Malta is one of the most understated countries in Europe. For such a small place, Malta has a lot to offer its LGBTQ+ visitors – proving that size is, in fact, not everything! With just under a half-million inhabitants, it’s the fifth smallest country in the world and the smallest in the EU, yet it’s impossible to do everything in just one short visit. That doesn’t have to stop you from trying though.

Malta is geographically distinct in that it is an archipelago of islands located in the center of the Mediterranean, just south of Sicily and above Northern Africa. The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, two of which are inhabited and offer enviable sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, an exciting – if somewhat underground – queer nightlife scene, an impressive ten UNESCO sites and its cities are so ostentatious about their distinctive history that they resemble giant outdoor museums as much as places to live. The island nation has passed ownership a lot over the centuries, having been in the hands of everyone from the Romans to the Arabs to the French to the St. John’s Order of Knights to the English. This changeable history can be seen in its architecture, culture and the vast collections on display in its many museums. Malta also attracts attention from the more geekily inclined by being the popular filming site for movies such as Gladiator, Troy and Jurassic Park World Dominion, as well as TV shows like the highly acclaimed Game of Thrones.

Besides all the great things to do and see in Malta, the country is also incredibly gay-friendly. Despite being a conservative religious country as a whole, it’s ranked as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in all of Europe. In just the past couple of decades, LGBTQ+ rights and protections in the country have been elevated beyond its neighbors and it even hosted EuroPride in 2023.  In short, Malta is the place to visit for LGBTQ+ folk looking for a holiday destination which is both welcoming and unique, while being an entire country that is off the beaten track.

Table of Contents

1. General Tips
2. Transportation & Airport Transfer
3. Gay Hotels in Malta
4. Sightseeing & Activities in Malta
5. Gay Tours and Activities in Malta
6. Restaurants & Cafes in Malta
7. Malta Gay Bars and Clubs
8. Gay Beaches in Malta
9. Gay Events in Malta

General Tips

Malta makes for the perfect long weekend getaway when exploring Europe – direct flights can be taken from most major European capitals with budget airlines costing as low as100€ for a round trip. The weather in Malta is Mediterranean and generally good all year round except December to February when it is mild and wet with temperatures dropping to around 15 – 17 °C. In the summer months, July to August, temperatures can reach around 32 °C, so bring some sun cream.

For LGBTQ+ travelers the best cities to stay in are either the capital, Valletta or around Sliema and Saint Julian’s – both near Palema, the party zone. Which of these you choose is not too important as they’re easily connected via a regular ten-minute ferry service. Notably the hotels outside of Valletta tend to be a lot cheaper than those in the capital. 

Language wise, you’ll have no problems as Malta is also one of the few European countries that recognizes English as one of its official languages – as well as Maltese – largely due to its rule by the British before it became an independent state in 1964. Maltese people are known for being extremely friendly and more than willing to help out foreigners should you get lost. Although the island is conservative in some respects, LGBTQ+ people are always welcome. Grinder is always popping, should you need a “guide” to lend a helping hand on your visit.

Transportation & Airport Transfer

Malta – as you’d expect for its size – has only one airport: Malta International Airport. Sometimes you’ll hear it referred to as “Valletta Airport”, but this is somewhat of a misnomer as it is actually located around 8 km southwest of the Maltese capital in the town of Luga – away from the most densely populated areas. The small airport has only one terminal with just two runways. But finding a flight to Malta is very simple with many airlines connected to capitals and major cities in Europe, the Middle East, and around the Mediterranean basin.

A bus service runs from just outside the airport, across the road from the Departures Hall. From there you can catch one of four different buses connecting to the whole of the main island (the X1, X2, X3 and X4). The X4 takes you to Valletta (the capital) and the X2 to the other area most popular with LGBTQ+ visitors, Sliema.

There are no trains in Malta and buses are the best way to get around the islands without renting a car, catching a taxi or booking a shuttle bus. A single ticket, bought on the bus, is €2.50 during the day and €3 at night, but your ticket is valid for any transfers for up to two hours after the purchase. A Tallinja Top Up Card exists, but requires a photo and some preparation to set up, so is only really worth it for an extended stay in Malta.  You can find more information on the Malta Public Transport website. Here you will also find information on the Tallinja Smartphone App, which is a great way to plan your journey and find out which buses go from where even without having the Tallinja card.

A regularly scheduled ferry service also connects Valletta with both Sliema and the Three Cities with singles costing €2 for a single or €3.80 for a return and only takes ten minutes between ports.  To visit the other inhabited island of Gozo, which is full of tourist attractions, you can catch a ferry from Cirkewwa over to Mgarr. The ferries run 24/7 every 45 minutes and take only 25 minutes. Tickets cost €4.65 during the day and €4.05 by night – remember to bring ID though, as it is required to board the ferry.

Gay Hotels in Malta

There are no official gay hotels in Malta, but pretty much all of them are gay-friendly. 


Hotel Phoenicia – a hotel to combine historical sightseeing and a luxury place to stay into one package. The building is a historical landmark in its own right and located outside the bastion walls of Valletta with stunning views over The Grand Harbor. Its old world design architecture is emboldened by modern touches. The rooms are huge and elegantly decorated with Mediterranean style tiling and spacious balconies with a convenient mini bar to hand. Within its grounds you’ll find 7 acres of romantic gardens as well as an infinity pool, a rather swanky lounge, classy bar and two restaurants offering a menu – which features a combination of Maltese and Mediterranean dishes. What’s more, when digging below the property to build their lavish spa the hotel constructors came across some of the original fortification walls. Now you can relax in the luxury of a spa while taking in the history around you. A night will put you back around €500, but, hey, if you have the money, it's unquestionably the best place to stay in Malta. 

AX The Palace – this five-star hotel in the heart of Sliema has incredible sunset views over Valletta’s harbor and the Mediterranean, which can be enjoyed from the rooftop infinity pool or your own private balcony within their spacious rooms. With its elegant design and top-notch service, it's a popular choice for LGBTQ+ travelers seeking both comfort and sophistication. There’s all the other amenities you’d expect from a five-star hotel including a spa, indoor pool and two restaurants – one serving Asian food and the other Mediterranean. Rooms fall in the €200 mark. 


Hugo’s Boutique Hotel – the Paceville district in St. Julian's is Malta’s party area and this adult-only hotel is right up in the action – just around the corner from Malta’s only gay club, making it the perfect base for those who intend to enjoy the nightlife. It’s also incredibly chic with quirky décor, semi-luxurious rooms and has a beautiful infinity pool on the roof with two Jacuzzis. Prices start at around  100 euros for a twin room.

The George, Urban Boutique Hotel – boutique seems to be the favored word of hotels in Malta! This stylish four star hotel is located in the heart of St. Julian's, just 200 meters from the bus station, a five minute walk to Spinola Bay and just round the corner from Malta’s gay nightlife hub. The George Hotel is known for its stylish modern decor and has a classically sleek finish to its rooms. It offers modern amenities including a rooftop pool, a foyer bar, a generous buffet breakfast, a spa and even a 24-hour food store – useful if you do make use of the nearby nightlife. Rooms begin at around the 140 a night mark. 

Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort –  For a resort style holiday at a more affordable price, this nearby resort is positioned right on the water looking out over St George’s Bay in St. Julian’s – making it ideal for those who want both a seaview and to be within staggered distance of the nightlife. Guests can make use of the five outdoor pools, heated indoor pool,  sauna, gym, wellness facilities and its whopping ten places to eat – many with views over the bay below. With easy access down to the water, there’s also an on-site diving school and water sports center. The rooms are large and come with balconies – the cheapest at around 140 a night with a sea view.


Two Pillows Boutique Hostel –  ideally located in Sliema, within walking distance of the harbor, this hostel is a modernized traditional Maltese townhouse. It's a wonderful choice for those who are visiting on a budget and don’t mind sharing a bunk with their fellow guests, but if you’re not the sharing type then suites are also reasonably priced – not to mention surprisingly luxurious and sporting city views. On the property there’s a Jacuzzi, sauna, kitchen, terrace and lounge areas that harbor a pleasant sociable atmosphere. A shared room goes at around 30 –40 and private suites around the  140 mark.

Sightseeing & Activities in Malta

Valletta – Malta’s capital was once a knights’ fortress and due its many conquerors over the years, the city has an eclectic mix of architecture ranging from Baroque to more modernistic styles. It is often affectionately referred to as “the open museum” and indeed only in Valletta can you see some of Europe's oldest buildings sitting next to more recent relics – like one of Britain's trademark red phone boxes! Due to its small size, you can easily walk around the main sights. The top attractions are The Grand Master's Palace with its luxurious interior and impressive armory, the grandiose St. John’s Co Cathedral and the Upper Barrakka Gardens – the highest point in Matla with the most spectacular views of the city and harbor below. Valletta also has many museums like the National Museum of Archaeology and MUZA Museum of Fine Arts. And there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars to unwind with a glass of good Maltese wine in. Don’t miss the firing of the cannons from the garden at midday and 4pm every day!   Book tour →

The Three Cities (Vittoriosa/Birgu, Senglea/Isla and Cospicua/Bormla) – across the harbor from Valletta are three small cities,  although they’re more the size of towns and easy to get between via a scenic walkway along the connecting harbor. Wandering around all three is an excellent way to get a deeper insight into authentic Maltese life away from the crowds and to absorb a more local feel of Malta. Vittoriosa, also known as Birgu (all three cities rather confusingly have two names), has the most to offer the intrepid explorer and highlights include Fort St Angelo (the Red Keep from Game of Thrones), The Maritime Museum and the best view of Valletta´s harbors from across the water. Between the three cities they also have a healthy share of the country’s wine bars and traditional restaurants. Book tour →

Mdna – this fortress-like medieval town has been inhabited for over 4,000 years and it was Malta's capital before the arrival of Saint John’s knights. The town is perched on a hilltop and is one of the top places to visit in Malta, with views all over the surrounding countryside. Mdina is nicknamed the ‘City of Silence', but if you visit in the morning – when the town is overrun with day trippers – you’ll leave wondering where the name comes from. Inside is a labyrinth of stone gates, narrow alleys, expansive courtyards, medieval churches and honey-colored buildings. Its crowning jewel, St. Paul's Cathedral is located right in the center, but a lesser known highlight can be found in the city dungeons for a look into the town’s darker moments in history. Book tour →

Silemna – just a short while north of Valletta across the harbor is Silemna, a beach resort town popular with LGBTQ+ folk because of its location between Valletta and St. Julian’s. As well as housing a host of gay-friendly hotels and having a smattering of beaches it also has a long promenade and its fair share of historical buildings such as a 17th century watchtower, a baroque church and the star-shaped Fort Manoel. An easy walk from Sliema takes you to Saint Julian's which is the hub of the island’s nightlife and has a few beaches of its own. 

Popeye Village – we’re all children at heart and Popeye Village is guaranteed to bring out the inner child in all who visit. Located in the Northwest of the island it was the film set of the 1980s musical production of “Popeye” – yes, the sailor man – and is now a rather cool looking wooden village. The place is like a cross between an open museum and attraction park where you’ll find Popeye and has crew up to all manner of entertaining shenanigans. Book tour →

Gozo –  after exploring the main island of Malta, your next port should be to head over to Malta’s sister island of Gozo, reachable  via a ferry from Cirkewwa over to Mgarr. From there you can explore by using the local buses or signing up for a tour. The whole island is stunning with green rolling hills, sandy beaches and quaint fishing villages. Natural highlights include the Inland Sea (where a gorge in the cliffs lets water in to create a small sea area surrounded by land), Ir-Ramla il-Hamra beach, the Mgarr ix-Xini bay and St. George’s Bay. Man-made wonders include the Ggantija Temples (oldest freestanding moment in the world) and Victoria (the island’s capital). Book tour →

Victoria – the capital city of Goza deserves its own mention as an essential detour from the beach when on Goza. Victoria has a humming main square full of restaurants and cafes, a bustling weekly market and a tranquil old town to wander around. The Cittadella is Victoria´s castle and was even a military installation in the late 1800, offering a spectacular 360 view of the island. Book tour →

The Blue Lagoon –  boat excursions can be made from either mainland Malta or Goza to see perhaps the country's most beautiful geographical feature, the Blue Lagoon – actually part of Malta’s third island, Comino. The name pretty much says it all, and a swim in its azure blue waters is to experience pure tranquility. Book tour →

Kayaking around Gozo – Malta's weather is good all year-round, so the island makes for a perfect place to participate in some fun outdoor activities. Gozo has become the expert in adventure sports and you'll have a lot of options to choose from. There are two main kayaking tour companies to show you around the island: ‘Kayak Gozo' and ‘Gozo Adventures'. You can choose between a short paddle along the North Coast of Gozo, or go for a half day, or even a full day trip. The guides are very knowledgeable about the local geography and sea life and will teach you to control your kayak before heading out on the ocean to see the rocky coastline and even a secret cave. 

Image credit: Q Travel Malta

Gay Tours in Malta

Valletta Queer History Walking Tour – this two-hour small group tour of Valletta by Q Travel Malta is catered especially for LGBTQ+ travelers. The tour takes you all around the main landmarks of Valletta, giving you its history from the perspective of the LGBTQ+ community. The friendly tour guide gives a unique perspective on the city center, some lesser known parts on the outskirts of town and even into the former red light district. Book tour →

Valletta Street Food and LGBTIQ+ History Tour – Q Travel Malta also offers a slightly longer tour (3 hours) which combines the city’s rich culinary traditions with a walk through its LGBTQ+ past. You'll learn about the queer community's contributions to the city's identity and sample mouth-watering local street food along the way. Book tour →

Vino Voyage: Private Mdina and Wine Tasting Experience – sightseeing is always better when you can wash down the experience with a glass of wine or three after. On this half-day tour you’ll head out to Game of Thrones filming location, Mdina, and then visit a beautiful Maltese vineyard to unwind…or should that be unWINE. Book tour →

From Stigma to Empowerment: A Women's History Tour of Valletta – throughout much of history anonymous was a woman, but no more! On this two hour tour you’ll traverse Valletta, seeing all the must-see places and a few hidden gems, while learning about the city from the historical perspective of the important  role of women in shaping the city's past and present. Created by historian and best-selling book author Christine Muscat, this tour is a must-see for anyone interested in history and feminism. Book tour →

Three Cities: Gays vs. Inquisitor – the winding 16th Century streets of Malta’s Three Cities are full of LGBTQ+ stories untold. Q Travel Malta presents a two hour guided tour, taking you to the imposing Inquisitor's Palace (where the gays of old battled against prejudice) and into the streets of the Three Cities to unravel their centuries-old queer secrets. Book tour →

Restaurants and Cafes

Malta is also known for its great food, which is often described as Italian style with a French touch or “Frenchified Italian”. Valletta offers hundreds of cafés, bars and restaurants to choose between, serving such yummy delicacies as rabbit stew, fish pies. You’ll also see a cheap well-known treat called pastizz (a ricotta cheese or mushy peas stuffed pastry) for sale, which makes for a delicious snack as you explore the island. 

Caffe Cordina – this beautiful cafe is somewhat of an institution in the center of Valletta with an ornate décor inside and open air seating to capitalize on the sunny weather. They serve the best morning coffee in the city along with Maltese sweet or savory treats, including honey rings (a sweet pastry filled with black treacle, marmalade and orange peel) and Maltese sausage crescents. 

Rubino – Maltese food is something special and Valletta has many restaurants eager to demonstrate why. A walk down Strait Street (excuse the name) will take you to many but around the corner you’ll find Rubino – a simple yet classy restaurant in the middle of the old town with a menu that is a pleasant mix of Italian and Maltese food – the rabbit is especially tasty! 

Republic 59if you’re in Valletta and fancy pushing the boat out a little for some fine dining in the evening, then Republic 59 is a wonderful choice. Alongside the Grandmaster’s Palace the restaurant has a large terrace on the rather romantic looking St-George’s Square. The food is exquisitely prepared and the wine list extensive – what more could you ask for. 

Two Buoys – yes, that is a play on words! And it lives up to the name by being a gay-friendly restaurant – punctuated by the rainbow flags bedecking the place. This cool little restaurant overlooks Spinola Bay in Saint Julian’s – not far from Silemna. Honestly, the food is good at any time of the day – Kangaroo Steak for example – but they really shine when it comes to breakfast/brunch through their deliciously loaded waffles, bagels and pancakes.

Tal Petut –  The Three Cities have a high concentration of some of the most authentically Maltese restaurants in the country – if you just wander the streets, you’re sure to stumble across a few. One of the best, however, is Tal Petut. The old-fashioned restaurant in Vittoriosa/Birgu is for those looking to savor the purest of the pure Maltese cuisine as it only serves traditional food from the country. Here you can try a range of local dishes including a succulent rabbit stew.

Café Del Mar –  named after a similar restaurant/bar in Ibiza, Café Del Mar is one of the best places on the island for sunset drinks. Located right on the sea just a short drive North from the capital, the atmosphere is as relaxed as the gentle sea breeze and the menu full of seafood delicacies, including a wide assortment of sushi. There’s no better place in Malta to watch the sunset with a cocktail. 

Ta' Cenc Il-Kantra Bar & Restaurant –  this restaurant/bar is part of the hotel of the same name on Goza . The food is great (the caponata especially) and it has perfect sea views, where you can even walk down to the water and take a dip. 

Image credit: Maori Bar

Malta Gay Bars and Clubs

Maori Bar this little bar isn’t officially gay but it might as well be, as it is the favored hangout of LGBTQ+ residents on the island as the rainbow flags attest to. Maori bar is located right up on the seafront of Valletta and you can’t miss it because it’s painted with sassy murals. The vibe is chilled out and the drinks cheap – a winning combination. 

Yard 32 – a Spanish themed gay-friendly gin and tapas bar in Valletta is an odd mix of things and yet it works. It boasts an impressive two hundred different gins and forty-two different tonics to choose between and has live music three times a week. 

Michelangelo Clubthe only gay club on the island is small, but it does the job – at least at the weekends. Located in Paceville, St Julians it has two – albeit small – floors, plays dance music and there’s a cheeky dark room upstairs. Like most gay clubs they hold special events from time to time, which include international DJs, drag queens and go-go boys.

Lollipopeasily the best club night on the island for queer people. Sadly, it’s only once a month, so if you plan on going be sure to plan your trip around attending. Expect a delightful mix of fashion, fun and frolics with LGBTQ+ folk getting down and dirty to queer International DJs at themed parties. The location rotates with indoor parties in the winter and pool parties during the summer. After Pride – or after any other festival on the island for that matter – you can be rest assured that the best party on the island will be Lollipop.

Nerve – charisma, uniqueness and talent are important. But NERVE is fundamental. These queer-curated parties run throughout the year, so are another good night out to plan your trip around. Just like Lollipop they are little explosions of queer joy, with loud diverse shows including the best drag queens, the queerest visual artists and the sassiest DJs pumping out pop and Eurovision hits.

Proud and Loudthis large gay monthly party is as close to a circuit party as you’ll find in Malta and based around the concept of inviting gogo dancers from all over the globe – what’s not to love about that. It’s hosted by Michelangelo and held at one of the best clubs in Paceville, Sky Club.

Gay Beaches in Malta

There are no official gay beaches in Malta, however, all are gay-friendly and some more frequented by LGBTQ+ folk more than others. Most of the beaches in Malta are also rocky but there’s the odd sandy beach worth tracking down.  Be aware public nudity is illegal in the country with the possibility of fines if you’re caught with your bits out. However, there are some secluded areas where the authorities seem to turn a blind eye – best to take your cue from others around you. 

Golden Bay – on the other side of the island to Valletta – reachable by bus – is one of the island’s most popular beaches, including with LGBTQ+ folk. It’s also sandy, which certainly helps add to its popularity, as does the crystal clear waters. 

Riviera Beach – Malta’s worst kept secret is this secluded beach just a short walk South of Golden Beach. Here you’ll find the gays and – despite the fact it’s illegal – nudists discretely baring all to the sun. For an even more secluded beach, keep walking South along the trail from Riviera to Gnejna Beach. Here, you’ll also find Malta’s most known cruising area.

Gay Events in Malta

Malta Pride –  Malta’s LGBTQ+ community has a lot to celebrate, given the country’s excellent ranking as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Thus their Pride is as joyous as it gets. Taking place every year at the beginning of September, Malta Pride is a whole week of parties, concerts, queer events (from karaoke and drag queens to speed dating and queer art-pop ups) and two parades – one in Goza on the first Saturday and then an even bigger parade in Malta on the second weekend. 

Malta Carnival – Carnival might not be officially exclusive to LGBTQ+ folk, but they sure do come out in force for the fabulous celebration in late February early March. For five days Valletta becomes a riot of colors, costumes, parades, fireworks and street parties. The main parades take place both in Valletta and Floriana, who have a rivalry to put on the most flamboyant show. You be the judge of who wins! 

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