Top 16 Things To Do In Malta: A Guide To One Of Europe's Most Beautiful Islands
Malta is a small island country that occupies an important strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It has been inhabited since around the 8th millennium BC and is home to a society of around 400,000 people. Malta has been known as a place of peace, wealth, and beauty for centuries. The landscape is stunning and you will find many places to visit in this tiny island nation.
If you're planning on visiting Malta, here are some things you should know about it...
There are different types of architecture in Malta that date back to the earliest settlements here. These include megalithic temples, which are the oldest buildings in the world. The most important of these is the Ġgantija Temples on Gozo, which were built around 3600 BC. Other architectural styles include Megalithic Temples, Bronze Age Tombs and Punic Tombs.
The capital city of Malta is Valletta, which was founded by Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette in 1566 after he defeated the Ottoman Turks during the Great Siege of Malta. The city was built on a grid pattern and has many impressive Baroque buildings including a number of palaces and churches.
There are a number of festivals held in Malta during the year including the Malta International Fireworks Festival, which is one of Europe's largest firework displays. The event takes place around Easter and attracts thousands of people from across the world to watch it.
Other popular festivals include Malta Carnival, which is held every February and celebrated with a number of events across the islands including street parades and live music concerts, and Festa Santa Marija, which takes place on 15 August in Naxxar and celebrates the Assumption Day.
If you're hoping to visit Malta you should know that most people speak English as well as Maltese, but there are also quite a few who only speak Maltese so it's worth brushing up on your language skills before you go!
Top 16 Things To Do in Malta
1. Go for a swim in the Blue Lagoon
This natural mineral-rich lagoon, which is the largest in Europe, is located on the eastern side of Malta and it's created by the Blue Grotto. The water here is so clear that you could easily see the bottom of the lagoon, which is made up of layers of limestone. In fact, it's so clear that you can even see fish swimming around!
There are a number of places to visit in Malta including Valletta and Mdina. You can also go hiking at Mount Sciberras or taking a boat trip to see some beautiful scenery along the way.
2. Visit Valletta
Valetta is where you will find many things to do on your holiday in Malta including amazing views and historical sites. It was built by Grandmaster Nicolas Cotoner between 1566 and 1574 and it was originally called St. John's City after John Ballewiz who had commissioned its construction as a private residence.
The city has a number of interesting sites including the City Gate, which was built in 1565 and is one of the oldest surviving city gates in Europe. The other sites include the Order's Palace where you can go to see the Maltese Order's Museum and St. John's Co-Cathedral, which was founded in 1505.
3. Take a trip to Mdina
Mdina is another great place to go on holiday in Malta for its historical significance and natural beauty. You can visit many of the important landmarks including the Great Siege Tunnels, which are now used as an emergency shelter during times of war and earthquakes, St. John's Co-Cathedral, which is also known as La Valletta Cathedral because it was originally built on one of the islands in an attempt to protect it from invaders, The Conventual Church and The Cittadella (Fortress).
4. See some amazing views at Mount Sciberras
Mount Sciberras is another great place to visit in Malta. You can climb the mountain and enjoy some of the best views of the island. The climb is a lot easier than you think, though you will need to wear good shoes and clothing.
5. Visit St. Paul's Bay
St. Paul's Bay is a beautiful bay on the south-west side of Malta with some great beaches and stunning scenery that is popular with tourists. You can also visit Fort Ricasoli which was built by the Knights of Malta in 1551, which was one of the first forts built by them in Malta.
6. Visit the Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto is a natural limestone cavern on the south-west coast of Malta. It is a popular tourist attraction, and there are some incredible views of the sea from inside the cave.
7. Visit Vittoriosa for some delicious food and drinks
Vittoriosa is Malta's second city and has a great selection of places to visit, including St John's Co-Cathedral which is famous for its beautiful dome. You can also check out the Great Siege Tunnels which are now used as an emergency shelter during times of war and earthquakes. There are many places to go here if you're looking for a good night out as well, including The Old Market Square which features many bars and restaurants with an old Maltese feel to them.
8. Visit the National Museum of Fine Arts
The National Museum of Fine Arts is home to over 34,000 works of art from all over the world, including pieces by famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Salvador Dali. The museum also has some great exhibitions that you can visit for free, such as a temporary exhibition about the Maltese-Italian painter Giovanni Fattorini and his work on creating a painting that would represent Malta.
9. Visit Birgu for a tour of the old city walls
Birgu is Malta's third city and was once an important part of Medieval Malta. You can visit the old city walls which are still standing today and are part of what makes Birgu so interesting to visit. There is also St Agatha's Church which was built in 1575, which features a beautiful dome that rivals anything you'll find in Rome; it's definitely worth seeing if you're visiting Malta.
10. Visit St. John's Co-Cathedral
St John's Co-Cathedral is the most recognisable building in Malta, and is also home to the oldest clock in the world. You can visit this cathedral on a free guided tour, and it's a great way to learn more about Maltese history and architecture.
11. Visit San Anton Palace
San Anton Palace is one of Malta's most beautiful buildings, with intricate carvings and beautiful architecture that would be right at home in a Renaissance palace in Italy or Spain. The palace itself was built between 1640 and 1654 for the Knights of St John, but it has been used for many different purposes over the years; it's now a museum that features an exhibit on urban Malta, with exhibits from all over Malta.
12. Visit The Grandmaster's Palace
The Grandmaster's Palace is one of the most luxurious buildings in Malta, and it was built by the Knights of St John for their Grandmaster. The palace features a courtyard that is perfect for enjoying a picnic lunch or wine and cheese and is surrounded by beautiful gardens that are home to many species of plants and flowers.
13. Visit The Bishop's Palace
The Bishop's Palace is another beautiful palace that was built by the Knights of St John, but this time it was used as a residence for their bishops. The palace has been used for many different purposes over the years; nowadays it houses a museum that features Maltese history and culture.
14. Visit Żejtun
Żejtun is one of Malta's oldest towns, which dates back to around 1060 AD when it was founded by Muslims. Since then, Żejtun has grown into what you see today; this small town now has a population of over 5,000 and is known for its beautiful architecture.
15. Visit Għajn Tuffieħa
Għajn Tuffieħa is a small village that is known for its lovely stone houses and balconies, which are built from the local tuff stone. This village is also popular for its beautiful gardens that are home to many different species of plants and flowers, and it also features many buildings that have been built in traditional Maltese style with tuff stones as the main building materials.
16. Visit The Great Siege Tunnels
The Great Siege Tunnels were built by the Knights of St John to help them fight against the Ottoman Empire during the period of Malta's Great Siege. The tunnels were used by both sides during this time; they were used by both the Knights of St John and the Ottoman Empire, but they mostly served as an escape route for both sides during these times.
Top Things To Eat in Malta
Pastizzi are a pastry snack that are unique to Malta and can be found in most bakeries or food stalls around the islands. They're a little like savory pastries and they're stuffed with either ricotta or mushy peas.
Biriġi are meatballs made from beef, pork or chicken and are then fried in oil with garlic, onions and other spices. They're served with pasta and potatoes as part of a traditional Maltese meal, but you can also find them on their own as a snack food.
Klibghejja is an all time favorite in Malta, it's similar to pizza but instead of being topped with tomato sauce it's covered in a sweet cheese called gbejna, which is made from sheep's milk. The cheese is often flavored with mint leaves or rosemary for extra flavor.
Ghag is a traditional Maltese stew made from meat and vegetables. It's usually served with Maltese bread and potatoes.
Bajjeli is a very popular dish in Malta, it's basically a plate of pasta with a variety of different meats and vegetables mixed in it, as well as an egg on top. It's served with Maltese bread and potatoes.
6. Pasta tal-Pardija
Pasta tal-Pardija is one of the most famous dishes to have in Malta, it's basically pasta topped in tomato sauce, topped with butter and parmesan cheese and sometimes meatballs or lentils are added to the mix as well! It's often served with Maltese bread and potatoes.
7. Zucchina alla Pizzaiola
Zucchina alla Pizzaiola is another dish that you'll find all over Malta but it also has its own special name depending on where you're from, for example in Gozo it's known as zucchino alla pizzaiola. It's basically a dish of pasta, tomato sauce and cheese all covered in melted mozzarella cheese. It's really good!
8. Zucchina tal-Paglia
Zucchina tal-Paglia is another pasta dish that's very popular in Malta, it's basically a mix of pasta noodles, meat and tomato sauce topped with cheese.
9. Lalli Tal-Sirjiet
Lalli Tal-Sirjiet is a traditional Maltese dessert made from ricotta and almond milk, it usually has some sort of fruit on top like strawberries or raspberries and sometimes nuts are added as well! It's really good!
Malta is a small country but there are lots of fun things to do and great things to eat. I hope you have a wonderful visit to Malta and please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.