Malta 4 Day Itinerary | The Perfect Long Weekend Exploring Malta’s Top Attractions

The Maltese archipelago may be tiny, but it offers a remarkable diversity of rich historical, architectural, and natural treasures just waiting to be explored over the course of an action-packed 4 days in Malta. 

From stunning Baroque capital of Valletta to charming side adventures to the hypnotic Blue Lagoon to medieval Mdina to prehistoric temples to lazy afternoons savoring fresh Mediterranean cuisine by the sea, the Islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino dazzle and delight in all sorts of unexpected ways.

With so much magic and wonder packed into such a small area spanning three contrasting islands, spending at least 4 days in Malta fully immersing yourself provides the ideal amount of time to discover the very best of what makes Malta so special. 

This Malta 4 day itinerary allows you to uncover epic highlights like the UNESCO World Heritage capital of Valletta, discover off-the-beaten-path gems like the tranquil former fishing village Marsaxlokk, and still set aside ample time for aimless wandering, long lunches, and sunset views that look airbrushed they appear so picturesque at times.

FIND THE BEST TOURS AND EXCURSIONS TO ENHANCE YOUR MALTA 4 DAY ITINERARY

Malta in 4 Days: The Highlights

Ready to plot the perfect long weekend escaping to the Mediterranean? Here is everything you need to know to create your own customized 4 day Malta dream trip through the most dazzling highlights of these resplendent island paradises!

a stone wall and door in malta with pink flowers growing up around the door
Malta is a beautiful island nation that makes for a great place for a long weekend. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

Day 1:

  • Morning – Explore Valletta
  • Afternoon – Visit the Three Cities
  • Evening – Dinner in Valletta

Day 2:

  • Morning – Mdina sightseeing
  • Afternoon – Rabat & St. Paul’s Catacombs
  • Evening – Blue Grotto rowboat tour and sunset views

Day 3:

  • Morning – Comino Island and The Blue Lagoon
  • Afternoon – Popeye Village
  • Evening – Farmhouse dinner in Marsaxlokk

Day 4:

  • Full Day Gozo Island highlights tour
  • Ġgantija Temples
  • Inland Sea swim
  • Seaside villages and sunset ferry ride

Now onto all the juicy details for making the most out of your 4 memorable days discovering Malta’s impressive history, scrumptious food and dazzling natural beauty!

FIND A HOTEL IN VALLETTA, MALTA

Day 1 in Malta: Valletta and the Three Cities

Your first day of your Malta 4 day itinerary takes you through the narrow streets of Malta’s capital and to the famed Three Cities.

Morning

looking up a staircase between beautiful stone buildings in the streets of Valletta, the ideal place to start your Malta 4 day itinerary
The capital city of Valletta is the perfect place to spend a morning wandering. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

I always recommend starting any trip to Malta in the country’s tiny but action-packed capital of Valletta. 

As you wander the narrow streets of this fortified city built atop a headland overlooking two massive natural harbors, you’ll quickly appreciate why Valletta feels like no other European capital.

After fueling up on local pastizzi pastries for breakfast, wind your way up to the tippy-top of Valletta to tour Saint John’s Co-Cathedral first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive, then consider a walking tour of Valletta to discover the history of the city.

Afternoon

Stuffat Tal-Fenek or Maltese braised rabbit, a must try dish during your 4 days in Malta
Be sure to try Maltese food, like Stuffat Tal-Fenek, or Maltese braised rabbit at one of Valletta’s many restaurants. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

Don’t rush exploring the vividly colored marble tombstones in the crypt that made my jaw drop! Grab a light lunch at one of Valletta’s numerous restaurants before catching a traditional dgħajsa water taxi over Marsamxett Harbour in the early afternoon.

The iconic boats zip you over to Cottonera or the “Three Cities” in minutes flat. I’d suggest starting your explorations here along the stunning Birgu waterfront. 

Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa, still has some of Malta’s most intact medieval buildings. As you wander you can practically envision the Great Siege of 1565 when islanders successfully defended the island against the Ottoman Empire.

Evening

Wrap up your evening poking around Senglea and Cospicua, the two other towns that make up the Three Cities.

If time allows before taking the dgħajsa back to Valletta, walk out to Senglea’s Gardjola Gardens for what just might be the best sunset view in all of Malta!

Pro tip: If you’re willing to splurge a bit, I’d wholeheartedly recommend sleeping at least one night in the Three Cities to enjoy those epic views framed by golden light each morning and evening.

Day 2 in Malta: Mdina, Rabat, and the Blue Grotto

Morning

a horse drawn carriage on the streets of Mdina
The charming city of Mdina is a popular place to explore in Malta. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

After that gorgeous sunrise over the Three Cities harbor, take the quick bus ride inland first thing in the morning to explore Malta’s other walled capital of Mdina before the daytripping crowds arrive. 

Wandering this medieval citadel truly does make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time!

Afternoon

Just beyond Mdina’s city gate lies its sister city of Rabat, which makes a perfect late morning stop. 

Rabat is home to St.Paul’s Catacombs, Malta’s top Christian sight given that the island is named in the Book of Acts as the site of the future saint’s famous shipwreck back in 60 CE.

Looking down on the Blue Grotto - Malta's most famous sea cave
The picturesque Blue Grotto is Malta’s most famous sea cave. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

The afternoon brings us to Malta’s most spectacular sea cave, the Blue Grotto. Nestled beneath towering cliffs, rowboats take you into a hidden grotto glowing with brilliant blue water that sparkles when sunlight seeps through underwater cave openings.

I recommend arriving in the hour before closing when most of the tour groups have left.

BOOK A JET SKI TOUR OR A PADDLEBOARD TOUR TO THE BLUE GROTTO

Evening

Psst, on the ride back in the early evening, ask your driver to make a quick stop along the clifftops for what is surely one of the most iconic sunset views in Malta with the famous natural arch framing that gorgeous grotto. Bring your swimming gear if you’re feeling brave for a dip!

Pro tip: Fans of Games of Thrones and Gladiator, keep your eyes peeled around Mdina’s city walls and Rabat’s catacombs for some very familiar filming locations!

Day 3 in Malta: Exploring the South Coast

Morning

a boat in the blue lagoon in malta
The Blue Lagoon is best known for it’s clear turquoise water. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

For your third day in Malta, start by catching an early morning ferry over to the island of Comino to visit one of Malta’s most famous spots: the Blue Lagoon

This picturesque bay has crystal clear turquoise waters that look almost tropical. Spend the morning soaking up the sun, splashing around in the perfect temperature water, and snapping iconic shots. 

There are no cars or major developments on tiny Comino, so the Blue Lagoon retains an almost desert island vibe despite its popularity.

BOOK A FAMILY FRIENDLY DAY CRUISE TO THE BLUE LAGOON

Afternoon

Popeye Village is a unique and whimiscal attraction in Malta. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

After returning to Malta around lunchtime, head over to the quaint northwestern corner of the island to explore Popeye Village

This colorfully assembled collection of wooden buildings was the original set used to film the 1980 musical production of Popeye starring Robin Williams. Visiting Popeye Village is one of the best things to do in Malta with kids.

Wandering through the whimsical village with its nautically themed structures feels like stepping right into the movie

Make sure to see the Original Olive Oyl and take photos by the iconic Popeye statue before sitting down for a spinach-infused meal at the village restaurant. It’s a perfect family-friendly afternoon activity option.

BUY TICKETS TO POPEYE VILLAGE

Evening

looking out at the ocean through a rocky arch during the 4 day Malta itinerary
Comino Island boasts beautiful coastal views. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

Spend your evening enjoying Malta’s finest coastal views along the northwest route back towards Sliema and St. Julian’s

I recommend stopping at the picture perfect Fomm ir-Rih Bay to capture a stunning sunset over the rough waves if weather permits. 

Reward your day of island hopping and sightseeing with a relaxing dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants that the lively St. Julian’s and Sliema waterfront has to offer before turning in for the night.

Pro Tip: Taking a short trek over the rocks on Comino Island will lead you to the secluded yet breathtaking Crystal Lagoon – a hidden gem with no tourists around! This makes for a perfect quiet and peaceful alternative to the often overcrowded Blue Lagoon.

Day 4 in Malta: Gozo Island Excursion

Morning

boats in the harbor on the island of Gozo
Gozo Is a popular day trip in Malta. | Image By Jon Hoefer From Pixabay

No trip to Malta is really complete without the short early morning ferry ride over to the sleepier sister island of Gozo. I always block out a full day to leisurely explore Gozo’s rolling countryside and charming coastal villages.

Just beyond the ferry docks, you’ll immediately notice that time seems to pass slower on Gozo. After gawking at the tremendous fortress walls of Victoria, start making your way clockwise around the island hitting all the highlights.

Afternoon

The rugged northern coast boasts two of Gozo’s crown jewels and makes for a scenic coastal drive after lunch: the windswept sandstone features of Xagħra’s Ġgantija Temples and the breathtaking natural Azurre Window arch (just be careful along those clifftop paths!).

As you venture inland through farmland and tiny villages practically dripping in quaintness, top up your travel meals with hearty Gozitan cheese, sweets and even wine. Yes, Malta has vineyards!

Evening

I usually wrap up my circuit back at Victoria for some final sightseeing and shopping before that final ferry crossing at dusk. For an extra special experience, you can even charter a boat in Malta – with a skipper for a sunset tour. Watching the lights of Malta and Gozo twinkle in the darkening waters of Comino Channel remains one of my favorite memories.

Pro tip: If time and energy allows, visit the so-called Inland Sea for picture perfect views over the narrow channel to the main island. 

For a small fee, you can even book a short swim from the little ladder etched into the rocks. Just maybe leave your fancy camera behind, I learned that lesson the salty way!

BOOK A HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS TOUR IN GOZO

Handy Tips for an Epic 4 Days in Malta

a sea cave in malta
Malta is known for its sea caves, which are fun to explore by kayak, paddleboard, or jet ski. | Photo by Billy from BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

To ensure your Maltese adventure goes off without a hitch, keep these need-to-know tidbits in mind:

Getting Around

  • Malta’s compact size lends itself well to public transportation, but buses can be sporadic. Renting a car is often the best way to maximize sightseeing flexibility.
  • Dgħajsa water taxis offer a scenic shortcut connecting Valletta to the Three Cities area in just minutes for a few Euros.
  • Ferries to Gozo run frequently from Ċirkewwa Harbour, taking only 25 minutes.

Saving Money

  • Purchase a Malta Pass if visiting many paid attractions to save time and up to 50% off admissions.
  • Book museums and historical sites online ahead of time for discounted tickets.
  • Grocery shop at local markets for fresh produce and baked goods to offset restaurant meals.
  • Opt for lunch specials and share appetizers when dining out to taste local flavors on a budget.

Avoiding Crowds

  • Visit popular sites like Saint John’s Co-Cathedral and Mdina early in the morning or at the end of day.
  • Schedule sightseeing midweek when fewer cruise ship passengers are onshore.
  • Consider renting a car for flexibility to duck offbeat to escape tourist hordes as needed.

Beating the Heat

  • Travel during shoulder season (April-June or September-October) to avoid peak summer crowds and temperatures.
  • Carry a water bottle and sun protection as shade can be scarce.
  • Take a dip at hotel pools or area beaches to cool midday.

Packing Tips

  • Pack lightweight, breathable clothing – think light dresses, shorts, tanks, swimwear. Avoid heavy jeans.
  • Bring sun hats, sunglasses and sunscreen – the Maltese sun is strong.
  • Pack layers – evenings and sacred sites can be chilly even in summer.
  • Good walking shoes are essential for exploring cities and ancient sites with uneven terrain
  • Bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect marine life when swimming and snorkeling
  • Leave space for souvenirs! Maltese lace, gold filigree jewelry and artisanal glassworks make great keepsakes.
  • Refer to this Malta Packing Guide for a complete list and more tips.

Most importantly, leave room for spontaneous local discoveries and don’t overpack your days. Part of Malta’s magic lies in simply soaking up its easy going Mediterranean vibe!

Final Thoughts on Planning Your 4 Day Malta Itinerary

I hope this quick rundown of my favorite places from trips to Malta over the years helps inspire your own Mediterranean island-hopping adventure! 

While far from exhaustive, hitting all these highlights provides a wonderfully varied showcase of everything that makes the Maltese islands so special in my book.

From UNESCO World Heritage Sites older than the Egyptian pyramids to dazzling Mediterranean seascapes that look almost otherworldly at times, Malta punches far above its pint-size weight. 

Exploring Malta feels wonderfully exotic at times, yet comfortingly familiar thanks to all that delicious Italian-inspired food and super friendly locals happy to chat your ear off!

With frequent cheap flights from European hubs, more visitors from around the globe are finally starting to discover Malta’s unique magic. But rest assured that, beyond occasional hotspots, Malta remains a wonderfully unhurried place to vacation at your own pace.

LOOKING FOR OTHER UNDER THE RADAR DESTINATIONS IN EUROPE? CHECK OUT SLOVENIA!

Malta 4 Day Itinerary FAQs:

What is the best way to get around Malta?

Rent a car for maximum flexibility seeing top sights across Malta. Buses are sporadic and tours limit independence. Dgħajsa boats efficiently connect Valletta to the Three Cities area.

How much does 4 days in Malta cost?

Budget about €100/day covering accommodation, car rental, meals and sightseeing. Accommodation and attractions are the biggest expenses. Go modest to save funds for experiences.

What is there to do in Malta at night?

In larger cities like Valletta, you’ll find lively restaurants, bars and cultural performances at night. Otherwise, Malta is peaceful at night. Stargazing from clifftops can be magical too!

What should I wear in Malta?

Light, loose clothing with good sun coverage works year-round. Malta stays fairly warm so plan for lightweight layers. Pack hats, swimwear and sandals too for Mediterranean vibes.

Do I need travel insurance for Malta?

Yes, travel insurance providing health coverage and trip cancellation protection is smart for any international destination like Malta for peace of mind.

Is Malta expensive to visit?

Beyond flights, Malta offers tremendous value compared to other European destinations thanks to budget dining and accommodation options that still deliver exceptional quality experiences.

Is 4 days in Malta enough time?

While you can see top highlights in 4 days, extending to a full week allows you to deeper experience Malta at a more relaxed pace without feeling rushed between destinations each day.

Do you have a question or comment about this Malta 4 day itinerary? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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