamy way to spend the day! The stone buildings of Malta int he distance creates a magical scene. To get here you can drive or take buses. We jumped on two buses to get out here.

Visit Gozo and Comino Islands

Gozo is the larger of the two islands, you can visit them separately or together on a tour. There are so many options to choose from and such beautiful history and natural scenery there to explore.

You can take the ferry over to the islands yourself. There are some that allow you to take you car and a fast ferry option from Valletta to Gozo. It costs 10 euro and takes 45 minutes. This makes a perfect and easy day trip.

Alternatively these are our tops picks of tours to see as much as possible!

Blue Lagoon, Beaches & Bays Trip by Catamaran – Discover the best bays in Malta on a boat trip, swim and snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon, relax on a sailing catamaran with music and cocktail bar (extra cost), soak up the sun while lying on sun loungers or the catamaran nets.

Blue Lagoon Evening Catamaran Cruise – check out the natural beauty of Maltese coastline from the water, navigate from Bugibba to striking locations such as Anchor Bay, swim and relax in the clear-blue waters of the famous Blue Lagoon. Enjoy an optional BBQ on board, take in the colourful sunset.

Is there an easier way?

This tour is really highly recommended and well organised. Check out: Malta Discovery Private Tour, Malta and Gozo Discovery, Malta Highlights 4 Day Guided Tour.

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