Four days in Malta: what to do
I have visited Malta a few weeks ago and unfortunately, my time was short. I could only spend 4 days there, and I had to make the most out of this short time. So, if you like me, don’t have much time to visit Malta, you are reading the right article: I will show you how to still have a nice memory and knowledge about Malta in only 4 days.
Day 1: Visit the elegant Sliema
You will arrive in Malta, most luckily late morning or early afternoon on a hot day, and you won’t feel like to let yourself out there and make a fast peace walk, right? But you still want to optimize your short time in the island, perfect! Why don’t simply get a quick shower and go out wearing your best walking Sandals (my favorite are from Teva), exploring your new neighborhood? I have decided to stay in the coastal town of Sliema northeast of Malta. Sliema is not the most exciting side of Malta but is still worth few hours walk by the harbor to start with, and up to the commercial area of bars, restaurant, cafes, and shops of all kind. You will also bump into a funky street art. Sliema used to be a small fishing village but in the past century, it’s started to experience a fast growth into a residential area: nothing less than its neighbor St. Julien (which is more populated by a younger crowd of travelers). Just relax and keep exploring the small town, until early evening when you will be ready to enjoy a nice fish meal by the harbor, right in front of the amazing view of Valletta.
Day 2: Visit Valletta ,Mdina and Popeye village
You cannot leave Malta without a visit to Valletta, the island’s capital, and UNESCO’s World Heritage. The only suggestion is to wake up very early in the
morning and try to board the ferry not later than 07.00 am. The ferry will take you to Valletta in 5 minutes, so at this time of the day, you still have the luck to walk the city with peace of mind, as Valletta can get very crowded. The capital has a lot to offer: is not a case that was declared the European Capital of Culture. What most has fascinated me about Valletta, is its elegant architecture and the history around. You can easily spend one full day in Valletta or more, to be honest: most of all if your intention is to visit all it can offer. From the Gardens to the many Forts and Museums, the City Gate, The beautiful Waterfront (amazing at night with all the lights up, you can get a great view both from Sliema and from St. Julian) and much more.
The 2nd part of the day was dedicated to Mdina and Popeye Village: a tour de force, but worth the effort. Mdina is a few km. away from Valletta on the western part of Malta, and its intricate little roads will remind you a lot of the Arabic culture. Is not a secret that Malta has been populated by Arabs in the Medieval period. I would say that 1-hour walk is ok unless you are into history and in this case, you can spend the whole day. Last stop of the day was Popeye village at Anchor Bay. Make sure to reach here before 1600, as it closes at 17.30 in summer (different time in winter, for price and timetable, visit the official website). I wish I could have arrived there much earlier, as the village is not fun just for kids, but is a little back-to-childhood fun-place for adults. On top of this, you can enjoy an amazing turquoise water lagoon ( you can reach the lagoon also without entering the village). I have to admit, that I didn’t want to leave, I mean who was not a fan of Popeye in his/her childhood???
The day was long, very long and hot, so back to Sliema for a relaxing meal and off to bed.
Day 3: Visit Kemmuna and Gozo
I am not saying that 1 day is enough to visit both, but being in short of time you have no such option unless you want to skip the further visit on D4. Once you are at Cirkewwa port, you have 2 options: get on the ferry to Gozo and spend the whole day, or get on the boat to Kemmuna first, then from Kemmuna the same boat will take you to Gozo (from Gozo, you have to take a ferry back to Cirkewwa, your own).
I have chosen the 2nd option, as I could not risk skipping a visit to the magnificent Blue Lagoon. The boat ride takes around 20 minutes and the cost is 10 euro until the dropping point at Gozo. Once in Kemmuna, the boat will drop you at the Blue Lagoon and it will collect you at the same point (name of the boat on your ticket). I recommend you to reach Blue Lagoon not later than 09.00 am. I was there much later and I have found so many people, that can become overwhelming. In the case you reach late and you still want to skip the crowd, keep walking up to the hill until you will see the other side of the lagoon, where you will meet only a few boats or some others I-wanna-be-alone travelers. Here unwind , undress and dive into this amazing deep blue fresh water, you will feel in heaven. Take your time, but try to arrange it properly as the boat on the way to Gozo is every hour.
Here you have also some option to visit the surrounding, like the Crystal Lagoon or Santa Maria caves and do some water fun sports. Also available food and beverage or private water taxi.
Once you have reached Gozo, you can choose from a private tour, hop on and off bus or take a public bus just by the port to explore your own. All the
buses will take you to the center of Victoria then you can make your own decision about where to go. In my short half day, I have managed to visit 3 beautiful spots: the gorgeous Blue Hole and the former Azur window that has collapsed last year, in Dwejra. Here you can find small boats that for as little as 4 euros, will take you no a 20 minutes ride. After the boat ride, you can walk up above Dwejra bay until the tower for an incredible view of the bay. Always check the bus timetable, as they roughly run every 30/60 min.
Back in Victoria, I have managed to take another bus to the towns of Nadur then Xewkija: I wanted to explore also the interior of the island and its beautiful architecture and almost empty streets. I was really pleased to simply walk around and relax with a few locals.
Last but not least was a stroll through Victoria and Cittadella Walkaway: an enjoyable walk, ended up with a refreshing cold beer in a local bar in Victoria.
Back to Pier, I boarded on one of the last ferries (remember to check properly the ferry timetable) and then I made my way back to Sliema. Yet another long day, but I could not complain.
Day 4: Visit Marsaxlokk and Marsaskala and some Maltese night life
After 2 days on a full program, I had to slow down a little and decided to dedicate my last visiting south: a much less known part of the island hence less crowded, perfect. Here finally some hidden gems I can disclose with you about Malta.
Marsaxlokk, is an ancient fishing village, still quite traditional today with its little wooden and colored boats. It was a pleasure to walk by the harbor, with only some curious fisherman staring curious and happy to become a model for one day and the smell of the gorgeous Mediterranean sea. During the week, you won’t find many tourists, I could probably count them on one hand, but only local fishermen or restaurant owners going there to buy some fresh fish. On a Sunday morning though, the village will fill up of both tourists and local people, who all want to enjoy the beauty if the village and a nice meal. I happily spent the first half part of the day, just sitting down and reading my book, writing down some notes about my travel adventures, and sipping a fresh drink to keep hydrated on a very hot day.
Then I reached Marsaskala by local bus, even if you can easily walk there from Marsaxlokk, as it is only a few km. away. I spent the whole afternoon here and ended up somewhere that has become very precious to
me: Olivana Salinas. A very unknown by many, small salt pan and also a nice cut of the coast where to sunbath. Very much uncrowded, only a few local people were there with me, and yet a nice part of the sea where to have a refreshing bath. I spent there few hours, enjoying some Maltese pastry and snack before to walk all the way to Marsaskala coasting the harbor. Yet, lots of little traditional boats floating in the bay on my right side and a beautiful view of the village on my left side. You cannot ask for more.
It was my last night in Malta, so ready to et some fun night, and I was at the right place, at the right time! If there is something that it won’t disappoint you in Malta beyond its indisputable natural beauty and architecture, is the nightlife. From lounge bars to nightclub of all kind, you have to just pick and choose. You can opt for a more elegant Sliema, for an older crowd or for a crazy St. Julian, but you will merge with a much younger crowd, up to you.
- Public transports in Malta are not too bad, but it is easy they get full and you will end up at a bus stop waiting for the next bus, as the first won’t collect you. Also for some location of the island, the frequency is very low, hence you might end up waiting hours for the next bus. I suggest hiring a car for you to better handle your time.
- Malta can get very much hot in summertime, do not forget to bring with you a good sun protection and keep yourself hydrated with lots of liquid.
- If you have a longer time, try to spend at list one full day for Valletta and to sleep one night in Gozo.
- If you are a young adult I suggest finding your accommodation in Sliema, as I did. There is plenty of option here for every budget.
- From Sliema to Valletta, the best transport option is the Ferry, that has the same cost as the bus, €1.50 one way and €2.80 with the return.