Malta defies expectations with its UNESCO treasures and gorgeous scenery. Its little islands are powerful. Don’t miss Malta’s history while beach-hopping, trekking, and wine-tasting.
Cities are diverse. Valletta’s towering castle was erected by the Knights Hospitaller, but it’s also full of somber art and honey-hued bulwarks. Then there’s old Mdina and Gozo’s Victoria. Explore Malta’s ancient citadels, churches, world-class food, and wines.
- Fort Elmo
Fort Saint Elmo in Valletta towers over the ancient city with its honey-colored stone, appearing like something from Game of Thrones, watching the major port and the Med. The Knights Hospitaller erected the 16th-century rock fortress. It’s the UNESCO capital’s symbol.
Learn about the 1500s Ottoman invasions and WWII bombings. You’ll find impressive bulwarks and armories with large collections of weaponry, guns, and even FDR’s jeep.
- Mdina Catacombs, Cathedral
Venerable Città Vecchia is often called the Silent City of Malta. It’s a fitting moniker for the former Maltese capital at the island’s center. It’s about 3,000 years old and contains national treasures.
The 1100s St Paul’s Cathedral is first. It’s a beautiful Baroque church with a vermillion dome. Inside are gold-leaf chapels and soaring domes. St Paul’s Catacombs are spookier. They cover 2,000 square meters below and reveal early Christian Malta.
- Blue Oceans Abound
The Mediterranean near Malta is always bluer than blue, especially between May and September. Balluta Bay on the northeast coast has stairs leading into azure seas from a boardwalk. Get a perfect stay at the Bayview hotel in Malta at an affordable price.
Gozo and Comino also have delighted. Blue Lagoon, a sand-bottomed inlet, welcomes them. Ramla Bay’s golden sands slope into turquoise seas with mild waves, perfect for a family beach day.
- Caravaggio’s Footprints
gloomy Caravaggio is a brilliant painter. In the 1600s, bounty hunters tracked the artist to Malta. St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is one of his best masterpieces.
It’s full of intrigue and potential assassinations, and it hangs near Saint Jerome Writing. Both are must-sees in Malta’s capital.
Malta’s gastronomy combines Italian, North African, Spanish, and Norman influences. It’s a gastronomic representation of the islands’ heritage that’s likely to wow.
Fish is important. When the boats arrive at Marsaxlokk’s harbor, the catch of the day is brought straight into tavernas for lampuki pie. You may also have Moroccan mezze platters and Sicilian ice cream on the promenades.
Malta has almost 120 kilometers of shoreline and is surrounded by the pristine Mediterranean Sea. You won’t have to go far to dive. Gozo’s Blue Hole is a submerged cave, and Ikea has coral reefs and underwater statuary.
Local outfitters provide scuba packages. A normal PADI course on the island costs €300, but a trial dive is €85 for the day.
Comino is a small limestone islet between Malta and Gozo. With rocky cliffs and deep oceans, there’s enough to explore. The untamed countryside has dusty pathways through scary abandoned jails and wild herb fields.
Blue Lagoon is the true show-stopper. That’s the Malta you see on postcards and in tourism brochures, where the Med imitates the Caribbean. Clear seas wash into a sandy entrance, enabling snorkeling and swimming.
Phoenicians brought wine to Malta about 2,000 years ago. Since then, grape farming has extended from Malta to Gozo, and Maltese reds and whites are gaining international recognition.
Marsovin is the country’s best-known winery. In Valletta, they have basements. Try their gellewza rose with frizzante. Or try cabernet sauvignon variants with cherry and oakwood smells.