Malta Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Malta gay guide to hotels and where to stay, things to do, gay bars, beaches, and travel tips.
The Gay Travel Experience: Malta
Malta is gaining more and more popularity among gay travelers each year. The summer months are especially popular, especially since the country continues topping lists of gay-friendly places worldwide.
Malta’s gay life is on the smaller side, but it isn’t difficult to find. Gay locals are visible in the community, always willing to meet travelers and recommend their favorite spots.
When it comes to Malta gay tourists, they’re pretty easy to find. I saw plenty of gay couples at my hotel’s pool, along beaches, and at local beach clubs.
Many people don’t know what to expect from Malta aside from beaches and main draws like Valletta. I was one of those people, too!
Experiencing the country’s unique culture and history is really the true highlight. It’s something that’s hard to imagine until you’re there.
I saw so many things in Malta that I haven’t experienced anywhere else—from breathtaking solid-rock beaches to an intriguingly unique language.
Witnessing a Friday night during summer in the Paceville neighborhood was the biggest surprise of my trip. Massive crowds of younger travelers (and students) dominated this mega nightlife center. This experience in contrast to the silent historic streets of Mdina felt surreal.
Malta may be small, but don’t let its size fool you. There are so many attractions and beautiful things to see, so make sure you plan enough time for a proper visit.
Gay Malta: Hotels & Where to Stay
Just a short drive north of Valletta, these two neighborhoods straddle Saint Julian’s Bay, which is where you’ll find most other gay travelers, restaurants, nightlife, and Malta’s best beach hotels.
There are also plenty of spacious vacation apartments in Sliema and just to the north in Saint Julian’s.
Hotels in Valletta are another option, especially for those who want more of a historic city feel. While these won’t be resort-type accommodations or have easy beach access, you might find more of a bargain here depending on your budget.
I stayed at be.HOTEL in the Saint Julian’s neighborhood and found it to be a nice balance of cost-effectiveness, location, and style. A big selling point was their gorgeous rooftop pool and bar overlooking St George’s Bay.
More Hotels for Malta Gay Travelers
Here are a few more hotels I recommend that are all highly rated, gorgeously modern, and affordable.
Malta Gay Travel Experiences
St. Peter’s Pool
St Peter’s Pool is one of Malta’s famous swimming spots. It’s a natural rock formation where you can essentially cliff jump into the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
I had such a blast here, jumping over and over again, like a little boy! Everyone takes turns to avoid any mishaps. And while it’s a well-known swimming spot, it doesn’t get overwhelmingly crowded.
To get there, you can drive or take a taxi to the St. Peter’s Pool parking lot, and then follow the trail down to the waterfront. The parking area has one snack stand for refreshments.
Bring everything you’ll need for the day since the area around St. Peter’s Pool is quite desolate. A padded water-resistant blanket may be a good idea if you want to lie down since the rock surface isn’t so flat.
Mdina is undoubtedly the most unique experience I can recommend for gay travelers in Malta. Phoenicians built this walled city, and its historic Arab influence is recognizable in Mdina’s architecture.
Known as the silent city, it was once the nation’s capital and is even older than Valletta. Vehicle access inside is restricted and noise is kept to a minimum.
Stop by Coogi’s Restaurant & Tea Garden for lunch or enjoy one of their delicious smoothies. Coogi’s is a gay-friendly Italian restaurant at the northernmost tip of Mdina that has a terrace level with spectacular views.
The cheapest way to get to Mdina is by the tourist hop-on-hop-off buses. You can essentially use these like public buses. And while they might take a bit longer to reach certain parts of the island, the value can’t be beaten.
Swim at Font Ghadir
Font Ghadir is a long, narrow stretch of coastline forming the northernmost part of Sliema. It’s known for its Victorian-era baths carved out of the smooth rocky beachfront.
I spotted a few gay couples relaxing on the rocks by the seaside while I passed through this area. Since Malta doesn’t have any official gay beaches, the LGBT crowd tends to blend in with everyone else in typical spots like this.
Valletta is Malta’s historic, notoriously tiny capital city. And at 0.61 square kilometers, it’s actually the European Union’s smallest capital city by area! Nonetheless, there’s still plenty to see.
Hastings Garden has some of the best views in Valletta. This is an epic place to watch the sunset. People jump up onto the walls to sit and relax.
If you plan to have dinner in Valletta during the summer tourist season, make restaurant reservations ahead of time. It can be impossible to find a decent place to eat if you wait until the last minute.
Malta Gay Tours
Queer Tours Malta gives travelers the wonderful opportunity to experience Malta in the company of other curious gay tourists.
Their Valletta Street Food and LGBT History Tour is a popular choice for a longer excursion. You’ll explore landmarks and try local street food from queer-owned vendors. It’s a perfect blend of history, cuisine, and local gay culture.
Eat Maltese Food
While in Malta, don’t miss out on some local cuisine! Even though Malta has a huge Italian influence and Italian restaurants are everywhere, make a point to go to a Maltese restaurant.
Gozitan is one of the best Maltese restaurants in Paceville. The food here was delicious and truly something special. The restaurant is tucked away on a quieter street and has a relaxed, authentic, and informal vibe.
Ta’ Marija Maltese Kitchen is another option for classic Maltese food. This place is well-known to be one of Malta’s best traditional restaurants. The restaurant is in the town of Mosta, so it might be a good option along your trip to the city of Mdina.
Wherever you end up, make sure to try a Cisk Beer, which are lagers and pilsners made in Malta!
Malta’s Blue Lagoon
Malta’s Blue Lagoon is one of the country’s most famous attractions. It’s located on the shore of Comino, a small island north of mainland Malta. A paradise of crystal-clear azure water and majestic views, you won’t want to miss a trip here.
Most travelers plan for a day excursion to the Blue Lagoon. There are tons of options for different sightseeing tours, party boats, and boat transfers.
The best way to escape the crowds and still enjoy Malta’s Blue Lagoon is to swim over to Cominotto Beach on the adjacent island of Cominotto. It takes about 8 to 10 minutes to swim there, a decent portion of which you can wade through.
Climbing the trail up to the top of Cominotto was one of my most memorable Malta experiences. The views of the lagoon and rock formations are epic and there’s nobody around!
A waterproof dry bag will be the best beach accessory you can bring. This way you can bring your stuff over to Cominotto and keep everything dry from the puddles in the rock.
Water shoes are an absolute must at the Blue Lagoon. You’ll be trekking along jagged rock pathways, which can be painful while barefoot.
Regular flip-flops can get caught too, especially while stepping down the incredibly narrow rock staircases to the swimming areas.
Golden Bay & Riviera Beaches
Both beaches are equally pretty and are one of the best options for sunset since they face west. There are plenty of conveniences around, including a beach bar and restaurant along with public restrooms.
If you’re up for a small excursion before an afternoon relaxing at Golden Bay or Riviera Beach, check out the nearby Popeye Village.
The film set of the 1980 musical Popeye, it’s one of Malta’s classic tourist attractions. I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute must-see but can be an addition to your day’s itinerary.
Malta Gay Bars
Michelangelo Club Lounge is the one and only official Malta gay bar. It’s located in the Paceville neighborhood, tucked between many other establishments on stepped pathways that are part of a large mixed-use outdoor complex.
Given the bar’s location, they tend to attract many non-LGBT patrons that flood the adjacent establishments. This area is an enormous nightlife center and can get pretty crowded during the summer months.
There’s typically a cover charge to enter Michelangelo Club Lounge, which tends to deter gay travelers when combined with the relatively poor online reviews.
If you can, I’d suggest checking with someone that you know is already inside to see what the vibe is like before going in.
Malta Gay Travel Tips
Taxi, Bus, or Car Rental in Malta?
Depending on how much you’d like to explore the country outside of Valletta and Saint Julian’s, you may want to rent a car in Malta. But before you make that decision, there are a few things to consider.
First of all, vehicles in Malta drive on the left side of the road. Not everyone is ready for that, especially with the island’s winding roads that funnel into and out of roundabouts along the shore. Renting a car for a day trip to more rural areas would be perfectly suitable, though.
Traveling around the island by bus (either public or tour company buses) is doable and cost-efficient. Public buses are rarely used by tourists as they can be unreliable.
With the commonly-used hop-on-hop-off buses, there is a lot of accessibility, but you’ll be subject to their particular schedules. These can be restrictive, offering little to no service in the evenings.
Taking taxis using the Bolt application is another option, but not the most cost-effective. Overall, taxis are very reliable, though. Also, Uber and Lyft are not available in Malta.
Bring Water Shoes & A Beach Towel
Malta’s smooth-rock swimming areas can be extremely slippery, so water shoes are a must-have. Plus, they’ll save your feet from cuts and scrapes while visiting other places like St. Peter’s Pool and the Blue Lagoon.
Your own soft fluffy beach towel is another essential. I wouldn’t rely on hotel towels for comfort on Malta’s rocky shores. I also found that towels are not provided in various beach clubs.
Maltese & Language Tips for Malta
Maltese is one of Malta’s official languages, and I found it to be super interesting. It’s incredibly unique being the only form of Arabic to be written using the Latin alphabet.
The language is derived from Sicilian Arabic, so there’s a strong Italian and North African Arabic components. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
You’ll notice that Maltese has some extra fancy letters like the letter H with a second line through it and some other letters like C and G with dots above them, similar to the way Arabic letters do.
Even though locals speak Maltese, you might not hear it so easily. It’s mostly spoken at home. You will see it written almost everywhere, though.
Maltese locals also typically speak Italian and English. Italian used to be an official language of Malta until 1934. Now, Malta recognizes two official languages: Maltese and English.
Interestingly, I noticed men’s choices for swimsuits in Malta tended to be more on the conservative side. Expecting a full-on European vibe, I wore swim briefs most of the time in the water.
Nobody gave me any strange looks for wearing my gay swimwear. In fact, if anything, it was an easy way for other Malta gay travelers to spot me!
Next, check out more of my favorite summertime gay vacation spots!
Need more ideas for gay destinations? Explore wolfyy’s full collection of gay travel guides.