From the home of the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world to the popular soft drink, Kinnie, there are some things in life that shouldn’t be missed. Here are just 15 reasons to visit the beautiful island of Malta that you won’t be disappointed by.
Take a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon and Comino
Situated between the small island of Comino and islet of Cominotto is the Blue Lagoon. Famous for its stunningly clear azure waters and white sand, it is the perfect place to enjoy a small part of the Mediterranean Sea, which nears perfection. An ideal place for swimming and snorkeling, the island of Comino is a tranquil place to relax and take in the surroundings.
Join in a village feast
With a friendly rivalry between villages, celebrations often start up to a fortnight before the feast date. Honouring either their patron saint or second-in-importance saint, you can enjoy music performed by local bands, visit vendor stalls, watch fireworks, and take in the brightly decorated streets and ornately decorated and illuminated churches. With feast season being between April and September, there’s plenty to choose from.
Experience the Silent City of Mdina
This ancient walled city‘s history can be traced back more than 4,000 years. With a present-day population of approximately 300, much of the highly sought-after properties within the walls are passed down from generation to generation. It’s home to traditional shops, unique restaurants and small exhibitions, all in keeping with the narrow, gas-lamplit roads, away from the hustle and bustle of neighbouring villages.
Enjoy a piece of cake at Fontanella Tearooms
Situated in Mdina is the well-known Fontanella Tea Garden, serving light meals and drinks, though it is more commonly known for homemade cakes. With both indoor and outdoor seating, stunning views across Malta can be enjoyed while sitting in the bastions. With what could be the most extensive cake menu on the island, head for Fontanella and leave plenty of time to choose the cake of your dreams.
Be Popeye for a day
Mellieha is the home of Sweethaven, the film setting for the Popeye movie released in 1980 starring Robin Williams. It’s now a main tourist attraction in Malta where visitors can walk around the set, enter the buildings, watch the animators and enjoy other attractions such as swimming pools, sunbathing areas, boat trips, dining and regular shows. Perfect for the whole family.
View Caravaggio’s original paintings
Caravaggio’s infamous artwork, the Beheading of St John the Baptist and the St Jerome Writing can be found in St John’s Co-Cathedral in the capital of Valletta. Hang out in the same place where Caravaggio briefly served as a knight after escaping from Italy. Don’t forget to take your passport to get in.
Experience the Sunday Fish Market at Marsaxlokk
Sundays are dedicated to the fish market. Arrive early to gain the full experience of the hard work carried out by Maltese fishermen, and immerse yourself in freshly caught Mediterranean fish of all descriptions. Take the opportunity to sample freshly cooked seafood at one of the many eateries surrounding the market.
Step back in time at the Classic Car Museum
Located a stone’s throw from the main bus terminus in Qawra, the Classic Car museum boasts a collection of not only cars but also motorcycles, jukeboxes, model collections, mini cinema and memorabilia. On display are also fashions from the 1940s-1960s, and visitors are encouraged to photograph any of the collections they wish. Refreshments are available at the café on site and being situated centrally in Qawra means there is plenty to do in the surrounding area, too.
Experience the reign of the Knights of St John
Knights were selected from noble families and gained a lot of wealth. The Knights of St John of Jerusalem came to reign in Malta in 1530, remaining a further 238 years. The island boasts an interactive Great Siege experience, the Grand Master’s Palace and tours of the Three Cities.
Maltese is a Semitic language combining Arabic, Italian, Sicilian and English. With an alphabet containing 30 letters (due to some letters having diacritical marks and some digraphs), it is believed the Maltese language contains between 6-20% of English words. What a challenge to take on. Good luck!
Spend a day in Gozo
A short ferry ride will take you from Malta to Gozo. Commonly considered more rural, rustic and scenic than Malta, this small island measuring just 67km² is the perfect location for a day trip. Visit quaint shops and cafés and take everything in your stride. Meander around the island for a of day true Maltese culture around every corner.
Experience the island’s World War II history
During the war, Malta became the most bombed country in the world, with over 14,000 bombs dropped. The island’s outstanding WWII history means there are plenty of places to visit to experience Malta’s plight first-hand. Air raid shelters, an aviation museum and war rooms create their own living history.
Tour the Megalithic temples
Scattered about the south are several prehistoric temples. The Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum is recorded to be the oldest discovered prehistoric underground temple in the world. A labyrinth of a burial site dating back more than 5,000 years, the Ħal-Seflieni Hypogeum is the only attraction limited to only 80 visitors a day, so it’s wise to book early.
Sample pastizzi and Kinnie
Among the numerous pastries, pies, pastas and pizza slices at numerous kiosks, you’ll find (for around 40c) the infamous pastizzi – filled, hot, mini-pastries. To wash it down, pick up a bottle of Malta’s own soft drink, Kinnie, an acquired taste and Malta’s favourite.
Experience traditional craft-making
Passed down from generation to generation rather than learnt academically, craft-making in Malta is a unique art. Ornate lace, handcrafted clocks, delicate filigree jewellery and stunning ganutell flowers appear at craft markets and village fairs, and adorn houses and churches rather than mainstream shops.