While planning our travels for the new year, we started wondering how it would be to explore Malta with kids.
Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta captivates with its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and a history that echoes through its ancient architecture. A vibrant blend of cultures, this archipelago offers a warm embrace to visitors, showcasing a unique mix of tradition and modernity against picturesque backdrops at every step.
Additionally, Malta boasts a rich tapestry of history spanning millennia. With roots reaching back to prehistoric times, this archipelago has witnessed Phoenician, Roman, Arab, and medieval influences. The Knights of St. John, Ottoman sieges, and British rule further shaped Malta’s unique cultural mosaic.
It is for these reasons that we have asked an expert, Billy at BRB Gone Somewhere Epic, who is himself a parent full-time traveler, and digital nomad to write this post for us. Please note that this post contains a few friendly affiliate links. Shall you purchase through any of them, we get a small commission at no extra cost for you. That being said, let’s explore Malta with kids in Billy’s words.
As you step off the plane into the warm Maltese sunshine with little ones in tow, the excitement and anticipation of exploring Malta with kids begin. From hiking fortified cities to sailing on traditional wooden boats to discovering a new cuisine, Malta offers families endless adventures.
And with its compact size, mild climate, and superb public transportation, it’s surprisingly easy to navigate this trio of Mediterranean islands with children.
To fully uncover the cultural richness of Malta and explore its hidden gems, consider renting a car for the freedom to drive between renowned attractions such as the Hypogeum and the Palace of the Grand Master. With the main island being only 27km by 14km, you can easily base yourself in one location for your entire holiday and embark on leisurely day trips by car to discover traditional villages and other sights at your own pace.
If you’ve decided against renting a car, Malta has an excellent bus system connecting most points of interest. Just be prepared for unpredictability – schedules are not strictly adhered to.
Having a car allows more freedom to explore further afield beaches and attractions at your own pace. Keep in mind, driving in Malta can be quite chaotic with vehicles coming at you from all directions on narrow roads.
If navigating the roads doesn’t appeal, numerous tour companies offer excellent day excursions tailored specifically for families, and you can find some recommendations below.
Planning your Malta with kids trip
Even during the peak summer months, Malta rarely gets uncomfortably hot. The winter also tends to be quite mild, making it feasible to visit year-round.
If you’re looking to save money on accommodations, spring and fall offer lower hotel rates and smaller crowds.
Just be aware that many attractions keep shorter winter hours, while some hotels, restaurants, and tour companies completely close from November through March.
I’ve found that when exploring Malta with kids, slower is better. Rather than trying to cram in too many places, focus on a couple of key destinations. With ferry transit times factored in, I’d recommend picking Malta or Gozo for a 5 to 7-day family trip. Each island has enough to keep you happily occupied for a week!
Malta with kids – top family-friendly destinations
Valletta – Malta’s tiny capital packs a big visual punch with its striking Baroque architecture and lofty bastion walls overlooking the aquamarine harbor. Wandering the pedestrian streets offers scenic views around every corner along with intrigued kids wanting to peek inside ornate churches and mazy side alleys. Stop for a sweet treat at Caffe Cordina, in operation since 1837 – the perfect pick-me-up while exploring!
Mdina – Entering Malta’s silent city feels like stepping into a medieval time warp with its golden-hued ramparts and narrow car-free streets lined with aristocratic palazzos. Little imaginations will run wild exploring this atmospheric fortress town! Dine al fresco at one of the restaurants dotting the city edges for scenic views over the island’s patchwork fields. Fontanella Tea Garden makes a lovely lunch spot right on the city walls.
Comino Island – This tiny island between Malta and Gozo offers one big draw for families – the Blue Lagoon. Pictures don’t do the stunning turquoise waters justice. You’ll find smooth rock slabs for sunbathing along the edges and a small sandy beach tucked into one nook of the shallow lagoon, perfect for little ones.
Numerous companies run day trips to Comino, or you can ferry over on your own for DIY exploring. Pack snorkel gear – the clear waters offer superb underwater visibility along the lagoon’s rocky edges!
Popeye Village – Yes, this quaint village was originally constructed as the movie set for the 1980 musical production of Popeye starring Robin Williams. Today, it’s an engaging open-air attraction where kids can meet Spinach-loving Popeye himself along with Olive Oyl and Bluto as they wander the colorful wooden building facades. Shows, boat rides, arts & crafts, bounce houses and play areas will keep kids entertained for hours. So even if you’ve never watched an episode, it’s still worth a visit! For more details, check out this Popeye Village Guide.
Sanap Cliffs – Located on the less touristy island of Gozo, these stunning rust-colored cliffs plunge sharply into the sea, creating picture-perfect vistas from their edge. Just be very careful with kids, as no barriers are preventing you from toppling over the steep precipice! On calm days you might spot locals daringly diving from lower cliff points into the Mediterranean waters below.
Malta with kids – family dining recommendations
Thanks to British influence, Malta caters well to little ones with typical kids menu items like burgers, chicken fingers, pasta and pizza readily available.
If your children pride themselves on more adventurous palates, they’ll enjoy sampling some local specialties too:
Ftira – traditional Maltese bread baked into a flat split roll filled with a variety of delicious ingredients like tuna, olives, capers, veggies or cheese. It’s like a Mediterranean sub or wrap!
Kunserva – sweet tomato paste cooked down and served on bread, also known as hobz biz-zejt. It makes a quick, portable snack or lunch.
Aljotta – a wonderful hearty fish stew infused with tomatoes and garlic, usually containing some type of white fish along with prawns or mussels too. Serve it with crusty bread for dipping.
Fenek – while eating rabbit might not appeal to some kids, the tender stewed meat literally falls off the bone and could be likened to mouthwatering pulled chicken or pork. Fenek bit-tewm u l-inbid is an iconic Maltese rabbit dish cooked in wine, garlic and tomatoes.
Helwa Tat-Tamal – these sugary date or honey filled sesame seed candies make great snacks or gifts to bring home. Stop by one of the sweet shops in Marsaxlokk or Mdina to pick up artfully arranged boxes showcasing a colorful assortment.
Malta with kids – family activity recommendations
Beaches – While they might not measure up to exotic tropical standards, Malta’s beaches offer family-friendly shallow waters, ample amenities, and soft sandy spots for castle construction. Mellieha Bay Beach is the largest sandy beach on the islands, with very gradual entry and loads of cafes and restaurants within walking distance. Pretty blue lagoon waters beckon at Golden Bay Beach, also quite long with extremely shallow waters.
And don’t overlook Malta’s smaller sandy coves like Paradise Bay, with its beach backed by dramatic cliffs.
Malta National Aquarium – Located on the walkway skirting St Paul’s Bay, this aquarium provides an excellent overview of the diverse Mediterranean marine world. Little ones will love the interactive displays like touch pools and the tunnel walkthrough tanks swirling with fish and sharks overhead. Time your visit to catch one of their child-centric shows featuring pirates, mermaids, and deep sea monsters!
Pirate Adventure Cruise – Set sail around the Maltese coastline aboard a classic Turkish gullet boat while being entertained by a humorous costumed pirate crew. Kids can dress up too, help navigate, and hunt for treasure on this nautically-themed family adventure that culminates with spectacular Dwejra Bay sea caves. A fun way to enjoy Gozo’s stunning coastline!
Malta 5D – For a high-tech film experience, this movie attraction located near Valletta’s gateway plays films enhanced with motion seats, wind machines, leg ticklers, and water sprayers. Current shows range from an underground roller coaster ride through dinosaur-infested caverns to gentle soaring over Malta’s most scenic landscapes.
Mdina Knights of Malta Museum – The museum offers a captivating journey into the rich history of the Knights of Malta, providing visitors with a glimpse into the medieval heritage of the Maltese islands. Housed within the historic city of Mdina, the museum showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, armor, and weaponry, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the legacy of the renowned Knights
Govijina Caves – Just offshore from Malta beneath the St Paul’s Bay promenade lie these mysterious underwater caverns. Join one of the boat tours that includes a chance to swim into the submerged caves, where shafts of light create an enchanting effect as they filter down from openings high overhead. Adventure kids won’t soon forget!
Additionally, a Malta hop-on hop-off tour might be a fun adventure for the entire family!
Malta with kids – family lodging recommendations
To give little ones space to play and unwind while exploring Malta with kids, I prefer vacation apartment rentals over hotels when traveling with little ones. Having a kitchenette also allows flexibility for preparing quick meals or snacks. Fortunately, Malta offers ample vacation rental listings in family-friendly locations.
Here are a few top vacation rental picks ideal for families:
Xemxija (St. Paul’s Bay) – Perched scenically on the hillside overlooking picturesque Xemxija Bay, this little village puts you within walking distance of cafes, playgrounds and the Bugibba seaside promenade without being right in the midst of the tourist zone further down the road.
Marsaxlokk – Picturesque traditional fishing village featuring a colorful boat-filled harbor with a string of seafood restaurants along the waterfront. Excellent central location for exploring the island’s top attractions.
Mellieha – Charming village situated in the scenic northwest valley below majestic Mt. Melleha with convenient access to Malta’s largest sandy beach.
Marsalforn, Gozo – Situated along Gozo’s northern coastline, this small resort village lined with excellent restaurants and shops serves as a perfect laid-back base for exploring the island’s rugged scenery and iconic sites.
Malta with Kids – top travel tips
- Visit a playground – Most towns have local play areas allowing kids to burn off energy. Qawra, Sliema, Marsascala and Marsaxlokk offer nice playground options.
- Dress in layers – Unpredictable weather means light jackets are handy. And churches often require bare shoulders/knees to be covered.
- BYO child safety gear – Don’t expect a lot of highchairs, cribs, socket covers, etc. Bring your own or verify availability in advance.
- Grocery shop – Having snacks/drinks on hand saves money. Plus many apartments include kitchens to prep simple meals.
- Learn saintly legends – Kids enjoy hearing stories of St. Paul’s shipwreck and the associated biblical tales connected to Malta’s sights.
- Choose kid-friendly tours – Several companies offer cruises and day trips specifically tailored for families with young children.
- Use sun protection – The mid-day sun often shines intensely. Hats, shade and sunblock are musts to prevent burns.
- Experience festivals – Maltese festas with fireworks, religious processions and decorative lights held year-round make for lively local immersion.
- Pack swim shoes – The rocky seabed and shower facilities around swimming spots make water shoes helpful for avoiding scraped feet. For a full list, refer to the complete packing list for Malta.
Malta with kids – final thoughts
No matter which area you choose as a base for exploring Malta with kids, you’ll gain easy access to amazing historical sites, an incredible coastline, and adventure to be had across this compact archipelago.
By traveling slowly and allowing kids’ interests to guide your schedule, you’ll enjoy a stress-free family vacation exploring Malta’s treasures.
Malta with kids: FAQs
What is the best time of year to visit Malta with kids?
Late spring and early fall offer mild temperatures, smaller crowds, lower hotel rates plus the advantage of most attractions still being open, making these seasons ideal for visiting Malta with kids.
Is Malta safe for families?
Yes, Malta is very safe – it has low crime rates across the islands. However, use normal safety precautions as in any travel destination.
Will my kids like the food in Malta?
Thanks to British influence, typical kid favorites like pizza, pasta and chicken fingers are readily available. More adventurous eaters can try local specialties like rabbit stew, savory ftira bread sandwiches and seasonal fruits.
How do I get around Malta with my family?
Malta has an extensive bus system connecting most points of interest very affordably. Renting a car allows more freedom to explore beaches and attractions at your own pace.
What are the best beaches to visit with kids?
Mellieha Bay’s very gradual slope with sandy seabed is ideal for small kids. Golden Bay also features long stretches of beach with extremely shallow waters perfect for young families.
Will my teenagers enjoy visiting Malta?
Absolutely – from watersports to cultural sights, Malta offers engaging adventures for teens too. Kayaking, rock climbing, quad biking, escape rooms and more will pique their interests.
Are strollers practical in the main cities?
Valletta and Mdina both have lots of stairs and cobblestones, making them difficult with strollers. Baby wearing carriers are more practical exploring Malta’s fortified hilltop cities on foot.