In the Mediterranean Ocean lies a little nation comprised of three possessed islands and overpowering charm. Due to its centuries-old buildings, the predominant color here is a cookie-like tan; The water is the most brilliant blue there is, the food is a feast, old customs are still honored, and the people are proud but very friendly. Greetings from Malta.
Across its three occupied islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino – you’ll find each sun-drenched part of the ideal excursion. Prehistoric temples to marvel at, stunning old towns to explore, crystal-clear beaches to cool off in, and endless beach bars and clubs to party the night away are just some of the activities on offer. From the capital Valletta to rustic Gozo, here’s where to get your fill.
Since Malta is the largest island in the Maltese archipelago, many tourists don’t want to leave. It’s not hard to see why: the 95-square-mile (246-kilometer) island has history, culture, beaches, and even a nightlife.
Begin at Valletta, the Maltese capital starting around 1571. It is a city that is inextricably linked to the Knights of Malta, a powerful military Catholic order that is believed to have existed since the 11th century and has its current headquarters in Rome. Valletta is a massive-looking city fortress that was built on the orders of Jean de Valette, a grand master who led the Knights during the Great Siege of 1565, when the Ottoman Empire failed to capture the island after nearly four months of battle.
Along the quaint restaurant terraces, baroque palaces strut, and the stairs that connect the port to the Old Town are occupied by lively coffee shops with breathtaking views. Under Valletta’s distinctive carved wooden balconies, which are painted in a rainbow of colors, red telephone booths stand as a reminder of the 150 years of British rule from 1814 to 1964.
What to see? There are fabulous perspectives on the Fantastic Harbor and its strongholds from Upper Barrakka Nurseries. With two works by Caravaggio inside, St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a mesmerizing memorial to the Knights of Malta’s wealth: a contemplative “St. Jerome” and his largest work, “The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.” The Public Conflict Exhibition hall in Post St. Elmo describes Malta’s tactical history.
However, this culture is not just ancient. The Floriana Granaries, Malta’s largest public square and once a grain storage facility, is now a magical outdoor venue that regularly hosts festivals and concerts by internationally renowned artists.
Go to the cozy Cafe Jubilee to try some local specialties like slow-cooked rabbit, which is a Maltese favorite, delicious ravioli with Gozo cheese, and imqaret: date-filled cake, frequently presented with frozen yogurt.
The so-called Three Cities compete with Valletta on two peninsulas straddling the Grand Harbour: Cospicua, Senglea, and Vittoriosa, fortified towns nearby. In 1565, the Great Siege of Malta was won here, which led to the establishment of Valletta. In fact, all three have two names, both before and after the siege.
Begin with Vittoriosa (otherwise called Birgu, its pre-attack name), a little braced town with probably the prettiest roads and chapels on the island. Explore the historic core’s winding streets and colorful doors, balconies, and statues of the Virgin Mary on facades, windows, and street corners to get lost.
Continue to similarly flawless Cospicua (Otherwise known as Bormia) to respect the docks – upgraded by the Brits in the nineteenth 100 years – and city doors. Finally, cross the harbor to Senglea (l’Isla) for a coffee with a view of Valletta on the opposite side of the water. DATE Craftsmanship Bistro is an optimal decision.
Take the traditional dgajsa boat, a shared wooden water taxi, back to Valletta after leaving Senglea.
While the main street is far from tranquil, the colorful boats are swaying limply on the gentle waves. Restaurant owners, island residents, and tourists from all over the island congregate at Marsaxlokk’s fish market on Sunday to purchase the fresh catch brought in by the island’s fishermen. This has forever been a tranquil fishing town on Malta’s southern coast.
Come here for the numerous seafood restaurants with terraces overlooking the water and the pretty waterfront, which is ideal for sunset walks. There is a week-round market for souvenirs and local produce in addition to the fish market on Sunday.
Naturally, you’re here to eat seafood. Pick between klamari mimlija (stuffed squid), barbecued lampuki (mahi), and stuffat tal-qarnit, a delightful octopus stew. Subsequently, have a lay on the rocks – level and made for sunbathing – at neighboring St. Peter’s Pool, an inlet with completely clear waters.
Malta has a lot of natural sights, as you would expect. Maybe the most well known is the Blue Cave, on the island’s southern coast. You can get a panoramic view of this amazing system of sea caverns with their almost-impossible-to-imagine blue waters from a height above. You can go inside on boat trips that leave from a nearby pier.
While the cave is one of the most famous (and touristy) spots on Malta, the clear waters – permitting perspectives on up to 16 feet down – compensate for the groups. The boat is likewise the most ideal way to appreciate the grand white bluffs of the encompassing shoreline.
On the off chance that you’re keen on prehistoric studies and old history, you want to rush toward the UNESCO World Legacy site of Ħaġar Qim, a gigantic sanctuary complex with clearing sees over the ocean – only a couple of moments’ drive from the Blue Cave. Going back similarly as 3,600 BCE, it’s few thousand years more seasoned than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge, and perhaps of the most established strict structure on earth. Three other megalithic structures surround the main temple, which you can walk through like they did all those years ago. Another temple, Mnajdra, is a five-minute walk away. It is one of the seven temples on that UNESCO list.
You want to see Malta as it really is, but you also like resort towns. The remedy: Marsaskala, which is toward the island of Malta’s southeastern tip. The seafront promenade is ideal for contemplative walks or scenic runs, and the center is dotted with pubs, bars, restaurants, and takeouts. Its harbor is one of the most picturesque on the island.
However, Marsaskala’s real appeal lies in its affordability in comparison to the more well-known resort towns of Sliema or St. Julian’s. The stunning St. Thomas Bay, where you can swim, is just south of the town. It’s incredibly family-accommodating, with a youngsters’ jungle gym, outdoor tables and shower. With limestone rocks on one side and a sandy beach on the other, it even caters to lovers of both sand and rocky beaches.
In Mdina, time stands still. It is captivating with a kaleidoscope of palazzos, shaded little squares, elegant fortifications, and bougainvillea-covered facades, making it the medieval capital of Malta. Today, its essential situation in the focal point of the island is less vital for guard prospects – it’s more about those effortlessly attractive 360-degree sees.
Mdina is now more like an open-air museum than a full city because only 300 people live within its ancient walls. But it’s one of Malta’s most beautiful spots and a must-see for history buffs.
Get to Bastion Square to see the observation tower on top of a bastion on the city walls, which offers fantastic views of the island, and take in the stunning baroque interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Palazzo Vilhena, built in the 18th century, is where Malta’s National Museum of Natural History is located.
Crystal Palace, a small bar just outside the city walls, serves pastizz, a traditional Maltese street snack made of savory pastry with a variety of fillings. Attempt the ones with ricotta cheddar or soft peas. Better yet, try both.
The Romans additionally made some meaningful difference in Malta and Mdina bears indications of their presence. Rome’s catacombs are no match for the catacombs of St. Paul and St. Agata. In the mean time, Domvs Romana is a historical center on the site of an old manor, showing things from the home, including mosaics.
Once a popular residence for wealthy Maltese and the British, who built many Victorian and Art Nouveau villas here, today Sliema – just north of Valletta – is the commercial heart of Malta with international offices, shopping malls, never-ending restaurants and bars, and high residential complexes. For the Maltese, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place with controversy surrounding its rapid development. For tourists, it’s a good place to base yourselves if you want to be close to everything but hyper-connected.
The promenade is home to beach bars, plenty of spots to take a dip, and knockout views of Valletta, while “party boats” leave nightly from the harbor.
You may have heard about Malta as an island of wild nightlife. Well, that’s Paceville, located in St Julian’s, the next harbor town after Sliema, heading north from Valletta. Less glamorous than Ibiza or Mykonos, it’s a loud and rowdy party area, reaching its bombastic crescendo in the triangle formed by Paceville Piazza, Santa Rita, and St. George’s Road. There’s lots of booze, screaming crowds, noisy pumping music, and late-night snacks and hookah bars. Be prepared to stand in long lines at nightclub entrances – and be prepared to find not much space inside.
Mellieħa Bay and St. Paul’s Bay
Mellie’a Bay and St. Paul’s Bay are great options if you want to explore from the comfort of a resort. At the northern tip of Malta, nearer to Comino than to Valletta, the two of them have a wide choice of inns of all shapes and sizes, reasonable and upscale, with pools and without.
Għadira Cove in Mellieħa is a long and shallow sandy ocean side that is ideally suited for families. Due to its hilltop location, Mellie’a village, which is above the bay, has a more remote and local feel.
Bugibba is a typical seaside resort town in St. Paul’s Bay with fast food chains, a variety of bars and restaurants, a promenade, and even an aquarium. Qawra Point Ocean side on the northeastern tip of Bugibba, permits you to venture out with perspectives on Malta’s rough northern coast.
Malta was the setting for the 1980 Robin Williams-led musical “Popeye” before it became a location for “Game of Thrones,” “Troy,” “Assassin’s Creed,” and the most recent “Jurassic World Dominion.” While the actual film didn’t admission that well, either in the cinema world or with pundits, its set stayed close to Mellieħa and was transformed into an engaging family amusement park.
Gozo and Victoria
Gozo, the second-largest island in the Maltese archipelago, fills in where Malta left off. It’s easy to get there: regular ferries leave from irkewwa, which is on the northern tip of Malta, and go to Gozo, where life is slower, nature is more wild, and the atmosphere is more relaxing.
Mdina and the Three Cities are no match for Victoria, the capital. Begin your encounter with the grand, high-up Cittadella – an old walled city with a very much protected memorable center and stunning perspectives on the island. Descend to charming Victoria, where restaurant terraces spill out onto shaded piazzas and traditional Maltese streets in a buff color are bustling with activity. Pick a cafe, order gelato, and forget about the problems of living in the city. Gozo is perfect for that.
With a number of world-class dive sites scattered throughout the island, it’s even better for scuba diving. On the west coast, the Blue Hole is a 50-foot-deep rock formation that looks like a tube and is filled with water. At its bottom is an archway and a cave, and if you go under the arch, you’ll be in the open ocean. It’s a really hypnotizing plunge.
It is in Dwejra Bay, which is part of a huge coastline with high cliffs and the stunning Fungus Rock rising from the water. Fans of “Game of Thrones” may recognize the scenery. Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s Dothraki wedding was recorded here, before the Sky blue Window – a delicate limestone curve riding the ocean. Unfortunately, the curve imploded in 2017. Presently, you can see its remaining parts by jumping.
Envision a structure that is 5,500 years of age. Gantija is a spellbinding complex of two prehistoric megalithic temples in the peaceful Ix-Xagra village in the center of Gozo. UNESCO has designated it as a World Heritage Site. They cover a whopping 77,000 square feet and are thought to have been important Neolithic ceremonial sites. There’s additionally an intuitive historical center to give you more data about their utilization and old appearance.
Notwithstanding the death of the multitude of hundreds of years, it’s as yet a quiet, reflective spot. Archeologists have gone through many years investigating them, and still can’t seem to find precisely the way that they were utilized. The abundance of excessively voluptuous female figurines suggests a fertility cult, and the animal remains found on the site point to sacrifices.
If Malta is the urban island and Gozo its lowkey sibling, Comino is the wild cousin. The population is a modest two people, there are no cars, and no signs of globalization – just the untouched Mediterranean. Most visitors come for the Blue Lagoon – a shimmering, shallow bay whose water is an almost unreal azure color.
But while other visitors go straight back to the main islands, you should stay on Comino. Just a mile away is the 17th-century St. Mary’s Tower, one of the defensive structures erected by the Knights of Malta to signal the enemy’s approach with cannon fire – the Comino Channel was a strategic waterway between Malta and Gozo.
For beaches, you need Santa Marija Bay and San Niklaw Bay, both within a mile of both Blue Lagoon and St. Mary’s Tower. Thoroughly rested, hike up Ġebel Comino, the highest point on the island – although at around 275 feet, it’s not exactly high, it has beautiful views of all the islands. For snorkeling, try Cominotto, a tiny island right next to Comino.