Malta is one of the most fascinating countries in Europe. Often overlooked among the innumerable Mediterranean paradises that can be visited, it’s an archipelago south of Sicily that has played an important role in geopolitics for hundreds of years. Having passed between the Romans, Moors, French, and British en route to becoming its own sovereign nation, it’s built up quite a history that, combined with the islands’ natural beauty, makes it a wonderful place to visit.
These are six of the top things to see and do if you get some time there.
1. Swim At Comino
Comino is a small island that’s part of Malta, and its Blue Lagoon is one of the world’s most incredible natural swimming pools. Or at least, it feels like that’s what it is. You actually have to take a ferry to Comino, with boats departing from the north of Malta at Cirkewwa ferry terminal. Once you’re there, you need only get to the Blue Lagoon, find a place to set your things down, and enjoy a vast, gorgeous outdoor area. You can swim, snorkel, dive off of the rocky shore, and simply lounge about.
2. Visit The Three Cities
The Three Cities are another attraction, or set of attractions, that you’ll need to take a ferry to see. But there are regular boats departing from the capital city of Valletta, which makes them pretty accessible. These are three small, separate cities – Birgu, Senglea, and Conspicua – that date back to the days when the Greeks ruled the Mediterranean. They’re by no means ruins but they do feel even more ancient than the rest of Malta, and are fun and fascinating to explore.
3. See St. John’s Co-Cathedral
This 16th century Baroque cathedral is legitimately one of the most spectacular in all of Europe. The Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Knights of St. John, were a medieval order loyal to the Vatican that essentially controlled parts of the Mediterranean for much of the 12th through 17th centuries. For a time they were headquartered at Valletta, and it was then that St. John’s Co-Cathedral was built. If you’re on the islands, it’s a must-see attraction.
4. Play At The Dragonara Casino
There’s a temptation among many to dismiss casino attractions when traveling these days. This is in part because the whole industry thrives online now. You can try different sites, find various welcome bonuses that make those sites more welcoming, and play games from the comfort of your own home. What need is there to actually visit a casino venue? Well, the Dragonara Casino in Malta is one of a few spots around Europe that can answer that question for you. Built into the former Dragonara Palace in the 1960s, it’s an entertainment venue that sprung out of gorgeous surroundings. Whether you’re playing games or stopping by one of the bars or restaurants, it’s a fairly stunning place for a night out.
5. Take The Ferry To Gozo
Described as being greener, more rural and smaller than the main island, Gozo is something of a retreat within a retreat. While there are some Baroque churches left over from hundreds of years ago, Gozo is a little more barren, in a simple and beautiful sort of way. Those interested in history or legend will also be intrigued to learn that it’s believed to have been the inspiration for Calypso’s isle in The Odyssey by Homer.
6. Explore Mdina
Mdina is arguably the most extraordinary attraction in Malta. Sometimes referred to as the “Silent City” because cars are mostly not allowed there, it’s essentially a 16th century, walled capital on a hill that has been largely untouched for centuries. You can see and explore parts of Mdina now and in the process get a look at one of the most remarkable historical cities in all of Europe, if not the world.