Mdina, commonly known as the Silent City, is a historic city located on a high hill in the center of the island. This castle, surrounded by the picturesque town of Rabat, is one of Malta’s greatest gems, offering architecture, history, and a superb cup of coffee with a spectacular view. When the day trippers depart, Mdina becomes extremely quiet and lovely in the nights.
Valletta is comparable in that it has a rich history, but being the contemporary capital, it is considerably more vibrant and modern, functioning as both a retail center during the day and an array of museums and cultural attractions at night. St John’s Co-Cathedral, constructed by one of the Knights Hospitaller’s early Grandmasters, is particularly noteworthy. It houses the numerous chapels of the Knights’ langues, as well as Caravaggio paintings, tapestries, and other artifacts of enormous importance to Maltese history. The Cathedral’s very floors house the graves of the Order of St John’s most renowned knights, and a crypt, while off-limits to visitors, has the remains of some of the city’s most notable Grandmasters, including the city’s founder, Jean de Valette.
The Megalithic Temples of Malta are among the world’s oldest structures, and as such, they have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. On the islands of Malta and Gozo, there are seven megalithic temples, each the product of a unique evolution. Ggantija’s two temples on the island of Gozo are noteworthy for their massive Bronze Age architecture. Given the restricted resources accessible to their architects, the temples of Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and Tarxien on the island of Malta are architectural marvels. The Ta’Hagrat and Skorba complexes demonstrate how the temple-building tradition was passed down in Malta. Be aware that admission to the Hypogeum is limited to a maximum of 60 people each day (10 people in six shifts), therefore tickets must be purchased in advance.
A rustic feeling prevails in Gozo. Billy Connolly bought a house in Gozo many years ago because he liked the island’s peaceful and pleasant atmosphere. Visitors will be drawn to the magnificent geographical feature of the Inland Sea, which has been cut out by the Mediterranean. The Citadel, Gozo’s equivalent of Mdina, must also be visited. Gozo is located 5 kilometers north-west of Malta and is accessible by a 25-minute ferry ride from Cirkewwa, Malta’s main port.
The seldom visited south of Malta is a potential alternative for visiting if you want to witness more traditional Maltese life. Townships like Ghaxaq frequently go unnoticed, although the island’s best churches may be found towards the south. Malta’s many churches are testaments to the style and architecture of each era. Many communities in the north have lost their culture as a result of increasing urbanization, although this has been less noticeable in the south of Malta.
If you visit Malta during the summer, be sure to attend one of the town/village feasts. Every town or hamlet has at least one saint’s feast. The feast typically lasts a week (usually from Monday through Sunday), with Saturday being the busiest day. Throughout this week, the village or town will be adorned with various decorations and works of art such as sculptures, lights, and tapestry paintings. In most instances, the feast would also include both air and ground pyrotechnics (which are quite spectacular and rather unique to Malta). In most instances, the ground fireworks are shown late at night the day before the real feast day. There are variations amongst village feasts, and some are more appealing and well-known than others. Some of the most well-known feasts are Our Lady of the Lily in Mqabba (third Sunday of June), Saint Philip in Zebbug (second Sunday of June), Mount Carmel in Zurrieq (Sunday before the last Sunday of July), Saint Mary of Imqabba, Qrendi, and Ghaxaq (on the 15th of August), Saint Catherine of Zurrieq (first Sunday of September), and the Nativity of Our Lady in Naxxar (on the 8th of September).
During the month of April, a fireworks event is held in the Valletta/Floriana region, when several fireworks manufacturers compete by displaying their best ground and air displays. It’s amazing, and best of all, it’s free to attend.
Several wine festivals are held throughout the summer, two of which are held in Valletta and one in Qormi. It’s a fantastic opportunity to sample a variety of Maltese wines at very low rates. (At the Qormi and Delicata wine festivals in September and August, you purchase a 10 euro cup and may drink as much as you like; at the Marsovine wine festival in July, you buy a cup plus 14 tokens for 10 euros.) Ta’ Qali also has a beer festival (July–August).
Finally, Malta’s megalithic temples are the world’s oldest free-standing buildings, and hikes in the countryside are highly recommended. The most popular tourist sites, Sliema and St. Julians, arguably have the least to offer in terms of a flavor of Malta, yet they remain the most popular. They are the most contemporary of places, with most ancient structures demolished to feed the economy’s enormous construction sector. The major nightlife district of Malta, particularly Paceville, can be located here.