Birgu, Malta

The small archipelago of Malta has so much history and diversity, with numerous cultures that have mixed and influenced each other for generations. To give one example; Maltese food is a wonderful combination of both Middle Eastern and Sicilian cuisine. In Malta both modern life blends well with the prehistoric all with the stunning backdrop of the deep blue sea, limestone cliffs, sheltered bays and golden beaches. Valletta, capital of Malta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, perched on top of Mount Sceberras with great examples of 16th Century Baroque architecture. The most impressive is the St. John’s Co-Cathedral and other Auberges’ and Bastions all built by the Knights of St. John.

Birgu (Vittoriosa) is located on the south side of the Grand Harbour and is one of the oldest cities in Malta. The main entrance to the city is the Couvre Porte entirely surrounded by fortified walls. Inside you will find ancient history and monuments everywhere including the Inquisitor’s Palace, The Parish Church, Notre Dame Gate and the Malta Maritime Museum.

Sliema is the hub for delicious food and fantastic shopping. It is one of the country’s main tourist resorts, yet was once the playground of the country’s aristocracy. For those of you who enjoy the nightlife, St. Julians is the place to go, this resort town thrives on its party fun atmosphere. St. Julians includes Portomaso, Spinola Bay, St. George’s Bay and Paceville where the majority of the action is found. Malta’s tallest building, the Portomaso Tower is also found here, as is the Love Monument and the 17th Century Spinola Palace.

Sitting on a peninsula between Salina Bay and St. Paul’s Bay you will find Qawra. The town has three seafronts and has become a tourist mecca for those seeking water sports. The promenade will take you all the way to St. Paul’s and provide stunning views all along the 3 km walk.

Marsaxlokk is a fishing village known for its Sunday fish market and its many colourful Luzzu’s (painted boats). The mouth-watering seafood and green water make it a must to visit. There is a lovely beach that leads to the stunning St. Peter’s Pool and cliff diving is also an amazing experience here. On the way to Marsaxlokk you will find the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola, which was discovered in 1902, it is a mysterious underground necropolis. Built between 3000 and 3600 B.C. the passages and chambers have been cut out of the rock by hand and cover over 500 square metres with 7000 people buried here.

Buskett Gardens is one of Malta’s few woodlands located between the towns of Dingli and Siggiewi and one of the country’s greenest areas. It was planted by the Knights of Malta for hunting purposes and today is enjoyed by locals as a popular walking and picnic spot. The Verdala Palace is an official residence of the country’s president, from here you will see views of it sitting on a hilltop at the edge of the gardens.

Mdina sits on a large hill in the centre of Malta, where you can experience medieval Malta and combine it with some of the most amazing views of the entire island. Come and stroll through the narrow alleys, check out the Carmelite Church and Priory, the Natural History Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Magisterial Palace and the Palazzo Falzon or just relax.

Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra are one of the best preserved and most staggering of all the prehistoric sites in Malta. It sits at the top of a sea cliff with an awe inspiring atmosphere. Ħaġar Qim is the first Temple and sits next to the 20 tonne megalith. Originally, this was the location of the famous Venus de Malta, or “fat lady,” figurine, which is now on display at the National Museum in Valletta. The Mnajdra Temple is a series of three elaborate Temples, dating date back to 3000 B.C.

Gozo is only a short trip off the coast of Malta. Here you will find the Temples of Ggantija, Inland Sea, The Citadel and the Azure Window. Victoria (Rabat) is the capital of Gozo, where you can see the Old City and the Citadel, which sits on top of the hill. The Citadel serves as the heart of the island and is sometimes called the “Crown of Gozo”. The 18th Century Independence Square was once the seat of government and is now home to a lively open-air market with cafés serving pastizzi. The Grand Basilica is located in the oldest part of town. Here you will also find the Folklore Museum, the Old Prison, Villa Rundle and Gozo Cathedral.

Comino is a small island and home to the famous Blue Lagoon. This island is a great day trip for those who love to surf, dive or who just want to relax on its white sand beaches. The island is car free and is virtually uninhabited.

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