Malta magic, an island nation in the Mediterranean, is a picture-perfect paradise. While the island’s gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters are certainly a draw, Maltese history and culture date back to before the year 4,000 B.C.
Spend some time exploring the megalithic monuments and Neolithic tombs that dot the island of Malta and date back thousands of years.
Relax on beaches, savor Maltese cuisine, and burn your meal by exploring the island’s cliffs and caverns, rich in fossils. What’s even better? It’s the ideal vacation spot all year round because of its pleasant summers and moderate winters.
1. San Giljan
San Giljan, often known as St. Julian’s, is north of Valletta. Named for a patron saint known as ‘Julian the Hospitaller’ and ‘Julian the Poor,’ it was originally a small fishing town. The waterfront is now lined with high-end hotels and restaurants, making it a hotspot for tourists and locals alike.
St. Julian’s and its surrounding areas provide a wide variety of attractions. Go clubbing in Paceville or walk along the seafront while admiring the Portomaso Tower. This area’s bowling alleys, movie theaters, and late-night pubs really pack a punch.
It’s simple to go on a tour by yourself. The Balluta neighborhood is where you should see the Art Deco structures and the neo-gothic Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. You may go swimming in St. George’s water or go on a romantic boat into the water.
Marsaxlokk has been a famous port ever since the Phoenicians first arrived there in the 9th century B.CB.C. During their reigns, the Romans and the Arabs, as well as the Ottoman navy in the Siege of 1565, all used the bay as a harbor.
Fort St. Lucian (1610), constructed at the behest of Saint John, the thousand-year-old Fort Tas-Sil, and the Marsaxlokk chapel (1897), dedicated to the Madonna of Pompeii, are all worth seeing.
The local fish market shops on Sundays on the waterfront, making this sleepy town ideal for a leisurely lunch. Enjoy a walk through Xrobb l-Għaġin Wildlife Park, which spans over 155,000 square meters of wildlife and seashore, or travel to one of the four nearby beaches.
3. Hagar Qim and Mnajdra
The megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra are two of Malta’s most impressive sights. They are among the world’s oldest holy sites, around 500 meters apart!
The main temple at Hagar Qim (literally translates to “worshipping stones”) is constructed from Globigerina limestone and dates back to about 3,200 BC. At the same time, the three megalithic buildings that flank it are considerably older. Animal sacrifice and fertility rites, according to historians, may have taken place at the compound.
Mnajdra, on the other hand, was erected about the fourth-millennium B.C.E. The top, middle, and lower temples are all constructed from coralline limestone. It is widely thought that the lower temple served as an astronomical observatory, making it one of the most magnificent Maltese megalithic buildings. Mnajdra may be seen on the Maltese euro-cent, two-cent, and five-cent coins.
Located on the southeast coast, Valletta is known as the “Fortress City” with good reason. In addition to being the E.U.’s smallest capital, it also happens to be the southernmost capital on the continent. Valletta, supposedly “built by gentlemen for gentlemen,” is Malta’s political and economic hub.
Although inspired by Mannerism, Neoclassicism, and Modernism, the Maltese capital city of Valletta exudes a particular Baroque flavor. This area can be anything from old forts and museums to 16th-century residences, Baroque palaces, gardens, and cathedrals. The city deserves its moniker, “Superbissima,” meaning “most proud.”
St. John’s Co-Cathedral and Museum, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, and a boat ride to the Three Cities (Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua) are all must-sees during your time in Valletta.
Mdina, in the Northern Region, is a walled city. Until Birgu was made the capital by the Order of St. John, Valletta served as Malta’s capital during the Middle Ages. Fewer than 300 people live inside the city walls now, with another 11,000 living in the surrounding town of Rabat.
Established as Maleth in the 8th century B.C.B.C. by Phoenicians, the city was renamed Melite by the Romans. The Byzantines downsized the city to its present size, yet it still has many medieval characters. There are magnificent examples of Baroque and Norman architecture, as well as palaces that are presently used as homes.
Today, Mdina is one of Malta’s most visited areas, drawing in upwards of 750,000 visitors annually. One of the reasons it’s called the “Silent City” is because it doesn’t allow automobiles other than those owned by inhabitants and ambulances. St. Paul’s Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church, and the French Baroque Palazzo Vilhena are all worth your attention, so take your time examining them.