Located in the centre of the island, the village of Attard, together with Balzan and Lija, form The Three Villages. These three small villages lie next to each other in a tangle of laneways and ancient walls. Wander down narrow streets lined with orange and lemon trees, past the beautiful facades of hidden villas and gardens and explore this beautiful area of Malta.
The jewel in Attard’s crown is the beautiful San Anton Palace and Gardens. Now the official residence of the Maltese President, the Palace was built in the seventeenth century by Grand Master Antoine de Paule. The beautiful limestone buildings, orange groves and gardens are an oasis of calm. A section of the gardens have been open to the public since 1882 and you can still wander the same ancient pathways, past elaborate fountains, ponds and statues. It is simply beautiful.
After spending a couple of hours walking around the gardens, why not cross the narrow street and visit The President’s Kitchen Garden. Free to enter, this is a great place for families, with large playgrounds, a petting zoo and fruit and vegetable gardens. There is a lovely café, serving drinks and light meals and everything is wheelchair accessible.
Next door to the Kitchen Garden is the elegant Villa Bologna. Orchards, gardens and fountains surround one of Malta’s finest examples of a Baroque villa. You can easily while away a few hours walking the gardens, experience a private tour of the Villa or go underground and explore the World War II bomb shelters. Housed within the grounds of Villa Bologna is The Ceramika Pottery. This artisan pottery was rehoused in the old stables in the 1940’s and still produces beautiful unique handmade pottery.
Another unique point of interest in Attard is the Wignacourt Aquaduct. Built in 1610, the 15km long aqueduct was designed to supply drinking water from Rabat to Valletta, and a section of the structure can still be seen in Attard.
If you have time to explore the outskirts of Attard, you will find Ta’ Qali. Once the centre of aviation in Malta, the old airfields now house the Malta Aviation Museum and Ta’ Qali Craft Village. The museum gives a fantastic overview the history of Maltese aviation and has more than twenty aircraft on display including a fully restored de Havilland Tiger Moth. The Ta’Qali Craft Village has a number of arts and crafts shops housed in the old military huts on the ex-RAF airfield. Browse for Maltese lace, silver and watch glass blowers at work.