That's you sorted for the evenings – but what of the days? These are the best things to do in Malta.
And when you've worked up a hunger from all that wandering, these are the best restaurants in Malta.
A small, low-key cocktail boîte in Valletta that, though it doesn’t seem much on paper, typically ends up on many Malta first-timer’s lists of favourite drinks dens. There’s a cool inside space with a copper-topped bar, or hustle for one of the prized outdoor tables on the limestone steps, with pleasing views of the Three Cities. The unfussy cocktails are well made, the beer list shows equal care, and a well-selected jazz-funk playlist pulls a mostly artsy local crowd most nights of the week. Highly recommended.
13 Triq San Gwann, Valletta
Set on Republic Street – formerly Kingsway – this splashy, comely café-bar-restaurant is popular with Malta’s champagne set. Even so, it’s still a warm, welcoming spot for out-of-towners looking for a smart table for a lunchtime quaff or evening cocktail (foamy and beautifully chilled, the espresso martini is doubly fabulous). Brunch here is dependably filling, too (make sure to order the rabbit-truffle pizzette), so it's a handy spot to have on the radar come morning-after recovery mode.
57 Republic Street, Valletta
Trabuxu Wine Bar
If you’re looking for a 'big one' well, you won't find it under the arches of Trabuxu. But if you’re out for more easygoing, cheese-and-cabernet kind of vibes, this erstwhile wine specialist, set in a 400-year-old vaulted cellar next to St John’s Cathedral in Valletta, is your go-to. Expect a ton of different local wines as well as elevated small plates of hearty Maltese fare. Come early (or, even better, book ahead) for the atmospheric outdoor street seats in summer (or expect a wait).
1 Strait Street, Valletta
The Thirsty Barber
The whole 1920s Prohibition speakeasy thing might seem a bit tired now, but even so, this small, smart, loads-of-fun cocktail bar is still a reliably buzzy address to either start or end a night out in Malta’s bona fide party town of St Julian’s. Expect well-crafted classics (the French 75 is heavenly) as well as fancy-looking, gussied-up twists from bartenders that happily don’t take themselves too seriously. Live music adds to the allure more weekends (when it's open until 2am).
Ball Street, St Julian’s
The Bridge Bar
Every Friday night from May to October, this utterly lovely street bar draws a pretty, all-ages crowd with its reliably lively jazz nights. Musicians play outdoors to a loyal following of Valletta regulars, seated on the limestone steps outside a bar that excels in well-made, decently priced cocktails, local wine and large plates of delicious mezze. Definitely book ahead or have a contingency plan if you’re chancing it on Friday nights.
If cheesy, identikit Irish pubs and even cheesier big-room clubs aren’t your thing, this small, loveably vibey reggae bar is the ideal antidote to St Julian’s' more mainstream offerings. Based down in Spinola Bay, expect outdoor seating; a chill, go-slow atmosphere; and a pleasing roster of refreshing, fruit-forward cocktails like the house-special strawberry 'Bomboklaat Mojito'. It’s also proudly LGBT+ friendly with DJs spinning on weekends and a decent selection of vegan-friendly bites served until late.
St Joseph Street, St Julian’s
A long-serving, deservedly popular and effortlessly chic bar/restaurant on St George’s Bay, in party-ready Paceville. Expect a mostly young, style-conscious crowd sipping well-made drinks on the outdoor roof terrace come early afternoon, with the BPM count slowly picking up as the night progresses. It's open until 2am, so clubbers come from all over to end the night here in style. The menu of comfort food – go for the large plates of sharing mezze – is pretty good too.
Triq Dragunara, St Julian’s
Café del Mar
Set in St Paul’s Bay, the Maltese outpost of the Ibiza institution is likely one of the island’s most chichi beach clubs. Come summer it pulls a consistently stylish, spenny crowd. Either rock down in the day to lounge around and glam it up in the ocean-view infinity pool; or visit early evening to take in the sunset (easily one of Malta’s best), when DJs start to spin tunes till late. It's not a booking for budget trippers, but you knew that already, right?
Triq it-Trunciera, St Paul's Bay
For Malta’s foremost big-room, hands-in-the-air superclub experience, Uno – a 5,000-capacity outdoor club in Ta’Qali National Park – wins every time. Music-wise, it’s a mixed bag, but if there’s a headline-name DJ coming to town, chances are they’re playing here (this is one of the spaces taken over by Annie Mac’s Lost & Found Festival, this year from 1-4 September). Though currently on hiatus (thanks Covid), this is the club you’d bet on to come back booming more than any.
Crafts Village, Ta'Qali, Attard
While you’re not spoilt for out-out options on Gozo, this swashbuckling, charm-to-spare bar-pub on the harbour of Mġarr is where the island’s seafaring salty dogs, retired locals and in-the-know tourists go for sundowners. Get there early for a perch on the upstairs terrace with fine views of the marina, and sip on cheap local wine and beer as the boats come and go. Roll up in shorts, T-shirt, whatever – it’s that no-frills, nobody-cares kinda joint. But you’ll love it.
Triq ix-Xatt, Mġarr, Gozo