With private guides throughout the trip, this highlights tour of Malta and Gozo explores the wealth of historic attractions on these Mediterranean islands. Discover contrasting island lifestyles; see colourful Maltese fishing boats and sample wonderful food and wine along the way.
Gozo - Explore Malta's unspoilt sister island including the capital of Victoria and its stunning rocky coastline
Valletta - In Malta's capital, admire the impressive fortifications, imposing churches and bustling Grand Harbour
Megalithic Temples - Discover the oldest freestanding structures in the world, the UNESCO-Listed temples of Ggantija, Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.
Why Not Extend Your Trip? - Combine this trip with our private 'Classical Sicily' tour (trip code: PTCS) to make a two week holiday to these varied Mediterranean islands
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Malta and transfer to Sliema, on the country's east coast. With a long seafront promenade that skirts around this busy town, several watchtowers and forts dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and a busy commercial hub thronging with restaurants and bars, Sliema makes a good base for your explorations of Malta over the next week. You will be met on arrival at Malta International Airport (MLA), by an airport representative and a driver who will take you to your hotel, a 45 minute drive away. There are no activities planned today, so feel free to arrive in Malta Airport at any time. For those booking their own flights, you will just need to let us know your flight details no later than three weeks prior to departure, in order to be met on arrival.
With a local guide, drive out of Sliema to the historic Three Cities of Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua, considered to be 'the cradle of Maltese history' as settlers and rulers from the Phoenicians to the British all made use of the defences here. The Knights of the Order of Saint John settled in Vittoriosa in 1530 and used the city as their headquarters. The Three Cities have retained much of their romantic medieval charm and you'll see the Inquisitor's Palace in Vittoriosa and admire the views from the Gardjola Gardens - a look-out post to guard the harbour entrance - in Senglea. Take a short boat ride on a traditional 'Dghajsa', one of the authentic Maltese fishing boats with a history dating back hundreds of years. Only by travelling across the water does one appreciate the sheer magnitude of the ramparts and forts that protect Malta's coastline.
Take a guided walking tour today around the impressive and heavily fortified Old City of Valletta. Originally built by the Knights of the Order of Saint John in the 16th Century, Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is built on the steep slopes of the Sceberas Peninsula and surrounded by two huge natural harbours which have helped to make it such an important strategic port at the crossroads of the Mediterranean. Fort Saint Elmo guards the entrance to the harbours. Walking down Triq ir Republika - the main thoroughfare in the centre of the city, visit the elaborately decorated Saint John's Co-Cathedral and the grandiose Grandmaster's Palace with its fine collection of artworks. During the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, over 400 knights perished and as a sign of remembrance, the floor of St John's Co-Cathedral is covered in skeleton tombstones. The visit continues with the classic views across the Grand Harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens, a visit to the marvellous Casa Rocca Piccola, a 16th-century palace that is home to one of Malta's noble families, and finally with a visit to the Manoel Theatre, a magnificent building that, at nearly 300 years old, is one of the oldest theatres in Europe. Your guided visit will end in the late afternoon, and you can choose to be driven back to Sliema with your guide, or if you'd like to stay in Valletta and taste some delicious Maltese food tonight then you can make the 15 minute return journey by a frequent public shuttle bus, or with a more exhilarating boat taxi between the two towns. Your guide will give you the information about both options.
Take a ferry across to Gozo this morning, along with your local guide. Although both islands are similar in terms of history and development, you'll notice immediately that Gozo is more fertile and picturesque, and has retained much of its traditional character. Only 15 kilometres in length and seven kilometres wide, all parts of the island are easily accessible, and for its size the variety of scenery is incredible. You'll be getting a real flavour for the island's gastronomy and culture during today's trip. Visit one of the island's bakeries and see how 'ftira', a sort of Gozitan traditional pizza, are made in the old wood-fired oven. Head to Victoria; a tiny city named after Queen Victoria in 1887 but locally known as Rabat. Climb up to the imposing Citadel for fantastic views of the whole island, and explore the old prison where the Knights of Saint John would send their rowdier members to cool off. The graffitied walls give a fascinating insight into the lives of those who were incarcerated here. Descending to the graceful central square, It Tokk, wander the cobweb of narrow streets. Visit the small market of Fontana, where you can try handmade local products like jams and pates, or buy some souvenirs to take home. At lunchtime, you'll have a food tasting of some traditional Maltese produce - an eclectic mix of Mediterranean flavours with distinct Sicilian and North African overtones. In the afternoon you'll also visit the Qbajjar salt pans, and perhaps Gozo's most spectacular natural landmark, Dwerja. Here, geology, time and sea have worked together to produce some of the most remarkable scenery on the island. See Fungus Rock, notable as the habitat of a rare fungus which was highly prized by the Knights of Saint John for its medicinal properties. From here, continue to the Ta Pinu Basilica, renowned for the miraculous cures reported by it's supplicants. After a busy day of sightseeing, catch the ferry back to Malta and transfer back to Sliema for the night.
Drive a short way to Malta's Medieval old capital, Mdina, for a tour on foot around this seriously beautiful city. Game of Thrones fans may recognise some of its warren of winding, narrow alleys (mostly too narrow for cars), plazas and fortified walls, which contain a number of impressive buildings such as the Palazzo Falzon and cathedral dedicated to the Conversion of Saint Paul. Take a guided tour of Saint Paul's eerie catacombs (underground). After visiting Mdina, drive to the towering cliffs of Dingli for an awe-inspiring view over the Mediterranean, before your visit to one of the country's wine estates, set within a picturesque farmhouse. Take a tour of the estate, learning how sun-dried tomatoes and the local wine is produced, and then get to sample a few of the wines with a selection of snacks, such as Maltese bread and olive oil. You'll be back at your hotel in the late afternoon, with the rest of the day free to relax.
Visit southern Malta today on another guided day out. Drive through the village of Zurrieq, with its wonderful collection of 17th and 18th century chapels and windmills, down to the Blue Grotto where you have the option of taking a boat trip (weather permitting) to see a series of natural caverns which glow with brilliant corals and sea sponges. Driving on to Marsaxlokk, take some free time for lunch and exploration. This charming town is Malta's largest fishing port with an array of brightly coloured boats and excellent fish restaurants. In the afternoon, visit the Hagar Qim temples; an incredible Megalithic temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site. For three millennia, from around 3600 - 3200 BC, the Maltese archipelago was home to a unique, temple-building civilisation. The discovery of many fat lady statuettes in the vicinity of Hagar Qim has shown it to have been built to worship the Venus of Malta, the sleeping goddess of fertility. Mnajdra is probably the most atmospheric of all of Malta's temples, occupying an isolated position overlooking the rocky coastline. Walk between the two temple groups along a short well laid path before continuing a short distance along a rough country path to the Tal Hamrija costal 17th century tower to enjoy breathtaking scenery as the cliffs rise out of the blue Meditteranean Sea. On the way back to Sliema, stop at the small caves of Ghar Dalam - home to some of the first creatures that inhabited these islands, before the last Ice Age.
After a week of sight-seeing, you have the day free to relax. You may like to take a boat trip around the harbour, or catch a bus or boat back to historical Valletta or the quaint fishing village of Marsaxlokk and try some more of Malta's delicious traditional food, like pastizzi - a traditional savoury pastry, typically filled with ricotta cheese or mushy peas!
Your trip ends today, and you will be taken to the airport to meet your international flight. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Malta International Airport (MLA) at any time - it's approximately 30 minutes from the hotel. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at the hotel.
April/May and October/November are pleasantly warm. Juneeptember are the hottest months.
Nothing required. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
While this trip includes a great selection of Malta and Gozo's highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from some of the excursions, museums and sights that this area has in abundance, or take time to relax, the choice is yours. An idea of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your holiday. You will not have time to do all of them, but the list will give you an idea of what is possible.
Blue Grotto - Boat trip - 8 Euros
Inquisitor's Palace Visit - 6 Euros
Visas are not required by UK, E.U Nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.