Are you travelling to Malta and want to check out some spots that are not that common? This blog post has you covered! Click here if you want to know more on ten spectacular hidden gems in Malta, from a local!
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As you probably know by now, I moved from Malta to Germany. Leaving Malta made me appreciate my country more so when I visited in June for my best friend’s wedding, I decided to get in my car and drive around some unique places I’ve known about but never visited before. The idea of us having the possibility of being stationed outside of Europe gave me some serious wanderlust to see as much as I can before I say goodbye and move to another part of the world!
Some things to know about Malta:
♡ A question I get a lot is “Are you Italian?”. No, I am not. Malta is an independent country and we are EU member states since 2004.
♡ Malta is very small but there is a lot to see as well!
♡ Malta is rich in history so it is the perfect destination for history lovers.
♡ If you’re looking for a beach vacation, my home country offers a variety of stunning beaches! One of my favourites is the blue grotto!
Best time to visit Malta:
We don’t have Spring or Autumn here. It goes from super cold to super hot in a matter of days. By hot I mean 45 degrees Celcius hot with 90% humidity. June – August are the peak months and I’d highly recommend you come during those times! It does get busy but it is truly the best time to come. Winter is also a good time to come if you want to avoid the crowds but you wouldn’t be able to swim and the weather is pretty unpredictable.
If you want to come during Summer AND avoid the heavy crowds, visit our sister island of Gozo! It’s much more quiet, more rural but still has a lot to do and see and some pretty stunning beaches too!
One can find hotels and Air BnB’s dotted all over the island. I always recommend staying in St Julians or Sliema because everything is accessible from there. However, there are some other locations that you can check out! Since Malta is small, pretty much wherever you stay doesn’t matter as long as you have access to transportation. Which will be my point after this one.
If you’re looking for more quiet places, I recommend places like Rabat or Mtarfa! The South is also relatively quiet compared to the north. Take a look for yourself!
Getting around in Malta:
I always recommend renting a car. While our public transportation has improved greatly, the buses sometimes cannot keep up with the huge number of people visiting the island. The buses to Sliema and St Julians and various other tourist hot spots are always jam-packed with people. Driving in Malta is not too bad. We drive on the opposite side of the road so keep that in mind.
If you are going to make use of public transport, make sure you download the ‘Tal-Linja’ Official App.
It tells you when the bus comes to your bus stop in real time which is fantastic when it comes to planning your trip. Our main terminus is in Valletta so you’d have to connect buses from there. There are direct routes from various villages and town to tourist hot spots but these take a little bit longer as they actually go into all the villages and towns on their route and they stop at the hospital and University.
THE HIDDEN GEMS IN MALTA:
- The Mosta Rotunda:
The Mosta Parish Church, also known as The Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, is a Catholic Parish Church located in Mosta. Out of all the places mentioned in this post, this dome is the most popular one.
During WW2, the town of Mosta was prone to air raid attacks due to it’s close proximity to Ta’ Qali Airfield. A Luftwaffe bomb pierced the church and landed in the Church while there was a mass being held! Luckily, the bomb did not explode. The citizens of Mosta interpreted this a miracle and a similar bomb is showcased at the back of the church!
Fun fact: the Mosta Rotunda is the third largest rotunda in the world!
You can go inside the Church but if you want to go up to the roof and to the shelters, you’d have to pay a small amount. We paid €5 each. My favourite parts were the shelters!
The Church from the inside is simply stunning. Maltese churches are very decorated, with statues and colours everywhere! This is very common with Roman Catholic Churches.
First, we went up to the roof. Honestly, there wasn’t really a nice view. It was just buildings but you could see Mdina! After that, we walked inside the church and we then went into the small souvenir shop where the replica of the bomb lies!
Then, you’re guided outside towards the shelters.
You walk outside the church and down these narrow stairs and all of a sudden, you start hearing music from the 1930s and 1940s and you’ll see these glass boxes explaining how life was back then as well as plaques with more information about Malta during WW2.
It was SO fascinating walking around and seeing how the Maltese lived during the war. Each town & village announced with a huge siren when the enemy was close and flying over Malta and the locals would run out and go in the shelter. They sometimes spent weeks in there!
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Tip from a local: once you’re done with visiting the Church, cross the road and get yourself some ricotta pastizzi from the many pastizzerias located opposite the church. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.
2. The Victoria Lines:
If you’re looking for a good hiking spot, this is the place for you. Getting there might be a bit of a challenge but there is nothing that Google Maps can’t do right?
What you need to do is type in Victoria Lines Rabat Malta in Google Maps and park exactly where it tells you to stop. There are no signs telling you where the trail starts or where the Lines start. If you park where Google Maps tells you, you’ll see a small trail. Walk down it and you should see them in no time!
Here are the exact coordinates copied and pasted from Google Maps:
W93H+CG Rabat, Malta.
The Lines span for 12 kilometres and they are fortifications built by the British Military in the 19th century. At that time, Malta was a colony of the UK empire and the island served as a very important military base due to its strategic location connecting mainland Europe and Africa. The scope behind these was to divide the scarcely populated North from the heavily populated South. They also served as a barrier from invaders coming from the North of Malta.
As you can see, there are holes in the wall. In case of an attack, the British soldiers would shoot at the enemy from them.
Make sure to wear your hiking boots for this one! The trail is very rocky and I decided to go with my Converse and almost broke my ankle like four times.
Another fun fact: The Victoria Lines are sometimes known as The Great Wall of Malta.
Click here if you want the official hike trail map! The lines cross from the west to the east of Northern Malta and the views are simply to die for.
3. Our Lady of Itria Chapel:
Down the road from the lines, you can find this cute chapel that’s picture-perfect. Small chapels like this one are dotted all over the island. Two of my absolute favourite chapels are Wied Għammieq Chapel on the outskirts of Kalkara and St Paul the Hermit in Mosta.
There are around 400 chapels and churches on the 316km square island. That means, wherever you go, you are bound to spot a church (sometimes more than one in each town or village) and a chapel in the countryside! Monks from Italy built these chapels in the process of making Malta a Christian country in the 12th century.
4. Qrendi & Qrendi Parish Church:
If you want to experience a quintessential Maltese way of life, Qrendi is where to go. It is very common for Parish Churches to be located in the main square and houses built around it and it’s customary for local folk to spend their day in the sun catching up in the main square.
It was so quiet and peaceful! All you could hear is birds chirping and a group of Maltese men conversating between themselves. This is the Malta I grew up and the Malta I will always love.
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Here are some tours and activities you can do in Malta!
5. St Agatha’s Tower/Red Tower:
Also known as ‘It-Torri L’Aħmar’, it proudly stands on a hill overlooking the village of Mellieħa and any other surrounding areas. You can also see Mellieħa/Għadira Bay from there.
This fortress was built in the 17th century when the Knights of St John conquered Malta. It is one of the six Lascarian towers (Lascaris was a Grandmaster of the Knights). The Red Tower was built after the Turks entered Malta from St Paul’s Bay and managed to get to Mellieħa and the town was completely unprotected. This event demonstrated the importance to amp up the defence of Northern Malta.
You can go inside the tower however, as of June 2019, it is currently closed for renovation. One can still roam around and take pictures as we did!
Tip: drive or walk to the heart of Mellieħa and stop by the Sea View Cafe and get yourself a cold milkshake whilst admiring the views of Northern Malta.
My wrist tattoo is in Maltese and it means don’t give up.
6. Marsaxlokk Fishing Village:
Marsaxlokk is slowly becoming a popular attraction. You can find seafood restaurants all over the front. What I love about Marsaxlokk is the burst of colour. The benches are painted in different colours and the Luzzu’s add to Marsaxlokk’s charm!
Did you know that the Luzzu is the Maltese national boat?
Yes, we have a national boat. We also have a national bird and a national lizard. You can find them on the Maltese Lira coins!
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Local fishermen use the Luzzus to catch fish and sell them to the restaurants every day. If .you are a seafood lover, grab yourself a Maltese seafood platter in the sun whilst admiring this stunning view.
And don’t forget to take a picture in front of the infamous Love Malta Door!
FUN FACT: MALTA’S CAPITAL CITY IS VALLETTA
Known as Isla in Maltese, it is 1/3 of the Three Cities which are located in the South. The other cities are Cospicua (Bormla) and Vittoriosa (Birgu) I actually live 10 minutes away by foot from all three!
One aspect that I really like about this town is the colourful balconies. You find them all over the island, especially in Valletta! If you want to enjoy a quiet, relaxing day walking along the marina with views of Valletta, away from busy crowds, Senglea is the place for you. Make sure to go to the Smart City for a nice lunch or dinner!
Tip: if you are in Cospicua and want to go to Valletta (or vice versa), take the ferry instead of the crowded buses. It is WAY quicker and you can’t get those views on a bus.
8. Ġnejna Bay:
I constantly receive messages from people who are travelling to Malta telling me they want to enjoy our beaches but steer away from the touristy crowds. Whilst Golden Bay is stunning and one of my favourite bays in Malta, it is very very crowded.
Ġnejna Bay is a childhood favourite of mine. I remember going with my family and spending the whole day eating ftira and swimming in the clear waters. It is a sandy beach nestled in the cliffs of Mġarr.
Tip: I don’t think there are kiosks there where you can buy food. Pack food and lots of water beforehand and bring it with you. I also remember the walk to the bay is slightly steep. Get ready to sweat!
9. Dingli & Dingli Panoramic Cliffs:
Dingli is a village in the North of Malta – not too far Mdina. The village lies on of the highest points in Malta and on the outskirts, you can find the Dingli Cliffs. You can walk from the village or get a bus to the cliffs. The views are simply stunning. Definitely one of my favourite spots on my tiny little island. There are a ton of hiking trails if you’re up for an adventure!
Tip: if you’re in Dingli and want to eat 100% authentic Maltese food, go to Diar il-Bniet. You can’t go more Maltese than this. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. They also offer classes on Maltese food and a selection of Maltese food ready for purchase.
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10. Mnajdra & Ħaġar Qim Temples:
Located in Qrendi, Mnajdra & Ħaġar Qim are megalithic temples overlooking the sea. These temples date back to 3600 BC!! I remember going there when I was 10 years old with my school and felt like stepping back in time (yes, I am a big history buff!).
Tip: There are also more temples in Tarxien and Catacombs in Rabat!
Entry isn’t free. Click here to get more information!
Do you have more questions about Malta?
Feel free to reach out to me on my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or my social media with any questions. I’ll be more than glad to help you ❤️
I really hope you enjoyed today’s post and found it helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Have you ever been to Malta? What did you think of my home county?
Until the next one
Yours Truly, Rebecca.