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Looking for the top 10 places to visit in Malta? We’ll show you where to go for a memorable vacation.
With cultural relics dating back to the Neolithic period, a strong commitment to the arts, Mediterranean climate and cuisine, and a refined culture that knows how to celebrate, Malta is one of Europe’s most popular destinations. Each year, she attracts two and a half million visitors who savor everything she has to offer. Many return year on year.
The three islands that comprise the country, Gozo, Comino, and the largest of the three Malta, are well served by a decent road network. As such, renting a car and exploring Malta is the best option to get around and start seeing the country.
How many of these top things to do in Malta will you see?
Valletta is Malta’s capital city. It was founded after the 16th century Great Siege of Malta when despite being heavily outnumbered, the Knights of Malta, together with the people of Malta repelled a brutal attack from the Ottoman Empire.
When the city was rebuilt the Knights of Malta designed buildings to be fortifications as well as serve a duel purpose. This can be seen in much of the older parts of the city.
Valletta is the perfect place to begin your Malta adventure. Here are some must-see places to visit.
- John’s Co-Cathedral – The baroque interior, and its Caravaggio paintings, are the main draw for tourist visitors. The cathedral is still used as a place of worship and as you might imagine, worshippers are given priority. As such, it is wise to book online and check the rules before visiting.
- Lascaris War Rooms – Malta’s role in the Second World War should never be underestimated. They played a critical part in disrupting Axis supply lines to Africa, forcing Germany to pull resources away from other campaigns to try and capture the country. The Allied defence was coordinated in a secret underground bunker, which thanks to volunteers is now restored to the quite amazing museum, the Lascaris War Rooms.
- Grand Harbour and Saluting Battery – Thanks to investment much of Valletta’s World War 2 bomb-damaged buildings have been rebuilt in the original architectural style. This has served to bring the past alive and makes for quite wonderful walking tours.
One region which should always be visited is the Grand Harbour. Here you can take in the delights of the upper and lower Barrakka Gardens, and the waterfront which overlooks The Three Cities. If you come at the right time, you can see the oldest saluting battery in the world fire at midday.
- Great Siege of Malta & the Knights of St. John Exhibition – The legendary victory is brought to life using digital depictions of what happened based on eye witness accounts. It can be argued this is the one place you must visit to understand the country’s past.
- Is-Suq Tal-Belt Valletta Food Market – For a great change of pace, consider visiting this vibrant food market. Locals come here to shop, and it is a great place to grab lunch and people watch.
Other places to visit include the Fort St Elmo National War Museum, MUZA The Malta National Community Art Museum, and the Manoel Theatre.
Gozo is the second largest island in the country and has some quite amazing places to see. It has a slightly different feel than the rest of the country, which makes any visit that little bit more exciting. The island has picturesque postcard villages, beaches, and iconic landmarks.
Consider visiting the following places:
- Ggantija Megalithic Temples – Head towards Xagħra and you will soon come across the UNESCO protected Ggantija Megalithic Temples. This fascinating site is believed to be older than the pyramids of Egypt and gives us a glimpse into the earliest known peoples to live here.
- Victoria / Rabat – Victoria or Rabat as it is known to locals is Gozo’s capital city. The most striking feature is the Cittadella or The Citadel at its heart. Here you can find a great range of museums, shops, narrow streets and a vibrant market.
- Dwejra Bay – Thanks to its iconic natural rock formations and clear blue waters, many come here to partake in watersports. If you’re a fan of cinema and TV shows such as Game of Thrones, you may recognize the location. It was used in the original Clash of the Titans film among others.
- Mellieha Village – Built into the cliff face, Mellieha is the definition of a postcard village. The colorful buildings beg to be explored. If you have kids, they will love the water-based theme park.
Mdina is the former capital of Malta and offers a wondrous experience. The medieval city is built on a hilltop and is UNESCO protected. From entering via the Main Gate to visiting the quite magical Cathedral of Saint Paul, you will feel you are walking back in time.
4. Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is a Neolithic, UNESCO protected archaeological site. It consists of a network of chambers and tunnels and is similar to the Tarxien Temples. Although many of its secrets continue to confuse archaeologists, it is believed its main use was for rituals and burials.
The Qawra peninsula sits between Salina Bay and St. Paul’s bay. This makes it an ideal location if you are a fan of water sports. It is also very close to St Julian’s where the more vibrant nightlife on Malta can be found.
Qawra is a great place to stay in Malta as you are at the heart of things. When you’re here don’t miss the promenade walk to St. Pauls. The Malta Classic Car Museum and the parish church are great additions to the amazing view.
6. Blue Lagoon
Comino, the smallest of the three islands, is home to the Blue Lagoon. A stretch of beach which has milky blue waters. The region is wave-free and the water shallow. As such, this area is extremely popular, with many coming here to enjoy the sunshine, swimming, and water sports.
7. The Blue Grotto
Located on Malta’s south coast, The Blue Grotto’s limestone caves and unusual rock formations make for a picturesque and quite spectacular view. The marine life attracts scuba divers who love to explore the caves. If you prefer to stay dry, you can take a boat tour of the region. The coastal drive to reach The Blue Grotto offers sweeping views of the sea.
Why you are here, why not grab lunch and a souvenir at the nearby village of Wied iz-Zurrieq.
8. Golden Bay Beach
If you have kids or simply want to spend some time soaking up the sun, head for Golden Bay Beach. Located in the northwest, the beach is nice and tucked away from street traffic. The shoreline is sandy and wide, and the views of the ocean stretch to the horizon. Perfect.
9. Hagar Qim Temples
Dating back to 3200 BC, the Hagar Qim Temples are another amazing UNESCO protected Neolithic site. They consist of three chambers and are constructed in a non-symmetrical layout. It is believed they were used as a place of worship and each chamber has been constructed separately.
Two of the amazing artifacts found on site are the Fat Deities and the Venus of Malta which can both be seen in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.
10. The Three Cities
Just across the bay from Valletta and you will find Birgu (Vittoriosa), Senglea (Isla) and Bormla (Cospicua), collectively known as The Three Cities. Each one is quite small, and it is easy to get around. There are several tours showing you the iconic and cultural places, but many prefer to wander the historic streets and soak up the atmosphere.
Like Valletta, much of The Three Cities were hit by German bombs and later rebuilt in the original architectural style. It offers a different feel than much of Malta, and it is a great place to spend a day or two taking in its delights.
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