Sightseeing on Malta is all about 5,000 years of history -- from Neolithic ruins through early Christianity to the epic Siege of Malta and the role the island played in World War II. The fortified city of Valletta has the lion's share of the sights, but ancient Mdina is also a joy to visit. Little Gozo takes visitors right back in time and there are beaches aplenty to relax on, pristine water to swim in, and a hearty southern European cuisine to sample.
Day 1: Explore Valletta
Wander up Valletta's Triq il-Merkanti to rummage among the market stalls selling fine linen tablecloths and embroidery. Hunt down the Church of St Paul's Shipwreck in the tangle of atmospheric backstreets to see the relics of Malta's most revered saint.
Visit Casa Rocca Piccola to peek into the life of Maltese aristocracy down the years, admire the elaborate interior of St John's Co-Cathedral, and then check out the ducal splendor of the Palace State Rooms in the Grand Master's Palace. Take in views of the scenic Grand Harbour from Upper Barrakka Gardens and book ahead for an evening performance at Monoel Theatre.
Day 2: Go for Gozo
Catch an early car ferry to Mġarr from Ċirkewwa in northern Malta. Drive to Victoria and breakfast in Il-Tokk Square. Visit the Citadel and drive west to see the Azure Window rock arch at Dwejra Point.
Head for Għarb's Folklore Museum and make a short detour to see Ta' Pinu basilica before heading back toward Victoria to see the temple complex at Ġgantija. Time permitting, pop into the traditional rural village of Xagħra. Take the ferry back to Malta and eat seafood in Valletta’s charming alleyways restaurants.
Day 3: Discover Mdina and Rabat and visit Dingli Cliffs
The ancient walled city of Mdina make a great half-day trip from Valletta; check out the cathedral and Italianate palazzi before exploring St Agatha's catacombs in neighboring Rabat. A side-trip to Dingli encompasses sea views from atop 820-feet (250-m) cliffs; stay on for dinner with sunset views on the clifftops.