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Travel with Children

Sun and sea, boat trips and snorkelling, countryside and caves, forts and castles: there's lots for kids to see and do in Malta and Gozo. Add pedestrianised town centres, friendly locals, lots of laid-back, open-air restaurants, and short distances between places, and you have an ideal family holiday destination.

Best Regions for Kids

  • Valletta

Pedestrianised lanes, piazzas, forts, fountains, boat trips and museums. Look forward to Malta's best ice-cream shops too.

  • Sliema, St Julian's & Paceville

Rocky beaches, one small sandy bay, and child-friendly cafes and restaurants. Waterfront playgrounds are also a feature.

  • Northern Malta

Malta’s best beaches, with lots of water-sports facilities, boat-trip opportunities and the various marine species of the Malta National Aquarium.

  • Southern Malta

Marsaxlokk's fun Sunday market, natural swimming pools, caves and hilltop temples. Perfect for adventurous children.

  • Gozo & Comino

Malta’s neighbours are fun to get to (by boat) and once there you can slow your pace, swim, explore, snorkel, boat and dive.

Malta for Kids

As in most Mediterranean countries, families will receive a warm welcome, and the sunny weather and easygoing lifestyle makes it easy to entertain children without too much effort. There's a good healthcare system here and most people speak English; a smaller proportion also speak Italian and sometimes French. The Malta Baby & Kids Directory lists lots of useful information, including days out, activities and general advice. You can buy the directory online or register to obtain its listings.

Babysitting

If you're in need of a breather, large hotels will usually offer a babysitting service, or you can enquire at your guesthouse or apartment complex whether they provide babysitting. Otherwise, try Stepping Stones Early Learning Centre (www.steppingstonesmalta.com) on Malta, which offers trustworthy babysitting services.

Dining Out

Children are welcome at most restaurants, though many of the smarter places don't permit very young children. In child-friendly restaurants, high chairs are usually available, there's normally a children's menu, and sometimes changing facilities. Children's menus tend to offer a similar roll call of chicken nuggets, pizza and so on; if you want to provide more variety, ask for a half-portion of an adult dish instead. As in Italy, people won't blink an eye at children staying up late, particularly in summer when many children will have had a siesta in the heat of the afternoon.

Open Spaces

Malta's sandy beaches tend to be the best for younger children, as they have gentle approaches and shallow areas for swimming. The more popular ones have water-sports and boating facilities, which makes them especially good for older children too. The rocky bays that dot the coast are better for older children and adults only, because these natural sea pools do not always have shallow areas for less-confident swimmers.

Although Malta's main roads are busy, the main square of each town is almost always closed to traffic, and village and town promenades are often pedestrianised, which means there's space to run about even in a town centre. Valletta's pedestrianised centre has choreographed fountains, on Pjazza San Gorg.

By the coast, long, wide promenades often have playgrounds (there's one at Sliema and a great one at Qawra as part of the Malta National Aquarium complex) and kiosks for snacks. Marsaskala, in the southeast, has the large, free St Antnin Park, which includes a climbing wall. Mdina has a large playground just outside the city walls, and the city's Ditch Garden is a good place to run around in. There's a small playground next to the ferry stop in Cospicua (Three Cities) and a recommended playground in Paola (close to the Hypogeum and Tarxien Temples).

As for parks, some of the best include San Anton Gardens in Attard and the Argotti Botanical Gardens in Floriana, and Valletta has the Upper Barrakka Gardens, Lower Barrakka Gardens and the Hastings Garden. The wooded Buskett Gardens near Dingli on Malta are somewhat wilder and a great place to explore.

On less-busy Gozo there are lots of walking trails, beaches and open areas to run around in, but Dwejra, with its rocky moonscape coast, inland sea and boat trips, is one of the most spectacular areas for kids.

Planning

For all-round information and advice, check out Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children.

What to Pack

You'll find everything you need available for sale in Malta, so don't panic about forgetting something: formula, nappies (diapers), wipes, clothes, toys and English-language children's books are all easy to find. Mosquitoes are an issue – pack some child-friendly repellent or there's a chance kids will get badly bitten on their first night.

Accommodation

As Malta and Gozo are such family centred destinations, there are lots of suitable, reasonably priced options, including self-catering accommodation. The farmhouses for rent on Gozo are ideal; they offer plenty of space and often a pool. Most of the boutique hotels in Valletta only accept older children.

When to Go

If you're travelling in July and August, when the weather is at its hottest, easy access to the sea or a pool is recommended. Plan for an afternoon siesta to avoid the heat of the early afternoon; there's usually a lull in general activity from around 1pm to 4pm, which is the hottest period of the day.

In late spring, early summer and autumn the sea is warm, the weather milder, prices lower and places less crowded. Children will enjoy the colourful parades at Carnival (February) and Easter (March/April), and the living nativity on Gozo at Christmas, but swimming will be chilly in these months; in March/April pack wetsuits and your children may still enjoy a dip.

Feature: Best Restaurants for Families

Follow these recommendations for the best dining experiences with children.

  • Nenu the Artisan Baker, Valletta Arguably Malta's best ftira, and the kids will enjoy seeing the interesting recreation of an old bakery.

  • Is-Suq Tal-Belt, Valletta Plenty of variety with flavours and food outlets means no one is disappointed at this heritage food market.

  • Mint, Sliema Smoothies, wraps, easygoing Kiwi service, and in close proximity to a few good waterfront kids' playgrounds.

  • Munchies, Mellieħa Waterfront dining less than a metre from the sand. Tuck in and then dive in (after letting your food go down).

  • Rew Rew, Mġarr ix-Xini A laid-back location with the opportunity for a swim and snorkel in Rew Rew's perfect bay.

  • Sottozero, Buġibba Innovative flavours at the best ice-cream shop for many a mile.

Children's Highlights

Caves

Outdoor Activities

  • Boat trips Round the islands in a glass-bottomed boat; speed boats to see coves or to Comino and Gozo.

  • Diving Great beginners' diving and centres dotted all over the islands (over 10s only).

  • Horse riding, Golden Bay, Mosta and Gozo All have good horse riding centres.

  • Jeep safaris, Sliema A fun way to explore the islands.

  • Water sports All the major resorts offer sailing, dinghies for hire, pedalos etc.

  • Rock climbing Beginners' climbing or abseiling offered by local organisations.

  • Kayaking Take an organised sea kayaking trip to explore the coast.

Theme Parks

Beaches & Coves

Exhibitions

  • Audiovisual exhibitions Cinematic presentations such as the Malta Experience (Valletta) and the Mdina Experience will entertain kids aged around seven to 12 years.

  • Waxworks Vivid evocations of the past are found at the Sacra Infermeria (medieval medics) in Valletta.

  • Rampila More waxworks can be seen at this Valletta restaurant with its own waxwork Maltese folkloric museum.

Sights & Museums

Child-Friendly Museums