Bucket List Outings in Malta

Malta and its sister islands are so much more than a beach destination – although all do beckon with lovely stretches of sand. This is a place drenched in history, and you’ll find Roman ruins, medieval castles, walled cities and atmospheric forts dotted all around. The islands’ rugged landscapes also give lots of scope for outdoor activities, including boat trips, diving, hiking and mountain-biking. We’ve looked at some of the bucket-list sights to discover on Malta, Gozo and Comino.

Valletta

Malta’s UNESCO-listed capital is tiny - all the better for ambling around at your leisure. Established in the 1500s on a peninsula by the Knights of St John, this charming walled city is packed to the rafters with grand churches, palaces and museums.

Its most famous landmark is the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, where you’ll find the only painting ever to have been signed by Caravaggio, The Beheading of St John the Baptist, representing a key period in the development in the artist’s style, and indeed in religious painting as a whole. The Cathedral was a shrine to the Knights and you can also see the intricate, marble-inlaid tombstones of many of the sons of Europe’s noble families from the 16th to 18th centuries here.

Ġgantija Temples

Built on Gozo between 3600 and 3200 BC (hence, before Stonehenge), and rediscovered in the 19th century, these UNESCO-listed monuments are the oldest freestanding structures in the world (some of the limestone blocks from which they are constructed are longer than 5m and weigh more than fifty tons). Maltese legend has it that they were created by a race of giants. As well as the temple ruins, you can see plaster fragments, statuettes and other prehistoric objects found at Ġgantija in the fascinating Gozo Museum of Archaeology.

Ramla Bay

The best beach on Gozo and arguably across these islands, Ramla il-Ħamra (‘the Red Sandy Beach’) is a gorgeous swathe of sand much-loved for swimming and snorkelling. Backed by a green and fertile valley, it has protected dunes and just a couple of cafés and stalls for refreshments. Roman ruins are said to lie beneath its sands.

Blue Lagoon

On the car-free gem of an island of Comino – a heavenly spot for cave-swimming, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, windsurfing and hiking – this sheltered inlet with its cliffs, white sands and aquamarine waters is brilliant for a day-trip over from Malta itself. A nature reserve and a local bird sanctuary, it is full of wildlife-spotting opportunities including yelkouan shearwaters, dolphins and seals. Comino isn’t too hilly, and you can walk around the entire island in 40-60 minutes, with sights including the tower, famous as the escape scene in The Count of Monte Cristo.

Mdina

One of the finest examples of an ancient walled city in all Europe, with a breathtaking mix of medieval and baroque architecture, this ‘Silent City’ dates back more than 4,000 years and is said to be where the Apostle St Paul lived after being shipwrecked on the Islands in 60AD.

The best time to visit is in the evening, when the Mdina is lamplit and at its most atmospheric. Built up on a plateau with panoramic views across the island, Mdina was once Malta’s capital but now has a population of just 250 or so, living in Norman and baroque homes lining the labyrinth of dimly lit streets.

To check off some items from your travel bucket list, get in touch today. You’ll benefit from full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.

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