If there was ever a place I’d refer to as a ‘pleasant surprise’, it’d be Malta. I visited in August 2014 and before I go on, you’d best know that I’m not a sun and beach holiday kind of person. Sightseeing is what I spend my time doing whilst I’m on holiday, so before I left for Malta, the thought of visiting a hot, relaxation place just wasn’t doing it for me. Nonetheless, I was won over when I got there and I actually thought it was a lovely place to visit. In today’s post, I’m going to talk to you about Malta and some of the places you should visit on your next visit to the island.
The first thing you should know about Malta is that it’s a scorching hot nation. It’s so warm that unless you’re a keen sunbather, you’ll want to spend the majority of the day inside. We had no choice but to brave the heat on some days, but we left the hotel early in the morning so that we’d avoid the mid-afternoon sun. During our days on the island, we visited three places: Valletta, Mdina and St Julians. We also visited nearby island Gozo, but as it’s such a long journey away by bus, that I’m not going to recommend it in this post.
1. Valletta – the capital.
Valletta is the heart of Malta and where the history and sightseeing fans should visit. It’s home to Fort St. Angelo (pictured above), the Siege Bell War Memorial, the San Anton Palace, Saint John’s Co-Cathedral and some churches. It also has the ‘oldest coffee shop in Malta’ which we visited for a drink. They do really great, refreshing smoothies and they’re just what you need after a few hours exploring in the Summer heat. I think the nicest thing about Valletta though, is just strolling through the streets. It’s much more shaded in Valletta than if you were in the bare sun and there’s always lots of nice gift shops to visit.
2. St Julians – the bars and restaurants district.
We stayed in St Julians and spent most of the evenings of our trip there. It’s an area full of seafront bars and restaurants, which comes alive in the evening. There’s fairy lights and you can take evening boat tours. You suddenly notice how many tourists there are in Malta during an evening in St Julians; it’s so much cooler then, so everybody’s eating outside! I totally recommend having a meal in St Julians if you’re visiting anytime soon.
3. Mdina – the walled city.
I don’t think I’ve ever visited a city as quiet as Mdina. It’s the old capital of Malta and full of beautiful architecture. For a city, it’s just so peaceful and tranquil. We went to a lovely rooftop sandwich place there, that had absolutely breathtaking views. Mdina has the best of both worlds, gorgeous buildings and streets at ground level, but also at the highest point in the city, you get to see the island’s spectacular landscapes.
We were in Malta for 5 days and that was more than enough time to explore the island. If you’re visiting for a beach, relaxation trip, obviously you could be there for much longer, but 4-5 days is perfect if you’re like me and much prefer sightseeing.
Have you been to Malta before?
What are your favourite places to visit?