Located 50 miles off the coast of Italy in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is an island nation known for its warm weather, beautiful coasts, and unique countryside. Look a little deeper however and you'll also discover a rich culture and a fascinating history that dates back more than 7000 years. During that time, the island was inhabited by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, French, British, and others.
All of this helps to make Malta an amazing travel destination that can astound and delight visitors of all types. But the island nation is also a surprisingly great options for the more adventurous traveler as well. Whether you're looking for adrenaline-inducing thrills or unique physical challenges, chances are you'll find exactly what you're looking for in Malta.
Scuba Dive and Snorkel the Mediterranean
Malta is surrounded by warm, crystal clear Mediterranean waters all year round, making it one of the world's most popular destinations for scuba divers and snorkelers. The archipelago's abundant reefs, caves, and shipwrecks offer plenty of interesting formations for beginner and advanced divers to explore. In fact, there is so much to see and do below the surface of the ocean that many of the great dive sites are accessible right from the shore, not requiring the use of a boat at all.
The biggest attraction for divers is without a doubt the Blue Hole, which is found off the west coast of Gozo, one of the islands that makes up the Malta Archipelago. This crystal clear geological window gives undersea visitors a unique view of the world around them, with plenty of sea creatures to spot along the way.
Sail the Deep Blue Sea
Thanks to its strategic location at the epicenter of the Mediterranean, Malta has always had a long and rich sailing history. Today, that continues in the form of chartered options for travelers, giving them the ability to spend a day or a week exploring the islands that make up the country, many of which are uninhabited and seldom visited.
Malta Sailing Experiences can help you get out on the sea to enjoy the tranquil waters found just off the coast, offering both day and night time excursions. For those looking for a deeper experience however, Fairwind Sailing is a good option. The instructors there can give visitors some introductory lessons for handling their ship, allowing budding sailors a chance to learn the ropes and hone their skills.
Explore the Island by Bike
Cycling the roads of Malta is a common practice and since the island isn't particularly large, it is easy to get to just about anywhere by bike. In fact, there are some incredibly unique cycling routes that can be found on Malta and Gozo, each of which offers relatively easy riding, fantastic views, and access to outstanding locales both near the coast and further inland.
All told, there are more than 600 miles of bike routes to explore, making Malta a haven for cycling fans. And when you get bored of riding the roads, head up into the hills on a mountain bike instead.
There are numerous cycling shops available across the islands, making it easy to not only rent a bike, but to also get instructions on where to go and what to see. Many of the shops even offer group tours, which can be beneficial when you're first getting your bearings.
Go for a Hike in the Malta Countryside
If you're looking to stretch your legs and go for a walk, Malta, and its companion islands, have plenty of trails to offer. Some of those treks will take you past dramatic cliffs, around scenic beaches, or into surprisingly deep canyons and gorges. Others wander through quiet villages, around a variety of historical sites, and over rolling hills that look out onto the sea.
Whether you're looking for just a day hike or a longer backpacking excursion, there is plenty to discover on the Maltese islands. Popular routes include a 5 mile walk through Ramla Bay on Gozo, which includes ancient ruins and buildings to explore, and the Blue Lagoon Loop on Comino that takes visitors past its gorgeous namesake body of water. There are literally dozens of other paths to discover however, with plenty of options for both serious hikers and beginners alike.
Go Canoeing or Kayaking on the Mediterranean
With so much beautiful coastline to explore, not to mention a number of tiny islands to visit, Malta makes a great destination for kayakers and paddleboarders looking to get out on the water. Some of the hidden coves and beaches can only be reached by boat, which makes paddling an amazing way to see some of the more secluded sections of the archipelago.
There are numerous kayak and canoe rental locations on Malta and her sister islands, not to mention guides who are ready, willing, and able to give you the grand tour by boat. For example, Kayak Gozo leads daily outings to the Blue Lagoon, while Sea Kayak Malta leads both day trips and overnight camping excursions. You'll even find instructors that can teach you the finer points of handling a kayak out on the ocean before turning you loose to explore on your own.
Go Rock Climbing
With its towering cliffs and rocky hillsides, Malta is a mecca for rock climbers not just from Europe, but the world over. In fact, there are more than 1,300 named and charted climbs throughout the islands, providing everything from simple, beginner routes to incredibly challenging crags that will test the even the best climbers.
The sheer diversity of climbs is impressive too. Not only will you find plenty of trad and sport climbing opportunities, but visitors can also go deep-water soloing and bouldering too.
The Malta Rock Climbing Club is a great place to pick up some beta before you head out to a route. The club has been around for decades and its members are well versed in the variety and location of climbs throughout the archipelago.
Get Your Blood Pumping on a Zip Line
If you've never been zip lining before — or just want to go again — Malta is a great place to give this adventurous activity a go.The island has a number of different options for those looking to get their adrenaline rush, including the Valletta 300 and the Mosta 250. Many of the local zip lines soar across large canyons or open gorges, providing a great sense of height and speed that will leave your heart pounding and knees weak. Once the fast and furious ride is finished, you'll want to do it all over again, this time soaking in the impressive scenery as you go.
Learn to Fly
Getting your pilots license requires spending hours in the cockpit and classroom, learning the challenges and intricacies of handling a modern aircraft. But in Malta, you can get behind the controls of an airplane on your very first trial flight, giving you a sense of what it takes to become a real pilot.
Thanks to its fantastic weather all year round, Malta is an excellent place to learn to fly. Of course, most visitors won't be there long enough to actually earn their full pilot's license, but even on your first trial run you can get a chance to take over the controls of a plane, maneuvering it across the skies.
There are a surprising number of flying schools to choose from — such as Buzz Flying — many of which offer test flights for a nominal fee. Those flights provide a fantastic view of the islands below, not to mention the incredibly blue waters of the Mediterranean as well.