It doesn’t get much better than a family adventure to Gozo and Malta – there is so much to do with kids and this travel guide shares all the highlights. Read on for a list of the top must see places to visit on these two funky little islands in the Mediterranean.
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Malta with Kids
Now Malta has a little bit for every type of traveller. Which is pretty cool, especially when you consider that this country isn’t big. In fact, you could probably make your way around the two islands in a few days… but where would be the fun in that. What that does mean however, is that in terms of density there is plenty to see and do over a very small space. This makes getting around easy and exciting.
While this post highlights travel around Malta from a family perspective, it could really suit anyone seeking to explore the islands. But if we were to pick some top tips for exploring Malta with kids, they would be the following –
5 Top Tips for Exploring Malta with Kids
- Get yourself a rental car – The island is easy to navigate and when travelling with kids its a great way to get them to take a nap between destinations. It basically just takes the stress out of getting around.
- Bring a stroller – There are a couple of cool cities to explore, so park up and tour on foot. The stroller will give the kiddos a break when they need it.
- Go to Gozo – Gozo was definitely our favourite island with the kids. It was a bit more laid back and in our opinion a little less touristy.
- Get an Airbnb – There are some seriously cool Airbnb options in Gozo. They go for a steal and you’ll be staying in a place with so much history. (Okay so we come from New Zealand, and it blows my mind that these homes have been around longer than our country.) Oh and try get a place with a pool… it’s loads of fun.
- Bring some pool and beach things to keep the little ones entertained because you’ll be spending a fair bit of time by the water in Malta.
Each of the places we recommend, we have visited with our two kids. They aren’t kid focused attractions, we just don’t do that kind of travel. We seek cultural and historical sites, beach, food and off the beaten track. And our children always fit in with what we do and where we go. This post from We Galavant the World gives some great tips on how to foster a love of hiking in children. Their invaluable suggestions are relevant to how we travel with our children and are similarly valid to this post.
So as I mentioned above, the places to visit below are the highlights in our opinion, and they suit any traveller with similar interests. So let’s get on with the travel guide to Gozo below.
Gozo Travel Guide
Most of our time was spent on the island of Gozo. Hand on heart, if you base yourself in Gozo you won’t regret it. The people are lovely, the atmosphere is chilled and the culture is rich.
Getting to Gozo is very easy. Arrive at the ferry terminal, get yourself in the line and it won’t take long till you’ll be guided onto the ferry. The ferries are constantly going back and forward between the two islands and the process is fast and efficient.
Dwejra – Azure Window
More recently this scenic marvel under went some massive changes. And by this I mean, the natural bridge which created the arch of the Azure Window basically collapsed. Yep, one sad day in 2017. There one day and gone the next, poof, it crumbled into the sea. We were fortunate enough to see this spectacular sight in all its glory, before it came crashing down. So sadly I can’t tell you if this is worth a visit or not anymore.
What I can tell you, is that the blue hole is stunning for a swim but probably not best suited to younger kids. For sure it was not a swimming hole for our one and three year old children. But, if you are travelling with older children who are confident on their feet and in the water then you might want to keep this on your must see list.
For something a little calmer, the inland sea is a good place for the kids to take a swim. There is also some great diving in this area. Check out Dwejra Divers for more information on how to go about booking in a dive or two.
If you are a massive Game of Thrones fan, then you may already know that this location is where some of the filming took place. The landscape will certainly wow, so it’s easy to see how it served as a backdrop to the popular television series.
Ta’Dbiegi Crafts Village
This quaint little village up in the hills is a tourist point to pick up some quality souvenirs. The small shops have some unique finds and you get the sense that the people creating the work are passionate about what they do. This small village is on the way to the Azure Window and if you are driving by, then definitely add it as a stop along the way.
Victoria (Rabat) – Il-Kastell
A wander around the castle is highly recommended. Centred around the church, the paths leading to all corners of the high walled castle offer very impressive views. There are plenty of ruins to photograph and paths to get lost in for a while. The children can run free and explore nooks and crannies and you’ll easily fill a couple of hours here.
The prison was a must see on our list. The graffiti from another era is scattered throughout the cell walls and leaves you imagining life of past centuries. It is a small walk through, but very interesting. The children will have fun negotiating oversized steps and running in and out of the dimly lit rooms.
Stop for lunch if you get the chance at Ta’Rikardu for some simple but delicious food. There is also some really special shopping here within the castle walls. We found some locally made lace that is very typical from the region and is becoming somewhat a dying skill by all accounts.
This busy little bay is lined with great restaurants to fill your tummies with great Maltese food. We enjoyed a water front lunch at the Boat House. Xlendi also has a really good ice cream shop a street back from the beach that you will likely need to queue for. But it will be worth it, especially on a hot day.
Take the walk that runs parallel to the bay. This is a hot spot for people looking to catch a tan, and the bronze bodies line the rocks all the way out to the point. There are entry points into the bay via ladder, or for those more inclined towards adventure, there are plenty of good jumping rocks.
The walking path is also possible with a good stroller just incase you want to bring it along. The views of the cliffs are very impressive, as well as the view back towards Xlendi. It is a gentle walk, nothing too strenuous and great for young kids.
For a bit of a road trip around the island, plan a trip to see the salt pans. For years the sea side rocky flats have become the perfect environment for salt harvesting – if you will.
Carved into the rock flats that extend for miles around the coastline, are shallow basins or pans that serve as a holding place for salt water. Naturally over time the water evaporates, leaving the sea salt – a very traditional and natural process. Which is quite a sight!
The road runs between the rocky cliffs and salt pan rocks. Cruise your way around and stop as you like to check out different pans and the process in action.
If you want to pick up some sea salt for yourself, go check out the salt shop that overlooks the salt pans. Hidden up in the cliff to the left of the road you’ll find a set of steps leading up to a cave in the rock face. There is a small sign so you’ll know when you’ve found it. But keep your eyes peeled as it is easy to miss.
For an intrepid bay visit Mġarr ix-Xini. I say intrepid because the drive down is something of an adventure. The parking is extremely limited so you may want to avoid it here at peak times of the day, or year for that matter. We went for a nosy one July afternoon and it was certainly manageable at this time of the day.
The steep descent into the bay will literally leave you on the edge of your seat… but hey it’s all part of the fun right! Grab yourself a park wherever you can find one and enjoy your swim. And for movie buffs… this bay was also the location for the film By the Sea with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
The golden sands of this picturesque beach are a great way to spend the day. A busy beach with great swimming, sun loungers and umbrellas are also available to rent.
There is a small walk up over the hill if you tend to get itchy feet and need something extra to do. It is a simple walk that the kids can join, with a nice view over the beach.
There is in fact a third island between Gozo and Malta called Comino. This island is small and uninhabited, but boy is it beautiful. Be prepared for crowds, but also for idyllic crystal blue waters. There is not a lot of beach space and sun loungers are extortionately expensive, but if you’ve come all the way to Malta, then you need to visit Comino.
You can access the island by speed boat, from Gozo. It is a short ride, but despite this our eldest cried her heart out all the way there and back. Therefore, we didn’t get to see the nearby caves, opting instead to get straight to land. But generally the price for the boat includes a little look around the area.
We stayed for half a day with our kids, but you could very easily stay the full day. I would recommend that you take some snacks, water and food with you to the island. Because if you are going to need to purchase anything while you are there, it is going to cost you an arm and a leg.
Must See in Malta
Back on the island of Malta there are a few places that you won’t want to miss. We took a day trip to Malta from Gozo, crossing over and back in our rental car with the ferry.
Valletta & Vittoriosa
The city of Valletta is quite beautiful and a great place to walk around considering that cars are generally not prohibited into the centre. Find a park as close to the old city as you can, then walk in and explore the district as you like.
A relatively easy to area navigate, the shopping is great and the food is delicious. You’ll definitely want to look out across the harbour from the city walls and upper gardens. Overlooking the harbour you can see the Saluting Battery. At noon and 4pm they fire a canon that can alarm the kids if they are not prepared for it. But the 180 degree views are spectacular. When you’ve criss crossed your way across the old city, then make your way down to the boat taxis and grab a ride over to Vittoriosa.
An equally pretty district, the walk will impress. We arrived just before a large annual celebration which honours one of the Patron Saints. The streets were lined with colourful flags and banners, the city’s preparation was spectacular. While it would have been great to stay and play into the evening, we had young ones to get home to bed!
Before heading home however we had tagged Ghar Lapsi as a potential place for an afternoon swim. And we were not disappointed! Very popular among the locals this swimming hole is less touristy than many others.
Set within a quiet fishing village tucked into the rocks is this swimming lagoon of sorts. To the right side of the lagoon is a large cave where you can keep your clothes and towels while you dip. When you are stripped down to your swimming costume, join the others floating on the calm surface and enjoy the last rays of the day!
St Peter’s Pool
We did not make it to St Peter’s Pool, but I kind of wish we had. On a perfect day it looks like a beautiful place to float, in what is a very typical looking Maltese backdrop.
Near Ghar Lapsi the location for these two swimming locations are at the southern ends of Malta.
Large rock wall faces, clear calm blue waters are the backdrops very standard for Malta and Gozo. Two spectacular Mediterranean islands worth your time and money… visit if at all you can.
Share your travel experiences of Gozo and Malta below, perhaps you have information to add to this guide? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Or, if you are planning a holiday to Malta with kids, feel free to send us your questions.