Malta might look small, but you actually need a car to explore it properly. Malta consists of 3 main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta is the biggest one, with the capital Valetta, however, Gozo is a gorgeous inhabited island and Comino is a very interesting place as well. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you my 5-day itinerary for Malta in winter or spring, when it’s actually not possible to swim. We actually celebrated Christmas in Malta and it was great. Let’s get started!
As always, there will be a video of all what happened to us in Malta and the review of getting around Malta by car, so don’t forget to check it out – it’s already there, at the end of the post.
We had 5 full days in Malta in winter (6 counting the first day, but as we arrived very late, I didn’t count it all). We hired a car through rentalcars.com (as we always do) and got a small Kia Picanto, which was the most economical car in terms of fuel that I’ve seen in my life. After driving almost nonstop for 5 days, we arrived back to the airport with 40% if the tank. And no, we haven’t loaded with fuel. Not even once! Can you actually believe that? So after we loaded the gas just before returning the car, we paid around 30 euros (that for 5 days of non-stop driving in Malta. Crazy!).
So in total, renting a car for 6 days with full insurance & fuel from rentalcars.com (with Thrifty) in Malta in December was just 100 euros!
We stayed in the hotel Corinthia St. George’s Bay – a great 5* hotel with fabulous breakfasts. The location of the hotel was perfect and it had a large parking. It also had a swimming pool and a spa, which was perfect, as we wanted to swim!
Day 1 in Malta: Mdina & Marsaxlokk
On the first day, we headed to the silent city of Mdina. Mdina was the first capital of Malta and looks like a smaller version of Dubrovnik. The famous series Game of Thrones was filmed there as well (any GOT fans here?) and we were wandering around the streets looking for familiar locations.
In Mdina, you can visit the main cathedral (admission price is around 6€) but it also includes the cathedral museum (which isn’t a big deal). We visited both, and the museum wasn’t impressive at all, unfortunately. So, if you don’t have that much time, you can definitely skip it (and you won’t regret it).
The best thing about Mdina is its tiny streets and beautiful houses and colourful doors. I couldn’t stop taking photos of these doors. The entire city is very photogenic and pretty and is a must-visit spot in Malta.
After visiting Mdina, we headed to the fishing village Marsaxlokk. Our main intention was to find a great seafood restaurant, but as it was quite cold outside, we had to stay inside, and all the restaurants there had literally the ugliest spaces inside and really really bad service, so we ended up in Costa Coffee. We also selected a well-rated place for dinner near St. George’s bay. Even though we failed to find a lunch spot in Marsaxlokk, I still liked the village: the promenade was nice and the views with small colourful boats were lovely!
At the end of the day, we headed back to our hotel and spent the evening in the spa. In the evening, we headed to the centre of St. George’s Bay – to the family-run restaurant called Maltese Mama, which I highly recommend to you! We took a fish and seafood platter for 3 and it was really great!
Day 2 in Malta during off-season: Gozo
On the day 2, we went to Gozo.
Gozo is the second biggest island of Malta and you can get there by ferry. The ferry goes every hour (during the busy times it goes more often) and you can go there by car as well. The return ticket was around 25€. Keep in mind, that Gozo ferries are often very busy, especially on the weekends, so we, for example, could only take the third ferry, so it makes sense to arrive early.
For Gozo, we actually had a ready itinerary prepared for us by a local – big thanks to Walter from Corinthia hotel). I actually have a separate post about Gozo and the best itinerary for Gozo – read it here!
So we just followed the itinerary and visited some really amazing spots. We started at Ramla Bay and finished in Victoria looking at the beautiful sunset in the citadel and a traditional Maltese wedding that happened to be there on that day.
Day 3 in Malta in winter. Valetta and Dingli Cliffs. Christmas in Malta
On the third day, we headed to Valetta, the capital of Malta. It was already the 24th of December, so all the main landmarks were closed, so we just walked around the city and took the horse cab for around the city tour. Valetta was incredibly full – even though the main landmarks were closed, all the shops were open. Since there aren’t that many tourists in Malta in winter, the shops were actually full of locals doing last-minute Christmas shopping in Valetta.
In total, we spent around 4-5 hours in Valetta. We would have needed a lot more than that if the shops were actually open.
Later in the day, we went to Dingli cliffs to watch the sunset. I wouldn’t say it’s the most beautiful spot to take photos, but the tourist buses usually stop there, so we decided to drive there too. It would make a bit more sense to visit Dingli Cliffs after Mdina and Marsaxlokk after Valetta due to the locations of the places.
We arrived at the hotel early, since we had the Christmas dinner booked in our hotel Corinthia St. George’s Bay – it was a buffet with live music for 45 euros per person excluding drinks. I wasn’t too amazed by the food, but the seafood was really good.
Day 4. Popeye Village and Malta Aquarium. Silema
On the day 4, we went to Popeye Village – a film set built specifically for the movie Popeye. The village is really lovely and colourful and it works as a small amusement park. It’s totally worth to go inside there in summer, as you can swim in a small lagoon and even jump from a trampoline, but in December, it was too cold for swimming, so we decided to look at Popeye Village from above (take a turn left and walk for 100 metres for the best view of the village).
Later on, we wanted to take a ferry to Comino island, but the ferries didn’t work on the Christmas Day, so instead, we went to the Malta Aquarium. Afterwards, we went to Selima for the best views of Valetta and the sunset.
In the evening, we went out to check out the nightlife of St. George’s Bay and ended up in Hard Rock Cafe which looked a bit sad and reminded me of a Wetherspoon pub in the outskirts of London rather than a Hard Rock Cafe, but the cocktails were as good as they always are.
Actually, the nightlife of St. George’s Bay is crazy! It was actually loud and crazy in December, can’t imagine how it is in summer. Smallish Maltese bars offer bundles of shots for a ridiculous amount of money such as 72 shots for 23€ and you can see these bars by crowds of 30-40 people outside.
Day 5 – Comino Island – Blue Lagoon & Crystal Lagoon Malta
On the day 5, we finally managed to go to Comino island. The ferried to Comino island depart from Cirkewwa ferry terminal (there is a small stand called Comino ferries), and cost 15€ per person for a return trip. They usually depart every hour and take 20-25 minutes to reach Comino. Comino is a really small island, however, I liked it most out of all the island. The reason for that: the Crystal lagoon. While the blue lagoon is a bit crowded and small, crystal lagoon is a bit further up the island (you have to bring comfortable shoes), but the views from there are breathtaking!
Such a pity that it was very windy and we couldn’t launch a drone there, the shots would have been spectacular.
By 4 pm we got back to Malta and headed to the airport.
To summarise, the trip was really interesting and we managed to see a lot! Visiting Malta in winter (or off-season) was a great idea, because the weather was generally warm (at least, warmer than in London), it was sunny and not that crowded, so we managed to capture some spots without that many people. It would be really interesting to come back to Malta during the high season to see how different it gets!
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So here’s our 10-minute summary of the trip to Malta in winter:
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