Heritage Malta Multi Site Pass
The Heritage Malta Multi Site Pass is fantastic value. When looking at places to visit in Malta we looked at various options as we were visiting for nearly 3 months. The pass is valid for 30 days from the first day you use it. So we were able to visit all 23 sites and the Malta National Aquarium easily within the 30 day time limit. Many of the sites are close together so you can often visit 2 or more sites on the same day. For example there are 5 heritage sites in Valetta, 3 sites in the Mdina/Rabat area and 4 within the Citadel in Victoria on Gozo. Many of the sites are also within easy walking distance of each other and all accessible by public transport.
We did not have a hire car, choosing instead to use our Malta Talinja bus pass to get around the two islands. Due to the length of our stay we were able to apply for local bus passes. There are passes that you can buy for cheaper fares as tourists, either weekly unlimited or multi-journey. We stayed on Gozo for 10 days out of our 3 months, so we managed to visit those 6 sites as well. If you were only planning to visit Gozo you could opt for the Gozo Pass.
I am going to share briefly our experiences at each site. In the future I plan to write more detail about some of them as separate posts. I will link to those posts from this one for your convenience.
How much does a Heritage Malta Pass cost?
The Heritage Malta Multi Site Pass cost us the following in euros (€):
- Adult €50
- Senior/Student (with ID) €38
- Children (aged 6 to 17) €25
- Family (2 adults + up to 2 Children) €110
*costs were valid for 2016
We opted for a family ticket which was even better value as we have four children. Our children at the time were aged 2, 5, 7 and 10 years old. Children under 6 are admitted free to the Heritage Malta sites. Two adult and two children tickets would have cost us €150, but the family ticket saved us €40! We paid for the ticket online and received the PDF by email, so we just had to show our smartphones to gain entry. An adult Heritage Malta Multi site pass will save you over €200 on the entrance fees and entitles you to a 10% discount in any of the Museum shops.
The Malta passes can be purchased online or from any of the sites. 30 days validity counts from your first visit not when you purchase. A Malta Heritage Multi Site pass entitles the holder to a 10% discount in the various museum shops. Our first visit was to the Malta National Aquarium and it was great fun! As I mentioned before there are other passes available so you can concentrate on a few attractions or areas to visit. For current prices please visit the Heritage Malta site.
Alternatives to the Heritage Malta Multi Site Pass
- Discover Gozo
- Hagar Qim Park
- Palace Armoury & State Rooms
- Mdina & Rabat Cultural Experience
- Mgarr Multi-site Ticket
- The Valetta Ticket
NB The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is an amazing Heritage Malta Site but entrance fee is not included on the Heritage Malta Multi site pass. Unfortunately the Hypogeum is closed for much needed preservation works until at least mid-2017. Bookings were essential due to limited on daily visitors. I was lucky and got to visit just before it closed mid-2016 for a truly unforgettable experience.
Malta National Aquarium
Although not a heritage site the Malta National Aquarium can be visited for Free on your Heritage Malta multi site pass. The Malta National Aquarium was fabulous fun with lots of great exhibits. We all loved the interactive fish and marine life identification screens. There is a square outside which has a fantastic marine themed playground. The aquarium is on a bus route and the square has a licensed cafe and public toilet facilities. There is also a restaurant and gift shop in the aquarium building which you don’t have to pay to enter. We enjoyed the gluten free pizza and salads. I wrote a post about our experiences surviving Malta gluten free.
Photo below is our four children enjoying the large and well lit tank near the restaurant. Our youngest often prefers not to pose for photos, this time he’s enjoying the view of the fish tank.
National Museum of Archaeology
In order to see the ‘Sleeping Lady’ recovered from the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum you have to visit the Malta National Museum of Archaeology. Many of the carved limestone blocks have been moved to this museum from their temple sites for preservation and security. There are many artefacts from the Neolithic and Bronze Age eras too.
Malta National Museum of Fine Arts
I have to say we did not enjoy all of the exhibits at this art museum. There was some unusual abstract art and good maritime paintings mixed in with the numerous violent religious deaths . Not suitable artwork for the children so we did not linger!
Malta Palace Armoury
I took the eldest two boys to the Palace Armoury and the State Rooms, combining our visit with an archery lesson in Valetta. You can get a combo pass for these two sites or visit on the Malta Heritage Multi site pass. Lots and lots of armour, cannons, weapons and guns!
Malta Palace State Rooms
The Palace State Rooms are well worth a visit for the grandeur and scale. Can only imagine how many hours went into the mosaic floors and painted ceilings!
The National War Museum at Fort St Elmo
To access the National War Museum you have to enter via Fort St Elmo. Stunning views across the harbour from the fortified walls. If you’re lucky you’ll time your visit with one of the large ferries or luxury motor yachts out on the water. Images below are through window bars along the fort walls and of the projected war videos on to the floors.
Harbour Area Sites
Confession time! We didn’t make it it to this one site. Although, we planned to visit on the same day we visited the Malta Maritime Museum. We had got the bus from St Paul’s Bay to Valetta and on to Vittoriosa, standing most of the way with no air conditioning! Our 2 year old had a monster ‘I’m overtired’ meltdown in the museum so we went for a walk down by the marina. We happened upon the ferry back to Valetta, so jumped on that instead of walking back up the hill to the palace.
Malta Maritime Museum
Great educational and informative exhibits at the Malta Maritime Museum. I like naval history, my Dad was in the British Navy for over 20 years and visited Malta on more than one occasion. The museum had exhibits from various periods of maritime history, including some large replicas of wooden sailing ships.
The Tarxien Temples are the most complex and intricately decorated of the prehistoric sites on Malta. Four megalithic structures are protected from the elements by an enormous shade sail/roof structure. They were built between 3600 and 2500BC and were used by Bronze Age inhabitants as a cremation cemetery.
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
I was lucky enough to secure a ticket to visit this amazing subterranean temple complex before it closed for restoration work. My visit is worthy of its own post!
The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is due to re-open on Monday 15th May 2017 after a year closed for preservation works!
Entrance is an extra fee as not included on the Heritage Malta multi site pass. It is well worth the fee and I expect visitor numbers will still be strictly controlled when the heritage site re-opens due to space constraints. The acoustics are astounding and have to be heard – a must see destination when you visit Malta! You can purchase tickets online for the Hypogeum.
No images of my own as photography is not permitted. I did purchase 3 postcards and a stunning silver spiral necklace inspired by the wall and ceiling paintings. Of course I showed my Heritage Malta multi site pass to get my 10% discount!. You can view more images on the official Hypogeum website which has a fabulous panoramic video.
Southern Malta Heritage Sites
Ghar Dalam is an extensive cave which contains 500,000 year old deposits rich in fossil bones of dwarf elephants, hippoptami and other exotic fauna from the Ice Age. The walk down to the cave from the museum exhibits of bones consisted of lots of steps. A great work out for the legs and to tire out the children!
Hagar Qim Temples and Mnajdra Temples
The Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples are basically on the same site. There is a steep but paved causeway or path down to the lower site closer to the ocean. Both are well worth a visit. We arrived early on the bus and had to wait for them to open. Bonus was we were first visitors and had the whole place to ourselves for almost an hour before a school group turned up. The group didn’t visit Mnajdra so we had that site to ourselves to explore. Here’s a couple images from our visit, it was a beautiful day with stunning visibility across the sea to the island of Filfla.
Remember, if you don’t want to buy a full Heritage Malta multi-site pass you can visit these two temple sites with a combo ticket and still save. There is a great visitor centre with cinema and interactive exhibits. We had lots of fun and had lunch at the neighbouring restaurant as we had to wait an hour for the next bus after just missing one. Sometimes the Tallinja app on my phone wasn’t all that accurate!
Heritage Sites in Rabat, Malta
National Museum of Natural History
One building packed full of Maltese Geology and Paleontology. The children loved the skeletons, the marine fauna, the enormous shells and the extensive bird collection. Shame the Maltese don’t have a better reputation for protecting endangered bird species.
The remnants of this sophisticated Roman residence are well worth a short visit. I can only imagine how long it must have taken to create the amazing mosaic floor from such tiny tiles! There are huge statues and pots as well as an area outside to view.
St Paul’s Catacombs
St Paul’s Catacombs are not the only catacombs open to visitors in Malta. However, they are the only ones you can visit with the Heritage Malta multi site pass. Ancient underground burial chambers carved out of the rock and linked with a network of interconnecting passages. Our youngest child is a runner and we did fear that we might lose him in the tunnels if he strayed from the metal suspended walkways! Much of the complex has not been explored and extends for many kilometres under the town of Rabat. Not for those visitors who suffer from claustrophobia, can’t climb stairways or duck easily to avoid bumping their head!
Skorba and Ta’ Hagrat Temples
The Skorba and Ta’ Hagrat Temples were the first we visited and very impressive. However, once you see the megalithic temples of Tarxien, Hagar Qim. Mnajdra or Ggantija you realise how small they are in comparison. Still worthy of a visit if you have time but do not need to be top of your must visit list. Three photos below, one with the children to show you the scale of the stones used!
Heritage Malta Sites on Gozo, Malta
There is a separate pass you can get for the Heritage Malta Gozo sites. If you are only visiting Gozo then that pass will be better value than the full Heritage Malta multi site pass!
Gozo Museum of Archaeology
A collection of artefacts housed in glass cabinets in an early sixteenth century residence. Well laid out with lots to interest visitors. By now I think our children were a little over seeing the similar pots and artefacts as we had seen in Malta. However, the baby stone coffins did generate some conversations. I chose to show you an image I took of the pots not the coffins!
Folklore Museum Gozo
The Folklore Museum is actually all housed in a Period House almost hidden in the narrow streets of the Citadel in Gozo. Access is not suitable for those with limited mobility. Slippery stone steps worn smooth by the thousands of visitors and before them the residents of the home can be tricky to negotiate. The exhibits are displayed throughout the home. I found the intricacy of the weaving and the fishing baskets to be of particular interest. The kitchen area was basic and fascinating to see.
Gozo Nature Museum
A significant collection of geology, habitats and ecosystems in Gozo and from around the world. The highlight is a magnified speck of stone from the moon which was donated by US President Nixon. Have a photo somewhere – just need to find it!
The Old Prison, Gozo
As tempting as it was to leave the children locked up here we decided the living conditions were a little bleak. A wooden slat bed for sleeping on and a stone toilet/long drop in the corner! The prisoner graffiti is impressive, especially the galleon carvings in the stone walls. Some of the Knights of St John found themselves locked up in the Old Prison. The prison was in use from the mid-sixteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century. Can you imagine how many people were imprisoned here over that time period? If only the walls could reveal more of their secrets!
The Ggantija temples actually comprise two temple areas surrounded by a boundary wall. This site is home to some of the most impressive megaliths used in Maltese prehistoric temples. Much of the walls are being supported by extensive scaffolding to prevent their collapse. Our first time encountering large numbers of tourists in large coach groups made it difficult to enjoy this temple site. The narrow walkways were basically blocked by the large groups. My advice would be to visit early and avoid the many coach tours, unless you’re on one I suppose!
Ta’ Kola Windmill
The windmill is within close walking distance of the Ggantija temples so we visited on the same day. The sails had been removed for restoration work but have since been replaced. I’m sure they are quite impressive. We climbed up inside the windmill via the narrow and winding staircase. It’s a tight squeeze and you need to be sure of foot. The view from the top out of the tiny windows is interesting and the mechanism is fascinating and impressive to view.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end!
I do hope you have enjoyed this brief summary of our visits to the Heritage Malta sites that you can visit with a Heritage Malta multi site pass. We had 30 days to use our Family Heritage Malta multi site pass and easily managed to visit all 23 heritage sites and the Malta National Aquarium. I visited the Hypogeum alone and it was awesome!
We used the Malta public bus system with our passes to get around the two islands. We didn’t take all of the children to all of the sites as some times the long bus journeys were hard on them. Some of the routes are very popular and we had to stand for the entire 60 minute plus ride from Mellieha to Valetta. Then you get another bus to the sites after stopping for water, lunch and a toilet break at the Valetta bus station stalls.
I have plans to write more posts to share some additional images and information about the sites we visited. Please sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook to receive notifications of new posts.