09 Jun 9 Best Things to See & Do in Malta
Malta, Gozo and Comino are the three islands that make the Maltese archipelago a paradise in the heart of the Mediterranean, just 80 km from the Sicilian coast. But it’s not just the crystal-clear sea and the sun that attracts millions of tourists every year. In Malta, you can appreciate the beautiful harmony between nature and art, between the possibility of taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon, getting out of the water and after a few minutes, visiting three UNESCO sites and other historical-cultural wonders. Amongst everything to see and do below, there is an incredible nightlife with expats/tourists from all over the world gathering in Paceville and St Julians. This is especially due to the fact that every top bookmaker in the list of UK betting sites has transferred offices and staff over to the shores of Malta.
Let’s get into the 9 best things to do and see in Malta…
The Historic Centre of Valletta
Valletta is the capital of Malta, but thanks to its small size, you can easily visit it in a day (but then again, you would need weeks to see everything). Many things will fascinate you in Valletta. Maybe because it has 7,000 years of history; all enclosed and concentrated among the narrow streets of its historic centre, perfectly preserved and declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Valletta is a Fortress City, protected by a series of fortifications overlooking the sea, and is named after Jean Parisot de la Valette, Grand Master of the Order of St. John. Today Valletta is a rich and pulsating city that offers museums, palaces, baroque treasures, churches and a bustling nightlife. A walk through its streets is the ideal opportunity to discover ritual niches, ancient noble palaces and monuments at every corner. You will be fascinated by its beauties, such as the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, which houses two works by Caravaggio and the Upper Baracca Gardens, a manicured quiet garden, to admire the sweeping views of Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua. Republic Street is the commercial heart of Valletta.
The Ancient Wonder of Mdina
Mdina, the ancient medieval capital of Malta, deserves a visit as it is a treasure trove of history. The Silent City, as they call it, is a 4,000-year-old city, nestled between narrow, angled streets and ancient noble palaces, at 190 meters above sea level, in an atmosphere perfectly halfway between the Baroque and the Middle Ages, lined with palm trees, olive trees and prickly pears.
Mdina has been the residence of the Maltese noble families, and still today the charm remains unchanged. There are about 400 residents, and life goes on quietly, a day in Mdina will allow you to discover its beauties, such as Saint Pauls Cathedral, erected in 1600, and Palazzo Falson, the oldest Norman residence of Mdina.
The Ggantija Temples in Gozo, Malta
Like many other places in Malta, the temples of Ggantija have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The temples are found in Gozo and were built before the Stonehenge complex. They date back to 3,600 BC and take their name from the Maltese word Ggantija, which means giants. In fact, given their colossal dimensions, it was believed that they had been built by giants. These are two temples consisting of limestone boulders, some of which reach up to 5 meters in length.
Grandmaster’s Palace, Valletta
It is one of the most fascinating buildings to visit in Valletta because of its construction dates to 1571, and for over three centuries it hosted the seat of the Grandmaster of the Knights of St. John. Today it is the residence of the President of Malta and the seat of Parliament. Part of its halls is open to the public.
Not to be confused with Rabat, the capital of Gozo (also called Victoria in English), Rabat is in the south of the island of Malta and borders on the ancient village of Mdina. Rabat is the notable, ancient residence of the Maltese noble families. It is a gem in history and archaeology, above all, an important religious centre. Rabat has been home to the convents of Dominican, Augustinian and Franciscan friars who still live here for centuries. One can visit the Roman remains of the Roman Villa and the catacombs of Saint Paul. Right here, according to legend, St., Paul took refuge after a shipwreck in 60 AD.
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Paola
About 5km away from Valletta, it is the only prehistoric underground temple in the world. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and its construction dates to 3600 BC. More than 7,000 skeletons have been found here. The hypogeum was discovered by chance in 1902 following renovations on a home. It deserves a visit.
Calypso Cave, Gozo
Lovers of Greek Mythology cannot miss the famous Cave of Calypso, on the island of Gozo. According to legend, the nymph Calypso was a prisoner of Ulysses in this cave for seven years.
The cave is located on the red beach of Ramla and is a small cave from which an incomparable view of the bay can be admired.
The Blue Lagoon, Comino
Malta also has its marine paradise: Bejn il-kmiemen, or in English: The blue lagoon. It is located on the island of Comino and really deserves a day. Imagine a bright turquoise bay, overlooking transparent waters rich in fish, white sand and shallow waters.
The Mediterranean Cuisine
The cuisine of Malta is a treasure trove of Mediterranean influences and flavours and reflects the proximity of Italy and Africa and of all the populations that have passed through here. It is difficult to choose a representative dish. Among the local delicacies, you will find the pastizzi, small savoury pastry filled with ricotta or peas. Fish reigns supreme, but there is also local rabbit served with tomato and potatoes, aka fenkata, the islands most famous dish. There are also the famous coriander flavoured pork sausages, and timpana, baked pasta with mixed meat enclosed in puff pastry.
Malta is also famous for the cheeses and desserts: the most famous cheese from Malta is Gbejnet, made from sheep’s milk. For Dessert, there is Kannoli, similar to that of Sicily and Qaghaq tal-ghasel, a dessert of Arab origin with black sugar, figs and cinnamon. The Maltese drink of excellence is Cisk beer, a local blonde beer; but if you want to end the meal with a typical liqueur, get the prickly pear or carob.