Ryanair offers very cheap tickets to Malta, which is a good motivation to buy cheap tickets and see this interesting, tiny country. That is what we did. We bought tickets at good price for our family, and then started planning Malta with kids trip.
What should you pay attention to when booking a ticket?
It’s easy to buy a cheap ticket and then spend a lot of money on accommodation. Unfortunately Malta, is not a cheap place, so pay attention to accommodation prices. In addition, as Malta is an island, most of the products are imported from the continent so the products are quite expensive. That is why a good ticket price does not mean budget holidays 🙂
Malta is a very touristy place, so when traveling with children, try to avoid places in popular towns, such as Saint Julian – this is the center of events with loud music all night long.
In Malta, however, you will find many places with beautiful apartments located in quiet districts with beautiful views. This is where you will have a good rest with your family!
How to organize trip to Malta with kids
I recommend booking two, three or more places to stay. This way you will get to know different faces of Malta. I love traveling in a road-trip mode: from place to place, surrendering to fate and spontaneous meetings!
Malta consists of two islands, Malta and Gozo. Most people spend their holidays in Malta and go to a one-day trip to Gozo. However, we spent 4 days in an apartment on the tiny island of Gozo, and these were definitely the best days of our holidays. It was very calm, in the morning we were woken up by sounds of roosters and cows, around there were fields with artichokes, onions or potatoes. On the horizon we could see lighthouses, basilicas or other monumental buildings. It was peaceful and that’s where we met most people. Completely off-the-beaten track.
I really value encounters with other people – they give so much more insight into local culture and habits. Before you go, try to find a contact with someone living in Malta or with other traveling families. I recommend Couchsurfing or Bewelcome – these are definitely very educational meetings.
Malta is a small island and you can drive from one end of the island to the other in 30 minutes. However, it might be worth renting a car if you want to see a lot of places in the middle of the island or at the southern end. Attention: there is left-hand drive in Malta.
Bus transportation is very well organized in Malta. You also have to pay for children (1.50eur / 2eur), but the ticket is valid for 2 hours in any connections. You can also buy a time ticket or a pass for 12 journeys for 15eur.
The disadvantage of this solution is logistics: you will not always find a direct connection, buses are not fast and sometimes, if they are overcrowded, they do not stop. It happened to us that we spent 2 hours coming back from one attraction. I regretted that we did not have a car, especially because we stayed for a few days in the most touristy Saint Julian and it was not easy to escape from this place.
Of course, there is also a hop-on hop-off system, both on Malta and Gozo. The price, however, is quite high (for example 20eur adult, 12eur child, more information here: http://www.citysightseeing.com.mt/en/home.htm
English language in Malta
One of the biggest advantages of Malta is English language everywhere – in museums and exhibitions, on TV and receiving service in various facilities. Young children speak beautiful English with a British accent and willingly talk to tourists, so it’s easy to move around, get new friends and enjoy children’s exposure to English.
Best attractions for kids in Malta
There is a huge amount of classic monuments in Malta, such as old town, churches, cathedrals, citadels, megalithic ruins, beautiful coves and beaches. Because of small children, we limited those and chose attractions that are related to fun, movement and interaction.
National Aquarium in Malta
The National Aquarium in Malta is not big or extremely interesting – definitely a better places are: Oceanografico in Valencia, Africarium in Wroclav or Tierpark in Berlin. I also have ethical objections about places where animals are kept in captivity, so I am quite reluctant to visit such places. However, kids love them so they are on our lists of places to visit.
There are many attractive aquariums in the Malta National Aquarium, mainly with fish, amphibians and reptiles. During the day there are several shows in English. We managed to talk to a Serb guide, who gave a show about amphibians and fed fish swimming around the tunnel in the aquarium. These events greatly enriched our tour, especially since we also talked about life in Malta and work in the aquarium with the Serbian guide.
A very nice activity in the aquarium is a walk in the underwater tunnel in the largest aquarium and observe sharks, mantas, morays or other sea creatures flowing overhead.
You will also find interesting exploration of smaller aquariums where you can use interactive monitors next to each tank. The whole exhibition is divided into four zones: waters surrounding Malta, tropical oceans, Roman times, and reptiles and amphibians.
adults 13.9 EUR, children 4-12 years pay 7 EUR, website of the aquarium: https://www.aquarium.com.mt
There is a restaurant in the aquarium where you can eat pizza or other meals. After paying the bill, we got discount to the Aquarium – 3 EUR for an adult and free admission for children. We already had purchased tickets when we got these discount tickets, but maybe you will get hungry before buying tickets and use this opportunity? Just visit the restaurant in the Aquarium building, and then use the discount tickets and visit the exhibitions.
Note – From the Aquarium you go out through a toy store, so I recommend that you prepare yourself for possible business negotiations with the kids 🙂
It is worth mentioning that the Aquarium is located on the rocky coast of Malta next to a huge playground stylized to sea vibes. So walk to the Aquarium itself and fun on the playground before and/or after sightseeing will ensure a lot of fun for your kids.
Beaches in Malta
We love walking on beaches. Just sitting on a beach is too boring for us (although children are happy with every sand castle), but beach walks are the most pleasant and often very developing adventures.
I recommend the Mellieha Bay beach – it is sandy, quite easily accessible from downtown of Mellieha, not far away from a tiny port and lovely houses. Allegedly more interesting choice is Ghajn Tuffieha Bay – a beautiful place with less tourists and 200 stairs that lead to the beach.
We also visited some beaches in the area of Saint Julian – we especially enjoyed the walk along the rocky shores from Saint Julian towards Valeta – we admired tiny canals and puddles where crabs or small fish were hiding. We also walked along the rocky beaches of western Gozo next to the Blue Lagoon – admiring the wild nature is itself a great adventure.
Popeye’s village is one of the most popular attractions in Malta for kids, which I recommend to visit.
It is a village that was built in 1980 for the Popeye musical and was turned into an amusement park. Before the visit in the village, we let the children watch a few episodes of this popular cartoon, and it turned out that it still entertains and attracts the youngest.
In a small, but very charming area of Popeye village you can find playhouses, a candy factory, water trampolines or a mini-golf field. Animators wearing costumes from the Popeye movie such as Olive, Bluto or Popeye are welcoming and entertaining guests on the main square. One of the activity is participation in a short movie about Popeye, in which we also took part in.
The fairy-tale town is located in a beautiful bay of Anchor Bay, which is itself worth seeing. The entry prices, however, are not the lowest, so if you are on a small budget, I recommend to check the village from the surrounding hills – beautiful landscapes will substitute your sightseeing.
However, if you want to buy tickets, the children can play an hour in a special play area with balls, next to an inexpensive restaurant (8 EUR for pizza). This is a nice option for tired parents to get an extra free hour.
In the summer season (October-May) adults pay 10.00 EUR children 8.00 EUR while in the winter season (June-August) the price of an adult ticket is 12.50 EUR and for children 10.00 EUR You can check the exact prices here: https://popeyemalta.com
The Esplora Science Center
At the other end of Malta, there is a very interesting Esplora Science Center. I really recommend this center because:
▪ It is very large
▪ It is fully interactive – you can touch and try everything
▪ Everything is explained in English
▪ It covers many topics, starting from science, ending with time-lapse animations, sound editing and blue box animations
▪ It has a very interesting water playground with a mole hole play area
▪ The place is also interesting for adults!
It also has encouraging prices: adults will pay 6 EUR for entering the main exhibition, and 3 EUR for children.
More information on the center’s website: http://esplora.org.mt.
Attention: the center closes at 4:00 PM, which was too early for us. So start exploring this object early.
Playmobil Fun Park
Playmobil Fun Park is a fun place for kids, which is located at the other end of the island, in Playmobil bricks factories. The huge hall is filled with topical constructions (a bricks palace, a town, an aquarium, a police station, a pirates place) in which boxes with bricks and Playmobil figures are placed. There is also a a big outdoor playground with pirate ships next to a local restaurant.
Unfortunately, we were informed that it is not possible to visit the Playmobil toy factory, which we were hoping for.
Of course, you enter the facility through a Playmobil store, so be prepared for the depletion of your budget. However, the admission to this place is surprisingly cheap: adults pay less than children.
More information on the park’s website: http://www.playmobilmalta.com/en/home.
The capital of Malta – Valletta
While being in Malta, you have to visit the capital city – Valletta. It is the largest city in the archipelago, which has many charming narrow streets. A great solution is a walk around Valletta, however, with kids it is the best to visit on Sundays because a lot of shops are closed, so there is more space for children and less commercialism that draws attention away from beautiful buildings and sometimes causes family conflicts 🙂
In Valletta, as well as Mdina and Bugibbie, you can use a tourist train. During a little over half an hour trip you can see the greatest attractions of these beautiful places. The train leaves every hour from the St. John’s Cathedral, the ride costs 5 EUR per adult and 3 EUR per child http://maltafuntrains.webs.com/
National War Museum in Valletta
Fort St. Elmo is located in Valletta, so it’s great to combine the visit with sightseeing of the city. The place is quite interesting, especially for boys who are interested in the army. Unfortunately, most of the exhibits can not be touched, as in a classic museum, but the exhibition is audio-visual, and the 5D effects attract children’s attention. The entrance ticket to the object gives also an access to the museum of archeology, but due to lack of time, we didn’t have a chance to use it.
Gozo Island – Victoria and the citadel
Victoria (or Rabat), the capital of Gozo Island, is a quite small city, where a walk with children did not really please us (narrowly, touristy, many souvenir stands on streets). We enjoyed exploring the citadel, which dominates the city and from which there is a magnificent view of the whole island. https://www.visitgozo.com/where-to-go-in-gozo/sight-seeing-places-interest/citadel-cittadella/?search_term=citade
Gozo Island – Blue Hole grot
It is worth reaching the west coast of the Gozo Island with rocky cliffs, full of traces of shells and sea life. The walk on the cliffs and slalom between round hollows in the rocks is a great family adventure. The main attraction is the Blue Hole grot, a tunnel under the cliffs through which boats can pass. Thanks to the fact that we stayed in a nearby town Gharb, we reached the cliffs via a path full of wild flowers, admiring fields and rock quarries along the way.
Gharb on the Gozo Island
Because we had our accommodation in the small town of Gharb we were lucky to see it and we really liked it. We were charmed by a beautiful, baroque church in the central square, a red London style phone box, houses made of beige stone decorated with classical, gypsum sculptures – such an interesting, Maltese mix of styles.
We also took part in a procession on Sunday, during which were celebrated the ascension of Jesus. The procession was led by a brass band, followed by local kids holding large palm leaves (our kids also proudly joined), then a statue of Jesus the size of an adult man and adults following all previous people. The atmosphere was cheerful and we had a short feeling of belonging to a local community.
Other attractions for children that are recommended in Malta:
If you are looking for other attractions, check the list of kids recommended places. We have not visited them but they seem to be a very good option for a family visit to Malta.
Splush and Water park
It is a real water paradise, full of all kinds of slides, pools, tunnels and many other water attractions. Of course, this is a seasonal attraction. Ticket prices for adults are 22 EUR, for children 15 EUR. More information on the park’s website: https://www.splashandfunmalta.com.
A boat trip is always a great fun for children. In Malta, there are several options, one of the most interesting is the one that takes you from Valletta to three cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua. The second interesting trip is a cruise from the Cirkewwa port to the Blue Lagoon beach on the Comino Island. Just catch a bus to Cirkewwa and there look for a boat trip to the island.
San Anton Gardens (Attard)
There are many gardens in Malta, most of them are rather small. However, in each of them there is something interesting. San Anton Gardens is the most beautiful garden on the island existing since 1882. You can see there a lot of flowers, fountains, ponds, beautiful plants from around the world (even three hundred years old!) ducks family and peacocks.
Bugibba – Water playground
A nice alternative to traditional playgrounds, especially in the summer season, on very hot days. Children can have fun and at the same time cool down playing in fountains, showers, or simply playing football on a wet surface. The entrance is free. The playground is open from the end of June to the beginning of October.
Mediterraneo Marine Park
Mediterraneo Marine Park in Bahar ic-Caghaq. You can experience unforgettable moments watching shows with dolphins, parrots and sea lions. The park is open 7 days a week throughout the year, except Christmas and New Year. The park offers programs that allow children to directly interact with animals, including swimming with dolphins. An earlier reservation is recommended, which can be done here http://www.mediterraneopark.com/rates-promotions.
Ramla Bay beach on Gozo
The unusually orange color of the sand and the beautiful surroundings of nature attract tourists. You can get here by public bus, and there are also several restaurants around.
Rinella Fort in Malta
Fort Rinella is another facility where we can see different historical reconstructions, and children will be able to try to fire a cannon. It’s even further east of Valletta, so you’ll probably need to change a bus.
Photo gallery of our team from Malta with kids: