BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHY LOCATIONS IN MALTA
Malta no doubt is one of the most photogenic locations together with its neighbouring islands, Gozo and Comino, to capture beautiful photography. Think crystal clear shimmering waters of the best blue hues, stunning architecture combining gothic character with the vivid colours of the traditional Maltese balconies and doors framed with picture-perfect bougainvillea. Fortified backdrops and sweeping hilly rock landscapes provide incredible scenic beautiful photography opportunities.
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The fact that so much of Malta has been featured in popular series such as Game of Thrones is no coincidence. The Maltese Islands have served as a major filming location to around 150 feature films and has been referred to as the Hollywood of the Mediterranean in the past.
Movies may have made these locations famous, but the ever-increasing demand for that ‘perfect’ shot for social media, namely Instagram has seen an influx in many of these iconic photo locations being swamped with tourists. If you are visiting it’s important to ensure you’re being a responsible tourist therefore before planning, bear in mind some of Be-lavie’s Tips below. Some of the spots featured are not so well known and stumbled upon just by wandering the lesser known alleyways and local hang-outs.
Be-lavie Photo Tips:
- Mark out your photo stops on your map and try and group them per location or area you’re visiting.
- Many of the locations are remote and although the bus system can be great in Malta, (it’s a little infrequent in winter) hiring a car is a great option and means you can park in many of the car parks which are adjacent to the viewpoints.
- Malta has a year-round Mediterranean climate, but the summer months May-Sept get very busy so if you can travel at any time the less quiet months means less tourists. November-February is great as the temperatures are in the 18°C-25°C range.
- The best photos you can take will be in the early morning, just as the sun is rising or the period just before golden hour. With experience, in Malta after around 9 am, the sun starts to get pretty bright on a sunny day and cause shadows and bleaching.
- Remember to respect the locals and their property, especially in remote locations where they may not be used to people snapping away as much.
Streets & Alleyways
Valletta, the capital of Malta and a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located on a peninsula in the north part of the island. During the crusades, Valletta was the epicentre of the Knights of St. Johns, who have their former base here.
Valletta in particular is well known for its intertwined alleyways leading off the main roads. Make sure you explore these as often they’re lined with some of the best boutique hotels, bars and restaurants as well as serving as beautiful photo stops for the authentic-Valletta local scene.
Those Conde Naste style Valletta scenes are often of these small alleys and archways.
Entering the UNESCO Heritage site old city, walk from Republic Street through to Merchant Street (these are the cities two main streets) and take a left. You will see a myriad of alleyways leading down to the harbour, take a walk down one of these and keep exploring.
Location: 13 Triq San Gwann, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta
Red Phone Box & Red Balcony
Walking towards the harbour following the alleyways from above, turn onto Battery Street and look left where you’ll see a small slice of England, with a red telephone box. Walk over the bridge for more landscape shots as well as experimenting with angles.
Follow the harbour front from the streets and alleyways.
Location: Battery Street above The Victoria Gate.
Be-lavieTip: Particularly a shadowy spot from the tall buildings so best time to take photos is just after sunrise.
The Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens
Both gardens offer a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour and out to the three cities.
Follow the road around to the right after the red balconies and you can’t miss the Lower Barrakka Gardens, the Upper Barrakka gardens are a little bit of a steep walk up the steps/hill but well worth the views and also to see the military firing bastion. The gardens are located on the upper tier of St. Peter & Paul Bastion, which was built in the 1560s.
Location: The Upper Barrakka Gardens 292 Triq Sant’ Orsla and the Lower Barrakka Gardens Quarry Wharf.
Most people would be staying in Valletta or travelling here by bus or ferry or even cruise liner so walking is the best mode of transport once within the old city.
Be-lavie Tip: The Lower Barrakka gardens are a lot quieter and less visited but still with great views. The Upper Barrakka gardens can get pretty crowded, especially in the afternoons so it’s best to start your day here
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Mdina used to be Malta’s capital and is referred to as the Silent City. This is a small, fortified city reached by a bridge via a grand gate. Compact and calm, lots of alleyways and hidden enclosures secluding some lovely courtyard cafes, Mdina is one not to be missed. With a population of only 250, you’ll find that everything within the walls is in easy walking distance. Mdina is full of photo opportunities and if you’re lucky you may even spot a wedding photo session!
The Mdina Gate has also become somewhat popular after its debut in Season 1, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones (Lord Snow) when Lady Catelyn Stark rides into King’s Landing along with Ser Rodrick Cassel in the hopes of finding her husband, Ned Stark.
Be-lavie Tip: When it comes to the Mdina Gate, patience has gotta be your forte but you will get the shot, Just time it right so there’s not a bus load of tours coming. Oh and when you do get the opportunity, be quick and plan your shot in advance to avoid crowds gathering in frustration to cross!
Fortress City Alleys
You will find an array of these behind every corner so keep discovering and snapping! For a point in the right direction, the alleyway around the Fontella Tea Gardens are particularly mysterious.
You’ve probably seen this one all over social media if youre researching Mdina and from the Casa de Tresorerie it’s pretty easy to locate! Walk to the left of the house and follow the road around. You won’t miss it if you know what you’re looking for.
The bus from Valletta’s Main Terminal is quite straightforward, look out for No. 51, 52, 53.
Driving from Valletta takes 20-25 minutes and there is a car park just outside the Fortress city.
Be-lavie Tip: This spot is super quiet and only found by the beady eyed insta-crowd so it’s probable that you’ll have it all to yourself in low season as the bougainvillea is not as full as the summer but still a great shot!
The Blue Grotto
Located close to Qrendi, a delightful fishing village in Southern Malta, The Blue Grotto boasts beautiful blue waters, a series of sea caverns with luminescent colours with their bouncing rays off the caves, makes for some beautiful photography!
There are two photo opportunities here..
To capture this almost aerial Panorama, you need to be above the caves, on the road. There is a bus stop here, called Panorama and if driving you’ll no doubt see people standing in the indent and the lower winding path where you can take this shot from. It’s located on a winding Hill so be careful.
The best way to meet the Blue Grotto and see it’s beauty is to be as close as possible. Head down to the fishing boats further down from Panorama. There are a few road side spaces to park and then follow the signs that say boat tours!
The boat tours last for 20 minutes and cost around 8 Euros. (adult) 4 Euros (Children). You will board a small fishing boat that seats 6-8 people and the fisherman will give you commentary throughout.
Get your camera ready for the following photos: Blue Window Cave, Honeymoon Cave, Elephant Foot, Circle Cave, Window cave, Reflection Cave and Cat’s Cave.
From Valletta take bus number X4 from the Main Bus Terminal. Driving from the capital can take around 25 minutes following Route 6.
Be-lavie Tip: The boat runs from 10:00-15:30. In the winter months the last or sunset trip leaves at 16:00 and the views are simply incredible. Many people don’t know about the last trip but hang around and the fishermen will tell you!
The Three Cities
Look across the harbour in Valletta and make sure your visit includes The Three Cities. You can get a great view of these from the Upper Barrakka Gardens where you can see the extent of their fortress exteriors.
The three cities consist of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua that are like three fingers which sit around the Vittoriosa Maria. To avoid confusion, they have multiple names such as Senglea, L’Isla, Cospicua or Bormla and Birgu or Vittoriosa – this stems from Malta’s ever changing history.
The three cities is where you can get a real taste of local life and experience how the people of Malta live. There are many attractions as well but visiting the three Cities is a must to get a taste for authentic Maltese life.
Gardjola Gardens, Senglea
Taking pride of place, on top of the coastal fortifications in Senglea are the Gardjola Gardens with incredible views over Valletta. Sit amongst the olive trees and enjoy the tranquillity of these gardens. For a different view point, explore the interestingly iconic turret at the tip!
The basilica is a feature of the neighbourhood of Senglea and well worth a visit inside too. It’s a very traditional example of Maltese churches and beautifully grand. It’s free to enter but always a good idea to leave a donation.
Wandering the streets and alleyways of Senglea give you a stark reminder that this is a residential neighbourhood, hardly any tourists and the real Malta. Scope out the coloured balconies, so reminiscent of Malta and watch the daily life scenes as the Maltese go about their daily business. Don’t assume everyone speaks English here first off so give them a minute to convert to English if you are asking questions.
St Michael’s Bastion
The bastion sits at the entrance of Senglea and you will pass through its St Anne Gate. It’s another example from the days of the Order of St. John and a great defence in the many attacks it has been subjected to due to its island location.
Vittoriosa Yacht Marina
The Marina lies at the centre of the Three Cities and sits between them. It’s thought that this Marina is the reason for the heavy fortification of Senglea and Birgu. Strolling along the waterfront of the Marina is a must especially to spot some pretty impressive fancy looking yachts that will blow your mind!
St Lawrence’s Church
Dating back to the 17th century and located by the waterfront, St Lawrence’s Church is part of the religious complex and Oratory. The architecture is absolutely stunnig. View it from the waterfront then walk up and discover the complex as a whole. They still have regular mass here so time your visit right if you’d like to go and see inside.
Fort St Angelo
Sitting upon strongholds that have been home to forts since 1241, Fort St, Angelo has hosted many artillery platforms and has been repurposed for modern use. Again it lies on the port of Birgu so has great views out to Valletta and a visit here is a must. Infact it’s one of the best things to see in Birgu aside from The Maritime Museum and Inquisitor’s Palace.
Visiting the Fortress will take you walking along the path of the high Fortress walls and rooftops. From here you’ll experience the most spectacular panoramic views of the Three Cities, Valletta and the mouth of The Grand Harbour. Visit the café at the top where these views are the most incredible and enjoy a coffee with a vista and a half!
Inside the fort is a great museum and exhibits include the maritime history of the fort as well as the history of the Mediterranean and the various empires that have influenced Malta. It wasn’t just the English that ruled over Malta, the Romans, Normans, Ottomans and French all ruled for a period over these islands.
Be mindful of the ghost of The Grey Lady who haunts the fort since she was murdered for having an affair with the resident commander.
Birgu’s main square lies aptly in the centre of the neighbourhood and a great spot to sit and relax with a coffee from a local cafe that line the square as well as many Maltese restaurants. There are also a few boutique shops around the back streets of the square which make beautiful local artisan products,
Discover Birgu’s Hidden Streets
The streets which divide off Victory Square are some of the best to go and explore. Spot the traditional balconies here and get lost in the maze of streets which still have the charm and character of how they must have started life. This truly will take you back in time and as you walk look out for those beautifully painted balconies, everyday life scenes, stunningly grand front doors and friendly locals.
The bus is very accessible from the Valletta Bus Terminal. Lines 1,2 and 4. For more on Malta’s the public transport system.
The easiest way is most definitely from Valletta to take the Three Cities Vittoriosa Marina ferry for € 2.80 and runs all day with limited services at night and winter months. More information on the Malta Ferry System
You can also use the Upper Barrakka funicular with the ticket so you don’t have to climb all the way up the steep hill!
Exploring the Three Cities is best done by foot as the intertwining streets are pretty mazey and are really only meant for pedestrian use anyway.
It’s good to note, beautiful boutique hotels are well priced in the Three Cities so this can be an alternative place to stay and explore if you don’t fancy Valletta.
Be-lavie Tip: Some of the most picturesque streets include San Duminika and Triqil-Foss.
Marsaxlokk is a small, traditional fishing village in the South-Eastern region of Malta. It has a harbour, and is a tourist attraction known for its views, fishermen and history. It only has an estimated population of around 3,500 and is really quaint. On Sundays they have an open-air fish market with a really lovely local vibe.
The main bay with a medley of brightly coloured vivid fishing boats is a draw for visitors and along here is where all the delicious seafood restaurants are located, naturally.
The best photo spots in Marsaxlokk will revolve around the main bay and the Church of Our Lady of Pompei just a couple of minute’s walk in from the bay.
Location: South-East Malta and can visit as part of a day trip with the Blue Grotto
From Valletta’s main bus terminal take bus 81, 85 or TD10.
Driving to Marsaxlokk, takes around 30 minutes via Tal-Barrani and there is a large car park just off teh end of the main fishing bay.
Be-lavie Tip: Time your visit here with lunch as there are some fabulously reasonable family run fresh seafood restaurants.
Read Next (Related Post): Discover The Best Food & drink in Malta
This popular night life and restaurant town of Malta is well known for its beaches like the stunning Balluta Bay, a rocky stretch with a promenade full of eateries bars and nightclubs that line the streets of Paceville, an area south of St. George’s Bay Beach.
Spinola Bay has traditional fishing boats, plus Spinola Palace, a baroque mansion with a carved clock centrepiece on its facade. Portomaso Bay is home to a marina and luxury boutiques
Buses A13, A14 and A15 all go to St Julian’s from Valletta main Bus Terminal.
The best way from Valletta to get to St Julian’s is to get a ferry to Sliema and walk or get a taxi from Sliema town to St. Julian’s. It’s only a 20 025 minute walk.
Comino is the third of the Maltese Islands located in between the Northern tip of Malta and Gozo. The island is uninhabited however is known as an area of natural and outstanding beauty with lagoons, lots of flora and fauna and interesting landscapes and rock formations.
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There are two photo stops on Comino Island…
The Blue Lagoon
Yes you guessed it! This is Malta’s most popular attraction booked!! Oh and the busiest!! This is where you disembark when you arrive on the island and unfortunately the huge number of tourists arriving and spending time around the Blue lagoon area will mean there will be swimmers, sun-bathers and generally a lot of people in this area for a decent shot, unless you leave on the 09.30 ferry and you are one of the first ones to arrive, Even then you will have to be very quick.
Be-lavie Tip: This is when going in low season is a big plus. You may have to wear a wet suit in the water but it may be worth it to have some fab photos and a quiet island almost all to yourself.
The Crystal Lagoon
This is stunning! So remember the Blue Grotto? Think that but more secluded. After getting off the boat/ferry turn right and walk the rocky, rugged path up and over the hill to the right. Just keep walking and you will see a rock window – BONUS photo opportunity below.
Walk past this and climb down on the rock to the coast, be careful as it’s slippery and you’ll be right in front of the Crystal Lagoon!
It is popular with some divers but apart from that, there’s hardly anyone around!
Get the bus to Cirkewwa port from Pembroke (X1) where you can buy return ferry tickets to Comino. It’s 13 Euros and you get a tour of the caves on the way there. Ferrys leave every hour!
By car from Valletta it takes 45 minutes via Route 1 and there is free parking to the side of the ferry terminal and just before.
Be-lavie Tip: Take some appropriate footwear with grips to walk the rocky path
The Coral Lagoon
This place truly is a hidden gem, off the beaten path and lies close to Armier Bay. This is a spot that is very popular with kayakers and divers. The water is calm and if the sun hits at the right spot, the waters produce a stunning shimmering effect.
The trek is quite rocky and sharp over some gritty rocks but it’s worth the pain.
Location: Triq Dahlet Ix-Xmajjar, Il-Mellieħa, Malta
This is somewhere a car is very handy. There is a free place to park close to the lagoon.
Be-lavie Tip: Great sunset views in the winter months but head back before it gets too dark to walk over the rocks.
The Popeye Village was a set built for the 1980 Popeye movie and still exists and is now used as a children’s water park at Anchor Bay
The bay is beautiful, and you can get close up and personal, take photos on the set but one of the best ways to capture Popeye village is with its panoramic view. These are cliff top views, close to the car park. Just walk further down and you’ll see the spot! It’s truly a picturesque spot!
Location: Triq Tal-Prajjet, Il-Mellieħa, Malta
There is a direct bus X2 from Pembroke to Popeye village. The best way by far is to drive via route 7 and it takes around 40 minutes from Valletta
Just to the left of Popeye Village lies the beautiful Anchor bay with a rugged landscape which is home to the most spectacular sunset.
Walk across the stony path close to the clifftop and be sure to catch the sun and sky doing all its magic reflecting off the waters.
The Red Tower
The Red Tower or St. Agatha’s Tower is a large bastion watchtower in Mellieħa which was built between 1647and 1649. It is definitely worth a visit for the stunning views out to sea and you can even catch sight of Gozo from here!
Location Triq Tad-Dahar, Il-Mellieħa, Malta
Take the bus to Qammieh stop and walk up the hill. You can’t miss this bright red structure. Route 42 from Valletta to Ċirkewwa makes six journeys daily
Driving : 40 minutes via Route 1
St Peter’s Pool
Found at the tip of Delimara Point, just off the tall chimney tower next to Marsaxlokk Bay, St Peter’s Bay is a popular swimming spot with locals and tourists alike. This natural pool is surrounded by a large flat slab, which is perfect for sunbathing.
There is no bus to St Peter’s Pool – the closest would be to get a bus to Abdosir and walk around 30 minutes.
There are car parks a little off the beaten track, but it is still a bit of a trek down to the pool.
Be-lavie Tip: Arrive early in high season to swim in these crystal clear waters and be one of the first to experience it at sunrise.
Malta’s siter island is a must do and some even say it’s way prettier than Malta but one things for sure, there are many beautiful photography spots located all over this Island.
Ferry from Cirkawaa and check the bus route on the island. The Ferry to Gozo is a passenger and vehicle ferry – hiring a car to explore Gozo is the best option for flexibility and saving time.
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The Cittadella is located in the capital of Gozo, Victoria and is know as Gozo’s fortified city which can be seen from all angles, Only a couple of families live within the Citadel walls today. In the square you will find the magnificent baroque Cathedral of Gozo dedicated to Santa Marija, or more precisely the Assumption of the Virgin Mary; as well as the Law Courts and the Bishop’s Palace.
Walk through the Cittadella to the highest point for some spectacular views over Gozo.
Tal Mixta Cave & Ramla Bay
The Tal Mixta cave is located on the northern coast of Gozo for a stunning view of the coastline including the stunning Ramla Bay. Ramla Bay is said to be one of the most popular spots to sunbathe in Gozo
The Wied il-Mielaħ Window is a limestone natural arch on the north-western coast of the island of Gozo in Malta. It’s located at the end of the valley Wied il-Mielaħ north of the village of Għarb.
This natural arch is not as well-known as the Azure Window, which collapsed in March 2017 following a heavy storm but is absolutely stunning. It can be accessed via a narrow staircase alomg the rock, just before the rock. The best place for a photo is close to the end of the staircase but hold on!!
Location: 6H7+J55, Gharb
Għasri Valley, also Wied il-Għasri, is a sea canyon. The gorge continues on the land towards the village of Għasri. The valley is known for its tranquilityand beach, which is 300 metres inland from the sea. The sea is only accessible via a narrow cove with high cliffs on both sides.
Location: Triq Is-Sagħtrija, Iż-Żebbuġ
The Blue Hole
The Blue Hole is situated close to the hamlet of Dwejra, on Gozo’s West coast. This is a very populra diving spot and also an absolute gem if you have it all to yourself! If you’re driving, simply follow the signs to the former Azure Window and Inland Sea and park where the road comes to a natural end.
There is also a very frequent bus that stops here in Dwejra.
Xlendi is an urban village in Malta situated in the southwest Gozo. It is surrounded by the villages of Munxar, Fontana and Kerċem. The best views are from the road high above the bay or by boat if you wish to take to the water. The tiny resort of Xlendi is dramatically sited at the mouth of a deep ravine, with steep cliffs tumbling down to the water on the bay’s northern arm. Xlendi started its life as a miniscule fishing community but the clear seas and the cliffs which guard the mouth of the bay made for the perfect resort when tourism started making headways in the sixties and seventies.
Malta Beautiful Photography Spots Round-Up
Malta and its islands are truly a photographers dream with its magical shimmering clean azure waters and rocky sun drenched landscapes. From the city vibes of Valletta to the more rural lands of Gozo, Malta is a place that oozes the opportunity of beautiful photography at every corner. Oh and those famous last words – don’t forget to look up (and below in Malta’s case) as many of the coastal views are right there!
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