Malta is made up of three islands, the main one, also named Malta, and two smaller islands, Gozo and Comino. The waters around it are considered to be the cleanest and the clearest in the Mediterranean, but it offers a multitude of other reasons to visit, including these.
To Swim in The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a true slice of paradise found on Malta’s Comino Island. It’s a small bay with shallow, cerulean-hued waters that are renowned for snorkeling and diving. n fact, Comino and its lagoon are so jaw-droppingly beautiful that filmmakers have used it as a location for scenes in productions like the “Helen of Troy” mini-series as well as the movies “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Swept Away.” Home to just a handful of farmers, the island has no tarmacked roads, very few vehicles and offers a completely different change of pace from the islands of Malta and Gozo. It’s a true rocky wilderness, with jagged cliffs, sandy beaches, coves, creeks and a magnificent cave-filled coastline.
Because It’s Home to Some of the World’s Oldest Temples
The Megalithic Temples of Malta are among the oldest free-standing structures on the planet, and when walking through, they’re sure to take your breath away. The islands’ temples are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are among the very oldest stone buildings on Earth. Built between 3600 BC and 2500 BC, they are even much older than Stonehenge and significantly more sophisticated. They contain multiple rooms, roofs, flooring, monumental doorways, and stone furniture. Mnajdra and Hagar Qim are two of the most popular temple site to visit. At Mnajdra, there are three temples that sit adjacent to each other and the largest is typical in construction and layout. Hagar Qim is especially interesting as one of its prehistoric chambers contain an elliptical hole which is hewn out in alignment with the summer solstice sunrise. On the first day of summer as the sun begins to rise, its rays pass through the hole and illuminate a stone slab inside the chamber. The complex also features a visitor center and offers an audio guide which can be used to explore both sites.
To Discover Beautiful Beaches
Gorgeous beaches can be found throughout Malta, with some of the visitor favorites including Mellieha Bay, Golden Bay, Paradise Bay, and Ghajn Tuffieha. Ghajn Tuffieha is a real beauty, as a narrow stretch of red sand that’s far away from busy roadways and modern construction. The tranquil, uncrowded beach sits at the edge of a bay that’s protected and managed by an environmental organization which helps to keep it an idyllic stretch of sand for swimming or relaxing. From many of Malta’s beaches, you can snorkel among colorful fish in crystal clear waters, or take a dip inside one of the many epic rock caves. If you’re looking for something that’s particularly quiet, the island of Gozo offers a number of great options, some of which aren’t easy to find and therefore less likely to attract the crowds. Ask a local to direct you, or if you’re tech savvy, take a look at the satellite imaging on Google Maps and see if you can discover them on your own.
To Admire the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta
The Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta has served as Malta’s administrative center since the 17th century. The original palace, built in 1571, was the seat of the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of St John and later, during the British colonial period, it served as the Governor’s palace. Today it hosts the House of Representatives of Malta and the office of the President of the Republic of Malta. When not hosting functions of state, the grand halls on its first floor are open to the public. The Council Chamber houses a rare collection of exotic Gobelin tapestries depicting hunting scenes from different continents, while the State Dining Room is adorned with portraits of the Presidents of Malta and a painting of Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of Malta. The Supreme Council Hall features a cycle of 12 frescoes by Mattia Perez d’Aleccio which depict the Great Siege of 1565, and the Ambassador’s Hall and main corridors are lined with portraits of European monarchs and Grand Masters of the Order. Don’t miss the palace armoury, where the Age of Chivalry truly comes alive in one of the most prominent arms collections.
To Witness St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta
At Malta’s most impressive church, designed by the architect Gerolamo Cassar and built in the 16th century, you can discover some of the most beautiful tapestries and a whole lot more. This was the spot where knights would gather for communal worship, and each wall, pillar and rib is encrusted with rich ornamentation, which gives the effect of a dusty gold brocade. The interior was redone in the 17th century in exuberant Maltese baroque style. One of its greatest treasures of all is the is a huge painting of John the Baptist by Caravaggio. Angels, skeletons and other ethereal icons are inlaid with painstaking precision and artistry into the marble quadrangles of the floor, a distinct theme or message in each section. The 405 tombs represented make up a vibrant and festive procession that expounds upon both the inevitability of death and the rapture of the life beyond.
Because It’s a Seafood Lovers’ Paradise
Considering that this is an island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean, it’s really no surprise that there is lots of delicious, fresh seafood to be had, but Malta truly goes above and beyond. Seafood is a staple in the Maltese diet, and they do it very well. A bountiful selection of fresh seasonal fish is caught all year round, and you’ll find it served in many of the country’s restaurants. But if you really love seafood, you’ll want to be sure to visit the fishing village of Marsaxlokk where you’ll find the famous fish market offering a very impressive array of freshly caught seafood at a surprisingly reasonable price.
To Recreate Your favorite ‘Game of Thrones’ Scenes
If you’re a “GOT” fan, you’re probably aware that Malta has been used as a setting for a number of scenes, particularly the winding, cobbled backstreets in the capital , which served as the setting for several King’s Landing scenes. The most striking filming location is arguably the 17th-century Fort Ricasoli, which doubled as the Red Keep and can be viewed across the Grand Harbour from the gorgeous Upper Barrakka Gardens. The fort was also used in a number of movies like “Troy,” “Gladiator,” and “Assassin’s Creed.” If the site is in use. you may not be allowed close-up access to the King’s Landing gate, with its stunning plaited pillars, but you can still get fairly close via boat – hire a “dghajsa,” a refurbished 200-year-old water taxi that makes for an unforgettable adventure.
To Take a Selfie On the Azure Window
The Azure Window can be found on Gozo Island. This natural limestone arch that soars over crystal clear waters not only starred in “Game of Thrones,” but it’s one of the most iconic sights in all of Malta. The nearly 100-foot-high rock formation is surrounded by an unusual, alien-like honeycomb of stone, punctured with small pools of cerulean water. If you’re adventurous, you can even scramble up to the top and take what will likely be one of the most impressive selfies you’ve ever captured.
To Visit the Maltese Bakeries
Malta is famous for its bread. Baking is something of a national specialty, with especially delicious local bread, and a fresh crusty loaf, thickly sliced, will invariably be served as an appetizer to most meals. You’ll also find bakeries in every village – if you want a savory snack to take along on our exploration, ask for a hobz, or a small, soft roll – many come served with herbs, onions and tomatoes and are especially tasty.
To Experience The Nightlife
Malta’s nightlife is always lively, with lots of clubs, wine bars and restaurants. It’s mostly centered around Paceville and St Julian’s, where you’ll find discos, lounge bars and casinos. The country often attractions some of the biggest names in the international club scene, like Carl Cox, Paul van Dyke, Ferry Corsten and Tiësto too.