14 May What to see in Malta?
The island of Malta is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Libya, and offers a very special setting. The mix of cultures and its climate make it a unique and sought-after destination. Here are the main attractions of the island.
1. THE STREETS OF VALLETTA
One of the first things to do in Malta is definitely visit the capital: Valletta. The capital of Malta, also known as Il-Belt in Maltese, has an impressive 320 monuments in less than half a square kilometre and, as of 1980, the historic centre was added to the list as a UNESCO world heritage site. It can be visited on foot and the grid-like layout of the streets makes orientating oneself very easy. Would you like to know more? Go to the Valletta guide.
2. THE THREE CITIES
Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua form the Three Fortified Cities of Malta. The oldest of the Three Cities is Birgu, which dates back to the Middle Ages, while the other 2 cities, Senglea and Cospicua, were founded by the Order of the Knights between the 16th and 17th centuries. The three cities are surrounded by the Cottonera Lines that join up with adjacent fortifications. The individual cities are not very large, so all you need is one afternoon to visit them. Of the three, we strongly recommend visiting Birgu, which can be reached by bus and ferry from Valletta.
3. MEDIEVAL CITY OF MDINA
Another “must see” city in Malta is the ancient capital: Mdina, also known as the silent city. The village is still surrounded by a series of defensive walls erected thousands of years ago and have, to this day, retained their monumental aspect. The exterior offers austere Arab walls, all in all quite intact, and the interior contains some of the wonderful palaces of the Maltese aristocracy.
The best way to visit the ancient capital is to lose yourself in the narrow streets and enjoy the uniqueness of the well-kept historic buildings. To find out everything you need to know about the noble city just go to the guide of Mdina.
4. BEACHES OF MALTA
One of Malta’s strong points is the perfect combination of climate and fantastic beaches. Despite its size, Malta offers different kinds of beaches, and here are a few of them: the famous Blue Lagoon, Golden Bay, Riviera Bay, Ghadira Bay, Paradise Bay, St Thomas bay, but there are also many more. Arm yourself with lots of sunscreen, sunglasses and the coolest bathing suite you have. Want to see the best beaches? Go to our Top 10, just click here.
5. SLIEMA AND ST JULIAN’S
The most touristic cities of Malta are Sliema and St Julian, both rich in sites and activities for those who come on vacation: clubs, shopping, restaurants, nightlife and beaches. We can define them as the points of reference for all tourists who visit Malta.
6. MEGALITHIC TEMPLES and THE HYPOGEAN
In the Maltese archipelago there are 7 megalithic temples dating back thousands of years, and these historical sites have been all awarded the UNESCO heritage status. Several archaeological studies have shown that highly innovative methods were used during the construction of these megalithic temples, considering they were erected during the Bronze Age. The temples of Hagar Qin, Mnajdra and Tarxien, are real pieces of history that should not to be missed once in Malta.
The Hypogeum of Malta is a huge underground city excavated in 2500 BC around, using mysterious cyclopean techniques to lift the huge limestone blocks, the local calcite rock. The Hypogeum was discovered almost by accident in 1899, and is one of the few archaeological sites in the world that is still quite intact and, of course, is part of the UNESCO heritage. To stay on the subject, we can say that this is another of Malta’s milestones.
7. GOZO ISLAND
Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago, reachable in less than 30 minutes by ferry from Malta. The happy island, as we call it, offers an authentic place that is still far from the very palpable mass tourism found in Malta. In fact most tourist, after having visited both islands, seem to prefer Gozo. There are so many things to see there, like the fantastic beaches of Gozo. For more info just go to the complete guide of What to see in Gozo.
8. BLUE GROTTO
The Blue Grotto is one of Malta’s stunning natural attractions. It’s a huge natural arch and a system of mini caves that have formed inside it, the particularity of which is the reflected colour of the sea that creates a mixture of unique shades. To learn more, go to Blue Grotto.
9. MARSASCALA AND MARSAXLOKK
Marsascala and Marsaxlokk are 2 villages located in the south of Malta that contain the essence of the typical Mediterranean landscape. When visiting these areas, you will notice the typical Maltese townhouses in limestone and, moored to the surrounding docks, the Luzzi, the colourful boats that were once used for fishing.
10. THE LOCAL MARKETS
Visiting the local markets is the best way to absorb local customs and immerse yourself in the local culture. There is certainly no lack for traditions in Malta, in fact, there are several outdoor markets where you can enjoy the profusion of typically Mediterranean colours and flavours. We recommend visiting the markets of Marsaxlokk, Valletta and the one in Gozo’s Independence Square.
11. POPEYE VILLAGE
The Popeye Village in Malta was born as a film set for the movie “Popeye”, one of Robin Williams’ first films, and as such it has remained. This little village is in Mellieha and was purposely created to reproduce Popeye’s hypothetical town, characterised by colourful wooden houses and narrow piers. Now transformed into an amusement park for children, the Popeye Village remains one of Malta’s curious attractions.