15 of the Best Places to Visit in Malta

What you should not miss in Malta?

Valletta, Malta by Ferenc Horvath via Unsplash

Awesome Places to Visit in Malta

A romantic walk by the sea and shore? An educational view of ancient monuments? A casual stroll through the medieval city of Valletta? Or perhaps, you want to live your dreams as a movie star in sets such as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘Game of Thrones, or the ‘Gladiator’?

Rich with history and iconic modern sights, Malta is a small Mediterranean island east of Tunisia and south of Sicily. With its crystalline shores and white sandy beaches, Malta is known for its breathtaking landscapes, often hailed as a film studios haven for its ancient monuments steeped with history and coupled with a pleasantly sunny disposition. Be enticed by the sights and scenes that Malta has to offer, and let us peruse through breathtaking Malta.

Valletta! The Capital City of Malta

Valletta, Malta by Ferenc Horvath via Unsplash
Valletta, Malta by Ferenc Horvath via Unsplash

One of the hottest spots to stroll through, Valletta is the beautiful capital city of Malta that holds numerous historical connections with one of modern Europe’s greatest military and moral forces and a considered a European Art City and World Heritage City.

In Valletta, just by walking, one could find an interesting historical site around every corner: votive statues, niches, fountains, and coats of arms high up on parapets, and for those on the hunt for hidden gems, the more narrow side streets hold hidden treasures in quaint little shops and cafes. While for shopaholics, all around the main streets are littered with larger international branded shops for fashion, music, and jewelry, and so much more.

Megalithic Temples of Malta

Megalithic Temples complex on Gozo in Malta by Bs0u10e01 via Wikipedia CC
Megalithic Temples complex on Gozo in Malta By Bs0u10e01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Malta is known for its prehistoric monuments, which are hailed for their outstanding variety in its structure and decorations. A must-see for those attracted to the marks of the past, these beautifully aged buildings bring with them the history of the 4th millennium BC and the 3rd millennium BC.

It is also known as one of the earliest freestanding buildings globally and dubbed a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Megalithic Temples hold a charm that can only be cultivated by years of history passed down from our predecessors whose minds bore fruit to the complex, architecturally unique, technological advancements.

Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Valletta by Hajotthu via Wikipedia CC
Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Valletta By Hajotthu – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

For the Catholics seeking to find a place for their Sunday church routine, fear not and put your faith in the loving presence of God in the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Known as a World Heritage site, the Basilica was the first church dedicated to the Annunciation.

It had been damaged during the Second World War but was rebuilt and consecrated into what we know now as the oval dome that dominates the skyline and Marsamxett Harbour. If you’re not as religious, feel free to tour (respectfully, of course) around and view the main attraction, which is the painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

Upper Barrakka Gardens by Robin and Bazylek via Wikipedia CC
Upper Barrakka Gardens By Robin and Bazylek – originally posted to Flickr as The Upper Barrakka Gardens, CC BY 2.0, CC

Separated by the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, both holding very different purposes and very different ambiances. The Upper Barrakka Garden, the more well-known of the sisters, once served as a private garden to exercise in for the knights of the Langue of Italy.

It is now known for its beautiful panoramic view of the Harbour and its historical busts and statues found in the garden itself in modern-day Malta.

Lower Barrakka Gardens

Lower Barrakka Gardens by Simon Slator via Wikipedia CC
Lower Barrakka Gardens By Simon Slator – Own work, Public Domain, CC

Situated to observe the mouth of the Grand Harbour, the Lower Barrakka Gardens make for the perfect ship viewing experience. Although it’s not known as its sister garden, the Lower Barrakka Garden holds itself with a tranquil ambiance since there is less foo traffic.

Thus you can find yourself simply relaxing under a shaded bench, admiring all that it can offer as you take a moment of peace to enjoy the otherwise excitable disposition of Malta.

Comino Island

Comino Island, Malta by Egle Sidaraviciute via Unsplash
Comino Island, Malta by Egle Sidaraviciute via Unsplash

Once known as a refuge for pirates and smugglers of the Mediterranean, Comino Island has kept much of its natural beauty beside the addition of a handful of residents that live there. It is mostly celebrated for its bird sanctuary populations and its untouched beauty as a nature reserve.

This leads us to another point of interest, camping! Enjoy everything that nature can offer with the camping tours available and take an extended trip to fully immerse yourself and be one with the earth and sea. You must take a day or more to enjoy everything that is Comino Island, from its crystalline blue lagoon to the peaceful isolation from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon in Comino Island by Yulia K via Wikipedia CC
The Blue Lagoon in Comino Island by Yulia K via Wikipedia CC

Located in Comino Island, the Blue Lagoon is another picturesque sight to behold!

With its crystal clear, turquoise waters and daunting jagged cliffs, it’s perfect for your bucket-list trip to Comino Island for a quick swim or some photography through this majestic body of water.

Ghar Lapsi Malta

Ghar Lapsi Malta by Pierre Gorissen via Flickr CC
Ghar Lapsi Malta by Pierre Gorissen via Flickr CC

Have you ever wanted to try scuba diving for the first time but didn’t really have the means or any aesthetic incentive? Well, then Ghar Lapsi is right for you! With its crystal clear waters, and friendly marine life willing to share the experience with you, the Ghar Lapsi is both safe havens for beginner scuba divers.

As for the more experienced scuba divers, don’t fret, for if you are up for the challenge, make sure to take a deep dive into the stunning underwater caves that the Ghar Lapsi can offer.

Karwela Wreck Gozo

Karwela Wreck Gozo by Mal B via Flickr CC
Karwela Wreck Gozo by Mal B via Flickr CC

Another one for the history buffs out there is the Karwela Wreck near Gozo! Here you will find the beautiful majesty of a ship lost to time as seen by the numerous, large spiral tube worms in calm waters near the shipwreck.

Although the wreck itself holds much of a history to be discovered, it is also close to other wrecks such as the MV Xlendi and MV Cominoland; though admittedly, it is the most well known of the three.

Zurrieq Festa

Zurrieq Festa by Adam Burt via Flickr CC
Zurrieq Festa by Adam Burt via Flickr CC

The Madonna tal-Karmnu in Malta is very well known for its comical and civilized drama with its rival feast, Santa Karina. This long-standing practice allows bands and bars to engage with the crowds whilst they impassion and animate them.

Oftentimes, the youths passionately express their odes to their patron saint and, at times, do throw a few insults against their rival faction. There are no hard feelings at the end of the day, and if you find yourself in the middle of a quarrel between the two factions, saddle up, find a bar and enjoy the show.

Lija and Mqabba Festa

Mqabba Festa Malta
Mqabba Festa Malta

Fireworks are the highlight of any festival; the beauty and amazing sights of the exploding lights in the night sky in a foreign land can’t be any more romantic than what the Lija and Mqabba Festas can offer.

This is their forte, and so you won’t be disappointed if you choose to visit Malta during August when these festas are being held.

Mosta Festa

Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady by Frank vincentz via Wikipedia CC
Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady by Frank vincentz via Wikipedia CC

Another festa that occurs during the August season is the Mosta festa. If you’re new to the Malta festa scene and want to dip your toes into the festive fun, feel free to visit the Mosta Festa.

From festa banners decorating the streets to light strung up for some sparkle to the amazingly decorated Mosta Rotunda, you’ll really feel the festive feelings as you tour around the sights of the festival to see.

Troy filming sites

Fort Ricasoli by Trish Hartmann via Flickr CC
Fort Ricasoli by Trish Hartmann via Flickr CC

The Comino Islands were used as one of the main filming locations for the movie Troy in a small town called Mellieha and in the ever-popular Fort Ricasoli, where the city of troy was built on.

Gladiator filming sites

Another one for the books for the ever-iconic Fort Ricasoli where the Gladiator film was shot. This site is also another Game of Thrones film site, but this take number pays homage to the actor Oliver Reed who died moments after when he fell off a wagon in a local pub and before his fatal heart attack.

This fort is one of many, but this small trivia immediately can bring interest to any film enthusiast.

Game of Thrones filming sites

Mesquita Square by James Stringer via Flickr CCC
Mesquita Square by James Stringer via Flickr CCC

For all the film junkies out there, come forth to the sights and scenes of everything that is Malta, or should I say, Kings Landing?

From the Capital of the Seven Kingdoms to the backdrop of Ned Stark’s inevitable demise in Mesquita Square, you will find most of Game of Thrones: Season 1 ones filming sights in Malta, to be sure!

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