The official Maltese tourism site makes visiting these beautiful items enticing. The islands feature Mediterranean weather, which is mild throughout most of the year. These islands are mostly Roman Catholic in religion, which means that there are many gorgeous cathedrals to visit here. In fact, the entire nation is full of beautiful historic landmarks that you’ve got to see if you’re planning a historic vacation to Malta.
Here are six you must visit:
1. Valletta Waterfront
The Grand Harbour of Valletta was once the center of the Maltese economy and many other activities. Though it is not now as important as it once was, the harbor in Valletta is an example of beautiful architecture and current culture. The area is currently being renovated, after being largely destroyed during WWII. Along the waterfront, you’ll find many tourist attractions, traditional restaurants, shops, and more.
2. Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
This underground cavity is actually a hall chiseled out of the rock. The 500 square meter cavern features different rock chambers, which all show various levels of architecture and workmanship. The Hypogeum features three levels which range in dates from 3600 to 2500 BC. Malta strictly limits the number of visitors who can see the Hypogeum in one day in order to protect the microclimate of this location, so be sure to get your tickets well ahead of time.
3. Megalithic Temples
The Megalitic Temples found on the Maltese Islands are world heritage sites. These seven temples are found on Malta and Gozo, and they’re all worth visiting. Some date back to the bronze age, and the temples stand as a testament that the Maltese Islands were inhabited at least 1,000 years before the Egyptian pyramids were built. The seven temples include the temple sites at Ggantija, Flagar Qim, Mnajdra, Ta Flagrat, Skorba, and Tarxien.
4. Mdina Dungeons
The Mdina Dungeons are located right inside the main gates of Mdina, and they feature some interesting historical exhibits that are great for getting an overview of some of the things that happened in Malta. The life-size fiberglass tableaux depict famous Maltese characters, period costumes, and pictures of torture in the dungeons. While they aren’t a great family attraction, the Mdina Dungeons are an interesting experience for those who have an interest in history and who have a strong stomach.
5. St. John’s Co-Cathedral
This beautiful Baroque cathedral in Valletta is covered in gorgeous art, but it also has much historical significance as the church of the Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John in Jerusalem. The church features many famed works of art, including two by Caravaggio, and its museum is full of sacred vestments, tapestries, and illuminated books.
6. Mdina Old City
The medieval center of Mdina is definitely worth a day of your Maltese vacation. This beautiful city offers a self-guided audio tour that will give you information about all of the historic buildings in the city. While most of the buildings are privately own and not accessible to visitors, even seeing the outsides of the buildings will give you some excellent examples of medieval architecture. This central area of Mdina is particularly pedestrian friendly, as it does not allow cars past a certain point.
Planning Your Trip to Malta
A Maltese vacation may be just the thing for you and your family if you’re interested in both history and relaxing on the beach. Like most Mediterranean countries, Malta features beautiful weather and some pretty beaches where you can relax, but it also has a rich, interesting history that’s definitely worth exploring.
Here are a few tips for planning your trip to Malta:
- Compare travel credit cards before you go. Credit cards with no foreign transaction fee are essential, so that you can at least rely on credit cards for emergencies when you’re overseas. Even if you don’t plan to use credit much of the time, but prefer traveler’s checks and cash, one emergency credit card is definitely worth having on hand during a trip to the Mediterranean islands of Malta.
- Talk with a travel agent. If possible, talk with a travel agent who specializes in the Mediterranean or Malta, specifically. Travel agents often have access to great deals that you wouldn’t otherwise know about. Of course, you should also do some research on your own so that a travel agent doesn’t push you into the wrong type of vacation or help you spend more money than you want.
- Research Malta. The best way to ensure that you have a fantastic vacation in Malta is to do a little research. We’ve given you six historical sites that you’ve got to see, but Malta is full of interesting historical, cultural, and natural attractions. You may even want to take time to learn a few key phrases in Maltese or Italian, which is widely spoken on the islands.
Planning a trip to Malta is a great way to blend history, culture, and natural attractions into the perfect vacation that includes both learning and relaxing. These six places should definitely be on your list of places to see in Malta, but there are many other worthwhile attractions on these islands, as well.