Why should you visit Malta? Why shouldn’t you visit Malta is the question! Despite its relatively small size it has a lot to offer in the tourism department. Boasting a greater density of historic sites than any other country on Earth – some of which are older than the Pyramids of Egypt!
Malta’s British legacy lives on to this day thanks to its red post boxes, traditional telephone booths, shops such as Marks & Spencer and the traffic, which drives on the left hand side of the road. You’ll also be pleased to know English is a joint official language with Maltese, meaning communicating with the locals isn’t a problem.
So take a look at our top 10 things to do in Malta to see what all the fuss is about!
1. Hit the Hypogeum
This UNESCO World Heritage site is the only pre-historic underground temple in the world. Dating from between 3600 to 3000 BC, the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is a huge burial ground, packed with statues, tombs, rock carvings, chambers and passages carved out of the rock. Don’t forget to visit the Oracle Room where a woman’s voice won’t echo, but spookily, a man’s will! It was discovered in 1902 during building work and some 7,000 bodies are said to be buried here. Due to its age, only 60 people are allowed in each day, so book in advance to avoid disappointment.
2. Blow Some Glass
It may be a new trade in Malta but glass blowing has quickly grown in popularity among both locals and tourists. In Mdina you can visit the Glass Factory to see skilled glass blowers in action, producing everything from pendants and vases to glasses and candle holders. All of which you can buy in the gift shop after!
3. Stroll the coastline
Malta offers a rugged coastline with strange rock formations, sheer cliff edges and a landscape crying out to be explored on foot! It’s a small island, so walking along the coast is an ideal way to visit each town, refuelling at the bars and restaurants along the way of course!
4. Meander around the megaliths
Did you know the oldest buildings in Europe are found in Malta? Built between 5,000 BC and 700 BC, many of these megalithic monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites and are peppered generously across the island of Malta. They include Bronze Age dolmens, tombs, Roman ruins and traces of prehistoric man – such as the mysterious “cart tracks”. A must for history buffs, you should also visit the National Museum of Archaeology to learn more about the ancient civilizations that lived in Malta.
5. Bask in the Barrakka Gardens
These stunning arcaded gardens are perched on top of the capital’s vast fortifications and offer breath-taking views of the Grand Harbour below. They were built in the late 16th century as a shady retreat for the island’s knights to relax, and were later embellished by the green-fingered British. As well as fountains, sculptures, benches and several Roman style monuments, the terrace below has a Saluting Battery that fires every day at 12pm. Oh and you can take a new panoramic lift to the top too!
6. Peek through nature’s window
Catch a ferry to the neighbouring island of Gozo to see the Azure Window – one of Malta’s most striking natural structures. The arch has been formed by thousands of years of erosion, caused by waves repeatedly crashing against the cliffs. Head to Dwerja Point for the best views, but be quick as the arch is slowly disintegrating into the sea!
7. Cruise to Comino and the Blue Lagoon
During the 17th century this beautiful 3.5 sq. km island was a hiding place for pirates. Nowadays Comino, which is located between Malta and Gozo, is a paradise for snorkelers, walkers and windsurfers. Reached by ferry, the island is car-free and virtually uninhabited, with just one hotel. Most people come to admire the Blue Lagoon, which is a sheltered inlet of water popular with sun worshippers in the summer. The island is also ideal for walkers and photographers in the cooler winter months.
8. Stroll through the Silent City
Once the capital of Malta, Mdina is an enchanting walled city filled with a labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets that act as a temporary escape from the modern world. Known as the “Silent City” on account of the limited number of vehicles allowed within the walls, it’s been inhabited since the Bronze Age and is something of a living museum. A guided tour is a great way to learn about the town’s history. However, many say it’s best explored at night as the sun is setting. And did you know parts of the TV show Game of Thrones were filmed here?
9. Take a trip on a Dghajsa
Pronounced “die-sa”, this is Malta’s version of the Venetian Gondola, and is essentially a small fishing boat that doubles as a water taxi. Dghajsas cost around 30 euros for 45 minutes. Hop on board for a trip around the three fortified cities of Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea, as well as some of the main forts on the island. A must for those who enjoy an aquatic adventure.
10. Explore Valletta’s fortifications
Named European capital of culture 2018, the “Fortress City” of Valetta and its impressive bastions, forts and cathedral were built in just 15 years! The circular walk around the fortifications is a must as the capital is only 1km long. Construction started in 1566 following the Great Siege, during which the city nearly fell to the Ottoman Turks. It was built to be impregnable and that it was for some 200 years – as no one was brave enough to invade!