Last month I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful country of Malta with my friend Whitney and Visit Malta. To be completely honest, I wasn’t very familiar with Malta before traveling there, and it’s safe to say that I was completely blown away by the beauty and culture.
Malta is a small island just off the coast of Italy (it’s one of the worlds smallest countries!), and it’s a melting pot of different cultures. At some point in history, Malta has been ruled by the French, the Arabs, the Romans, the Spanish, and most recently the British. All of these foreign influences have left their mark on todays Maltese culture – from the Spanish-style architecture, to the Italian style cuisine, to driving on the same side of the road as the Brits.
MALTA TRAVEL GUIDE HIGHLIGHTS
- St. John’s Co-Cathedral: This stunning church in the center of the country’s capital, Valletta, was built between 1573-1577. The interior blew me away – think lots of marble, gold, and incredible al fresco style murals on the ceilings. It’s definitely worth a visit!
- Casa Rocca Piccola: This is a private estate, with a part of the home now open to the public. It gives a really unique insight into the life of Maltese nobility, with things like fine china, silverware, and artwork on display. I personally loved seeing this house, and couldn’t get over how big it was! From the street it looks like nothing special. I highly recommend paying this a visit!
- The Three Cities: The Three Cities consist of Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua. These cities were built as fortresses for the people who lived in them, and are left largely untouched today. Walking the streets honestly feels as though you’ve stepped back in time, and the architecture is stunning (if you saw my Instagram stories you know how much I was swooning over all the doors!).
- Mdina: Known as the Noble City, Mdina is home to some of Malta’s Noble families and their palaces line its beautiful cobbled streets. We loved walking around Mdina, and wish we had more time to explore here!!
- Mellieha Air Raid Shelter: These bunkers were built for protection during WWII, and are now open for tours. This is not for the claustrophobic! You are deep underground, and the hallways are narrow with low ceilings. I found this almost a little scary, but it was really fascinating to see. During the war, those who could afford a room in the bunkers would live in these cramped quarters for weeks at a time.
- Cafe Del Mar: Unfortunately we didn’t have the best weather for our trip, but on our one sunny afternoon we headed to Cafe Del Mar for some much needed pool time. This is a very popular beach club spot, offering beautiful ocean views and comfy lounge chairs. On the weekends it turns into quite the party!
- Places to Eat: Harbour Club, Don Berto, Fontanella Tea Garden.
- Other Malta Highlights: We only had 3 days in Malta which is not nearly enough time to see everything! On my next trip I would like to see Popeye’s Village, St. Peters Pool, and the Blue Lagoon.
GOZO, MALTA TRAVEL GUIDE HIGHLIGHTS
Gozo is a smaller island off the coast of Malta, and is a part of the country of Malta. The ferry takes about 30 minutes and is really easy!
- Ggantija Temples: These temples are the oldest free standing structures in the world, having been built between 3600-3200 B.C. It was really cool to see such an important Maltese archaeological site.
- Calypso’s Cave: Overlooking a gorgeous red sand beach, this cave is thought to be the same one that Homer mentions in ‘The Odyssey’, where Calypso kept Odysseus as a prisoner of love for 7 years. The views from the top of the cliff were stunning!
- The Blue Grotto: We took a boat tour around the sea caves, or the blue grotto, which was one of the highlights of the trip for me. The water was like nothing I’ve ever seen – the most beautiful sapphire blue. It was as though there was a light beaming up from underwater!! I highly recommend checking these out if you find yourself in Gozo.
- Places to Eat: We were only on the island for lunch, but we had a wonderful meal at Ta’ Rikardu. We started with a traditional Maltese platter, which consists of cheese, olives, roasted tomatoes, sausage, and Maltese bread and olive oil (aka all of my favorites foods lol!). Rabbit is the traditional Maltese cuisine, which I was not adventurous enough to try. Whitney got it though and enjoyed it!
MALTA TRAVEL GUIDE TIPS
- Know what kind of trip you’re looking for. If you want a beach vacation, your best months are May-September.
- Take the time to explore the Maltese culture. I think it can be easy to get caught up in the beach club atmosphere, especially the younger generations. Don’t get me wrong, I highly recommend hitting them up while you’re there! But I can’t stress enough how important it is to also immerse yourself in all of the rich history that Malta has to offer.
- Wear comfy shoes when exploring. There are lots of steep streets and cobblestones – you’ll be happy you have good walking shoes on!
- Try a cheese pastizzi – a traditional Maltese pastry filled with ricotta cheese. Thank me later!
- If possible, book a trip for at least a week! We went for 3 mights, which wasn’t nearly enough time to see everything.
Whitney and I had so much fun exploring and learning about the Maltese culture during our trip. I really hope that life brings me back one day, as I have so much more I would love to see and do. Have you been to Malta before? What was your favorite part?