With fast ferries connecting Sicily to Malta in as little as 2 hours, this sunkissed Mediterranean island is an easy trip from Italy.
Malta offers a wide selection of activities to fill your days. The historic cities of Valletta and Mdina are perfect for culture enthusiasts while sandy beaches and crystal clear waters offer expansive snorkeling, diving, and swimming opportunities – not forgetting the lagoons of Comino island.
But for those looking to get off the beaten track, here are 6 hidden gems of Malta.
Situated in the heart of the island of Gozo, the Old Prison sits within the Citadelle De Victoria complex and dates back to over 500 years. Etchings and graffiti in the walls glean insight into the inmates who were imprisoned here – namely the more disobedient knights of St John. You may visit the grounds as a side trip while exploring the Fran Castello Folklore Museum, the Natural Science Museum, and the cathedral.
Malta’s main island is blessed with beautiful beaches that urge you to soak up the 300+ days of sunshine lavished upon the island. Escape the crowds at Ghajn Tuffieha Bay which features red sand and minimal amenities limited to sun loungers and a simple bar. Only a short drive south of the popular Golden Bay, this protected beach is only accessible via a descent of 100 steps. Extend your visit by hiking the Clay Cliffs, and, even better – catching the sunset from the trail.
In addition to visiting the lagoons, factor in an excursion to the rugged north coast of Gozo. Here you can experience gorges, cliffs, caves, and salt pans. Adventurous visitors can opt to explore the Wied il-Għasri sea gorge for some of the most spectacular scenery on the island. Choose to hike, cycle, swim, snorkel, or dive in the turquoise waters for the best experience.
If you need a reprise from the sun, visit one of Malta’s intriguing subterranean wonders. Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is a series of catacombs that hold 7,000 bodies dating back to the neolithic period. Excavations of the chambers revealed wall carvings that provide a unique understanding of the prehistoric civilisation. Advance booking is essential and spaces are limited. The Roman catacombs of Rabat provide an excellent alternative.
The original film set from the 1980 comedy musical Popeye is located in a coastal village in northwest Malta’s Anchor Bay. Nowadays the set is a theme park with photo opportunities, boat rides, an inflatable obstacle course, and places to eat. Endless family fun for all ages.
Malta’s hot and humid climate lends itself to viniculture with such varieties of grape as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Moscato being represented alongside the indigenous Gellewza and Ghirghentina. Production on the island is focused on natural techniques and the use of historic kvevri – large clay vessels that are buried beneath the ground to ferment. Sample the local produce and take a wine tour at Mar Casar La Maison Du Vin Naturel Winery, Maria Rosa Wine Estate, or Meridiana Vineyard.
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