Thinking about traveling to Malta? Malta is an island country made up of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. The country is located 80km south of Sicily and 284km north of the African coast. Its area is 316 square kilometers, the population is about 525,000, and the official languages are Maltese and English.
In spite of its microscopic size, Malta abounds in beautiful places such as idyllic bays, limestone cliffs, sheltered beaches, ancient temples, cathedrals and museums. This post shows you some must-see Malta’s attractions.
Attractions in Malta
The sparkling blue sea
A great way to explore Malta is by taking a boat trip around the small archipelago. You can use a traditional boat, a yacht or a speedboat. As you depart from the coast, you will get amazing views of the stretches of jagged cliffs towering over the golden beaches washed by the turquoise water. At times, you will notice the coastline buildings’ reflection painting the sea in different colors. The crystal-clear water allows divers and snorkelers explore the underwater world with its secret caves and rich marine life.
Grand Master’s Palace
The palace houses an impressive collection of armors and weapons that once belonged to Knights. You will find cavalry suits, breastplates, reinforced armors, crossbows and muskets. In medieval times, the palace served as the residence of Grand Masters. Today some rooms are open to the public, including the Council Chamber, the State Dining Hall and the Hall of the Ambassadors. Throughout Malta’s independence, the building was home to Maltese parliament until it moved to a new building in 2015.
St. John’s Cathedral
This is Malta’s most fascinating church, being a must-see even for short-term visitors. It was built in the late 16th century by the architect Gerolamo Cassar as a worship place for Knights. In the 17th century the cathedral’s interior was remodeled and ornated in Maltese baroque style. The most valuable item, among many extravagant features, is Caravaggio’s painting John the Baptist. The Cathedral Museum exhibits old Malta’s manuscripts, illuminated choral books and a collection of Flemish tapestries.
Malta boasts a collection of well-preserved temples and towers from different eras set atop cliffs and hidden underground. The most prominent temples are Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra erected by ancient temple builders above the sea cliff. The former has a triathlon entrance made up of three megalith blocks and several oval chambers with pedestal altars and mysterious paintings on the walls. The famous Fat Lady sculpture was found here and moved to the National Museum of Archeology.
Mnajdra has three temples, each of them having a trefoil plan and dating from 3000 BC. Hal Salfieni Hypogeum is an underground necropolis carved out of rock that was discovered in 1912. The structure is more elaborate and larger than the above-the-ground temples, covering an area of 500 square meters. Dating from 3600 BC, it is estimated that 7000 bodies have been buried here.
Gozo is the second largest island of Malta located 8km northwest of the main island. This is an idyllic place with undulating grassy hills, picturesque coastline and tranquil bays. You can drive around the small island, exploring its rural landscapes and old fishing villages. Besides, there are many scenic hiking trails that range from gentle to challenging.
While the countryside scenery has much to offer, Gozo’s most popular destination is the coastline with its impressive cliffs and peaceful bays. You can enjoy a stroll along the promenade, sunbathe on the sandy beach, or take to the water. The clear water is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving.