Rich history, unique attractions, spectacular entertainment… Malta’s got it all.
From the oldest temples in the world, to splendid palaces, a stunning Caravaggio work of art, intricate handmade lace creations and numerous state-of-the art cinemas, the Maltese Islands are the perfect mix of old and new with something for all tastes and ages.
And let’s not forget the magnificent views. Because of its location in the heart of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and its stunning architecture, Malta has caught the eye of many film directors, featuring in award-winning films including Gladiator and Midnight Express.
World Heritage Sites
Malta’s Temples and the Hypogeum are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The imposing Ggantija Temples in Xaghra, Gozo, are the oldest temples in the world. They are fascinating and mysterious because no one really knows how and why they were built. In the past, some people thought giants built them because of their gigantic stones.
Discover more about Malta’s fascinating past through its many museums. See the original Sleeping Lady artifact discovered at Hal Saflieni temple in the Museum of Archaeology and get a taste for the simple rural life, crafts and trades of Malta hundreds of years ago at the Folklore Museum.
As you would expect of a maritime nation, the Islands have plenty of memorabilia charting their seafaring past. See an authentic Maltese ferry boat at the Malta Maritime Museum and go on a voyage back in time to when Malta played an important role in both World War I and II at the National War Museum.
The buildings housing these museums are also gems in themselves. The National Museum of Fine Arts is housed in an exuberant Rococo building while the Ta' Kola Windmill, still in working condition, promises a step back in time to Malta’s rural times.
Churches and Religious Sites
The Maltese are among the oldest Christians in the world and you can find an amazing 365 churches on the islands – a very high number for such a small space. Many are dedicated to St Paul, who was shipwrecked in Malta in 60 AD, and St John.
St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture and boasts the stupendous painting by Caravaggio called The Beheading of St John. The dome of the Mosta Church is the fourth largest in the world. It is famous because, during WWII, a bomb pierced the dome and fell to the Church floor without exploding – saving the lives of those parishioners present.
The ornate Mdina Cathedral contains magnificent works by Mattia Preti, while pilgrims and any curious tourist should visit the Ta’ Pinu Basilica, which famous for supposedly saving Gozo from the plague and now home to hundreds of mementoes from grateful worshippers.
Fortifications and Towers
Malta is known as the Fortress Island because of its great amount of defensive architecture. The fortifications can be divided into two periods: those of the Knights and those belonging the British era. Wherever you go, you’ll find remnants of war, from 17th century forts and watch towers, to WWII pillboxes. For a better view, tour the Victoria Lines fortifications running along the Great Fault east to west across Malta and stroll along Valletta’s and Mdina’s massive bastions.
Theatres and Cinemas
You’ll never be far from an entertaining theatre show, a comedy sketch, a classical concert or a music gig in Malta. Watch a clever play at St James Cavalier, enjoy an opera at The Astra Theatre or The Aurora Theatre in Gozo, or perhaps listen to a classical concert at The Manoel Theatre. This theatre is worth a visit simply for its magnificent architecture, dating back to the time of the Knights. It is reputedly Europe’s third-oldest working theatre.
If you’re up for a laugh or want to watch a gripping thriller, head to one of the many cinemas across Malta and Gozo.
Sports and Activities
Malta’s beautiful year-round weather makes it ideal for a number of sports and outdoor activities. Deep sea scuba dive in the Mediterranean Sea and witness Malta’s stunning underwater world or board a yacht to sail around the islands. Take a special tour of Malta’s countryside on a bike adventure or test your aim with clay pigeon shooting.
With 7,000 years of history, the cultural attractions on the islands are abundant. Cities such as Valletta, Mdina, Rabat and the Three Cities hold cultural gems and sites found only in Malta. Brave the Mdina Dungeons, explore Malta’s religious history, take a Medieval pilgrimage or experience an unforgettable night of Maltese folklore.
Whether you’re in or above the water, the Maltese Islands are full of natural wonders and distinctive beauty. Explore the picturesque cave that is the Blue Grotto, retrace part of Homer’s Odyssey at Calypso’s Cave, where the beautiful nymph Calypso is said to have kept Odysseus as a prisoner of love for seven years, and marvel at the spectacular natural Azure Window, which is a giant doorway through which you can admire the blue expanse beyond the cliff.
Dubbed the ‘Mediterranean’s mini-Hollywood’, Malta has become one of Europe’s most popular film and television locations. The islands have been home to Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator, U-571, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy, Munich and prestigious dramas and sitcoms such as BBC’s Byron, ITV’s Coronation Street and Canale 5’s series of six TV movies, Souvenirs. Visit Popeye’s Village which was originally the set for the film Popeye.