We have not known much about Malta before the travel, so we sure were curious, what this tiny island country can offer. But as soon as we have started to explore it, we were afraid that 5 days will not even be enough. After all, Malta has 3 tourist attractions under UNESCO world heritage protection list.
The capital of Malta is best known for its old town, which can be found on UNESCO world heritage list. We loved all about Valetta – from old houses, narrow streets, and vibrant port.
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
This underground temple is a world treasure, as it is one of a kind. Scientists say it was built more than 5000 years ago, but there are still no real answers why. Due to the fact that there were more than 7000 skeletons found inside of it, it is believed it was a burial place. Nevertheless, the Hypogeum has a huge historical value and that is why it was put on UNESCO world heritage protection list. Only 80 people per day are allowed to enter, so make sure to book the tickets well in advance (off-season few weeks before the visit, during the peak season consider few months in advance). Visiting the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum does not come cheap (30€/pp – photography strictly forbidden), but I guess the value of it is priceless.
If you are keen of history, you are probably familiar that Malta has many ruins of megalithic temples. The best known megalithic temple is for sure the Ggantija, due to the simple fact – it is under UNESCO world heritage protection list. (Entrance fee: 9€/pp)
Visiting this medieval town Mdina was one of our best experiences in Malta. We like these kind of tourist attractions, so we were enjoying a lot, when exploring its beautifully renovated narrow streets, alleys and squares.
Churches and Cathedrals
Malta’s main religion is Rome Catholicism and that is why the country is full of churches – from small to really large ones. Even though we were not really into seeing them all, we were charmed by them a lot. They are built from sandstone, what makes them almost golden in the sunlight. Some of the most known churches in Malta are St. Johns in Valetta (the main knights church), Mosta Dame (the 4th largest unsupported dome in the world) and Ta Pinu in Gozo (pilgrim place).
St. Paul’s Catacombs
In our opinion these St. Paul’s Catacombs were the biggest surprise during our Malta travel. Maybe the reason was, we really have not expected them or maybe because they are totally underrated due to the more famous underground temple Hal Safliemi Hypogeum. If you are into things like this, you will not be sorry to visit them. (Entrance fee: 5€/pp)
Beaches and Bays
Well, there is no surprise that Malta is rich with beaches and bays, after all it is an island country. But to be totally honest, our heart still bits for beaches and bays in Greece. We could not help it, but if we would need to choose a summer destination, that would not be Malta. But anyway, it was nice to explore them off-season. Few of our favorites are Mistra Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha, Golden Bay.
When being kids, we loved watching Popeye, the sailor cartoons. But before traveling to Malta, we had no idea that the movie/musical of Popeye was shot there. The film set was not demolished, but changed to an amusement park. We did not visit the park, but we were still able to enjoy beautiful views from the other side of the bay.
The red tower and the chapel
On the northern side of the island Malta stands unique red tower, which was used as a strategic view point back in time. You can climb on top of it and see the views to Comino and Gozo. Few kilometers away, you can also visit a small chapel L-Ahrox, built on steep cliffs and facing towards Comino Island.
This part of the island is probably a paradise for nature lovers and hikers. There are lots of hiking trails offering you views on the cliffs and sea.
Marsaxlokk fishing village
This fishing village is extremely colorful. The bay is full of traditional boats and everything is about the sea here. Don’t miss out on a delicious sea food meal, prepared from freshly caught fish of the day. We loved the fish soup!
Slieam and Senglea
The eastern side of the Malta Island is so heavily populated, that is hard to know when you are reaching Sliema, Valetta or Senglea. But it is worth finding it out. Senglea offers a nice walk around its marina and Sliema is more or less known for lots of restaurants, cafes and night life. Both, Sliema and Senglea, offers great views towards Valetta. We would also recommend you to take the ferry from Valetta to Sliema or vice versa, showing you both parts from the water.
This part of Malta is more or less known for hustle and bustle. There are lots of hotels, restaurants, bars and night clubs. A nice walk is on Spinola bay promenade.
We could write a separate blog post about Gozo, as it has so many tourist attractions, but lets mention just few of our favorite: Dwejra NP, where you’ll be able to find the most famous tourist attractions like Blue Hole, Azure Window and the Inland Sea. Gozo is also full of picturesque towns and villages, it has a beautiful citadel in the middle of Victoria town, natural salt pans, Rambla Bay, Ggantija temple and Callypso caves. The Gozo Island is better known for its fishing and agriculture, so don’t miss on tasting their sundried tomatoes, olives, wine, cheese, rabbit stew, and raviolis.
*As of 8th March 2017 the Gozo is missing its most famous tourist attraction – the Azure Window. Due to strong winds and waves, the nature took the amazing Azure Window forever.
This tiny island is car-free, so if you visit it, you’ll need to explore it on foot. Well, but it measure only 3.5 square kilometers, so that’s not such a big deal after all. Most of the people visit Comino for its Blue Lagoon. The island is perfect for snorkeling, diving and windsurfers. Some of you might be familiar with the Comino Island from some movies, like the Troy and The count of Monte Cristo.
Food in Malta
When talking about Malta tourist attractions, we really cannot go pass its traditional food. Maltese food is a mixture of Italy and Northern Africa, what takes the best of both. During your Malta traveling you will be able to have a good coffee and local wine. The wine goes great with freshly caught seafood or maybe with the rabbit stew from Gozo. You will not miss when ordering a pizza either – the local beer Cisk, goes great with it as well.
We had really no idea that Malta can offer so many things to do and see to a curious traveler. Exploring Malta sure was a nice and diverse surprise.