At first glance, Malta seems to be nothing more than an island passage between Europe and Africa. But if you give yourself the right amount of time, you will discover a wide variety of places with culture, history and nature to see in Malta.
Today, it is an independent nation, which is part of the European Union and, in addition to English, its inhabitants speak Maltese. This language is a derivationof Arabic but strongly influenced by Italian. Despite its surface area of just 316 square kilometers, since ancient times it has been a strategic commercial and military point for the various maritime powers in the area.
Therefore, the Maltese territory is a melting pot of Greek, Latin, Arabic, Italian, French and British cultures. It even retains vestiges of Stone Age villages, whose buildings date back more than 7 thousand years.
Ready to get to know Malta? In this post, we will show you five destinations that you cannot miss if you visit it or decide to spend a season living in the country. Click here to join us to discover Malta and many other fascinating places!
Valletta | Malta’s heart
Let’s start with the capital of the country, located on the northeast coast of the main island. It is ideal to discover more than 450 years of history walking through the streets of its historic center and port, recognized as a World Heritage Site.
The design of the old town corresponds to a fortress, designed to repel Turkish invasions in the 16th century, and is the work of Italian architect Francesco Laparelli, a disciple of Miguel ÁngelBuonarroti, a genius of the Renaissance.
The fort of San Telmo, at the entrance of the port, is the most famous vestige of the military past of Malta, whose history you can know in the National War Museum, which is in the east wing. Within the historic center, you will discover the City Gate, the Parliament and the Grand Master’s Palace, home to the Presidency of Malta, as well as the beautiful Barrakka Gardens, George’s Square and the Bastion of St. Peter and Paul.
Another jewel of Valletta is the Co-Cathedral of San Juan, whose interior houses the Decapitation of San Juan Bautista, considered one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, another Renaissance genius. Also, you can enjoy the nightlife in the restaurants and clubs of Saint Julian’s neighborhood. These are distributed mainly in the streets of Dragonara Road, Wilga Street, St. Georges Road and St. Rita Steps.
Senglea, Vittoriosa and Copiscua | Three cities around the capital
When leaving Valletta, it is worth taking a dghajsa, a traditional Maltese boat, and visiting these three surrounding cities. Its architecture will also be a delight for your eyes. The closest is Vittoriosa, the first home of the Knights of St. John, known worldwide as the Order of Malta, and headquarters of destinations such as the Maritime Museum of Malta, the Palace of the Inquisitor and the Fort of San Angelo.
Going along Santa Margarita street, you will arrive at Copiscua, the largest of the three cities. There you must visit the Collegiate Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Firenzuola fortifications and the Santa Margarita Lines. Only 17 minutes on foot, going up Dom Mintoff and San Pablo avenues, you will reach Senglea. Its main attraction is the Fort of San Miguel and the boardwalk, from where you can take memorable photos of the Valletta, Vittoriosa and the Grand Port.
Hal Saflieni and Tarxien | Malta’s megalithic treasures
Fifteen minutes from the capital, by car and bus, you will find the fascinating Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. It isin the municipality of Paola, one of the megalithic jewels to see in Malta, whose history dates back to 3600 BC. C, even before the arrival of the Phoenicians.
It is an underground temple, one of a kind in the whole island. He went from being a sanctuary for the worship of ancient deities to a necropolis of three levels, more than 10 meters in depth. Take into account that it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Malta, so we recommend you book your tickets at least one month and a half in advance.
Only 600 meters ahead, along Il Karmnu Street, is the small complex of the Temples of Tarxien. A short walk is worth it, as it is one of the best-preserved prehistoric structures in Europe.
Mdina and Rabat | Bulwarks of the oldest buildings
These neighboring cities, located only half an hour from Valletta, by car or bus, safeguard some of the oldest treasures to see in Malta. Also, important pilgrimage centers for Christianity. The ancient capital of the island, Mdina is a peculiar walled city.
Its architecture dates back to the twelfth century, in the Middle Ages, but with traces of human settlements for 4,000 years. Among its buildings, the medieval palaces of Vilhena and Falson stand out, as well as the Cathedral of St. Paul, built in the 17th century, adorned with impressive baroque paintings that relate the shipwreck of the apostle in these lands.
In this city, it is known as the “City of Silence” because there is the restriction that only cars neighbors can pass through the narrow streets of stone limestone. At 900 meters from the center of Mdina, you will find the Catacombs of St. Paul, in Rabat, a place of worship for Catholics around the world; This is the last abode of the apostle after his escape from Israel, during the first century.
Buskett and Cliffs of Dingli | Explore the Maltese forest
It is not easy to find countryside areas to see in Malta. However, the largest and most popular is undoubtedly Buskett. There you can arrive in just 30 minutes by road from Mdina. This forest, planted by order of Malta, is ideal for hiking and discovering the fauna that inhabits it. Also, you can have a picnic after a busy day of touring cities and temples.
It also houses the Verdala Palace, which serves as a summer residence for the President of the Republic of Malta. If you travel by bus to this area, the route will take you first to Cliff Cliffs, composed of limestone that rise to 200 meters above sea level.
For centuries, its multiple caverns, formed by the action of seawater, served as a herd shelter, a shepherd’s abode and even a pirate’s den. Today, they allow a privileged view of the Mediterranean.
To be exact, Malta is an archipelago made up of three islands –the largest is named Malta, while the other two include Gozo and Comino – located between the island of Sicily (Italy) and the coast of Libya (North Africa).Now you have enough information to start planning your next trip to Malta. All in all, be sure to check out our special articles on our travel experiences, to discover more places to know.