The Maltese archipelago, set like a jewel in the heart of the Mediterranean, is a fusion of crystal waters, rich history, and vibrant local culture. With a climate boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year and a historical tapestry that weaves back to 5000 BCE, Malta and its sister island Gozo present a compact yet deeply textured mosaic of travel experiences.
In this article, we’ll embark on a meticulously crafted 4 days Malta and Gozo itinerary that will guide you through these enchanting islands.
- Day 1: Exploring the Heart of Valletta
- Day 2: Mdina and Rabat Adventure
- Day 3: The Island of Gozo
- Day 4: Leisure and Departure
- Travel Tips and Essentials
Day 1: Exploring the Heart of Valletta
Arrival and Check-In
Upon landing at Malta International Airport, located between the villages of Luqa and Gudja, you’ll find yourself just a 15-minute ride from the storied gates of Valletta, Malta’s diminutive but mighty capital. A city built by the Knights of St. John, Valletta is steeped in history and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Opt for accommodations that reflect the local charm — boutique hotels converted from age-old limestone buildings are a quintessential choice. Settle in, then set out for a morning refreshment at one of Valletta’s renowned cafés, where the coffee is as rich as the history surrounding you.
St. John’s Co-Cathedral and Artistic Heritage
Kick off your cultural immersion with a visit to St. John’s Co-Cathedral. This 16th-century marvel houses masterpieces such as Caravaggio’s “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist,” a piece that resonates with the emotive power of Baroque art. Admission prices hover around €10, giving you access to a treasure trove of art and architecture.
Grandmaster’s Palace and Upper Barrakka Gardens
After a traditional Maltese lunch, delve into the Grandmaster’s Palace, an emblem of Malta’s historical narrative, housing opulent state rooms and an impressive collection of armor and weapons. Entry fees are around €15, and it’s well worth the expense for a glimpse into the lives of the knights.
Later, take a moment to absorb panoramic views of the Grand Harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens, especially captivating during the golden hour as the setting sun illuminates the ancient fortifications.
Valletta at Night
Dinner by the water’s edge is a must — Valletta’s seaside promenade offers a variety of dining experiences. Post-dinner, a leisurely stroll or a visit to a cultural event, such as a performance at the Manoel Theatre, can provide a perfect end to your first day.
Day 2: Mdina and Rabat Adventure
Begin day 2 with a short journey to Mdina, Malta’s silent city. Public buses run regularly and cost a couple of euros, but for convenience, consider a taxi or a ride-sharing service. Mdina, once the capital of Malta, offers an intimate atmosphere with its narrow streets and noble palaces.
Entrance to St. Paul’s Cathedral, another Baroque masterpiece, is roughly €5, and the adjacent museum adds layers of historical context to your visit.
Delving into Rabat
Adjacent to Mdina, Rabat awaits with its own treasures. After a local lunch — try pastizzi, a flaky pastry filled with ricotta or peas, and explore the St. Paul’s Catacombs, an extensive underground Christian burial site. The entrance fee is about €6, and it’s an evocative journey into the early Christian period of Malta.
The Domus Romana, with well-preserved mosaics, is a testament to Malta’s Roman past. A ticket here will run around €6 and includes access to multimedia displays that bring history to life.
Return to Valletta
Your evening is free to explore more of Valletta’s culinary scene or to simply relax at a waterfront bar, enjoying the sounds of the sea.
Day 3: The Island of Gozo
Ferry to Gozo
Catching an early ferry to Gozo from Ċirkewwa is an adventure in itself. The ferry is frequent and affordable, costing less than €5 for a return trip. The 25-minute journey offers stunning views of Comino, the smallest inhabited island of the archipelago.
Upon arriving in Gozo, head straight to the Ġgantija Temples, older than Egypt’s pyramids and a profound testament to human spirituality and ingenuity. Entry fees are under €10, and the experience is priceless.
In Victoria, Gozo’s quaint capital, the Citadella‘s medieval fortifications offer 360-degree views of the island. While in Victoria, sample the local cuisine: Gozitan cheeselets, known as ġbejniet, are a must-try.
Later, explore the coastal landscapes of Dwejra Bay, where the Azure Window once stood. Though the iconic limestone arch collapsed in 2017, the site remains spectacular, especially at sunset. Dinner in Gozo tends to be a rustic affair, often in a farmhouse with a pool, offering a taste of Gozitan hospitality and charm.
Accommodation in Gozo
Consider spending the night in a traditional Gozitan farmhouse, available for rent throughout the island. These stone-built homes are a unique blend of rustic allure and modern comfort, complete with pools and terraces.
Day 4: Leisure and Departure
Beach Time or Leisure Activity
Spend your final morning unwinding on one of Gozo’s beaches, such as Ramla Bay with its distinctive red sands, or engage in leisure activities like diving in the clear Mediterranean waters, home to exciting underwater landscapes and sea life.
Souvenir Shopping and Local Crafts
Before departing, visit Ta’ Dbieġi, the oldest crafts village on the island. Here you can purchase handcrafted goods, from intricate lace to colorful blown glass, making for meaningful souvenirs.
Planning for Departure
As your journey concludes, ensure you leave ample time for the return ferry and transport to Malta International Airport.
The islands may be small, but their capacity to enchant is limitless.
Travel Tips and Essentials
Here are some important information for your 4 days visit to Malta and Gozo islands.
When is the best time to visit: The ideal months to visit are from April to June and from September to October when the weather is pleasant and the tourist crowds are thinner.
Language: English is widely spoken alongside Maltese, easing communication hurdles.
Currency: The currency is the Euro, and while credit cards are accepted in most establishments, carrying some cash is advisable for smaller shops and public transport.
Transport: Speaking of transport, while Malta’s bus system is extensive, renting a car or using taxis can save time and offer flexibility.
Is Gozo worth visiting?
Gozo is a hidden gem in the Mediterranean that’s definitely worth exploring. It’s an island that covers just 26 square miles, making it a perfect spot for some R&R. If you’re not into the party atmosphere and prefer a slower pace of life, Gozo has got you covered.
Gozo is also home to some delightful villages like Xlendi — a little seaside village with a nice bay and plenty of cafes and restaurants — and Gharb. And let’s not forget Victoria, the capital.
One of the best reasons to visit Gozo is for its beautiful clear water. Being a small island, it’s no surprise that it has some stunning beaches. Plus, there are plenty of other bays that might be a bit harder to reach but are totally worth the effort.
So, to sum up, Gozo is indeed worth visiting. It offers a unique blend of relaxation, beautiful landscapes, clear waters, and rich history.
Other things to remember: Lastly, remember that Malta is a historically Catholic country, so respectful attire when visiting religious sites is appreciated.
This 4 days Malta and Gozo itinerary will leave you with a rich tapestry of memories from the sun-drenched shores of the Maltese Islands. Malta and Gozo, with their compelling blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, are not just destinations to visit but experiences to savor.
This article is contributed by an expert guest author.