Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. But even though it isn't very large it has a great history. Therefore, it is often described as a large open-air museum. The capital as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as a former European Capital of Culture shows the rich history and culture of the Island.
Apart from all that, it is a perfect destination for a summer holiday. The climate of the island is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea and the nice bays and crystal-clear waters are the postcard motif of Malta.
The archipelago consists of three islands. The main island is Malta. North of that is the island of Gozo, and the small island in between, which is called Comino. All Maltese Islands offer a wide ranch of historical sights and different outdoor activities.
The historical monuments and its Mediterranean atmosphere make the island also a popular film location for movies and tv series. For example, Troy, Gladiator, or Game of Thrones.
The capital of Malta is Valletta. It is also UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is called The Fortress City and it is home to 320 monuments in an area of just 55 hectares. According to UNESCO, it makes Valletta one of the "most concentrated historical areas around the world". The small capital hides numerous historical attractions. These include the Palace of the Grand Masters and St. John's Co-Cathedral
Valletta was a European Capital of Culture in the year 2018. And if you wonder why Valletta received this title? Because Valletta was already on the UNESCO list at that time, and apart from this, she is rich in history and full of Baroque architectural beauty.
The typical scenery of Malta are the streets with the colorful balconies of Valletta. You can find them in the center of the capital and the surrounding area. The oriental balconies are very small and probably more like bay windows. They are called Gallarija and can be traced back to the Turkish-Ottoman influence in Malta. It is believed that this type of balcony originated in North Africa, as they are reminders of those in Morocco.
Otherwise, check out the Jurassic World 3 movie, maybe you can spot them there too.
Aside from the historical sights, the city offers a nice cultural program. There are different plays and concerts, that can be visited. The Valletta City Theater and The Manoel Theatre are worth mentioning here. But some events even take place on the streets.
The capital Valletta is only about 80 hectares in size and even counts as the smallest capital of Europe. But if you look at Malta on a Google map, you can easily get the impression that the island's capital is much larger.
But this impression is misleading because the area around Valletta consists of several smaller cities. Among them are three cities that are particularly worth seeing. They are called, the tree Cities of Malta. Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua.
The medieval town of Mdina is a real gem. It is believed that Mdina is over 3000 years old. It was also once the capital of Malta. However, today the city is home to only about 300 inhabitants. The city itself is very small and therefore you will be able to explore everything on foot. But you should take a little more time to discover the narrow winding streets. The beautiful buildings and the medieval atmosphere are worth a visit.
Mdina is also called the City of Silence and walking through this town is like taking a step back in time. It is also a car-free city, which is perfect for exploring history in its cobbled streets. The town itself sits on a 190-meter-high hill and from there you will have a great view of its surroundings.
A truly impressive sight is the cathedral. The special thing about this building is, that the dome of the cathedral is the third largest in the world. Apart from that, the big city gate may look familiar to some Game of Thrones fans. Because the gate is the entrance gate to King's Landing.
The best time to visit the city is in the late afternoon after all day tours for tourists are over.
Mellieha is a Town north of Valletta and has the largest beach on the whole island. Which makes it a popular tourist spot. There are also stalls with snacks, drinks, and food. It is as well a location for hotels and vacation resorts.
The red tower of St. Agatha is a colorful fortress with 4 towers. It is best known for its distinctive red color. The fortress Is not far from Mellieha and its beach. The tower was restored some time ago and repainted with striking red paintwork. The complex was built in 1648 by Johannitern. The walls of the fortress are up to four meters thick and there used to be a drawbridge to keep enemies away. The fortress was equipped with cannons and soldiers to protect the coast from pirates.
In the tower, there is a small museum where you can learn more about the tower and its history. The ticket for the fortress and the museum costs 2€. For anyone who does not have a rental car, the tower can also be reached by bus. The bus stop is Qammieh.
3-hour guided walking tours of Valletta are also available for those interested.
The Popeye village in Malta is the place where the well-known Popeye film was filmed almost 40 years ago. It is found about two kilometers from the city of Mellieħa. In Anchor Bay, a theme park was created from the old film set in 1979. And today it is a popular destination, especially for families. The complex consists of colorful stilt huts, all of which can be visited. In addition, you can also see all kinds of film props and the costumes of the actors.
The site also includes a beach with sun loungers and a restaurant. In the bay, water trampolines were distributed in the sea so that the fun is not neglected. Admission ranges from 9€ to 17€ depending on the season and age of the visitors.
Golden Bay is a picturesque sandy beach and very popular for swimming and snorkeling. After Mellieha Bay, it is the second most popular beach in Malta. It is found in the northwest part of Malta. You can reach the bay by public transport. The bus stop is just a few minute's walk away. From Valletta and the surrounding cities, it will take around 30 minutes to go there.
The beach is not too crowded. And the fine sand goes shallow into the water, making it perfect for families with children. The area is equipped with changing rooms and free showers. If you want to borrow an umbrella is about 8 euros. And Food is also taken care of. On the way down to the beach, there is also a bar and numerous food stalls. Above the Bay is a Hotel. The Radisson Golden Sands Hotel provides top-quality accommodation and fine dining experiences.
This area of Malta is an almost unspoiled and undeveloped countryside. But therefore, you will find here fewer resort hotels and restaurants. From the cliffs that line the bay, you can watch stunning sunsets. Continuing south from Golden Bay you will find two more beautiful sandy beaches, Ghajn Tuffieha and Gnejna beach.
In the north of Malta lies the small island of Gozo. The island is by ferry one is half an hour away. On the island, you can experience original Malta. Victoria is the capital and at the same time the only city on the whole island.
Otherwise, Gozo is home to small settlements and historical sites. Gozo is home to some of the oldest manufactured structures in the world. This includes, for example, the temple complex in Ggantija. There is a ferry connection between Malta and Gozo. In summer, it runs every 45 minutes between the towns of Cirkewwa (Malat) and Mgarr (Gozo).
Gozo offers a wide range of tours and activities like boat tours, kayak trips or tuk-tuk trips.
In Malta there are not too many sandy beaches, you will find stony beaches and beautiful bays. You should probably put on bathing shoes there. On Gozo there is hardly any sand beach but the is Ramla Bay is one of them. This Natural sand beach offers fine orange-colored sand and crystal-clear water. At the beach, there are some food and ice cream stands.
The Tal-Mixta Cave sits on a hill above Ramla Bay. When you climb up to the Tal-Mixta Cave from there you will have a nice panoramic view of the Ramla Bay beach. It is an amazing natural sight, and Instagram worthy, but the cave is not well known. Both the cave and the beach are nearby the city of Nadur and about 2 km from Xaghra. The cave is accessible on foot and worth a short but easy hike.
Malta consists of three inhabited islands and Comino is the smallest of them. The island is just over a square mile in size. It is found halfway between Malta and Gozo. From Gozo, it can be reached in just 10 minutes by boat. From Malta, it takes about 25 minutes by ferry. Comino is also worth a visit for history buffs. There is a watchtower from the 17th century which was also used as a prison. If you want to have it a little scarier, you can visit the isolation hospital of Comino. In the 19th and 20th centuries, plague and cholera patients were accommodated there. Later, the isolation hospital was also used as a prison.
The island is almost uninhabited. Only one family lives on Comino. It is the home of the Vella family. And now the family is also internationally known. The beautiful island is also a destination for adventure seekers. That's why you can always meet campers on Comino. Camping is possible all year round. However, it is only allowed in the designated camping zones.
Comino is also a popular film location. In addition to a 2004 film adaptation of the Count of Monte Christo, scenes for the film Troy with Brad Pitt were filmed here.
Otherwise, you can find beautiful bays on the island, like the Blue Lagoon. However, if you are not interested in swimming, you can also make a diving trip. Boats or organized tours can be booked for this purpose. A total of 12 recognized boat dive sites around Comino can be visited.
The Blue Lagoon is in Comino. It is the top attraction of the small island. The white sand and turquoise waters make the Blue Lagoon a tourist magnet. Just so you are prepared, it can get very crowded. At the Lagoon, there are sun loungers and sun umbrellas. There are also Snack stands that supply food and drinks. Cold soft drinks can be bought at kiosks.
Right next to Comino is Cominotto. It is an even smaller island. Here are a beautiful sandy beach and crystal-clear waters. If you are looking for a little more peace and quiet, you can visit the two bays. San Niklaw Bay and Santa Marija Bay.
The impressive megalithic temples dating back to 3,600 BC are another of Malta's attractions. The prehistoric temples are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ggantija Temple is the oldest detached temple in Malta. On the grounds of the Ħaġar Qim Temple, statues of fat ladies have been excavated, which are among the most famous excavation pieces on the island. The temples of Mnajdra are considered one of the oldest religious sites in the world. The oldest temple buildings in Malta are the Ta' Ħaġrat Temple.
The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum complex is considered the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world. It is believed that the hypogeum was built between 3000 and 3600 BC. The underground labyrinth consists of halls and chambers connected by corridors. The cave structure was carved by hand the rock and extend over 500 square meters. The hypogeum extends to three levels. And it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The archaeological site was discovered in 1902. But only years later restored with the help of UNESCO funds. If you want to visit the Hypogeum, you have to book in advance, because only a total of ten visitors are allowed to take part in a guided tour.
In the southeast of Malta lies the traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk. The name is composed of the words marsa for port and xlokk for the southeast. At the time of the Phoenicians and Romans, the port was considered one of the most important in the region. The harbor is best known for its colorful Maltese fishing boats and is a popular tourist destination. And of course, a photo of all postcard motifs should not be missing. These typical colorful Luzzu boats are still mostly used for fishing today. But occasionally some boats have been converted for tourists.
The market of Marsaxlokk is also a popular destination for tourists. Every Sunday the market is open and offers a wide selection of locally caught fish and seafood. In addition, other local specialties such as honey, fruit jams, and wine are also offered. In addition, at the Marsaxlokk market, you can still find articles on daily life and clothing. At the Sunday market, souvenir hunters can also find what they are looking for.
The Azure Window, which may know from Game of Thrones, collapsed in 2017 during a major storm. After this natural wonder was unfortunately destroyed, the Blue Grotto may be a good replacement.
Along the south coast of Malta, there are 7 caves. The Blue Grotto is whit its 30 meters the largest and the most beautiful of the caves. It is known for its amazingly clear and light blue water. But also, the six smaller caves all have this azure to turquoise blue colored water. The special thing about the caves is that the seabed here consists of white sand. And on sunny days the blue sky is reflected in it. This is how the beautiful deep blue coloring of the water comes about.
The complex got its name from its famous brother on Capri in Italy. The explorer compared the caves to the Grotta Azzurra which means Blue Grotto. You can reach the grotto with small traditional fisherman's boats. A trip is possible in good weather and costs approx. 8 €.
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