Malta vs. Sicily

Picking between Malta and Sicily is no easy task. Both Mediterranean gems offer rich history and vibrant culture that can capture any traveler's imagination. Malta, with its blend of influences from various civilizations, intrigues. Meanwhile, Sicily tempts with its deep roots and diverse traditions. So, how do you decide which destination offers the cultural experience you crave?
Malta vs. Sicily

Table of Contents

Both Malta and Sicily bring their own unique allure to the table. Malta boasts a tapestry of history that stretches from the prehistoric era to modern times. On the other hand, Sicily is like a living museum, with its own set of unique traditions and customs. With so much to explore, it’s no wonder you’re faced with such a tough choice.

Ready to delve deeper? Keep reading to make your choice a bit easier.

History & Culture

Before embarking on your journey, it’s important to understand what sets the history and culture of Malta apart from Sicily. These Mediterranean neighbors have been shaped by different influences, yet their histories are interwoven in fascinating ways.

Malta is a mix of various cultures and influences. Being at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, it has seen its share of rulers. From the Phoenicians to the Romans, and the Arabs to the Normans, each has left its mark. The result? A melting pot of traditions and a rich historical landscape.

Maltese culture is a fusion that’s unique, drawing from both Western and Eastern influences. Its language, a blend of Arabic and Italian, is one of its kind.

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, has a history that’s just as complex but different. It was once the cradle of Magna Graecia, Greater Greece, and it has seen a string of conquerors from the Romans to the Arabs, Normans, and Spaniards.

Sicilian culture is also a blend but leans more towards its Italian roots. The island has its own dialects and distinct traditions that make it uniquely Sicilian.

Both destinations have unique architectural styles too. Malta is known for its prehistoric temples and baroque buildings, while Sicily shines with its ancient Greek temples and Roman amphitheaters. Each destination offers its own distinct form of music, art, and dance, adding to their allure.

In summary, both Malta and Sicily offer vibrant and diverse cultural experiences. Malta offers a more eclectic blend of East and West, while Sicily is deeply rooted in its Italian heritage. No matter your choice, both promise a rich, historical journey that you won’t soon forget. So, are you more intrigued by Malta’s mix of cultures or does Sicily’s deep roots call out to you?

Attractions & Activities

When it comes to filling your vacation days with wonder, both Malta and Sicily offer an impressive list of attractions and activities. But what types of experiences are you looking for? Whether you’re keen on historical sites, natural wonders, or outdoor activities, each destination has its own special offerings.

In Malta, you’ll want to explore the ancient city of Mdina, also known as the “Silent City.” Stroll through its narrow streets and absorb the history that seeps through the walls.

The island also has world-renowned diving spots, like the Blue Hole in Gozo. Divers flock here from all around the globe to explore the underwater caves and marine life. Adventure seekers can also enjoy rock climbing on the cliffs along the island’s rugged coastline.

Sicily, on the other hand, beckons with its iconic Mount Etna. As Europe’s highest and most active volcano, it’s a must-see for nature lovers. You can take guided tours to its craters, and if you’re into hiking, the trails offer an exhilarating experience.

For history buffs, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento presents an array of well-preserved Greek temples. The island is also rich in vineyards, making wine-tasting tours a popular activity.

Both destinations offer boating and sailing excursions, allowing you to see their beauty from a different perspective. While Malta’s Grand Harbor offers a view into the island’s military and maritime history, Sicily’s Aeolian Islands provide stunning volcanic landscapes that can be explored by boat.

In conclusion, Malta and Sicily serve up a smorgasbord of attractions and activities that cater to a range of interests. While Malta leans more towards diving and historical explorations, Sicily offers natural wonders like volcanoes and archaeological marvels. So, which appeals more to you: the underwater allure of Malta or the diverse landscapes of Sicily?


You might be curious about how Malta and Sicily compare when it comes to their beaches. These Mediterranean jewels have shorelines that promise more than just a dip in the water. With scenic views and diverse landscapes, each island group has something unique to offer.

Malta is famous for its Golden Bay, located about 15 miles (approximately 24 km) from the capital, Valletta. This sandy beach is surrounded by cliffs and offers a serene environment. Mellieha Bay, situated 13 miles (about 21 km) from Valletta, is another popular spot. It’s known for its shallow waters, making it a great place for swimming.

Sicily, meanwhile, has beaches like Isola Bella, located 2.5 miles (approximately 4 km) from Taormina. This pebbly beach is surrounded by lush greenery and offers stunning views. Then there’s Mondello Beach, near Palermo, which stretches for 1.5 miles (approximately 2.4 km). This beach is characterized by its fine white sand and turquoise waters.

Both Malta and Sicily offer diving opportunities at their beaches, allowing you to explore the diverse underwater world. Malta’s Coral Lagoon is a hot spot for diving enthusiasts, while Sicily’s Aci Trezza is renowned for its lava formations underwater.

To sum it up, both Malta and Sicily offer a unique beach experience. While Malta offers sandy beaches with a cozy feel, Sicily provides longer stretches of coast characterized by a mix of sand and pebble beaches. Each destination brings its own unique charm to your beach holiday. So, are you drawn towards the intimate sandy coves of Malta or the expansive and diverse coastlines of Sicily?

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

When it comes to dining, tipping back a few drinks, and diving into the nightlife, both Malta and Sicily offer experiences that are both unique and memorable. However, the flavor profiles, types of establishments, and evening activities can vary quite a bit between these two Mediterranean destinations.

In Malta, you’ll find a variety of restaurants serving Maltese cuisine which includes a blend of Mediterranean influences. Expect to see lots of seafood, rabbit dishes, and pastries like pastizzi. The dining vibe ranges from casual eateries to elegant establishments, allowing you to pick your own comfort level.

Let’s talk about drinks. Maltese bars and pubs often offer local beers like Cisk and international wines, but don’t forget to try Kinnie, a local soft drink made from bitter oranges. The Maltese also produce their own wines, so look out for local labels.

In contrast, Sicilian cuisine leans heavily on Italian fare, with an emphasis on fresh local ingredients. Think pasta, fresh seafood, and desserts like cannoli and granita. The wines here, particularly reds, are a must-try, given the island’s long history of winemaking.

For those looking to experience the nightlife, Malta offers a lively scene in areas like Paceville, where clubs and bars stay open until the early morning hours. In Sicily, the nightlife is more diverse, with options ranging from late-night eateries to lounges and discos, particularly in cities like Palermo and Catania.

To summarize, Malta and Sicily offer rich culinary landscapes and buzzing nightlife, each with its own distinct flair. While Malta presents a blend of Mediterranean tastes and a pub-like drinking atmosphere, Sicily showcases its Italian roots with a broader range of nightlife activities. So, where do you see yourself enjoying an evening meal followed by a night on the town?


Retail therapy, anyone? Whether you’re on the hunt for unique souvenirs or high-end fashion, both Malta and Sicily offer shopping experiences that cater to different tastes and budgets.

Malta’s Valletta offers a wide variety of shops, from well-known brands to local boutiques selling handmade crafts. You can find beautiful Maltese lace, intricate filigree jewelry, and even Mdina glass, known for its vibrant colors and unique designs. For local flavors, consider picking up some Maltese honey or olive oil.

In Sicily, cities like Palermo and Taormina are shoppers’ paradises. You’ll find luxury Italian brands alongside local markets that sell traditional Sicilian products. Ceramic wares, especially those with the classic “Trinacria” symbol, make for fantastic keepsakes.

Don’t forget the food markets, where you can buy local spices, cheeses, and wines to take a piece of Sicily back home with you.

Malta and Sicily also offer bustling outdoor markets. Malta’s Marsaxlokk Fish Market is a popular spot to grab fresh seafood, while Sicily’s Ballarò Market in Palermo offers a wide range of local produce and household items.

To sum it up, whether you’re looking for upscale boutiques or local crafts, both Malta and Sicily offer fantastic shopping experiences. Malta provides a variety of local handmade items and crafts, while Sicily offers a blend of luxury and traditional products. Which retail landscape calls out to you the most?


When it comes to laying your head down after a day of exploration, both Malta and Sicily offer an array of accommodation options that cater to different preferences. Whether you’re inclined towards lavish resorts, cozy boutique hotels, or charming bed-and-breakfasts, each destination has its unique charm.

In Malta, many opt to stay in Valletta, the capital city, where historic buildings have been converted into elegant boutique hotels. For a more resort-like experience, St. Julian’s is the go-to spot, known for its luxury properties that often offer spectacular sea views.

If you prefer something more traditional, consider staying in a “farmhouse” in Gozo, which is often a centuries-old home converted into a tourist lodging.

Sicily, being larger, presents a broader range of choices. In cities like Palermo and Catania, you’ll find numerous high-end hotels and chic boutique establishments, often located in historic buildings. The countryside offers agritourism opportunities, where you can stay in a rustic villa surrounded by vineyards or olive groves.

Both destinations also offer a wide range of vacation rentals, from modern apartments to historic homes. These are great options if you like having your own space and the ability to cook meals.

In summary, both Malta and Sicily provide diverse accommodation options, each offering a unique lens through which to experience local culture and landscape. While Malta tends to offer smaller, more intimate settings, Sicily presents a broader canvas with more varied options. Where do you see yourself waking up on your dream vacation?

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Planning a trip with the kids in tow? Malta and Sicily both offer a myriad of activities that are sure to keep the little ones entertained. From interactive museums to outdoor adventures, each destination has something special to offer to families.

Malta has several interactive museums that kids will love. The National Aquarium, for instance, provides hands-on exhibits and a wide variety of marine life that will captivate young minds. Malta’s Popeye Village, originally a film set, has been transformed into a fun park where kids can meet characters, watch shows, and participate in activities.

In Sicily, the Etnaland theme park is a hit with families. The park offers everything from dinosaur-themed rides to water attractions. There are also educational farms where children can learn about local agriculture while having fun petting animals and participating in workshops.

Both Malta and Sicily have plenty of outdoor spaces where kids can burn off energy. In Malta, consider visiting one of the many gardens or taking a family hike. Sicily offers wide-open spaces like Mount Etna where families can explore nature trails and participate in guided tours.

To sum it up, whether you’re interested in educational experiences or just want to let the kids run wild in beautiful outdoor settings, both Malta and Sicily have got you covered. Malta excels in interactive museums and unique parks, while Sicily offers larger theme parks and natural settings. Which destination would your family enjoy more?

Getting There & Getting Around

Navigating the logistics of travel, like how to get to your destination and then how to get around once you’re there, is a key part of your vacation planning. Both Malta and Sicily are well-connected, but there are differences in what you can expect.

To get to Malta, your main entry point will be Malta International Airport, located about 3.1 miles (5 km) southwest of the capital city, Valletta. Sicily has multiple airports, including Palermo and Catania, that serve different parts of the island.

Once you’re in Malta, the island offers an extensive bus network that makes it easy to explore. Taxis are also readily available. However, due to the island’s small size, distances are generally short.

In Sicily, the public transportation system includes buses and trains, but many tourists find that renting a car is the best way to explore the island, which is much larger, covering an area of about 9,927 square miles (25,711 km²).

In Malta, you might also consider using ferries for short trips between the main island and its sister islands, Gozo and Comino. In Sicily, a car or scooter rental often allows you to explore hidden gems, although local buses can take you to most major attractions.

To sum it up, both Malta and Sicily offer various ways to get there and get around, suited to their individual sizes and layouts. While Malta’s compact size makes public transportation convenient, Sicily’s expansive landscape might encourage you to rent a car for more freedom. So, do you prefer short, easy trips around a smaller island or the adventure of exploring a larger landmass?


When planning a trip to Malta or Sicily, weather is often a top consideration. Both destinations boast Mediterranean climates, but they each offer unique conditions that may suit different travel preferences. Let’s dive into the specifics.

Malta generally enjoys warm summers with temperatures ranging from 75 to 95°F (24 to 35°C), and you can expect mostly sunny days from June to September. Winters are milder with averages from 50 to 61°F (10 to 16°C), so if you want to avoid the scorching heat, consider visiting from November to March.

Sicily, on the other hand, has more variation due to its larger size and diverse geography. Coastal areas offer temperatures similar to Malta in the summer but can be slightly cooler in the winter, averaging around 48 to 59°F (9 to 15°C). If you visit inland areas like around Mount Etna, expect cooler conditions.

Both destinations offer optimal swimming conditions, particularly from late May to early October, when sea temperatures comfortably hover between 73 to 81°F (23 to 27°C). It’s perfect for beachgoers and water activity enthusiasts.

In summary, both Malta and Sicily offer attractive weather conditions for a wide range of travel plans. Whether you’re looking for a sunny summer getaway or a more temperate winter vacation, both destinations have something to offer. What’s your ideal vacation weather?


Safety is an essential aspect to think about when choosing between Malta and Sicily for your next vacation. Both destinations are considered relatively safe for tourists, but there are some differences.

Malta has a low crime rate and is often cited as one of the safest countries in Europe. Petty crime like pickpocketing can happen, particularly in crowded tourist areas, but it’s generally not a widespread issue.

Sicily, being a larger and more diverse region, experiences a bit more crime, although it is generally safe for tourists. As in any large area, taking general precautions like not displaying wealth and being cautious in crowded places is advised.

When it comes to non-crime-related safety, Malta and Sicily both offer excellent healthcare facilities. However, Malta’s smaller size means that medical assistance is more readily accessible, while you may have to travel greater distances in Sicily.

In summary, both Malta and Sicily are generally safe destinations with good healthcare options. Malta has a slight edge in terms of lower crime rates and more accessible medical facilities, but both locations require the usual common-sense precautions. Which destination makes you feel more at ease?


Thinking about the cost of your trip is another big factor when deciding between Malta and Sicily. Though both destinations offer a variety of budget-friendly and luxury options, there are some differences in the average costs you might encounter for food, lodging, and transportation.

In Malta, expect to pay around $17-25 per person for a decent meal at a mid-range restaurant. Public transportation, mainly buses, is affordable and widely used, typically costing around $1.70-2.30 for a one-way ticket.

Sicily offers a wider range of dining experiences, but a meal at a mid-range restaurant will typically set you back about $23-28. If you decide to rent a car to explore the larger landmass, you should budget around $20–60 per day for a standard vehicle, depending on the season.

Both Malta and Sicily offer a variety of accommodations. In Malta, you can expect to find mid-range hotels starting at around $120 per night. In Sicily, the starting price for similar accommodations is generally in the vicinity of $150.

In conclusion, both Malta and Sicily offer a range of cost options suited to diverse budgets. Malta tends to be a slightly more economical destination, especially when it comes to food and public transportation, whereas Sicily offers a broader, though somewhat more expensive, range of experiences. What level of spending are you comfortable with for your trip?

Which Is Better – Malta or Sicily?

Deciding between Malta and Sicily for your next travel adventure can be a challenging task. Each destination offers a rich tapestry of experiences, catering to different tastes and travel styles. Here’s a summary to help you make that all-important choice.

In terms of history and culture, both Malta and Sicily are treasure troves of ancient wonders and diverse influences. Malta’s smaller size makes its historical sites more easily accessible, and it has a notably lower crime rate. Sicily, being larger and more varied, offers a broader cultural spectrum, but you may need to travel further to get from one point to another.

When it comes to attractions and activities, Malta offers a more compact yet thrilling experience, ideal for those looking to maximize their activities within a shorter time frame. Sicily, on the other hand, provides a broader scope of things to do and see, making it better suited for travelers who wish to dive deep into the local culture and geography.

If beaches are your thing, both locations offer prime spots for swimming and sunbathing. Malta offers easy accessibility to its beaches, perfect for those who want to dip in and out of the water on a whim. Sicily’s beaches offer a greater variety of settings, from sandy stretches to rocky coves, making it a better pick for those who like options.

When it comes to food, drinks, and nightlife, Malta generally has a more limited, though charming, selection. Sicily, on the other hand, offers a broader culinary and nightlife experience, with its larger size allowing for a more vibrant and diverse food and drink scene.

Accommodation choices in both destinations range from budget-friendly to luxury, catering to a wide array of preferences. Malta tends to offer more economically priced options, especially for public transport and dining, making it slightly more budget-friendly. Sicily offers a broader, though somewhat more expensive, range of experiences when it comes to lodging and getting around.

In summary, your choice between Malta and Sicily boils down to what you prioritize most. If you’re after a compact, easily navigable destination rich in history and relatively budget-friendly, Malta is your go-to. If you prefer a more extensive array of experiences, from food to geography, and are willing to navigate a larger area, Sicily stands out as the better option. So, which destination calls to you?