10 Reasons Why You Should ABSOLUTELY Visit Malta
Malta, the largest of the three islands which comprise the Maltese archipelago, is the destination where every holiday maker’s search for a dream vacation ends! Sitting pretty in the lap of the Mediterranean Sea, together with the two islands of Gozo and Comino, Malta is a visual delight. The brilliant blue of the sea provides a perfect backdrop for the honey colored limestone architecture which characterizes the place! Apart from its natural beauty, Malta has something in it for everyone.
The ideal choice for a family vacation, Malta has plenty of entertainment options for all age groups such as outdoor sports, carnivals and theatre. The city also boasts of a vibrant night life with many clubs, bars and restaurants.
A unique feature of Malta is that the islands are so steeped in their culture and heritage with several ancient forts, pre-historic temples and cathedrals all around, that they are often referred to as open air museums! Some of these places are the venues for not to be missed animated pageants where soldiers, noblemen and knights in shining armour re-enact scenes from their country’s history.
Indeed, Malta has so much to offer on its colorful and varied palate! That being said, here are 10 reasons to visit Malta, not that you need a reason!
Best Attractions in Malta
1. Experience the Pinnacle of Heritage and Culture in the Beautiful Cities of Malta
Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a magnificent city with a World Heritage tag. It is full of architectural masterpieces and. historical buildings. Not to be missed events in Valletta are the grand annual Carnival of masked dances and festivity held in February-March, and the spectacular fireworks contest held in April every year.
Also known as the Pinto Wharf, the Valletta Waterfront is a Baroque wharf, located in Floriana, Malta. Its 18th century buildings were originally stores and warehouses, but now the area has undergone considerable revamping and modernization. It has become a very ‘happening’ place with retail stores, restaurants and bars. A popular venue for events and concerts, the Malta Fireworks Festival also takes place here.
The city of Rabat in Malta is well known because of its catacombs which are a great attraction for visitors. Mdina, the ancient capital city, has stunning views and is full of architectural splendour. Besides these cities, every town and village in Malta has a patron saint, whose feast is celebrated with weeklong celebrations of revelry.
2. Soak in the Beauty of the Natural Wonders
Malta is truly blessed by the bounty of Nature! Lovers of nature are enthralled by the sheer beauty of the landscape with its contrasting colours of sea and sand, its coastal cliffs and lush green vales.
Unmatched as a real natural wonder, are the Blue Grotto Caves and Arch in the southern coast of Malta. A 30 meter high arch encloses a unique system of six caves which have been carved out by the erosive action of waves over many centuries.
Fantastic reflections of light inside these caves are created as orange, green and purple hues of the minerals in the surrounding rocks are reflected. This unparalleled spectacle of natural beauty can be seen daily from sunrise till afternoon.
The tiny island of Comino and its Blue Lagoon with sparkling aquamarine waters is another place of great natural beauty. It is indeed a haven for snorkelers, divers and windsurfers.
The Cominitto Cave, also known as Alex Cave, near the Blue Lagoon, is another interesting natural cave formation with a sandy floor and smooth sides.
A flat topped geological wonder called the Azure Window can be seen on the island of Gozo. This iconic natural wonder is a towering limestone structure which encloses an inland sea where scuba diving activities are popular.
3. Marvel over the Megalithic Temples
Enthusiasts of history are not disappointed either in Malta, as they have a plethora of attractions waiting for them, such as the Megalithic Temples.
The seven World Heritage Megalithic Temples of Malta include the two Ggantija temples, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Skorba, Ta Hagrat and Tarxien. These are all pre-historic monuments built during the 3rd and 4th century BC and have tremendous universal value.
The Ggantija temples in Gozo, are huge Bronze Age structures which are even older than the Pyramids of Egypt!
The Hagar Qin, Mnajdra and Tarxien temples in Malta are unique in their design and construction. Known to be the oldest free standing stone buildings on earth, these architectural marvels exhibit a very high level of workmanship.
4. Revel in the Delights of the Prehistoric Attractions
Wikimedia/Hamelin de Guettelet
The greatest testimony to the rich historical legacy of Malta is the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola. This is the oldest and only underground temple and burial site of its kind in the world containing the remains of more than 7000 bodies. Universally acknowledged as a unique specimen of prehistoric construction and engineering, the three levels deep hypogeum is a maze of passages and chambers carved from solid rock.
Another interesting prehistoric relic is the Ghar Dalam, which means Cave of Darkness. This cave contains the skeletal remains of animals which subsequently became extinct in Malta by the end of the Ice age. This site also contains the earliest evidence of human settlement some 7000 years ago.
5. Get Enthralled By the Magnificence of the Majestic Forts
Flickr/Leandro Neumann Ciuffo
Malta has such a rich legacy of forts, that it is sometimes known as a Fortress Town! These fortifications date back from the period of the Knights to the British era. The most remarkable specimen of Malta’s military architecture is Fort Saint Angelo, which stands on the site of an earlier fortified Roman settlement.
Fort Rinella is a must visit site as it contains one of the two surviving Armstrong 100 tons surviving guns. A military pageant re-enacting British soldiers takes place here every day, along with live firing of historic artillery and cavalry.
Fort Saint Elmo in Valletta is another prominent fort built by the Knights to guard their harbours. Part of it now houses the National War Museum.
Other notable forts include Fort San Lucan, a large bastioned watchtower and Fort Manoel, an 18th century Baroque structure,
Yet another impressive fortification structure is Saint Agatha‘s Tower. Also known as the Red Tower, it provides an uninterrupted view of the islands of Comino and Gozo in the vicinity.
6. Admire the Architectural Brilliance of the Resplendent Palaces
With such a rich and varied history behind it, Malta can boast of some of the most beautiful palaces. Casa Rocca Piccola is a private palace which is open to the public for daily tours. A unique feature of this palace is the vast network of tunnels and alleys carved out of rock. It has a beautiful walled garden with orange trees.
The San Anton Palace is another resplendent building, which is the official residence of the President of Malta. It has both private and public parks. Anton Gardens is a public park with walkways passing through the gardens, with fountains and duck ponds adding to its beauty.
Also worth seeing is the impressive Verdala Palace which is the summer residence of the President of Malta.
A truly grand palace is the Grandmaster’s Palace. It was built as the official residence of successive Grandmasters, and now it serves as the office of the Maltese President.
Another wonderful palace is the Inquisitor’s Palace. Originally built as a court house during the 16th century, it has been converted into the National Museum of Ethnography.
7. Know the Interesting Aspects of Maltese History with a Tour of Its Captivating Museums
Although a small country, Malta has a rich historical and cultural heritage. Evidence of habitation can be traced to the Neolithic era, around 400 BC. It is this rich legacy which has been preserved through the various museums in the country.
The National War Museum is housed in Fort Saint Elmo in Valletta. It is one of the most visited museums in Malta. Its main collection is of artifacts from the Second World War, such as the wreckage from a crashed aircraft, trench mortars, machine guns and other weapons used in warfare.
The National Museum of Archaeology has a wonderful collection of exhibits which transport you to the Neolithic era, and give valuable information on the early settlements and their life style. The highlight of this museum is a 5000 year old statue of the ‘Sleeping Lady’. Also noteworthy are the mysterious ‘Fat Statues’ which have been discovered from the Neolithic temples, and the figure of the ‘embracing couple’, the only statue from that period, which depicts human emotion.
The National Museum of Fine Arts is a treasure trove of art and artistic achievements of the people of Malta. Paintings, marble, bronze and wooden statues, and exquisite silverware form a part of its priceless collection. Some of the best specimens of Baroque art are displayed here.
The National Museum of Natural History is fittingly housed in an 18th century Baroque palace called the Vilhena Palace. The museum has a vast collection of rock samples, birds, fish species, mammals and fossils.
The Malta Maritime Museum is located in the Old Navy Bakery, which has been restored to exhibit a collection of items which highlight the significance of seafaring in this island country.
8. Get Mesmerized By The Splendid Lineup Of Churches, Cathedrals And Catacombs.
Malta is literally dotted with churches and cathedrals! The Rotunda of Mosta is also an impressive Roman Catholic Church, whose rotunda is supposed to be the third largest in the world.
Not to be missed is Saint John’s Co-cathedral at Valletta, which is one of the best structures of Baroque architecture. It is ranked among the finest cathedrals in the world.
Another attraction is Ta’ Pinu in Goza. This is a Roman Catholic basilica and the national shrine of the Blessed virgin of Ta’ Pinu.
Visitors will be thrilled to find ancient catacombs here. Saint Paul’s Catacombs are a well spread system of underground galleries and tombs. Two of these catacombs are open for public viewing.
9. Splash Around In the Sparkling Beaches or Participate in Adventure Sports
Malta is a beach lover’s paradise. Indulge yourself in the unusual red sand, glistening golden sand, blue lagoons and rocky shores of this wonderful island, as Malta has them all!
The most popular beaches are in the northern part of the country. Mellieha Bay is Malta’s largest sandy beach, while Paradise Bay, with its bright blue water and golden sand is by far the best beach.
Golden Bay and the quieter Ghajn Tuffieha are also much visited and liked. To the west, is Fomm ir-Rih, a small bay with unusual vertical cliffs and a pebble beach.
The more secluded beaches are found in the island of Gozo. Ramla I-Hamra is a large red sand beach, while San Blas Bay is a small but pretty beach.
Undoubtedly, Blue Lagoon in Comino has the best azure water, and Saint Peter’s Pool in the southwest of Malta, is the most beautiful natural swimming pool with opportunities for snorkeling as well. Wied il–L-Ghasi, a narrow bay, is popular with divers who like to explore the underwater caves around it.
10. Enjoy an Unadulterated and Throbbing Night Life
Those who enjoy partying at night will find lots to cheer as the nightlife in Malta is bustling and full of life!
The coastal district of Paceville in the picturesque town of Saint Julians is the hub of nightlife in Malta. It has numerous bars, nightclubs, casinos, and cinema houses which make the night scene a lively affair. There is no dearth of seaside restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, both local and international, to provide gastronomical delights!
Well known as a party destination in Europe, Paceville is a popular haunt and indeed the place for holidaymakers seeking a vibrant night life!