The country of Malta is made up of three islands (Malta, Gozo, Comino) in the Mediterranean Sea to the South of Italy. Its locations makes it a great destination for beach holidays as it is far enough south that it gets 300 days of sunshine a year and is warm until the end of October, but the flight time from the UK is only three hours.
In addition to a beaches and sun, Malta also has a lot of culture for a small country. It has three UNESCO World Heritage sites, lively towns and cities, and good bars and restaurants.
Malta Beach Holidays
Most people visit Malta for beach holidays. In addition to some of the cleanest beaches and seas in Europe, it also has great diving opportunities and is popular for water sports – particularly windsurfing.
Malta Island Beach Holidays
Malta is the largest of the three islands and is the administrative and commercial focus of the country. Most of the popular beaches on Malta are along the north coast stretching up from the capital – Valletta.
St Julian’s is a popular area for tourists. It has a lively town centre with lots of good bars and restaurants and a marina area. Around the town there are a number of beaches including Balluta Bay, Portomaso Bay and St George’s Bay. St George’s is a sandy beach, which is unusual on Malta (they tend to be rock beaches) and is particularly popular.
Sliema – between St Julian’s and Valletta – is another popular area. The beaches here are rocky but have lidos built in that are very popular for swimming. There are lots of sun loungers if you plan to sunbathe. Sliema has bars and restaurants as well as designer shops.
Both Sliema and St Julian’s are close to the capital Valletta (less than 20 minutes in a taxi). Just to the north of St Julian’s is Paceville, which has the liveliest nightlife on the island.
Further north and on the other side of the island is Mellieha Bay. Mellieha is the longest beach in Malta and is also sandy – making it a great destination for a beach holiday. The area is more relaxed and quieter than Sliema or St Julian’s but the old town above the beach has bars and restaurants.
Another option if you are looking for a quieter beach is Armier Bay, which is at northern point of Malta overlooking Gozo.
Gozo Beach Holidays
The next biggest island after Malta is Gozo. The island is greener and less developed than its bigger neighbour. Along the coast there are many small fishing villages, whilst the interior has isolated farms and old churches.
Ramla I-Hamra Bay is the most popular on the island and is unusual for its red sand. Elsewhere on the island there are lots of small coves and beaches.
There are two main resorts on Gozo: Marsalforn and Xlendi. Marsalforn probably has the better beach (Xlendi’s is mainly rocks), whilst Xlendi has the livelier nightlife.
Comino is the smallest island in Malta and is visited for its natural beauty – there is virtually development and the island is car free. Most people only make a day trip to the island as there is only one hotel.
The Blue Lagoon is the most popular destination on Comino. It is a sheltered area of sea that has very clear and still water – making it perfect for swimming.
Elsewhere on the island there are a few other beaches including Santa Marija Bay and San Niklaw Bay. The island has particularly good snorkelling, diving and windsurfing.
Cities and Cultural Sites in Malta
In addition to beaches Malta has a lot of culture. The islands have been inhabited for 6000 years and were ruled for hundreds of years by the Knights of St John – a Catholic military order.
In addition to its history the country has lots of good bars, restaurants and nightlife.
Valletta is the capital of Malta and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a relatively small city (the smallest capital in Europe) and is easy to explore in a day or two. The centre is a network of narrow streets winding between medieval and baroque buildings. At the entrance to the harbour is the impressive Fort St Elmo, which was used to defend the city from many attackers over the years.
Around 20 minutes from Valletta is the city of Mdina. This was Malta’s medieval capital, and is now one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.
On the island of Gozo is pre-historic temple of Ggantija. The temple is around 5500 and is part of a complex that includes a number of other ancient temples and structures.
Where to Stay in Malta
There is a large range of hotels in Malta – from boutique hotels in Valletta to luxury beach resorts.
When to Go to Malta
From May to October is the best time to visit Malta, with the warmest weather in July and August.
Getting Around Malta
Getting around the island of Malta or Gozo is easiest by taxi – even on the main island you are unlikely to be more than an hour away from anywhere else. To get between islands you can take a boat – from the north of Malta to Gozo takes around 20 minutes.
Getting to Malta
Flights to Malta take around 3 hours and there are daily direct flights from a number of UK airports.