This post's overview:
- 1 The overview of our road trip in Malta & map
- 2 Low season in Malta: what to expect?
- 3 Hiring a car in Malta
- 4 Where to stay in Malta?
- 5 5 days in Malta in winter: a detailed itinerary
- 6 Summary of our road trip itinerary for malta in winter
In this post, I’ll be sharing our 5-day itinerary for Malta off-season: in winter or spring. Even though we only spent 5 days in Malta, you can easily stretch this itinerary for 1 week in Malta by car, especially if you decide to relax and spend some days walking around, shopping and visiting a spa. This post was originally written in 2018, but it was last updated in 2020.
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. Gozo is another gorgeous inhabited island with a lot of wonderful landmarks. Comino is a very interesting little island as well. Moreover, the most famous place in Malta, the Blue Lagoon is located in Comino.
In our case, we celebrated Christmas in Malta and it was lovely. However, the weather in Malta in late autumn – the beginning of spring is very similar to the weather in Malta in December, so this itinerary is applicable for Malta off-season. At the end of this blog post, you can find a short video blog of our Malta road trip.
The overview of our road trip in Malta & map
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). However, as I said, you can stretch this itinerary for 6 or 7 days in Malta.
Here’s a short overview of our itinerary
(scroll down to read the entire day-by-day road trip itinerary in Malta)
Day 0: Arriving at the airport & hiring a car from Europcar via Rentalcars.com. Checking in at Corinthia St. George’s Bay (we found an amazing price online, as it was off-season in Malta). You can check the price and availability of Corinthia St. George’s Bay HERE!
Day 1: Driving to and exploring Mdina & Marsaxlokk
Day 2: Taking a car ferry to Gozo. Exploring Gozo (read my separate post about Gozo)
Day 3: Exploring Valetta and Dingli Cliffs.
Day 4: Visiting Popeye Village, Malta Aquarium and Silema
Day 5: Taking a ferry to Comino Island, exploring the Blue Lagoon, flying back late at night
Low season in Malta: what to expect?
Before we start with our itinerary for a road trip in Malta during low season, here are some useful facts about Malta off-season:
Low season in Malta: November to early March
Average weather in Malta off-season: 15-18C, windy, mostly sunny with occasional strong rain
Hiring a car in Malta
We hired a car through rentalcars.com (as we always do) and got a small Kia Picanto, which was the most fuel-efficient car I’ve seen in my life. After driving almost non-stop for 5 days, we arrived back at the airport with 40% gas in the tank. And no, we haven’t loaded gas. Not even once! So after we loaded the gas just before returning the car, we paid around 30 euros.
So in total, renting a car for 6 days with full insurance & fuel in Malta in December was just 100 euros!
Where to stay in Malta?
We stayed at the hotel Corinthia St. George’s Bay – a great and affordable 5* hotel with very nice 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!
However, there are plenty of other options for any budget in Malta (with parking & convenient location):
Okay, without further ado, let’s start with the detailed itinerary for a 5-day road trip in Malta in winter (or 7-day, if you will)
5 days in Malta in winter: a detailed itinerary
Day 1: Mdina & Marsaxlokk
On the first day in Malta in winter, 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. 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 narrow streets and beautiful houses with colourful doors. I just couldn’t stop taking photos of these doors. The entire city is very photogenic and pretty and is a must-visit spot in Malta. Mdina is also one of the most Instagrammable locations in Malta!
After visiting Mdina, we headed to the fishing village Marsaxlokk. Our main intention was to find a great seafood restaurant near Marsaxlokk, but as it was quite cold, we had to stay inside. That was unfortunate, as the restaurants in Marsaxlokk didn’t have the prettiest indoor spaces and the lack of service made it even worse. In the end, we grabbed a bite in Costa Coffee and decided to eat something substantial for dinner. Even though we failed to find a lunch spot in Marsaxlokk, I still liked the village very much: 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 a seafood platter for 3 and it was finger-licking good.
Day 2: Driving around Gozo
On the second day in Malta, 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 for the car ferry 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: Valetta and the Dingli Cliffs. Celebrating Christmas in Malta
On the third day in Malta, we headed to Valetta, the Capital. 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 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 landmarks and shops were actually open. That’s one of the reasons I mentioned when I told you that this itinerary could be easily extended to the itinerary for 7 days in Malta. I think that Valetta surely deserves an entire day!
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 proximity of the cliffs to Mdina.
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 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 worn-off and reminded me of a Wetherspoon pub, not a typical 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 so noisy 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 standing outside.
Day 5 – Comino Island – Blue Lagoon & Crystal Lagoon Malta
On day 5, we finally managed to go to Comino island. The ferries 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.
Summary of our road trip itinerary for malta in winter
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!