Malta is a great solo travel destination especially if you are just starting and want to dip your toes into the world of solo travel
Many first-time solo travellers choose Europe as one of their first destinations. And it’s completely understandable. Together with its grand history and beautiful nature, Europe is also pretty safe for first-time solo travellers. Malta amongst few other countries is one of the safest. But apart from safety, there are many more reasons why Malta is a great solo travel destination
In this post, I will not only give you all the reasons why you should take your next trip to Malta. I will also give you a comprehensive seven days itinerary with multiple swap options.
I will also include some tips on how to stay within the budget during your trip to Malta.
After living in Malta for over a year I am able to share with you all my tips on how to make the best of your stay and hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Why Malta is a great solo travel destination?
Malta is beautiful
First things first – Malta is absolutely beautiful.
Packed with amazing architecture and stunning coastline and with history, whispering to you from each corner, Malta offers an abundance of activities and sightseeing experiences. You will find yourself amazed at how much this little island has on offer.
Whatever type of traveller you are – you will definitely find something for yourself. From prehistoric temples, Mdina the silent city, one of the Games of Thrones filming locations all the way to the most spectacular beaches and cliff sides.
And if you are a sunset lover, you are in for a treat!
Malta is safe for solo traveller
Malta is one of the safest countries in Europe. And I can personally confirm this. Walking home after a night out in the town or hiking in the countryside after the sunset (not intentionally – I simply got lost hahaha) was never a problem and I never felt unsafe. This makes Malta a perfect solo travel destination.
The great thing is that where ever you are or if you got lost in the late hours, you can always order a taxi via Bolt app and the driver will pick you up from where ever you are. Just make sure you have your mobile data switched on.
Of course, you will need to use common sense. Like everywhere in the world some basic safety measures need to be applied. Don’t leave your valuables lying around unattended. There are thieves and pickpocketers in every corner of the world. But generally, Malta is a very safe country, people are nice and are always willing to help in case it’s needed.
Malta has incredible architecture and history
Malta is an ancient country with a very rich history and heritage. Some of Maltese Architecture has its origins in prehistory and is amazingly diverse and fascinating. It has been influenced by the various Mediterranean as well as British cultures.
Malta’s history dates back to prehistoric times, specifically over 5000 years BC when it was first occupied by human civilisation. From around 3850 BC Malta was occupied by a civilization which at its peak built the Megalithic Temples, which today are among the oldest surviving buildings in the world. You can see a great example of it on Gozo island where the Ggantija Temples are located.
Throughout the centuries Malta was occupied by Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans and eventually British.
This colorful and diverse history resulted in the unique and fascinating architecture of the country. Malta is host to an immense treasure of architectural gems.
Prehistoric temples, Baroque-style buildings and churches, impressive fortifications as well as charming village limestone farmhouses and windmills – it can all be found and admired here.
But these days Malta is mostly known and recognized for its colourful windows and balconies which have quite a modern origin but nevertheless are very picturesque.
Some sources say those balconies have North African origins which derive from the Arabic Muxrabija (look-out place). I even came across the theory that those balconies would allow women, who mostly stay-at-home housewives, to look out into the world.
Malta’s Sea and Sun
Malta enjoys an average of 300 days of sun a year with hot summer and mild winter. You can swim and sunbath starting as early as late April all the way to end of October. To be honest, I have seen some sun worshippers sunbathing and swimming in mid-November.
There is a great choice of large and small sandy beaches, picturesque stone beaches as well as more hidden, out of beaten track caves and natural swimming pools. Malta has beaches for everyone. Most popular sandy beaches are Ghadira Bay in Mellieha, Golden Bay in Cirkewwa as well as smaller Ghajn Tuffieha (my absolute favourite) and Paradise Bay.
I personally really like more secluded and often rocky beaches in Malta, especially during busy summer months. Some of my favourite ones include Slugs Bay, Imgiebah Beach and Dahlet Qorrot and Mġarr ix-Xini in Gozo.
And an absolute must-do is a visit to St. Peters Pool – a natural rocky swimming pool. Crystal clear water and flat rocks surrounding the pool create an unusual beach experience. Ladders are available to access the sea and if you feel adventurous you have the option of diving into the waters from a few meters up.
Malta is a great water sports destination
Malta is one of the best water sports destinations in Europe. More than half of the best activities in Malta are either on or under the water.
Snorkelling, scuba diving, paddleboarding or kayaking- all available here. What’s more, you can rent yourself a self-driving boat or hop on one of the organize boat cruises. You will also find your typical beach entertainment including jet ski, banana rides and speed boating.
There is plenty of scuba schools spread across all the Maltese Islands and some of the diving sights are travelled to from all over the world. Malta has one of the clearest and warmest waters in the Mediterranean.
If you are sea and water enthusiast – this place is for you!
Malta offers great hiking especially for solo travellers
You wouldn’t think so, would you? But Malta is a great hiking destination too. Although there are no mountains in Malta you will find yourself walking along dramatic cliff edges, in often almost untouched countryside and amongst historical monuments.
There is a large number of hiking routes on the main Malta island as well as on Gozo and Comino. One of the other reasons why Malta is a great solo travel destination is the fact that all the hikes are easily accessible and can be hiked solo safely.
Malta has great Cultural events and festivals
If culture and festivals are what you are after, you will or not be disappointed. Malta boasts festivals and events that suist every aesthetic taste. And the array of cultural events is another great reason to call Malta a great solo travel destination.
The most popular and noteworthy are:
- The Malta International Jazz Festival – Held every year in July in Valetta, this is one of the most eclectic musical celebrations in Malta. The three-day festival brings some of the best of Maltese and international jazz artists with events spread across the capital city. Its main stage is based at the Ta’ Liesse, Valetta waterfront. But the fringe events are also hosted by Valetta bars and clubs offering a more cameral experience.
- Festival Mediterranea – An annual celebration of culture based on a beautiful island of Gozo. As part of the festival, you can choose between theatre, opera or dance productions, workshops and conferences as well as guided historical and archaeological trips.
- Notte Bianca – Another annual festival taking place in Valetta, a ‘White Night’ called a ‘spectacular nocturnal celebration of people’. One of my favourite festivals. This event boasts a variety of events and entertainment. Cafes, bars and restaurants stay open till late and streets are flooded with a party-like atmosphere. Art exhibitions, open-air performances and concerts create a spectacular and one of a kind night that can not be missed in you are visiting Malta in October.
- Birgu Fest – A magical Festival of Lights held annually in Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa, one of Malta’s oldest and most historic cities. Also held in October, the Fest is an all-day event bringing the blend of concerts, celebrations, food stalls and numerous activities. Yet, the festival’s highlight is Birgu by Candlelight when all the streets and houses are lit only by thousands of colourful candles.
- Malta International Arts Festival – Another festival held annually in Valletta and offers a wide variety of art, such as theatre, dance, music, and painting. The Malta International Arts Festival is a cultural celebration of newcomers as well as established artists and it is always well attended by locals and tourists alike.
- Malta Carnival – February bring the Carnival to Malta and the centre of festivities is in Valletta, but there are similar parties in smaller towns. You will find people in colourful, extravagant costumes, floats, music and the great party which carries into the night and ends in Malta’s party district of Paceville.
- Malta Fireworks Festival – One of the best fireworks shows I have ever seen. Malta is very famous for its firework displays throughout the whole summer. On the 1st of May, however, as a celebration of Malta’s accession into the European Union, the fireworks festival is held in Grand Harbour and must say, is extra spectacular. A number of Maltese and foreign fireworks factories are participating in this competitive event, presenting dramatic pyrotechnic displays.
- Village Festas – All year long, you can experience the tradition of Malta up close. The Maltese love their patron saints and the village festas, being primarily a religious celebration, are held in their honour every year. Each village has its festival day known as a festa. A whole week is dedicated to the village’s particular patron saint, honoured by a street party with fireworks and a church parade.
So if you are convinced that Malta is a great solo travel destination I have seven days itinerary for you. This itinerary is packed full of sightseeing activities. But of course, it is up to you to choose your pace and you can omit or swap any of the activities. For this, I have also included possible swap options and I hope you will find it useful.
7 Days Malta budget Itinerary for a solo traveller
There is a lot of things you can do and see in Malta for no charge and completely free. The main budget buster can be transport to some more remote areas. Yet if you are prepared to use mostly public transport and are not in a rush to get places it is totally doable to see Malta on a budget.
Going out can also be a little expensive with many restaurants catering to wealthy tourists and prices being higher than in some other European countries. But I would say that if you don’t go out and splash your money in fancy restaurants every night this can be a pretty affordable trip.
I will give you some saving tips below the itinerary.
Day 1 – Mdina and Valetta
In the morning head to Mdina, The Silent City. Mdina is a major tourist attraction recognised internationally as an important UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a former capital of Malta sitting on top of the highest hill in the country and it is one that simply cannot be missed.
With a mix of medieval and baroque architecture, this charming city with a population of just under 300 was also a filming location for the Game of Thrones. Could I convince you any more?
From outside of the city walls take a bus number 71, 72 or 73 and head to Valetta, the current capital of Malta. Try to arrive in the early afternoon to be able to enjoy Valetta both by day and night.
Valetta is my favourite city in Malta and truly, one of my favourite cities in the world. This fortress city with its impressive bastions, forts and cathedral, is also a cultural hub of the country.
With its narrow charming streets and historical buildings arising in each corner as well as great nightlife and quirky bars and excellent restaurants, Valetta is a great place to spend both day and night.
Take a stroll around the city, do some shopping, have lunch or dinner and visit the city’s sights and museums. Must-sees are the Upper Barrakka Gardens, The Saluting Battery and Fort St. Elmo and National War Museum amongst many more.
In the evening head to Straight Street of Bridge Bar for a cocktail or a glass of wine. I am sure you will find one with live music too.
Day 2 – Relax on the beach and enjoy dinner by the waterfront.
After a busy day of sightseeing, I am sure you will crave some relaxing and beach time. There is an abundance of amazing beaches in Malta – from large sandy beaches all the way to rock beach formations and more secluded hidden gems. Choose the beach that suits you and your location most here.
As we are spending the day relaxing I will not be sending you anywhere in particular on that day. Depending on where you are located I will recommend a few locations where you can have a lovely evening dining by the seafront for this ultimate holiday feeling.
If you are located in the North of the island I recommend Mellieha. Located right by the sea, it offers plenty of restaurants with fantastic views but also high-class cuisine.
More to the South you have a Balutta Bay and St Julians promenades where you will be truly spoiled for choice. You could also head to Marsaxlokk but this location deserves a separate day.
If the above locations are out of your way don’t worry. Malta is great for eating out and offers a vibrant nightlife. Wherever you are, you will find some kind of entertainment option.
Day 3 – Marsaxxlok and St Peters Pool
Marsaxlokk is a charming fishing village located in the South-Eastern part of Malta. A postcard-like location, it is a true symbol of Malta for many.
The village hosts a daily, open-air market, very popular amongst the tourists and locals alike. It is an extremely colourful and charming village with a harbour filled with traditional bright Maltese luzzu boats and promenade filled with restaurants serving traditional cuisine and fresh seafood.
From there you can take a hike up to St Peters Pool. It takes between 30 to 45 minutes to get there but i assure you – it is worth it.
St Peters Pool is a natural rocky pool formation, created by surrounded rock platforms which offer excellent, sand free, sunbathing area. The waters are deep enough for a safe dive from the rocks and many come here for this activity mainly. Completely secluded, although very popular in summer months it is one of the best and most interesting beaches in Malta.
After the swim, walk back to the village for a relaxing dinner in Marsaxlokk.
There is no public transport between Marsaxlokk and St Peters pool so you have to take this into consideration. If walking back to the village is too much, you can take a taxi. Use a Bolt (Maltese Uber) and one-way journey will cost you around €7.
There are busses running from and to Marsaxlokk. Route 85 will take you back to Valetta from which you will be able to return to your original destination.
Day 4 – Relax in Comino
Comino island is well known for its crystal clear, turquoise Blue Lagoon. But it is also a lovely hiking destination.
Take a boat from Sliema Waterfront, Cirkewwa or Buggiba and spend a day in paradise. It is a bit crowded due to its popularity, nonetheless, it is definitely worth a visit.
Comino is also a great spot for enjoying all the water sports and test this new snorkelling kit 🙂
There are many ways to enjoy the Comino as well as many ways of getting there. You can take an organised boat trip or use a hop on hop off ferry service. You can easily spend a day there given there is so much more to Comino then just Blue Lagoon. Food trucks will make sure you won’t get hungry or thirsty, and if you are tired of the crowds you can head to less populated Santa Maria Bay.
Day 5 – Dingli and Blue Grotto – a day hike
This a stunning walk, although it can be a bit strenuous and a long one. It takes around 4 hours if you decide to stop by Ghar Lapsi, which of course, I recommend.
If this walk is too much you can of course choose to visit just one of them. Still, the walk is stunning and the views are spectacular. The best sunset on the island!
Dingli cliffs are located just off the village of Dingli, on Malta’s Western coast. The views are breathtaking and this is definitely one of the best coastal walks in Malta. Never overcrowded, Dingli cliffs offer a peaceful walk far away from a hustle and bustle of popular tourist resorts.
You can get to Dingly by taking a bus to Rabat and then taking a bus number 201 to Dingli. Alternatively, you can take a but number 52 or 5 from Valetta.
Ghar Lapsi – Halfway through between Dingli and Blue Grotto you will find Ghar Lapsi. A small rocky inlet and one of the few places where the sea can be entered from shore along the southern coastline. The very popular diving site it also hides a hidden rocky beach, fantastic for snorkelling and a peaceful swim.
Blue Grotto – One of the most beautiful natural sights in Malta. This part of Malta is much less visited which adds to the beauty of this place. I have visited many times and on a clear sunny day, the views are sensational.
Blue Grotto is a network of seven caves with an entrance featuring a massive rock arch surrounded by turquoise clear waters.
Caves and the arch can be viewed from the viewing point at the top of the cliffs but the caves can also be explored by boat. Head down to the valley where you will find a little rocky beach inlet and take a 20 minutes boat ride to explore the caves. You will not be disappointed. The boat ride costs around €10.
After a long walk and day of exploring you can stay in the Blue Grotto area for a well-deserved meal and a drink. Uff, what an amazing day!
From Blue Grotto you can take a bus number 74 back to Valetta.
Day 6 – A day in Gozo
Although I do recommend spending 2 days in Gozo the trip can be also done in one day. Some tour operators and organized boat trips even offer a trip to both Comino and Gozo in one day – however, I don’t recommend doing that.
If you feel like you haven’t got enough time for both – choose just one. You will not be able to truly explore and get the feel of those islands. Both islands have so much to offer and hold their own distinct feel. Simply brushing on them, will take away from the full experience.
Gozo, Malta’s little sister island is what many locals told me, is what Malta used to be like. Much more rural and with architecture often still untouched and traditional, Gozo is a perfect get-away. There is so much to do and see in Gozo but what strikes me most about this island is how slow-paced and atmospheric it is. Visit my full guide to Gozo here.
Gozo also has some of the most beautiful beaches and natural sights like Ramla Bay and Dwejra where the famous Azure Window used to be located before the sea swept it away.
Take a ferry from Cirkewwwa terminal which takes approximately 20 minutes. You won’t need to purchase the ticket as the fair is paid on the way back. It costs around €5 return.
Once there, you can opt-in for a hop on hop off bus which will take you to all of the most popular locations. I personally think this is a good option given the busses on the island of Gozo are not running this frequently.
For added fun take a quad bike organized trip or simply rent a quad for a day and go exploring!
For the ferry timetable visit Gozo Channel Website.
Day 7 – Relax!
This was a full-on, 7 days of exploring the wonderful country of Malta. You deserve a rest. Go to the beach, or take a walk along the promenade. Shop for those souvenirs. But If you feel like you didn’t have enough you can squeeze one of the swaps I listed below.
- Popeye Village – A Film set from the 1980 musical ‘Popeye’, it is now a theme park village and one of the major tourist attractions in Malta. If you are a child at heart and enjoy the fairytale-like village at the stunning seafront location this experience id for you.
- Tarxien Temples – Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, this site is one of the largest and complex prehistoric sites in the country built between 3600 and 2500 BC.
- Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum – An underground prehistoric burial site, discovered in 1902 and dating back to about 4000 BC. This is one of the world’s best-preserved prehistoric sites and includes a temple, cemetery and funeral hall.
- The Three Cities – Vittoriosa (Birgu), Senglea (Isla) and Cospicua (Bormla), known as the Three Cities, are three medieval fortified cities in the North of Malta. Rich in history and beautiful architecture the cities are ideally located right by the harbour offering a great day out exploring.
- Malta off the beaten path – Buskett Woodland or St Anton gardens – Spend an afternoon in one of the beautiful parks in Malta. Buskett Woodland, it is the only semi-natural forestland in the country spreading across 47 hectares. San Anton Gardens in Attard featuring Presidential Palace is one of the most beautiful gardens in Malta.
Tips on staying on budget when visiting Malta.
As Malta is a great solo travel destination it can also, unfortunately, be a bit pricy. Here are some of my tips on how to stay on budget when exploring the wonderful country of Malta.
- Shop local fruit and vegetables – You will find a vegetable van around each corner in most locations in Malta. They are mostly selling local produce and you will find them often cheaper than imported products from the supermarkets.
- Embrace self-catering accommodation – Enjoy the night out in Malta but by cooking in the hostel or Airbnb you will definitely be able to save few bucks here and there.
- Look out for a happy hour – Many bars in Malta, especially around popular resorts offer a happy hour. You can never go wrong with buy one get one free.
- Get a Tallinja Card – And hop on the bus. With the Tallinja Card, you fair will be only € 0.75 and you will be able to get to most of the destinations much cheaper whilst also immersing yourself in local culture 🙂 Busses are not extremely reliable however a Tallinja App offers a live timetable. Get unlimited travel, the 7-Day ‘Explore Card’ for € 21 and you will not have to worry about your transport cost. This will also cover your Gozo trip.
- Rent a GoTo car – If you fancy driving you can also use a GoTo car to drive to some of the destinations. You can opt-in for one way or return trip and apart from the fuel cost, you will be charged by the minute. You can also rent a scooter but please watch out as Malta can be a bit dangerous to drive around.
So here it is. I have poured my heart into this guide in order to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. I truly believe Malta is a great solo travel destination and against popular belief, it can also be done on a moderate budget.
It is your trip so pick and choose from my tips above and most of all I hope you will have a blast! Enjoy!