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Sights in the Mediterranean Island-Nation Malta

Sights in the Mediterranean Island-Nation Malta
October 14
09:42 2021

The Republic of Malta is a tiny island nation (320 km2) located in the heart of the Mediterranean. In fact, Indians would be excused for struggling to even find the archipelago on a map. For the record, it is situated just south of Sicily.

Malta is one of the safest countries to visit, with comparably low crime rates. This makes it terrific if you’re travelling alone or bringing your family. The island considers itself gay friendly, with a generally tolerant attitude towards LGBTIQ visitors. All visitors should play it safe by securing valuables to reduce the small risk from pickpocketers.

Despite being a microscopic fraction of the size of India – don’t let it fool you! Mile for mile, the archipelago is very much a giant museum. Its history goes back to almost 6,000 BC. In fact, Malta and its sister island Gozo are home to seven megalithic temples. To put things in perspective, some of these are older than the Egyptian Pyramids or Stonehenge. We recommend taking the ferry to Gozo and visiting the famous Ä gantija Megalithic Temples in Gozo.

The historic capital city of Valletta was built by the Knights of Saint John in the 16th century. Protected by stone bastions, it served as a fortified sanctuary from invaders. Today the UNESCO World Heritage is home to the Grandmaster’s Palace, St. John’s Co-Cathedral, gardens and museums. Republic Street and Merchant Street have a high concentration of shops, cafes and restaurants. In the evening, Valletta has become a trendy place to visit for dining and bars.

Mdina is a UNESCO-listed medieval town located high up on a hilltop. Known as the ‘Silent City,’ visitors can view the baroque-style St. Paul’s Cathedral and wander the narrow streets and alleyways. The National Museum of Natural History is housed in the 18th-century Palazzo Vilhena. A top tourist attraction is the Mdina Dungeons Museum, located below the Magisterial Vilhena Palace just as you enter the Mdina Gate. Be sure to visit the Fontanella Tea Garden, which offers delicious desserts with panoramic views.

The Blue Lagoon is located on the tiny island of Comino and boasts a crystal clear turquoise sea. It’s another must-see when visiting Malta, only accessible by boat. Aside from swimming and sunbathing, you can also enjoy a pleasant hike around the island.

Speaking of hiking, Malta is a great place to go for a year-round hike. Still, we’d suggest the autumn and fall for any trek to avoid the intense summer heat. The dry countryside turns green when the rains pick up from September through to March. Visit Dingli Cliffs for breathtaking views of the sea and a 250m cliff that drops straight into the sea.

Malta’s beaches are primarily rocky, but there are a few exceptions. Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, Gnejna Bay and Għadira Bay are all quaint sandy beaches popular with locals and tourists alike. These are great locations to take children. Some offer ancillary services like snack bars, umbrella rentals, paddle boat rentals and more.

For a country the size of Malta, it’s seen a lot of foreign interest as a set for films. Some of the more famous include Clash of the Titans, U-571, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy, Munich, The Da Vinci Code, Assassin’s Creed and Captain Phillips. While these have helped put Malta on the map as a filming location, none have left their mark quite like Popeye starring the late Robin Williams, released in 1980.

The reason is that today, one can visit Popeye Village, the purpose-built wooden set located in Anchor Bay. The beautiful setting comprises 19 wooden buildings that make up the village. The family-friendly attraction contains museums, boat trips, a short historical movie, and playhouses for children. There are also family-friendly shows with performers and animators.

Visitors searching for nightlife will definitely want to experience the St Julian’s district of Paceville. It’s packed with bars, nightclubs, restaurants and strip clubs. Bay Street is home to a shopping mall, plus there’s a cinema and a bowling alley. At the bottom of the street, you’ll find a tiny sandy beach popular with students in the summer.

If you enjoy seafood, one of the best places to visit is the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Some of the best fish restaurants on the island can be found lining the seafront and are well worth the trip. You can also find a traditional outdoor market on Sundays, and there are places to swim to work up an appetite.

The Maltese economy remains heavily dependent on tourism but has taken steps to diversify. Financial services have become an important pillar, as has gambling. The magnificent Dragonara Casino overlooks the shores in St Julian’s and is visible from afar. It’s the largest of its kind in Malta, offering hundreds of slot machines, table games, a VIP lounge, and a sports lounge. Malta is also home to the largest iGaming regulator in Europe, the MGA. Malta’s reputation as an iGaming hub has drawn many of the best online casinos there.

Travellers from India are sure to find whatever they’re looking for in Malta. One can enjoy a 5-star hotel experience or venture outside to discover local cuisine, historical attractions, nightlife, sun, sea, and so much more!

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