Malta itinerary – are 3 days enough?

This is our full itinerary for Malta. Sometimes we just don’t have much time so we decided to make the most of it on the island and share with you how to travel fast and enjoy to the fullest! Only 3 days in Malta? Let’s go!

We felt the warmness of Malta since the beginning of our journey there – at the airport. We were welcomed by fireworks in the distance. Our host took us from the airport in her car and gave us a ride to the other side of the island – the Bugibba neighborhood. We settled pretty fast and started exploring the town. Our first walk had another aim, too – finding dinner. The streets were quite crowded, it was Friday night after all.

Malta

Some people have doubts if Malta is worth a visit. Once we set foot there, we regretted not having visited Malta earlier!

Day 1 – Mdina, Rabat, Mellieha Bay, Popeye Village, Golden Bay

Malta is a small island, but it is still big enough so you can’t explore all the points of interest (POIs) on foot.

That’s why, on our first morning there, we started by walking to the closest bus stop. (Great thanks to the site and our paper map for the stops of the public transportation.)

Mdina and Rabat

In no time we reached the towns of Mdina and Rabat, which are next to each other. We combined sightseeing both of them with a touristy train, which took us through the narrow streets. For breakfast, we had the typical for the area cookies. We enjoyed our trip with the train so much that we decided to walk from there on now. We even managed to get lost. Everything around us is yellowish. The buildings are not really high and have outstanding terraces. This is the typical architectural style of Malta and Gozo.

Mellieħa Bay

We decided to visit Mellieħa and, more specifically, Mellieħa Bay.

We used a bus that goes along the coast almost entirely. We leave behind St.Paul’s Bay and some fortresses. In the distance we can see the pink tower, a.k.a. St. Agatha’s Tower. The buses don’t follow their schedule, but the points of crossing other roads are not many and there are traffic jams only on the weekends. We used those for some short naps.

We couldn’t wait to get to the beach. It was highly recommended to us as one of the best on the island by a local. The crystal clear water was making the ships and boats dance.

The coastline was more than crowded. Obviously, the sand beaches were not enough. People were ready to share all their personal space, just so they can enjoy a little bit of sand, water, and a nice view. It made your eyes go up, trying to follow the high cathedral, neighborhoods, and fortresses in the distance. After having a traditional Maltese lunch we took the bus that would get us to Popeye’s Village.

Popeye’s Village

He hadn’t seen the movie about Popeye the Sailor Man. We had only watched these cartoon TV series in our childhood.

Fortunately, we saw in a series of photographs, describing the beautiful places in the world, the Popeye’s Village. The movie set was made especially for the movie and is still there now. Even before the last turn of the bus, you can tell why it is worth it to visit it. It looks like it is part of the rocks that surround it. It is a little village of colorful houses and a harbor, hidden in the bay. And just like that, as enter the village, we are already part of the movie. The story starts with the ladies of the village, who live happily and dance. That’s until the pirates come. Fortunately, Popeye is awakened from his afternoon nap by the screams. He eats his spinach and beats up the bad guys, thus saving the ladies of the village. It can’t be easy being an actor, considering how strong the sun was that day…

Golden Bay

We missed a bus or two from Popeye’s Village. That’s why we decided to take a cab to Golden Bay. It was the second recommended by a local beach that we visited.

The best thing about this beach was the sharp rock at one end. They looked so scary, that I doubt anyone would be brave enough to jump from them. There was also some sand (this is an attraction in Malta). The place was perfect for energizing with some fruits. Just one bus stop away was Rivera Beach, a.k.a. Ghajn Tuffieha. To get to it you need to get down on a few hundred steps. We decided to visit it another time.

Back to Bugibba

We went back to Bugibba so we can meet the sunset from the north. We also booked a boat for Comino and Gozo. We then had some cucumber salad and the local specialty – rabbit dish.

In the summer, Malta has one more attraction – fireworks. They are linked to celebrations in different villages. You can visit those on a special night excursion or just watch the show in the sky from any part of the island.

Day 2 – Gozo and Comino islands, Buggiba

Boat trip around Gozo and Comino islands

We had an English breakfast – the island is slowly being conquered again. We reached the boat that was already full. Not everything is perfect in Malta and this time we had a bad experience. At the boat, we encountered rude personnel, many queues, double-standard prices. We refused to ruin our good mood with some people who just want to earn a euro more. We started sailing and saw St. Paul Island, crystal lagoon, caves, and the blue lagoon. It really is blue, but it is not a lagoon. It is also full of people. We leave the boat at Gozo – Malta’s smaller brother – around 35 sq. miles. The most beautiful nature’s creation, that we saw, was the Azure window.

The capital of Gozo

In the capital of Gozo – Victoria, there is a citadel with a bomb shelter in it that is transformed into an art gallery with luminescent pictures and Pink Floyd’s music. We walked to a really famous cathedral, which was visited by the papa. Then we arrived at Gozo’s port.

World cup at Bugibba

Heat. The boat. Heat. Soccer final. Heat. It is time to drink some knight’s wine and write into a knight’s notebook.

Day 3 – Valleta, Marsaxlokk, Pretty Bay, Blue Grotto

Valletta

Our plan is to transport our luggage to the airport, so we can conquer Valletta and the southern part of Malta free-handed. You can reach the airport from Bugibba in an hour and 40 minutes. It is no more than 20 km. Most of the buses start and end in Valletta, that’s why it is easy to reach the big airport. We enter the city on the Republican Road. There are festive decorations. the streets are long and straight. The issued balconies create a nice atmosphere.

We then visit the seaside fortresses. From there we can see the passing by tankers. The people here do not need a beach, they swim close to the rocks and the boats and ships. In Malta, the harbor beaches are a common view. We are at the limit of our capabilities of sunbathing and the Victoria Gate saves us at just the right time. A hundred stairs lead us back to the inner side of the city.

Marsaxlokk

We are in luck with the next bus and we quickly (still we managed to squeeze in a nap) arrive at the fishing village of Marsaxlokk.

The colorful boats (luzzus) are a trademark. The entire harbor is full of them. The time for a siesta is here and only the seaside restaurant works for those who want to have a late lunch.

Pretty Bay

We didn’t believe we could reach Pretty Bay. The minibus we needed to get is scheduled to pass once an hour. While you are expecting one you might even miss it. The ride was calm though.

travelers share advice from their trip to Malta
travelers share advice from their trip to Malta

Blue Grotto

We still have time left!?! We are fast (not yet furious)! Even though buses are slow and not reliable we managed to reach Blue Grotto – one of the most beautiful nature’s creations in Malta.

Rules for the public transportation in Malta and how to use it

  1. Find a paper map with the routes of the public transportation. JourneyPlanner might be a good idea if you have mobile internet.
  2. No map shows all the stops. What seems like just a dot on the map is actually an area with 4 stops. To get off at the best one ask the driver about the place you want to visit. Or you can just watch around and if you see something interesting, leave the bus!
  3. Communicate with the drivers. The help, give directions and shout the name of your stop, when it is time for you to leave the bus. The same goes for other passengers, too.
  4. Do not trust the time table. It is quite optional. Go to the stop 5 minutes earlier and be ready to wait for at least 25 minutes. When you leave the bus check the time table for your next ride, so you can make your plan better and not to wait too much.
  5. Most of the stops are directly under the sun and on the road. Be careful with the sun and the other vehicles on the road.
  6. Wave if you want the bus to stop.
  7. The cabs can be used only with a previously agreed on price to the destination.
  8. The water taxis can be a cheaper and faster alternative from one harbor to another.

P.S. Do you find any differences with public transportation in South America?

travelers share advice from their trip to Malta

So this was an example of how if you only have 3 days in Malta, you can make the most out of them in your Malta itinerary. We wish we have more time for our next visit there! Do you think if we had a week, we would have done and seen more, or would we just enjoy the island slowly?

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8 Responses

  1. Christine K
    |

    Wow, this was a very nice guide to exploring Malta. This is a destination that was not on my travel list but I have added it. Really enjoyed reading about your experience and loved the tips for making the most of a short time there. The photos were excellent as well, just like being there. Almost 🙂 Nice post.

    • We love to hear that we contributed to your decision to put Malta on your travel list, you will not regret it

  2. The place looks amazing. So much history, I would love it there. A few days would only disappoint me though, not enough time I would need a couple of weeks. You did make the most of your time there though.

    • It is a small place with a lot to offer, one should strive to get the maximum for their time there. We would love to hear a story from a longer visit. 🙂

  3. Its seems you had ana amzing time there 🙂 I love your photos, you make me wanna go there 🙂

    • It was amazing indeed, hope you will get there soon and show us some new photos 😉

  4. Wow, I guess the secret’s out. I never seen a coastline so packed with chairs! The lunch looks amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you! Yes – the beach has to fit a lot of people and their chairs 🙂 Malta is tiny but really attractive destination!