If You Are Travelling To Malta For The First Time

Ciao! I’m back, and with our last “summer” vacation of 2019 – Malta! That was in September, 2 weeks after our weekend-escape in Tuscany seaside. It was also my first time to Malta. I did a little research and planning before our trip and I am happy with that! So, today I’m sharing with you our 3-day Malta itinerary, if you are going there for the first time too.

In this trip, I made the decision on only Sliema, Valletta and Gozo & Blue Lagoon. Malta is not a big country but with such rich nature and history to be discovered. I “tested” Malta’s Water only.

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3 Day Malta Itinerary_If You Are Traveling To Malta For The First Time

Day 1: Valletta

9.30am Sliema Ferry

First thing after airport is to check-in our hotel. I felt so happy that Luigi selected the best hotel, Hotel 1926, not only the super convenient connection but also the hotel itself – I will talk about it mainly on Day 2.

5 minutes on feet, we were at Sliema Ferry. Between Sliema and Valletta, bus and ferry are both easy options, but most of people including us, do prefer a romantic ferry ride. It’s frequently running, only €5 for a return trip, of course you can buy single ticket too, and most lovely, it offers the best sun-bath in the 10 mins ride and the most romantic sunset of Malta harbours.

10am Brunch at Kingway Bar & Cafe

After our 5am pre-breakfast in Rome, the first thing we want in Malta is a nice brunch. I found  Kingsway Bar & Café through some Malta-based influencers on Instagram, and it turned out to be a debatable choice.

I love it – my eggs on the sweet corn purée and my iced coffee in a non-Italian way (You know I love my Rome life, but sometimes I want a long coffee latte in the afternoon, that no one will “judges” you like drinking coffee in Italy). Luigi was too hungry since 5am. He protested his avocado toast was too small.

avocado toast and special corn puree brunch in valletta city to start our malta vacation

11am Walking in Valletta city

We walked down from  the the famous Republic Street to our final destination, Fort St.Elmo. Palace Armoury (President’s Palace), Casa Rocca Piccola are all the optional checkpoints on the way.
The typical Valletta houses were so beautiful and different with the “miss-matching” of Sicilian architecture and British balconies. It is probably the best reflection of Malta’s history and culture – a bit Italian and Greece, Middle-East but also British. We’ve got our answer later that day after visiting the museum and taking the culture tour.
the typical malta architecture with a mixed european and middle east features in valletta city
the stairs and the white color buildings are so classic in valletta old city center

11am Wandering around

We stopped by Lower Barrakka Gardens and Siege Bell War Memorial, for a refreshing breath from Malta sea.
The Bell is called Bell Seige. It was a hard memory for Maltese who fought bravely and survived in the second world war.
the lower barrakka garden has a temple with the ancient greek and romano tempo style
Lower Barrakka Garden
visit the bell seign in valletta and know how malta people fight and suffer during world war 2
Seige Bell War Memorial

12.30pm Visit the Malta Experience & National War Museum at Fort St.Elmo

Malta Experience was the recommended tour from our hotel and we found it just next to Fort St.Elmo. We bought a bundle ticket for a visual experience, a short guided tour of knight’s hospitality (the Knights Hospitaller) at Mediterranean Conference Centre, and the access to National War Museum. The visual experience and the guided tour were excellent for who knows nothing about Malta (like us). Thank for that, we felt much easier and more interested to dig deeper later on in the National War Museum.
a painting of an ancient war happened in malta
Pic of Italian painter, Matteo Perez’s fresco work of Great Siege of Malta in the Throne Room of the President’s Palace.
The National War Museum at Fort St. Elmo was the most energy-consuming, which is not expected at all! My favorite part is the story of Great Siege Of Malta.

In 1565, the Knights under the lead of Jean de Vallette, defended the island from the Turks (the Ottoman Empire), for more than 3 months. It was “mission-impossible”. The number of the Knights with the fighting Maltese are only 6000 something, while was overwhelmed absolutely by the other side of almost 40,000!

Valletta, as the name of this capital city of Malta, comes from this great Knight’s name as well!

The Knights, the fight, the heroic victory after the big sacrifice and Malta’s Throne Room (in Palace Armoury) are all about this Great Siege –  No wonder, Game Of Throne made a few screens in this miracle country!

The museum perfectly cuts the Malta history to several sectors. It tells the story with a parallel timeline showing what is the significant events happening in the world, in the mean time.

We walked every corner, read and watched each introduction and video clip, until our feet and back felt enough stress.

the knights hospitality is the biggest heroic history of malta

4pm Find Valletta's hidden swing

We didn’t plan for it, but just aimed for a closer view of St.Elmo Lighthouse. This crafted wooden swing showed up by itself! From there, we had the unbeatable view – watching over Wuestenwinds beach on the right and St.Elmo Breakwater & Lighthouse on the left! It’s definitely a must-go, however, the fact is the swing itself is not comfortable to sit. The hidden entrance is the stairs next to the café of The Malta Experience.
the unexpected crafted swing facing to the open blue sea directly near fort.st.elmo
St.Elmo Breakwater and Lighthouse view from a hidden staircase
Wuestenwinds beach with a stunning and wild sea view

6pm Pass by Upper Barrakka Gardens & Tritons Fountain

Malta’s sunset comes unexpectedly earlier. We closed our crazy walk day from the beautiful Upper Barrakka garden, the nation’s symbol of cannon platform, after that, we walked down to the city gate where the city’s symbol, Tritons’ Fountain is.

Before taking our ferry back to Sliema, some local beer were what we definitely want to recommend! Enjoy a sip under the beautiful sunset, changing the white city to the orange.

the huge tritons fountain with white marbe base and bronze sculpture in front of the valletta city gate

9am Local deli in Sliema

While we travel, we always try our best to eat at the local restaurants, no matter it’s a bistro or a fine-dining. We always go without booking as we like the flexibility and enjoy the stress-free trip.

However, we were two naive “kids”, rejected by the always-full local famous, Ta’ Kris as a result in Malta. Il-Merill, the family run restaurant – sounds just that familiar like in Italy, became our second choice. We were so amused the whole night, eating, drinking, laughing. The happiest is, counting the clocks on the wall! I think we’ve agreed on a final number of 12 or 11? I don’t remember now.

The food was really good with a generous potion – finally Luigi got satisfied, and probably way too much. We loved the typical Maltese starter mix. Not only because it’s new to us, but truly we appreciated their Gozo goat cheese and “mailendese” (well-cooked eggplants and veggies) a lot. A glass of fresh Maltese white wine or two for the whole night was with no doubt!

Meat dishes were impressive, when Luigi took his grilled fish, I “attacked” slowly on my local rabbit stew. Rabbit seems a common traditional dish in Malta. When we travelled around, we saw this dish almost in every restaurant’s menu. Funny thing is that some restaurants highlight their rabbit as “local origin”. It’s richly cooked – stew as you can understand – with carrots, onions and other malted vegetable that I cannot tell. I guess red wine was there also. The meat was so tender with low fat consistency.

I have to highlight the big dish size, as I really couldn’t finish it, even Luigi couldn’t help me that time.

the cozy and interesting restaurant in malta with many different clocks on their walls
the typical malta mixed as the best food to try when visiting this country

It’s a long article. Pin it to read later?

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Day 2: Sliema & Marsaxlokk

9am Lie down at 1926 Hotel Beach Club

After the first long day (almost 18 hours), we’ve been half destroyed. Luigi insisted a relax morning with a big breakfast in our hotel and kept relaxing in our unique hotel beach club.

I have to say, this was a great idea! Otherwise we would definitely missed one of our best morning memories.

Our hotel is 1926 Hotel & Spa. Love their cute interior design also – full of inspiration. We also enjoyed almost the whole morning under our umbrellas. The sea waves towards the rocks, the salty and wet air were in front of us. The pool was built with circulated sea water. So, it was literally like swimming in the sea.

I even wouldn’t be willing to leave this place.

P.S. We were really happy with our hotel this time. Spacious and modern design with a cute balcony that we can see a bit of the sea in the morning. Huge bathroom is absolutely important for us, especially when we go for a seaside vacation. The hotel guys were very friendly and helpful! 

facing to the blue sea directly in the 1926 hotel beach club in sliema malta
the big breakfast in 1926 hotel in sliema malta

12pm Dip into Victorian Era Baths at Font Ghadir

We headed to another planned point afterwards, and it turned out to be stunning too!
Walked along the long bay, we reached the baths near Font Ghadir. Just with a few steps, we were right there in front of those “artificial” baths, which even nowadays, would be highly appreciated as a luxury pool-in-the-sea style (famous example: Sydney Ocean Pool).
The story of those baths are actually interesting. They were called “Roman Bath” too. Reality is, it’s built when the English arrived.

In the Victoria time, the Maltese women thought it improper to bath in public while bathing in the sea was still a traditional joy. To solve the problem, the bath was built, with those natural rocks, with the higher bars around the small pool, and even a few steps to allow people walk in easier.

the stunning water front pools in sliema
one of the most interesting experiences of malta is to try the free roman bath in sliema
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    4pm Heading to St.Peter's Pool & Marsaxlokk

    After the whole morning’s do-nothing, finally, we moved to a “far” destination – Marsaxlokk, where the very famous St.Peter’s Pool is.

    Off the taxi, we walked up the off-road till suddenly the natural bay showed up. The sight was breathtaking, with milk-white huge rocks making up almost the whole bay. The deep blue waves hit the cliffs powerfully, and the softened late afternoon sun was beautiful!

    There are many young people, trying out their jumps, even girls! Brave! From the two sides, there are staircases to the sea.

    cliff jumping at st.peter pool in malta
    the best stunning sunset from the top of st peter pool in malta

    7pm Seafood dinner at Marsaxlokk

    Coming to Marsaxlokk, this little fishing town of Malta, how can we leave without a full seafood dinner!
    There are a line of seafood restaurants if you walked down the harbour.
    Capo Mulini, has a very nice restaurant manager, who loves Italian culture and loves to speak Italians with us. We had, seriously, a full table of all different fresh fishes – Fish carpaccio as the starter (like in Japan), baked fish under salt (the very traditional cuisine in Mediterranean areas. A small glass of very sweet and floral Malta sweet wine (made with fichi d’india) was the best way to close our Day 2 and you have to try it too!
    the peaceful fish town in malta near sunset hours
    the beautiful italian and malta style seafood restaurant on the harbour
    fresh fishes of the day displayed in the restaurant is kind of fashion of malta
    seafood dishes from marsaxlokk harbour restaurant
    must try malta sweet wine made with fichi dindia in malta

    Day 3: Gozo city & Blue Lagoon

    When we searched for Malta information, Blue Lagoon and the killing sea near Comino island were kept jumping up from the screen. So we booked a day trip there.
    Just to test the water, our tour was with half-day on hop-on-hop-off bus from the ferry centre to Gozo old city, Victoria. A ride with plenty of sun and winds, gave us the first understanding of how different Gozo is. Comparing to the main land of Malta, it is much more lay-back, and we felt Gozo could offer more outdoor adventure.
    Another half-day, we dipped into Blue Lagoon, without phone. Not a lot of photos to share, but it’s a nice dip for who prefer a relaxing sea experience.
    the old city center of gozo which is very layback and different from valletta
    blue lagoon near gozo island is the most famous in malta
    The fun part, probably, is what we paid extra for. It’s a 20mins speedboat ride directly from Gozo ferry to Blue lagoon.
    Bumping on the sea water with the night-club music extremely loud, woop! We got a few beautiful photos of Malta’s caves and cliffs, shared with you below.
    To be honest, the last day was a bit disappointing to me, as I don’t really like our tour which had a lot of time wasted. If you would have a better experience, I would suggest to rent a smaller private boat or water-taxi for a full day, negotiate a package price and go! At the end, I don’t think it will be too much than a so-so general day tour.
    the sea and the cliffs near gozo island is stunning and must see

    Summary of this Malta Itinerary

    3 days are toooooo short for Malta!

    We crossed over a few famous spots, spent a lot of time to learn Malta’s history, tested out a few local-loved restaurants, but I don’t even feel to speak loudly that, we have travelled in Malta.

    This place is so rich of nature and adventure, culture and history, and old and modern things to do. I would like to visit Malta more times and know it better!

    If you’ve been to Malta, and you know the hidden gems of Malta, leave in the comments below and I would be happy to take them all in my notes!


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      10 Responses

        1. Where are you based? I went there from Rome, very easy and fast (I think it’s 1hr flight)
          I hope to go back Malta again, and do something more down-to-earth, like outdoor adventure, coz this country is just too amazing and too much to do! 😀

      1. Love that swing! ? great post and I love that your gave the times because I am someone who is always trying to squeeze in too many things on vacay!

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