Made up of a cluster of isles in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, not far from the shores of Sicily and Tunisia, the small European country of Malta is a real gem for its historical sites, awesome landscapes and inviting waters.
The archipelago is believed to have been inhabited since approximately 5,900 BC and with a succession of rulers, from the Romans to the Moors, French and British, it is safe to say that there is a lot to see here. Fortresses, megalithic temples, and subterranean halls and burial chambers dating to 4,000 BC, along with coastlines to impress, make up a lot of what visitors come to see here. Add to this the many films and television shows that have used the area as a backdrop thanks to the above attractions and you have quite the place to visit with plenty of stories to tell.
We take a look at nine must-dos when visiting Malta – you really won’t want to miss out on anything.
Visit St John’s Co-Cathedral
Even if you are not a fan of Baroque art and architecture, you will most certainly appreciate the intricate décor of this popular attraction. Built as the conventual church for the Knights of the Order of St John, construction was commissioned in 1572 and the cathedral holds the famous artwork ‘Beheading of St John the Baptist’ by Caravaggio.
Charter a yacht and set sail around the islands
There will plenty of opportunities to hop onboard a boat and sail the surrounding waters, but there’s nothing quite like hiring your own private boat for the day. Spot the on land sights from the water, dive into the sea for a snorkel or swim and take in the stunning natural wonders that surround the islands.
Explore Valetta on foot
When seeking out things to do in Malta, it is easy to think of the singular attractions, but a walking tour of the capital Valletta is a great way to take in a number of local hot spots with a good dose of information thrown in there, too – perfect for first time visitors who wish to get their bearings in this small UNESCO-listed city.
Head to the lagoons
Whether on a guided tour or your own charter, the beauty of the Blue Lagoon and the lesser-known Crystal Lagoon are not to be missed. Expect to be amazed with the natural beauty of these sites and take in the sea caves, too, which are only accessible by boat and therefore provide you with a unique experience.
Seek out some restaurants for top-notch cuisine
If dining on fine local fare is an integral part of any holiday, then you will be pleased to learn that there are plenty of top-rated restaurants that command your attention here. The Michelin Guide has awarded a total of five restaurants with a star, and these are De Mondion, Noni, Under Grain, ION – The Harbour and Bahia.
Visit Ħaġar Qim
It would be remiss of any visitor to Malta to not visit the megalithic temple complex of Ħaġar Qim. Dating to over 5,000 years old, the precious historical site is among the most ancient religious sites on the planet and has been described by the World Heritage Sites committee as ‘unique architectural masterpiece.’ Don’t miss out on the Northern Temple, the Women’s Temple and the Main Temple itself.
Stay in a five-star hotel
In between all the sight-seeing and fine dining, you will want to base yourself in luxurious surroundings and there are plenty of hotels in which you can do this. We like the five-star AX The Palace in Sliema and sister hotel Rosselli – AX Privilege, another five-star offering which sits within Valletta’s historic city walls.
Take a Game of Thrones tour
Fans of the fictional television series will be thrilled to spot many locations that were used when filming the show, notably to depict King’s Landing and its gardens and the Red Waste. You can even take a private tour (for up to four people) with a guide who was an actor on the show.
Head to the shops
If you cannot visit anywhere without heading to the local shops for a spot of retail therapy, then Malta won’t let you down. From the big brand names at Bay Stree Shopping Complex and The Point Shopping Mall to the designer clothing that can be found across Valletta and Sliema, you can while away the hours with credit card in hand.