Known as the azure of the Mediterranean with it’s mellow honey-coloured limestone which characterises the architecture, clear skies, colourful fiestas and wealth of historical attractions, the Maltese Islands are a feast for the senses.
Between one region and another, one can sense the difference! With over 7000 years of history and host to three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Maltese islands have been described as one big open-air museum. What makes them unique is that so much of their past is visible today and wherever you go, the Islands’ scenery and architecture provide a spectacular backdrop. The narrow meandering streets of Malta’s ancient towns and villages are crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces, while the countryside is dotted with the oldest known structures in the world.
The North, the most rugged of all Malta’s regions, offering spectacular views across to Comino and Gozo. It also has Malta’s most established beach and holiday resorts, Buġibba, Qawra, St. Paul’s Bay, and Malta’s largest sandy beach at Mellieħa including other larger sandy bays, Golden Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa and Paradise Bay.
Sliema and St. Julian’s are Malta’s main coastal resort towns and a heartland for shopping, entertainment and café life. They also house some of Malta’s newest hotels and apartments. Also, St. Julian’s and Paceville are Malta’s main nightlife areas.
The South is characterised by its fishing villages and quiet bays. It offers an authentic insight into Maltese rural life.
It is also the location of two of Malta’s prehistoric temples, Ħagar Qim and Mnajdra.
Central Malta is dominated by Malta’s ancient capital, Mdina, a near perfect example of a medieval walled town. Beyond the walls lies Rabat; a large town of Roman origin.
Malta is best seen and appreciated by sea. There are a number of spots around the Maltese Islands that are reachable only by sea.
Malta's capital city and the southernmost capital of Europe. Its 16th-century buildings were constructed by the Knights Hospitaller. The city was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Valletta's fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtain and cavaliers, along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname Superbissima – Latin for "Most Proud".
The history of Mdina traces back more than 4000 years. According to tradition it was here that in 60 A.D. that the Apostle St. Paul is said to have lived after being shipwrecked on the Islands. Furthermore it is said that St. Paul resided inside the grotto know as Fuori le Mura (outside the city walls) now known as St. Paul's Grotto in Rabat. Lamp lit by night and referred to as "the silent city", Mdina is fascinating to visit for its timeless atmosphere as well as its cultural and religious treasures.
The Three Cities offer an intriguing insight into Malta and its history. Their harbour inlets have been in use since Phoenician times: the docks always providing a living for local people, but also leaving them vulnerable when Malta's rulers were at war. As the first home to the Knights of St. John, the Three Cities' palaces, churches, forts and bastions are far older than Valletta's.
Boat trips visiting the caves leaving every day, all year round (weather permitting).
Scuba diving on the Um El Faroud scuttled wreck, snorkelling on the coastline walls and rock climbing are the most popular activities practiced here. Kindly note that it is always recommended to have an instructor or be guided by a local.
Built in around 1614 to designs of Tommaso Dingli. The design of the present church is based on the Pantheon in Rome and at one point had the third largest unsupported dome in the world. The church narrowly avoided destruction during World War II since on 9 April 1942 a German aerial bomb pierced the dome and fell into the church during Mass but failed to explode. This event was interpreted by the Maltese as a miracle.
Combine Maltese Folklore Dinner Show at a restaurant just opposite the Mosta Dome. More information found here
Caravaggio's painting The Beheading of St John lays within this cathedral; a gem of Baroque art and architecture, built as the conventual church for the Knights of St John. The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art.
A small, traditional fishing village in the South Eastern part of Malta. A tourist attraction known for its views, fishermen and history. The village is also known for the Marsaxlokk Market, which is mainly a large fish market which takes place along the seafront on Sundays, and a tourist market during all other days of the week.
Popeye Village Malta has grown from its days as a Film Set of the 1980 Musical Production 'Popeye' into one of the major tourist attractions on the Maltese Islands filled with a number of colorful fun activities for all young and young at heart. Open all year round.
The temple of Ħaġar Qim stands on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Fifla, not more than 2km south-west of the village of Qrendi. At the bottom of the hill, only 500m away, lies another remarkable temple site, Mnajdra found above the Southern cliffs. The surrounding landscape is typical Mediterranean garigue and spectacular in its starkness and isolation.
Għar Dalam’s relevance as a prehistoric site was discovered in the latter half of the 19th Century with a series of excavations unearthing animal bones as well as human remains and artifacts. The Cave is a highly important site for its Palaeontology, archaeology and ecology.
Mnajdra is found in an isolated position on a rugged stretch of Malta’s southern coast overlooking the isle of Fifla. It is some 500m away from Ħaġar Qim Temples. It consists of three buildings facing a common oval forecourt. The first and oldest structure dates to the Ġgantija phase (3600 – 3200 BC).
The State Rooms are the show piece of the Presidential Palace sited at the heart of Malta’s World Heritage capital city of Valletta. The Palace itself was one of the first buildings in the new city of Valletta founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette in 1566 a few months after the successful outcome of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.
The Palace Armoury is one of the world’s largest collections of arms and armour that is still housed in its original building. The Knights of St John were a unique brotherhood of resolute warrior monks.
Hosted by Fort St Elmo, the National War Museum houses a superb collection of items which takes us back to prehistoric times. Artefacts are displayed in chronological order, commencing from the early phases of the Bronze Age around 2,500 B.C.
The National Museum of Archaeology is housed in the Auberge de Provence, in Republic Street, Valletta. The building, an example of fine Baroque architecture, was built in 1571 and followed a plan by local architect Ġilormu Cassar.
The Borġ in-Nadur prehistoric site, which was in use during both the Temple Period(3,600-2,500 B.C.) and the Bronze Age (2,400-700B.C.), boasts a unique location situated between two valleys with the sea to its front.
Malta's National Community Art Museum: The collection is laid out in sections inspired by stories grouped into four main themes being The Mediterranean, Europe, Empire and The Artist.
Fort St Angelo’s intrinsic value for the Maltese Islands and their people knows no comparison. It may not be the oldest, grandest or finest stronghold, but it surely is the boldest memorial of the strategic importance of these tiny islands and of the innumerable lives sacrificed for their dominion since time immemorial.
The Tarxien Temples site consists of a complex of four megalithic structures built between 3600 and 2500 BC and re-used between 2400 and 1500 BC. Discovered in 1913 by local farmers, the site was extensively excavated between 1915 and 1919, with a number of minor interventions carried out in the 1920s, by Sir Themistocles Zammit, Director of Museums at the time.
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is an underground prehistoric burial site. Discovered in 1902 during construction works, the site was first excavated by Fr Emmanuel Magri between 1904 and 1906. Fr Magri died in Tunisia and his excavation notes have been lost. Excavations were taken over by Sir Themistocles Zammit, who continued works until 1911.
Discovering 7,000 years is easier than you might think. The Maltese Islands are really one big heritage park. There are open-air sites and indoor museums for every historical era - from Prehistory to World War II.
The Knights of St. John were great patrons of the arts and during their 250 years rule left a legacy of masterpieces which can be found in museums, palaces and churches right across the Islands.
The islands' museums have something for everyone - whether you're browsing just for leisure or wish to deepen a special interest. You will find magnificent Baroque architecture and sacred art treasures and get a glimpse into the spectacular history of the islands.
With their deep colours and rugged landscape, the Maltese Islands have long inspired artists, photographers and sculptors, both local and foreign. Some of these are exhibited in various galleries, including works by some excellent contemporary artists. The Spazju Kreattiv at St. James Cavalier in Valletta, showcases their work, whilst other venues, such as the National Museum of Archaeology hold regular exhibitions of art, sculpture and ceramics.
MALTA: Rabat: Domus Romana, Wignacourt Museum
Birzebbugia: Ghar Dalam
Zurrieq: Hagar Qim
Valletta: St. John's co-Cathedral & Museum, National Museum of Archaeology, Fort St Elmo - National War Museum, The Palace State Rooms, Malta Postal Museum, Manoel Theatre, Casa Rocca Piccola, St. James Cavalier, Palace Armoury, Valletta Contemporary, MUZA
Attard: Malta Aviation Museum
Naxxar: Palazzo Parisio
Mdina: Cathedral Museum
GOZO: Inquisitors Palace, Malta War Museum, Malta Maritime Museum, Museum of Archaeology, Museum of Natural Science, Old Prison
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