Msida, Exploring Malta

Msida – Exploring Malta

Msida is a seaside town along the bay of Marsamxett Harbour. This is the central region of Malta, with the capital of Valletta on the other side of the water. The population is different depending on the source, but most put it between 11 and 15 thousand inhabitants. In addition to a large number of people, Msida also houses the University of Malta and the Mater Dei Hospital.

Our blog posts about Msida:

The History of Msida

Msida has its origins, as with many towns along the Maltese coast, as a fishing village. The name is by many believed to come from Arabic and means “a fisherman’s dwelling”.

Misda parish was established in 1867 and from its lands four new parishes have over the centuries been created. These are Hamrun, Santa Venera, Pietà, and Ta’ Xbiex. The parish church was completed in 1889 and is dedicated to Saint Joseph, the patron saint of Msida.

The University of Malta has a history going back to the 16th century. It was, however, in the 1960s that the current main campus was built in Msida. The university had over 11.000 students in the year 2020. It has also been a reason why the International Maritime Law Institute is located in Msida and has its campus at the university. This is a UN organization established in 1988. The university also attracted the main hospital to Msida when the Mater Dei Hospital was built in the 2000s.

Sights in Msida

Msida might itself not have that many larger sights of interest. This is, however, in the center of Malta with a lot more to explore nearby. In addition, you are never far from the Mediterranean Sea with the waterfront offering views out over the bay and all of its large yachts and other vessels.

Mater Dei Hospital

Mater Dei Hospital is hopefully a place that you will not need to visit when in Malta. It was completed in 2007 after being built by the Swedish construction company Skanska. It is the main public general hospital in Malta, but also a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Malta. The hospital has around 1.200 beds for patients.

Msida Marina

Msida Marina is where you will find the big yachts and other ships. It is at the waterfront of Msida, being shared with neighboring Ta’ Xbiex.

Saint Joseph’s Church

Saint Joseph’s Church is the main church within the parish. It was completed in 1889 and is built in a baroque style. It is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the local patron Saint Joseph. Joseph is according to the church the husband of Mary and the legal father of Jesus.

University of Malta

The University of Malta has its origins in the Jesuit college Collegium Melitense. The university is considered to have been founded in 1592. It has campuses in Valletta, Marsaxlokk, and Gozo. The main campus is, however, in Msida. The university had over 11.000 students in 2020.

Msida Activities

Not everyone who visits Msida does so to listen to a lecture or to spend time in a hospital bed. Msida is in the busiest part of Malta, with something happening at all times of the year. Much of this might not happen within the borders of Msida, but as a visitor, those borders are barely visible as you make your way around this urban area around the capital.

Beaches in Msida

Beaches might be a bit hard to come by in Msida. Especially since the whole waterfront is made up of the Marina. Please let us know in the comments if you know of any swimming spots in Msida. Otherwise, the option is to follow the coast in either direction and you will eventually find a good location for a swim,

Msida Hiking

Hiking in Msida means a lot of walking in urban areas and it will take some time before you reach more rural parts of Malta. It is easy to cover a large part of Malta on foot, especially since it is easy to take a taxi back to where you started. It is much more fun to keep a hike going forward instead of having to turn around.

Ta’ Xbiex and Saint Julian’s

When you walk toward neighboring Ta’ Xbiex and follow the waterfront you will have a great view of Marsamxett Harbour and the many yachts and boats that are berthed here. There will also be several great views of Valletta across the bay. When you reach Sliema you can continue along the coast to Saint Julian’s and onwards past Pembroke to reach more rural paths.

Toward Pietà and Valletta

If you instead continue toward Pietà you will be on your way to the capital Valletta. Along the route, you will pass through the huge fortifications of Floriana before you will stand at the city gate of Valletta. From Valletta, you can take a ferry back across the bay to Sliema and create a loop for your hike. You can also take the ferry across to the Three Cities and soon be out in the countryside toward Marsaskala.

Shopping in Msida

There are a few local small shops in Msida, but the shopping options are limited. Bigger shops can be found in either Sliema or Valletta. In Sliema, there are also shopping centers that are within easy reach from Msida.

Excursions from Msida

Much of the public transport in Malta passes through Msida. That means that most places around the island are within reach for excursions. The main bus hub in Valletta is also nearby if you want to easier find your bus as finding specific bus stops can be somewhat of a challenge.


Birżebbuġa is a town in the southeastern part of Malta. It is not only the home of the large Malta Freeport, but it is also the home of a few historical sites. You will mainly find two interesting archaeological sites here, Għar Dalam and Borġ in-Nadur. This is also a popular summer resort for the local Maltese.

From our visit:


Gozo is the second-largest island in Malta and is considered to have its own culture without the stress of the main island. It is reachable by possible day trips from nearby Sliema. The main city, Victoria, is in the center of the island and is home to the impressive Cittadella.

From our visit:


Marsaskala is another coastal resort town in the eastern part of Malta. This former fishing village has grown into a resort town with beaches, playgrounds, and plenty of cafés and restaurants.

From our visits:


Marsaxlokk is an old fishing village famous for its traditional colorful boats and the daily market. This is one of the main tourist attractions in the eastern part of Malta. The colorful fishing boats, known as Luzzu, are an addition to the Maltese culture dating back to the early 12th century.

From our visits:


Mdina is the former capital of Malta and is today a small fortified town. It is one of the most impressive sights on the island and just a short bus ride away from Msida. Mdina is also neighboring the town of Rabat, a town that is possible to combine in the same visit.

From our visits:

Saint Julian’s

Saint Julian’s is one of the towns nearby and the main tourist resort in Malta. This is where many of the hotels are located and it is popular for its restaurants and shopping. It is also the home of Paceville, an area that is both loved and hated for its many bars and nightclubs.


Sliema is within easy reach with only a short walk required. This is one of the busier towns in Malta and a modern commercial center. For anyone looking for shopping or other urban activities, Sliema is usually among the options on the island. Together with Saint Julian’s, Sliema makes up one of the main tourist resorts in Malta.

From our visits:

The Three Cities – Birgu, Cospicua, and Senglea

The Three Cities of Birgu, Cospicua, and Senglea are famous for their fortifications and marinas. This is where you will find Fort St Angelo and several places to view the marina, the Grand Harbor, and Valletta itself. It is easy to reach by crossing the two bays with the public ferries.

From our visits:


Valletta, the capital of Malta, is one of the places that most people visiting the country will try to see at least once. Its high walls and other fortifications make it an impressive sight and the view of the sea is never far away. The capital is just a short ferry ride away from nearby Sliema, the arrival is however at the waterfront meaning a quite steep climb to the main streets of Valletta.

From our visits:

Msida with a Kid

Most of the areas around the capital Valletta have one problem when you travel with kids and that is car traffic. Msida is no exception and it is the narrow pavements and the number of cars that is the biggest hazard. There is, however, the wide promenade along the waterfront and the parks to enjoy where kids can walk a bit more freely.

Read more about Malta with kids:

Playgrounds in Msida

We have been able to locate one large playground in Msida and that is the one at the Pjazza l-5 ta’ Ottubru, right next to the yacht marina. There might be plenty of traffic around the square, but the playground area is quite well protected.

Pjazza l-5 ta’ Ottubru

At Pjazza l-5 ta’ Ottubru you will find both an open area, a café, and the playground that is so important when traveling with kids. This is not a large playground, but it is a decent size for Malta. The surrounding trees will also provide some shadows during the hot summer days.

There are more towns and villages to discover. Join us in Exploring Malta >>

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