When it comes to Instagrammable spots in Malta, you have a choice of natural swimming pools, megalithic temples, baroque cathedrals, and even tiny villages overlooking the Mediterranean. While many visit the archipelago for its world-class beaches, cuisine and wines, Malta is also one of the most popular spots for photography.

    Many of Malta’s quaint coastal towns and villages seem to have been frozen in time, with cobblestone pathways leading to well-preserved medieval buildings and stone houses. You can also take a short boat ride to nearby islets, where you can find pristine bays with bright turquoise water, hidden caves and grottoes. If you’re planning to snap photos of Malta like a pro, read through this guide on the best places to go.

    1

    Blue Grotto

    See the main arch from up close with a boat tour

    • Photo

    The Blue Grotto is a series of adjoining sea caves on the south-eastern coast of Malta, along with a natural arch spanning around 30 metres in height. The view is incredible – clear blue waves battering against the limestone formations make for impressive photos. It’s also one of Malta’s most popular diving and snorkelling spots, so it’s a good idea to get there early if you want to avoid the crowd.

    Boat tours allow you to explore the caves and the main arch up close. Traditional Maltese fishing boats depart from a small port in the Wied iż-Żurrieq village on the west side of Malta. If you want to see the Blue Grotto from above, there’s a viewing platform next to the main road, east of the turn-off to Wied iż-Żurrieq.

    Location: Blue Grotto, Malta

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    2

    Mdina Gate

    The main entrance of The Silent City

    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Mdina Gate, also called Vilhena Gate, is a baroque-style entrance to Mdina, a fortified city in Malta. Built in 1724, the stone structure has reliefs of Malta’s 3 patron saints – St Publius, St Agatha and St Paul – as well as a Latin inscription and Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena’s coat of arms.

    Mdina Gate was featured as King’s Landing Gate in the first season of Game of Thrones, which might be why it’s one of the most photographed sites in Malta. The best time to photograph this site is at dusk when it’s basked in a golden shade. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the rest of Mdina, which has plenty of well-preserved baroque and medieval architecture.

    Location: Mdina, Malta

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    3

    Coral Lagoon (Dragonara Cave)

    Dive into the natural pool – if you dare

    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Coral Lagoon is an impressive natural pool near Armier Bay in Mellieha, a small town on the northern end of Malta. Also called Dragonara Cave, this rocky swimming spot is rather challenging to reach due to lack of public transport – which makes it incredibly photogenic.

    Coral Lagoon is entirely open, with rounded rock walls vertically descending into a pool with bright and clear blue water. Swimmers with nerves of steel often jump off the 15-metre-tall edge right into the pool, but there is a small entrance for those looking to explore the lagoon by kayak or stand-up paddleboard.

    Location: Mellieha, Malta

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    4

    St John’s Co-Cathedral

    A grand baroque church in Valletta

    • History
    • Photo

    St Johns Co-Cathedral is a grand baroque church in Malta’s capital Valletta. It was completed in 1577 and is dedicated to the patron saint of the Order of St John. The cathedral is in the city centre, just behind Republic Street.

    The building is one of the grandest Baroque churches in all of Europe. While the exterior is far from outstanding, it’s the extravagant and intricately decorated interior that steals the show. From the ornate marble floors to the impressive frescoes, St John’s Co-Cathedral is a true work of art. The best time to photograph St John’s Co-Cathedral is early in the morning – on certain days, you might have most of the church to yourself.

    Location: Triq San Gwann, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +356 2122 0536

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    photo by Boguslaw Garbacz (CC BY 3.0) modified

    5

    Malta’s megalithic temples

    See prehistoric stone buildings

    • History
    • Photo

    The megalithic temples of Malta are located on the southern coast of Malta, around 2 km west of the Blue Grotto. The structures date back between 3,600 BC and 700 BC, making them among the oldest religious sites on the island. The Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim Temples are very popular spots among photographers. There’s a visitor centre with a children's playroom, as well as a 4D film introduction of the archaeological site.

    Both temples were believed to be associated with fertility rituals and solar alignments in mind. Heritage Malta offers guided tours of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra during the summer and winter solstices, as well as spring and summer equinoxes. If you’re at the complex on your own, visit at sunrise to see the sun aligning perfectly with the temple stones.

    Location: Qrendi QRD 2502, Malta

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +356 2142 4231

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    6

    Anchor Bay

    A popular dive site in Malta

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    Anchor Bay is a rocky inlet that offers excellent diving opportunities in Malta. It’s also the location of Popeye Village, a small resort town and theme park that was used as a film set for the musical Popeye in 1980. During the summer, the village offers sunbeds for rental, as well as a waterpark and trampoline for kids to enjoy.

    Anchor Bay has many large passageways which you can access via a slope leading down to the bay. Snorkellers and divers can explore the clear waters and underwater caves, which has unique marine life such as moray eels, scorpionfish, and groupers. Scorpion Cave is excellent for beginners thanks to its large entrance and shallow depth. A must-visit for experienced divers is the MV Scotscraig wreck, located around 500 metres northwest of Anchor Bay.

    Location: Anchor Bay, Il-Prajjet, Malta

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    7

    St Agatha’s Tower

    A 17th-century structure overlooking Ghadira Bay

    • History
    • Photo

    St Agatha’s Tower is a photogenic structure offering excellent views of Gadhira Bay. Constructed in 1649, the bastioned watchtower has a vivid maroon shade, which resulted in its nickname, the Red Tower. You can also find a small chapel and altar dedicated to Saint Agatha, one of Malta’s patron saints.

    St Agatha’s Tower is located on the crest of Marfa Ridge in Mellieha, commanding panoramic views of Malta’s islets, including Gozo and Comino. The tower is around 1.6 km north-west of Ghadira Bay, a fully protected bird sanctuary.

    Location: Triq Tad-Dahar, Il-Mellieħa, Malta

    Phone: +356 2122 0358

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    8

    Blue Lagoon

    See turquoise waves crashing against rugged cliffs

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    The Blue Lagoon is located on Comino, a tiny limestone islet wedged between Malta and Gozo. As the name suggests, the waters here are a brilliant turquoise blue – a stark contrast against the lagoon's unique rock formations and caves. You can spot adventurous travellers diving in the lagoon and hiking the rugged cliffs, though most just take in the views from the beach or their boat.

    To visit the Blue Lagoon, you can catch a ferry or join a cruise to Comino at Cirkewwa Harbour, located on the northern tip of Malta. As the island is a major tourist spot in the archipelago, it’s best to get there early to beat the crowds.

    Location: Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta

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    9

    Popeye Village

    A theme park and resort town in north-western Malta

    • Families
    • Photo

    Popeye Village is a family-friendly resort town in Anchor Bay, on the north-western part of Malta. It was the filming set of the 1980 musical, Popeye before becoming a small theme park. There are many wooden houses in bold colours along the bay, as well as kid-friendly packages during Halloween, Easter, and Carnival.

    If you visit Popeye Village in summer, you can enjoy a wide range of water games, trampolines and slides, as well as use of its 9-hole golf course, splash pool, sunbeds and umbrellas. If weather permits, Popeye Village offers a 15-minute boat ride around Anchor Bay, which gives you excellent views of the ocean and the film set.

    Location: Triq Tal-Prajjet, Il-Mellieħa, Malta

    Open: November–March: daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. April–June and September–October: daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. July–August: daily from 9.30 am to 7 pm

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    10

    St Peter’s Pool

    A natural swimming pool near Marsaxlokk

    • Photo
    • Adventure

    St Peter’s Pool offers excellent swimming and snorkelling opportunities in the southwest of Malta. The natural pool is around 1.5 km north of Fort Delimara in Marsaxlokk. It’s rarely crowded with visitors, making it a rather popular spot for those living in Marsaxlokk and nearby towns in Malta.

    St Peters Pool has several ladders leading to its bright azure waters, though adventurous swimmers often dive straight into the pool from the surrounding rocks. There are plenty of flat areas for sunbathing and high rocks providing shade during scorching afternoons.

    Location: Marsaxlokk, Malta

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    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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