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 Malta is the whole Mediterranean in a small country. A trip there implies a return to the Middle Ages, when there were still true Knights in armor and Witches of the Round Table. On its streets you will discover remnants of the long Arab rule, remnants of Roman buildings, the imprint of the Knights of St. Influences from Algiers and North African countries, touches from French conquerors and British rule, but also strong influences, mainly on food, from neighboring Sicily. Colorful houses, picturesque neighborhoods, attractive fishing villages, medieval towns, beaches with turquoise waters and geological phenomena, will maintain the interest of every type of traveler undiminished.

A few words about the country

 Malta, or officially the Republic of Malta, is a small and densely populated island state consisting of an archipelago of seven islands in the middle of the Mediterranean. It is located just south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, being a bone of contention for many conquerors over the centuries. Each of them, left on the island its own mark, and so today a visit to Malta looks like a journey through time. Malta has been a member of the European Union since 2004, being the smallest country in the union both in population (475,701 inhabitants) and in area (316 sq km), while considered one of the most multicultural countries in the world. So I will try to introduce you to the island of Knights through my own eyes and share with you what I think should be seen by someone who visits it for the first time.


 Valletta is the capital of Malta and the point that attracts the greatest tourist interest of the country. It is located in the central eastern part of the island and the population of its historical center amounts to 6,098 inhabitants, while the wider metropolitan area hosts about 368,250 inhabitants. Its history dates back many centuries, as it is said that it was founded by the Knights of the order of St. John of Jerusalem during the reign of the Grand Master of the order Jean Parisot de la Valette (hence the name of the city) in 1566.

 The first thing you see coming to Valletta is the very impressive fountain of Triton (Il-Funtana tat-Tritoni). It is a monumental fountain, consisting of three Tritons, holding a large basin. It was initially constructed from 1952 to 1959, while in its current form it exists only from 2018! This particular attraction actually marks the entrance to the Old Town of Valletta, since a few meters further there is the City Gate. Passing through the gate you will come across a magnificent building, built only in 2015, which is none other than the Parliament of Malta (Parlament ta' Malta). This building of Renzo Piano stands out because of its modern architecture, which contrasts with the general picture of the country. Equally interesting are the huge stairs right and left of the building, which are an ideal spot for photos.

 Next stop should be the Baraka Gardens (Upper Barakka Gardens). It is one of the ideal places for walking with the panoramic view to the port of the city, which is one of the largest and deepest ports in the world. The garden until 1824 was part of a larger fortification structure, which was under the ownership of the Italian Knights and carried a total of 18 cannons. From this feature arises and the name that keeps to this day, while twice a day at 12 and 4 in the afternoon, symbolic cannonading takes place.

upper barakka gardens2

 Another very impressive building in Valletta is the Cathedral of St. John (Kon-Katidral ta'an). It is a Roman Catholic co-cathedral, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which was built by the order of St. John between 1572 and 1577. And if you are impressed by its external appearance, then for sure its interior will leave you speechless. The frescoes that cover most of the church stand out for their style, their theme and their artistic level attracting numerous visitors every year. Side of the temple you will also find the museum which includes many exhibits of the medieval era and several relics that come from the temple itself. Admission costs 10e.

 Perhaps the building with the most representative examples of architecture that characterize the city is the Grandmaster's Palace. It is an imposing Palace founded by the Grand Master in 1566 and symbolized the triumphant outcome of the Great Siege of Malta, which took place in 1565. Over the centuries it received several modifications and improvement interventions, while at the same time it was the residence of each governor and until 2015 it housed the Parliament of the country. With the entrance, which costs 10e, you will have the opportunity to admire several "royal" halls, with the most impressive that of the Arsenal, with the best collections of weapons of the Knights.

 In addition, you should not skip a visit to the Casa Rocca Piccola. It is an elegant mansion with about 50 rooms, which will take you back in time and reveal you the image of the Maltese mansions of the past. The entrance costs 9e with a guided tour in English, and you will be welcomed by the luscious colorful parrot called KIKU.

 Last but not least, I left the Fort of Saint. Elmo, which also houses the National War Museum. A large part of the museum is in an open place, with incredible sea views, while its interior does not go back, with the halls for the two world wars stealing the show. And in this attraction the entrance costs 10e.

Mdina & Rabat

 The medieval former capital of Malta, Mdina, is one of the most charming places in the country. It is located in the center of the island and the permanent residents of the city barely reach 300, giving it the nickname "the silent city". ". You will discover all the beauty of Mdina by wandering among its beautiful medieval alleys or enjoying a carriage ride, listening to stories from the guides. You should not miss a visit Parish Church of St Paul, entrance costs 10e and the Palazzo Falson, while you will also find many small scattered museums for every taste.


 A brief walk from Mdina you will find Rabat, which means suburb in Arabic, known in Roman times as Melita. This city is still a large commercial center of the region, with a population of 11,497 inhabitants, while it is no coincidence the fact that it has the same name as the city of Morocco, as the Arab element prevails everywhere. Tourist attractions here include the cave of St. Paul (Grotto of St. Paul), where the saint lived during his stay in Malta, the Roman villa (Domus Romana), where you will see how the Romans lived during their rule on the island, the catacombs of the 3rd century AD and the World War II shelters.


 Marsaslokk is a traditional fishing village in southeastern Malta with a population of 3,534 inhabitants. The name of the village comes from the Arabic marsa meaning port and the Maltese xlokk, which is a local name for the word southeast wind. Characteristic of Marsaslokk are the traditional double-walled fishing boats (luzzu), resistant to bad weather, painted with vivid colors and with a pair of eyes on the right and left of the bow (as in ancient Greek ship representations). These boats are thought to have a design originating from Malta's Phoenician past. It is worth visiting this area every Sunday, where you will find the traditional fish market of the city, with an abundance of fresh seafood such as grouper, mullet, dolphin fish, swordfish and of course, the traditional local lambuki fish.

 And since you are in Marsaslok it is assumed that you will take a walk by St. Peter’s Pool. It is a natural swimming pool, created between some flat rocks of six meters, ideal for sunbathing and diving in the green waters. Getting there is somewhat difficult since there is no car that could reach it, but the scenery will compensate you.

saint peters pool

St. Julian

 The district of St. Julian is the place where the heart of the country beats. So it is famous for its vibrant nightlife and in the evenings you will find, outside the nightclubs and bars, many young people, students and tourists. In most of them the entrance is free, and you will find the drinks at very good prices (average 3,5 E the drink!!). But beware as the whole situation is exploited by some ill-wishers, in order to extort you money. In the area there are also several cafes and pizzerias, restaurants with national cuisines, shopping centers, cinemas and other shops. Of course, the St. Julian is also worth visiting in the morning, as it is particularly beautiful, although less cosmopolitan than the rest of the island, with what stands out is, of course, the pier with the bridge and the word LOVE, as well as the Church of the homonymous saint (San Giljan Parish Church).

The Tree Cities

 One of the most authentic-fascinating locations in Malta is the so-called “Three Cities” and more specifically Vittoriasa or as the locals calls it Birgu, Senglea or L'isla and Cospicua or Bormla. They are essentially directly opposite Valletta, and it is difficult to tell where one ends and where the other begins. But they are very beautiful and offer a more local look of the country, away from the glitz of the capital and the countless tourists. The atmospheric alleys of all three are ideal for all-day (or all-night) walks, hiding small old wine bars and flowery courtyards behind imposing cathedrals and medieval fortresses. If you only have time for one, vitoriosa is the liveliest of the three, and the one that also hosts the impressive castle of Sant' Angelo, part of which is the present seat of the Order of Hospitallers!


Popeye Village

 An attraction different from the rest is the much photographed Popeye Village. This is basically the place where the movie "Popeye" was shot with Robin Williams in 1980 and which today functions as a theme park with the houses of the characters, imagine something like a little Disneyland. As you can see, if you are traveling with young children it is a "must" choice, but even older people can have a good time barbecuing and diving in its turquoise waters. If you still do not want to have fun with Popeye for hours, there are very nearby beaches in the northern part of the island that are worth a short excursion, such as Mellieha Bay (Għadira), Golden Bay and Paradise Bay near Ċirkewwa, where they leave the ferries to Gozo! The entrance to the village of Popeye costs 10.5e.

Gozo & Comino

 As I mentioned above Malta is an island state and consists of 7 more islands, with the two that are inhabited and worth visiting with a day trip, to be Gozo and Comino.

 The larger of the two is Gozo, which according to legend was the island where Calypso kept Odysseus for 7 years, preventing him from returning home. There it is worth visiting the Citadella, the castle town that rises above the capital Victoria, but also some remarkable churches, such as Ta' Pinu in Gharb, which stands out for its sculptures of Maltese stone. To the east of Gozo, the landscape changes and becomes wilder with crystal clear waters, with this most notable beach the Ramla Bay, famous for its sandy beach in shades of copper. Unfortunately the cinematic, as you may remember from Game of Thrones, Azure Window collapsed in 2017, but you can still swim in the Blue Hole, one of the top diving spots in the area.


 On the other hand, in the almost uninhabited Comino (it has only 3 permanent residents) pirates and smugglers used to hide, while today it is characterized by the locals as an earthly paradise. The truth is there you will not find impressive buildings and attractions, but the most stunning beach in the country is the Blue Lagoon, opposite the island of Cominotto. The scenery around is serene and decorated with mysterious caves, while it is ideal for swimming, water sports and picnics, but be careful when you go because if you arrive after 12, there is most likely not an inch to sit down.

Hagar Qim Temples

 Few people know that in Malta there are some temples made of limestone, which testify that there was life on the island from 5000 BC! The best preserved are those of the Шaġar Qim, described by the World Heritage Committee as "unique architectural masterpieces" and have been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. The spectacle is more impressive considering that the inhabitants at that time did not even have metal tools at their disposal (!) and that some of the stones reach 5 meters long and weigh over 50 tons! By entering the compared temple complex, which costs 9e, you will be able to walk among these prehistoric buildings and understand the way of life of the people of the time.

Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto, or as it is called in Maltese Taħt il-Шnejja, is a cluster of sea caves in the southwestern part of Malta, which should not be missing from your list. This popular area attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year, while tourists flock here to see the amazing caves through local boat trips. The position of the caves, combined with the rays of sunlight, present a phantasmagoric natural effect, creating mirroring with many blue, green and purple hues on the walls and ceilings of the caves. The area is also ideal for diving, snorkeling and rock climbing.

blue grotto

How to go

 Thessaloniki is connected by air to Malta and Luqa Malta International Airport, via Ryanair. With proper planning one can find tickets starting from 53€ round trip! Beyond that you can choose Aegean with a stopover in Athens, for a more comfortable flight, from 206 € round trip.

Where to stay

 Most travel guides recommend staying in the capital of Malta, Valletta or in the region of Sliema, and I do not blame them, as this is where the heart of the country beats. Of course, these two spots are also the most expensive places where you could stay, being the most tourist and popular. Therefore, since the distances are short, I would suggest staying in the coastal area of Kalkara, very close to the 3 cities, which is less touristic and obviously more economical. I personally recommend Villa Del Porto, a historic townhouse overlooking the city's Harbour, with spacious rooms and helpful staff.

How to move

 The most important thing to know about travel in Malta is that driving is from the left, a remnant of English rule on the island. So if you want to rent a car, you should keep this in mind, as well as the fact that the maximum speed limit is 80 km/h. Due to the compact size of the country, Malta has only buses as public transport, which, however, cover the whole island to a relatively satisfactory extent. The entrance to the buses is only from the front entrance and the exit only from the back, while tickets that cost 3e for the summer months (in winter the price is reduced 50%), have a validity of two hours and you can get them either from shops on the island or from the driver. Depending on how many times you use them, it would be wise to issue the unlimited travel card that costs 21e. If you do not want to get involved with local transport and do not want to rent a car, then I have the solution for you. I am referring to the Bolt application, which will allow you to call a driver in the place where he is, knowing from before the cost and time of the journey. Ultimately, for reference, taxis are relatively expensive, but you can find them in a street or stop them on the way. I would suggest avoiding white taxis, which don't have a taximeter and may charge you too much. If it’s your last solution, agree the price before going up.

What to eat

 Maltese cuisine is a mixture of Mediterranean, Arabic, Italian, English and other flavors, a result that comes from all the people who passed through the island. The meat preferred mainly in Malta is rabbit (fenek) fried or stewed, while many locals also eat horse. An excellent choice to try the country's trademark dish is the Palazzo Preca restaurant in the capital.

 Of course, as an island, Malta is famous for fish, which are served daily fresh throughout the island. A traditional seafood dish in Malta is the one with lampuki fish in soup, roast or in pie. The best seafood, however, will be found in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk and in the dozens of seaside taverns that strongly remind of Greece. I recommend Matthew's Restaurant.

 Also, in the island you will find everywhere pasta, pizza and fresh pastries! The most famous and yet most delicious are called Pastizzi and are small puff pies with ricotta, peas or chicken filling. The tastiest will be found at the Crystal Palace in the city of Mdina.

 You should also try Maltese wines, the local soft drink Kinnie and the traditional beer Cisk, while to sweeten yourself try the wonderful Cannoli, Pudina tal hobz (pudding), halva and the amazing Imqaret (stuffed pies).

 Finally, for burgers I recommend the Pulled Meat Company in Valletta and Sliema, for coffee and sweet Caffe Cordina in Valletta opposite the Church of St. John and for ice cream Amorino in Valletta and Sliema and Vanilla+ in Vitorria, Gozzo.

Useful information

malta info

In Malta we travel with a passport or a new type of Police ID, where the details are indicated in Latin characters.

In Malta the languages used are Maltese and English, so ask for clarifications in English.

The currency of the country is the euro.

Malta is an hour behind Greece (GMT +2).

Getting to and from Malta Airport is simple, since there are several buses X1, X2, X3 and X4 depending on the area you are.

The Greek Embassy in Malta is located in Valetta and more specifically at No 6 IR' Rampa Street, Ta'xbiex XBX and its telephone number is (+356) 273.20.888.

Driving in Malta is from the left.

The best period to visit Malta is either spring or autumn, as in the summer months the heat is sultry. It is said that there is sunshine on the island 300 days a year, but rains are a frequent weather phenomenon.


Recommended excursions → Gozo, Comino

malta lang eng



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