Here’s the third and final part of my Happy Travels Malta mini-series. You can catch up on the first two here: 10 Things you should know about Malta and here: Happy Travels: Where you absolutely should go in Malta
This time I’m concentrating on the little ones! As a parent, picking a destination that will also make my children happy is a paramount part of the decision making process.
Malta is a perfect family destination, not least because of the family-friendly culture everywhere you go.
There are so many fun places to visit despite it being a really small island. Actually, the fact that it is such a small island makes it ideal as there won’t be any long car journeys to contend with. Such a win!
So if you find yourself in Malta with kids here are 5 fun things to do…
01. Popeye Village
I’ll be honest, my kids barely know who Popeye is let alone able to comprehend the fact a movie about him was made here – that goes completely over their heads. What does stick though is how much fun they can have at Popeye Village. I never got taken here as a child, but I know – without a doubt – if I had, this would have been my favourite place to visit on the Island.
Explore the 1980 movie set, meet and watch Popeye, Bluto, Olive Oyl & friends perform funny & entertaining shows throughout the day. Take a 15-minute complimentary boat ride (weather permitting) around the bay. Or, as we did, take up residence by the sea. In the water floats a giant inflatable course perfect for older children and teenagers.
For younger children, there are splash & play pools all surrounded by sun-loungers for rest-seeking parents. Plus by the car park, there’s an indoor soft-play.
Top Tip: Bring swimwear & towels. Be sure to arrive early to secure a good spot.
Want to eat at Popeye village? There is a decent restaurant/café however, you can’t book a table. At peak times you’ll need to be prepared for a wait. I’d advise packed lunches, but more so your wait doesn’t cut into your time here – the food was actually quite nice, along the burger/pizza lines.
There’s lots going on at Popeye Village guaranteeing a fun family day out. I can’t believe our last holiday to Malta was my first ever visit there, however, I’m certain it won’t be our last.
Find out more here.
02. Malta Fun Trains
Malta Fun Trains operate across 3 parts of the Island – Valletta, Mdina & Bugibba. They are sightseeing tours in child-appealing train form (overlooking the fact they’re not actually trains).
For €6 per adult & €4 per child climb aboard one of the carriages for a 30-minute guided tour in English.
Would I ride this without kids? Probably not, but they are great for covering a lot of distance and saving little legs from all the walking around!
As always, they help you discover where you might like to wander back to and you’ll unlikely find a cheaper tour, especially in the capital. Plus there is a little bit of stopping time in order for you to capture some great holiday snaps.
What better way to encourage the kids to behave during a shopping trip in Valletta?
Find out more here.
03. Malta National Aquarium
Malta has done a really lovely job of creating this aquarium. It is the typical type of aquarium we have come to know and experience in the UK (albeit much smaller) but is still entertaining for the young ones.
Featuring 5 zones to explore, an amphibian & reptile area and a walk-through tunnel. Witness fish commonly found in Maltese & Gozitan waters as well as tropical fish regulars, plus the odd shark.
For a few extra Euro’s you can take a behind the scenes tour. We didn’t personally do this, but it’s an educational way to extend your time here.
The aquarium is a great opportunity to escape the heat (or on the rare occasion, the rain) for a few hours, whilst keeping the kids entertained.
There is a nice restaurant here overlooking the bay and if the little ones didn’t burn off enough steam running from tank to tank, there is a well-equipped play park next door which is free to use.
Top tip: Book online in advance and save 10% on your ticket price. You don’t need to pick an entry time slot so you can retain flexibility on your visit.
Find out more here.
04. Malta 5D Experience
Located on a quiet side street in Valletta, the Malta 5D experience is an interactive & informative step back in time.
Important episodes of Malta’s history and culture are brought to life through a 3D film, moving seats, air blasts, water spray, aroma and leg ticklers. It’s quite fun actually – our kids really enjoyed it.
Available in 17 languages, the just under 20-minute long film is played every 30-minutes. Which is great as you won’t have to wait long for a show and then the show is short enough to hold your child’s interest.
I would advise against coming expecting an in-depth history of Malta. There is no way they could cover this in 20-minutes. Plus unless your child has signed up with Maltese history as their specialist subject on Junior Mastermind, they’re only going to want to know the exciting bits – which this movie covers.
As a bonus, you can take advantage of a free soft drink soda fountain, which is available in the lobby to quench your thirst.
This is a great opportunity to learn more about Malta in a way that’s entertaining to the whole family.
Find out more here.
A day trip to the neighbouring island of Gozo is perfect if you’re in Malta with kids.
For a start, they get a short trip on a ferry over there and once you arrive, you have several options to keep them entertained.
As a child, Gozo to me meant a visit to a sandy beach. We would head to Ramla Bay which was always recognisable by its distinctive red sand. Or we would take a short boat ride over to The Blue Lagoon. It’s fantastic, absolutely crystal clear waters and beautiful views are there for your family’s enjoyment. However be warned, in peak summer months, it can become very overcrowded.
If you want to do something more than visit the lovely sandy beaches, head to Dwejra Bay. Although the iconic Azure Window is no longer standing, there is still the opportunity for fun here. Rock pooling, exploring, paddling of little feet in the water are just some of the things to enjoy. Stop for an ice-cream before taking a little boat ride through the caves and out to sea! I always enjoyed it as a child, and now my kids do too.
You can easily fill up a day in Gozo. Stop for dinner in the capital Victoria before heading back to Malta covered in sand and smiles.
Bonus opportunity… Experience a Maltese Festa
I’ve included this as a bonus section, as it’s only possible to experience at certain dates within the year. However, if you do happen to be in Malta with kids at a time when a Festa is occurring, there is a fun evening to be had.
Festa’s or village feasts are covered more in 10 Things you should know about Malta, but just know the energy is always high at these occasions, plus you can expect a great firework show.
Top tip: work out in advance your travel arrangements to and from, you’ll want to avoid getting stuck in any road closures if you have little ones in tow.
Here’s a link to a feast calendar for 2019.
Looking for even more family-fun when you’re in Malta with kids?
If your little ones are still asking for more, there are plenty of other places you could visit, click on a link to discover more:
*These aren’t places I have personally visited as yet, which is why I’ve only made mention of them here & not provided a review. A perfect excuse for me to go back though right?!
You might also like: 10 fun things to do in Dubai with kids.
Have you been to Malta? Have you taken your children there or did you go as a child yourself? Are you about to go to Malta with kids? Is there anywhere that I haven’t mentioned that you would recommend? If you have any questions about the places I’ve recommended, get in touch – I’m happy to help & I always love to hear from you. And if you are off to Malta – I hope you have a fantastic time & wish you happy travels!