UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Maltese Islands have three sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are the City of Valletta, the Megalithic Temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum.
In all, seven megalithic temples are found on the islands of Malta and Gozo, each the result of an individual development. The two temples of Ġgantija on the island of Gozo are notable for their gigantic Bronze Age structures. The Ġgantija Temples are the oldest, free-standing monuments in the world and are a testament to the Island's inhabitation for at least 1,000 years before the famous Egyptian pyramids of Giza were constructed.
On the island of Malta, the temples of Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra and Tarxien are unique architectural masterpieces, given the limited resources available to their builders. The Ta' Ħagrat and Skorba complexes show how the tradition of temple-building was handed down in Malta. These temples were inscribed on the World Heritage List as a group and represent a unique architectural tradition that flourished on the Maltese Islands between 3600 and 2500 B.C.
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is a rock-cut underground complex that was used both as a sanctuary as well as for burial purposes by the temple builders. It was discovered during construction works in 1902. The three underground levels date from around 3600 to 2400 B.C. The monument is considered one of the essential prehistoric monuments in the world.
The capital of Malta, Valletta, is inextricably linked to the history of the military and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem. Built after the Great Siege of 1565 and named after Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, this fortified city has hundreds of monuments, all within a relatively small space, making it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
Quality Assured Attractions
The Malta Tourism Authority has recently launched a certification scheme to officially recognise those attractions that offer a quality experience to visitors. Participation in this scheme is completely voluntary and so far a variety of attractions have gained the prestigious ‘Quality Assured seal', including museums, historic houses, audio-visual history shows, and others. You will find a quality assured attraction in all the main towns including Valletta, Mdina and Rabat, as well as in smaller villages such as Siggiewi, and even on the island of Gozo.
So far 9 attractions have been awarded the certification. These are:
• Casa Rocca Piccola, Valletta
• Gozo 360° Multivision Show, Victoria, Gozo
• Malta 5D
• Melita Trains, Rabat
• Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum, Mdina
• Playmobil FunPark, Ħal-Far
• The Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens, Siġġiewi
• Valletta Living History, Valletta
The following are some of the requirements that are met by attractions displaying the ‘Quality Assured' logo:
• The attraction is regularly audited against detailed quality criteria, such as quality of content, interpretation and layout.
• The attraction is open on a regular basis and has set opening hours.
• Staff is well-trained and offers a caring and professional service.
• The attraction values visitor feedback.
• The attraction's website includes all the information required to plan a visit, such as information on ticket prices, opening hours, directions to the attraction and accessibility.
For more detailed information on this scheme please click here.
Crafts have undergone a revival in recent years. Not solely because they make interesting souvenirs but also because of their high cultural value to the Islands. Some crafts, such as knitwear, basketware and lace, have a long history.
Other craft forms, such as weaving and pottery, date back to prehistoric times. The ‘Sleeping Lady' found in the Hypogeum is a clay figurine of exquisite workmanship. In the Tarxien Temples, archaeologist also found fragments of red-dyed, flax textiles. These fabrics showed that the prehistoric islanders had considerable skills in weaving.
The Arabs introduced cotton into Malta from around 870 A.D. and brought also their expertise in weaving and dyes. Cotton production became a major rural industry from medieval times up to the early 19th century. During the time of the Knights, Gozitan cotton linen was highly-prized in mainland Europe.
Weaving, embroidery and lace-making were encouraged, often by the Church. Life in Gozo and much of rural Malta was relatively harsh and craft industries became a main source of income for rural families. Such was the worksmanship of these textiles during the 17th century, that various Grand Masters prohibited the wearing of embroidered and fancy garments considering them frivolous and out of keeping with the Order's religious calling.
A craft that really flourished under the Knights was gold and silver ware. Malta's most precious production is filigree and jewellery. Today, Maltese goldsmiths are thriving, their work often exported to major cities abroad.
Although the Maltese Islands may lack certain features such as mountains, rivers and forests which prevail in other countries, topographically speaking, the islands have much to offer.
Sheer cliffs made of layer upon layer of sedimentary rock rise sharply from the water, especially on the western side of both Malta and Gozo. The latter is characterised by flat-topped hills and lush green valleys, which are covered in multi-coloured wild flowers in spring before turning golden brown in the hot summer months.
In Malta you'll find here are plenty of natural attractions to view or visit. The Azure Window, the Inland Sea and Fungus Rock - a trio of natural wonders located within a few meters from each other in Dwejra on Gozo - are absolute must-sees. There are also caves and grottos with interesting rock formations to discover.
The natural attractions on the Maltese Islands are not found only above ground but also continue underwater. So snorkelers and divers can find some of the most bizarre landscapes of the Mediterranean in the sea surrounding Malta, Gozo and Comino.
Dwerja, limits of San Lawrenz, Gozo
The Azure Window is another spectacular natural landmark in Dwejra, along with The Inland Sea and Fungus Rock. The Azure Window at the end of the cliff, is a giant doorway, through which one can admire the blue expanse beyond the cliff.
t must be one of the most photographed vistas of the Islands, and is particularly spectacular during the winter, when waves crash high inside the arch. The sea around is very deep and of a dark blue hue, which explains why it is called the Azure Window. The rocks in this area are encrusted with fossilized crustaceans, evidence that most of the island was once covered by water. In front of the Azure Window is the Blue Hole, and The Chimney, two of the most popular dive sites in Gozo.
Limits of Qrendi, Malta
This natural picturesque grotto and its neighbouring system of caverns mirrors the brilliant phosphorescent colours of the underwater flora.
The Blue Grotto is located near "Wied iz-Zurrieq" south of the town of Zurrieq. A number of caves, including the Blue Grotto, which is the biggest one, can be reached by boat from Wied iz-Zurrieq. From Wied iz-Zurrieq one can also see the small island of Filfa. Filfla is uninhabited except for a unique species of lizards that live there. When Malta was a British colony, the island of Filfla was used for target practice by the British Armed Forces. The island is now protected under Maltese law.
The scenery around this area of the island is breathtaking. The cliffs rise out of the blue Mediterranean and the froth of the waves as they hit the rock face can make for some excellent shots.
Overlooking Ramla Bay, limits of Xagħra, Gozo
This cave is situated in a cliff face, a short distance from Xaghra and overlooks the red sands of Ramla Bay.
This cave is assumed to be the cave referred to by Homer in `The Odyssey' where Calypso, the beautiful nymph kept Odysseus as a `prisoner of love' for seven years.
The cave's interior and exterior are not too impressive but the magnificent views are worth it.
Dingli Cliffs are an impressive sight, especially if view them from sea level on an island cruise.
They are the Island's natural fortress, one bastion the Knights did not have to build to protect themselves. From the cliff tops, one of the most striking views and sheerest drops is just west of Dingli village. Another atmospheric view is over to the uninhabited isle of Filfla. The tiny chapel of St. Mary Madgalene perched on the edge marks the highest point on the Maltese Islands, some 250 metres above sea level. Below the cliffs, where the land slopes before plummeting again, farmers have managed over the centuries to cultivate tiny terraced fields.
The cliffs extend well beyond Dingli village. The south-westerly stretch takes in the evocative heights of Buxih, Fawwara, Ghar Lapsi and Munqar, above the sea at Blue Grotto. Dingli Cliffs seem to exude a mysterious charm especially late evening on calm summer days when the sunsets here can be dramatic.
Dwerja, limits of San Lawrenz, Gozo
Fungus Rock is one of a trio of spectacular natural landmarks in Dwejra, along with the famous Azure Window and The Inland Sea.
The Rock - known in Maltese as Il-Gebla Tal-General (or General's Rock) is a small islet in the form of a 60 metres high massive lump of limestone situated right at the entrance to an almost circular lagoon.
During the times of the Knights, it was thought that a particular tuber which grows on this little island had medicinal properties and could cure various ailments. So much so that the Grandmaster declared it illegal for anyone other than authorised knights to climb onto the rock and pick the plant, Today, tests are being conducted to verify whether these medical claims have any foundation,
Dwerja, limits of San Lawrenz, Gozo
The Inland Sea is an inland lagoon in Dwejra, and is perhaps the archipelago's most spectacular natural landmark.
The Inland Sea, and Dwejra Bay itself, were created millions of years ago when two limestone caves collapsed. The shallow inland lagoon is linked to the sea via a 100 metre cave in the cliff. On calm days, small fishing boats carry visitors out to sea through this tunnel, in order to see Fungus Rock and the Azure Window. The sea is used by fishermen and bathers, and is also a very popular diving spot.
Overlooking the lagoon is the Chapel of St. Anne, built in 1963 on the site of a much older church.
Other Historic Sites
In the Maltese Islands, you will find that history is not confined to the halls of museums and galleries, but it is there to see, touch and experience, practically everywhere. Walking along the streets of Valletta, or exploring other towns and villages across Malta and Gozo, you will encounter a variety of historic sites from different eras, each one adding an individual piece to a historical mosaic that spans the centuries.
AUBERGE D'ITALIE229 Merchants Street, Valletta, VLT 1170, Malta
Originally designed by Girolamo Cassar, the Auberge d’Italie in Merchants Street, Valletta is one of the finest buildings in the city.
It has a symmetrical facade, rectangular in plan and surrounded by streets on three sides. It is built around an arcaded courtyard and was considerably altered in the 17th century. Nowadays this building is used to house the Head Office of the Malta Tourism Authority.
Art exhibitions are regularly held at the Auberge d'Italie. Artists wishing to exhibit their works at the Auberge can apply here.
Palace Square Valletta, VLT 1191, Malta
The Palace stands in the very heart of Valletta - the World Heritage City founded by the Sovereign Hospitaller Military Order of St. John after the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. Besides being the Office of The President, The Palace also serves as the House of Representatives and boasts of, an armoury which symbolises the past glories of the Order.
The first structure on this site was built during the reign of Grandmaster Jean de La Cassiere (1572-1581) in order to serve as the Grandmaster's Palace. Subsequent Grandmasters enlarged and embellished the original structure until it took its present shape during the mid-18th century. Following the French occupation between 1798 and 1800 The Palace was taken over by the British administration, thereby serving as the Palace of the Governor. It also saw Malta's constitutional development as it was the seat of Malta's first Constitutional Parliament in 1921 and, following Independence in 1964, the seat of Parliament and also of the Head of State.
The Palace State Rooms and Armoury are open to the public. Howvever, the State Rooms may be closed to visitors at short notice due to the exigencies of the Office of the President or the House of Representatives.
AUBERGE DE CASTILLE
Castille Place Valletta, Malta
The Auberge de Castille was the official seat of the knights of the Langue of Castille, León and Portugal – one of the most powerful of the Order of St. John, its Head being the Grand Chancellor. The Knights of this Langue were responsible for the defence of part of the fortifications of Valletta, known as the St Barbara Bastion. The Auberge is situated at the highest point of Valletta and originally looked out on the rolling countryside beyond, giving it a unique vantage-point unsurpassed by any other building in the city. The original Auberge was built by the renowned Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar in 1574. It was extensively re-modelled and virtually rebuilt in 1741, the present plan of the imposing structure attributed to Andrea Belli. The building was damaged during the siege of the French forces (1799–1800) as well as during the Second World War (1939–1945).
TA' BRAXIA CEMETERY
Triq l-Indipendenza, Tal-Pietà, Malta
This cemetery lies close to Portes des Bombes in Floriana, and was opened in 1857 when the group of cemeteries close to the bastions in Floriana were full. The Ta’ Braxia cemetery was designed by Emanuele Luigi Galizia who was only 25 years old at the time. Later he was responsible for the much larger Addolorata Cemetery in Paola. Ta' Braxia is managed by Din l-Art Helwa.
Fortifications & Towers
Malta has often been called the ‘Fortress Island' due to the great mass of military architecture that can be seen everywhere. This is a legacy of the islands' history which saw them being fought over, time and again, due to their strategic location and deep, safe harbours.
The fortifications that can be seen today come from two distinct periods: those of the Knights and those of the British era. These imposing reminders of the islands' wartime past fascinate not only because they are a feat of military engineering, but also because they are reminiscent of an age of chivalry, crusading, heroism and legendary battles.
Indoors, start at museums such as the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa, the National War Museum and the Armoury, both in Valletta. Outdoors, stroll along Valletta's bastions or venture a tour of the Victoria Lines fortifications running along the Great Fault east to west across Malta. Wherever you go, you'll find remnants of war, from 17th century coastal forts and watch towers to WWII pillboxes.
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, St. Rocco Road, Kalkara, Malta
British Royal Engineers built Fort Rinella between 1878 and 1886 at a time when the Islands were threatened by the supremacy of the Italian navy. The fort was therefore equipped with a massive 100-ton gun as a coastal battery, designed to become the world’s largest cannon.
The gun, still on show at Fort Rinella, has a barrel almost 10-metres long and could fire a one-ton shell about three miles. During WWII, the fort served as a coastal watching point for the British forces. The fort museum depicts the life of the British garrisons based here and shows how the great gun was operated. It also houses a collection of militaria and ordnance.
RE-LIVE HISTROY AT FORT RINELLA
Throughout the year, from Tuesday to Sunday at 14.30hrs sharp, volunteers dressed as late 19th century Victorian soldiers will take visitors on an animated tour around the fort.
FORT ST. ANGELO
Vittoriosa Waterfront, Vittoriosa, Malta
Fort St. Angelo is the jewel in the crown of The Maltese Islands’ military heritage. According to legend, the fort stands on the site of a fortified Roman settlement.
When the Knights arrived on the Island in 1530, the Fort became the seat of the Grand Master of the Order. It was to play a heroic role in the Great Siege of 1565, when, against all odds, it managed to repel a formidable Saracen armada. The epic resistance of the Knights during the three-month siege gave the Fort its legendary status.
In the 19th century, the British took over the Fort and in 1912 it was officially listed as a ship, first as HMS Egmont and then in1933 it was renamed HMS St. Angelo.
More recently, the Government granted the Order of the Knights of St. John the upper part of the fort, comprising the magisterial palace and St. Anne's Chapel.
Battery Street, Valletta, Malta
The Old Saluting Battery stands on the lower part of the St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion. Originally built in the 16th century, it remained in continuous use up to 1960. The battery functioned as a master time keeper, as the gun shots at sunrise and sunset marked the beginning and end of the working day, as well as the opening or closing of the town gates.
The noon gun was fired to signal to mariners in the harbour the exact hour of mid-day, which was necessary for the regulation of watches on board ships for accurate navigation. The Saluting Battery was restored in 2005, complete with eleven original British 24-pounder cannons from the mid-late 19th century and volunteers dressed in uniforms of the time, representing the Royal Malta Artillery.
Location: Lower area of St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion, Valletta (right under the Upper Barracca Gardens).
ST. AGATHA'S TOWER (THE RED TOWER)
Triq tad-Dahar, Mellieħa, Malta
Also known as the Red Tower (due to the colour it was painted and restored in), Grand Master Lascaris built St. Agatha’s Tower in 1647. At the time of its construction, it was the furthest outpost from Valletta and served as a signal post for communication with Gozo. One of the main defensive positions during the time of the Knights, it was equipped with a cannon and garrison of 30 men.
The entrance to the Tower is approached by a flight of steps separated from the door by a drawbridge. Square in plan with four corner towers rising from the base, the outer walls are about four metres thick, through which small windows were cut. In the 18th century, a low star-shaped entrenchment was added. During the British period the tower was used for defence purposes and was manned during both world wars. In recent times it was equipped as a radar station by the Armed Forces of Malta.
The Maltese are among the oldest Christian peoples in the world. St. Paul, shipwrecked as a captive en route to Rome in A.D. 60, brought the Christian faith to Malta. His steps can be retraced in the shrines, grottos and catacombs of Rabat and in the ancient capital, Mdina.
There are over 360 churches and chapels scattered throughout the islands. You can usually locate the centre of any town or village by driving towards the parish church which dominates the skyline, although many may have more than one large church and several chapels. You can't help but notice the islands' Baroque churches with their red or silver painted domes. They form an integral part of the landscape and are at the heart of Maltese social and cultural life.
Many of these buildings are veritable works of art. You will notice how local craftsmen and artisans adorned the inside and exteriors of churches and cathedrals with intricate decorations and stone sculptures depicting saints, angels and sacred symbols.
Perhaps most intriguing of all religious sites are the small, wayside chapels. Some are excavated in the rock; others cling to cliffs. All are places of quiet contemplation.
CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF VICTORIES
Triq iż-Żewġ Mini, Senglea, Malta
The Collegiate Church of Our Lady of Victories (the Parish Church of Senglea) built in 1743, was destroyed in January 1941 during a severe air attack on the HMS Illustrious which was berthed in the creek nearby.
Work on the new church was finished in 1957 when it was reconsecrated. The parish had been elevated to the rank of Basilica in 1921 by Pope Benedict XV. The most precious treasure in the church is a wooden statue of the Virgin which is kept in the last chapel on the left of the nave, encased in silver.
The festa, when the statue is brought out of the church, is a memorable sight. The Church is dedicated to our Lady of Victories, also known as Maria Bambina.
In front of the church is a monument dedicated to those who died during the bombing of World War II.
ST. JOHN'S CO-CATHEDRAL
St. John's Street, Valletta, Malta
Described as the first complete example of the high Baroque anywhere, St. John’s Cathedral epitomises the role of its original patrons, the Knights of St. John.
The Cathedral is testimony to the talent of Maltese military architect Gerolamo Cassar, with Mattia Preti’s intricately carved stone wall designs, as well as the painted vaulted ceiling and side altars with scenes from the life of St John. The Cathedral also houses one of Europe’s most impressive and famous art works – Caravaggio’s Beheading of St. John the Baptist.
The Cathedral was a shrine to the Knights, as many sons of Europe’s noble families from the 16th to 18th centuries lie buried here. Their intricate, marble-inlaid tombstones form a magnificently crafted pavimento. Also a resting place to the founder of Valletta, Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette, his tomb lies in the crypt, a quiet sanctuary and place of contemplation away from the busy streets outside.
SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF MELLIEĦA
Misraħ il-Parroċċa, Mellieħa, Malta
The Sanctuary of our Lady of Mellieha is a popular place of pilgrimage. The ancient part of the sanctuary, as it stands today, dates back to the late 16th century.
Since then, due to the popularity of the place and the ever increasing population of Mellieha, the chapel's internal structure was modified and extended several time, the major works being done in 1716-19, 1815, and 1845-47. The building on top of the sanctuary of our Lady of Mellieha is the Parish Priest's residence. The door on the left leads to the sacristy. The cavern was excavated wound by Mario de Vasi, a Sicilian merchant who contributed as well for the decoration of the grotto's vault and the erection of the statue of our Lady of the Grotto. The sacristy contains an impressive collection of ex-voti, gifts and pledges, all of which demonstrate the great devotion the Maltese have towards Our Lady.
The monumental arch was built in 1719, so as to commemorate the favours obtained from our Lady of Mellieha after a long period of draught. The inscription on the arches reads ‘In thee have fathers hoped; they hoped and thou hast delivered them'. The crypt of our Lady of Mellieha was originally one of the many natural caves found around the northern part of the Island. According to an old tradition, the Byzantine style fresco, depicting the Virgin Mary holding Christ on her right arm was painted by St. Luke, when he was shipwrecked on the Island together with St. Paul. Recent studies indicate that the fresco is an early 13th century painting. Mellieha Sanctuary - Fresco In the Chapel's belfry one finds two bells which date back to the 8th century (1712 and 1733). The largest bell was bought from Carlo Moreni of Firenze, Italy in 1857 at the price of 1,063 scudi. The Sanctuary's clock was fabricated by Mikelang Sapiano from Mqabba in 1875. All the expenses were paid by the British Government. From under the roofed veranda, a classical example of 17th Centaury Renaissance architecture, one can enjoy a picturesque view of the Valley of our Lady, Mellieha bay, Gozo and Comino.
The rooms facing the chapel were originally constructed in the 18th century to host pilgrims. Behind the iron grating, there lies an old statue of St. Anne, probably made by a devotee of Our Lady of Mellieha. In the chapel's façade there is also a statue of St. Paul, which was constructed later in the 19th century.
St. Paul's Square, Mdina, Malta
The Cathedral also know as St. Paul's Cathedral is the architectural crown of the elegant, walled city of Mdina. A late 17th century masterpiece of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafà, it lies on the site of a much earlier Norman church that was destroyed by the violent earthquake of 1693.
According to tradition, the earlier church had been built on the site of the house of Publius, the Roman's chief man on the Islands, who was converted to Christianity by St. Paul in A.D. 60. The Cathedral's imposing facade greets you abruptly as you emerge from Mdina's narrow streets. The building is topped by a magnificent dome, possibly one of Gafà's greatest achievements. the dome has though had a chequered history: a succession of painters have tried to embellish its interior.
Today's dome interior dates from the 1950s. In the Mdina cathedral, you find works by the Calabrian artist and Knight, Mattia Preti. The pavement of marble-inlaid tombstones carries the coats of arms and inscriptions of the bishops of Mdina and other members of the Cathedral chapter. In the choir behind the main altar is Preti's monumental depiction of The Conversion of St. Paul. It was part of the original Norman church, and survived the earthquake.
Interactive walkthrough and multimedia attractions offer an overview of Malta's history in under an hour and are a great way to learn what you will later be looking at.
With 7,000 years of history, it is not surprising to find that such visitor attractions are abundant. You will find most of them in the capital Valletta and in the medieval walled city of Mdina. Most attractions deal with the period when the Knights of St. John ruled these islands. Others focus on earlier times, such as the middle ages, whilst others adopt a wider approach, starting from prehistory right down to the present.
GOZO 360Castle Hill Street, Victoria, VCT 103, Gozo
Glorious Gozo! A little island in the sun, concentrated with a fascinating history, rich with crafts, culture and color, an island of charm and joy.
Now, the very essence of Gozo has been captured in a stunning sound and vision experience. More than a thousand color pictures have been combined to create an entertainment which will delight you with its music, legend, tapestry of history and spectacular scenery. In a little under half an hour, we will give you a glimpse of Gozo's past an insight of Gozo of today.
Sit back in air-conditioned comfort, select the commentary language of your choice and be transported across the Gozitan countryside and across the centuries.
A spectacular sound and vision experience which brings the Island to Life.
Gozo 360 - You Have To See It To Believe It!!!!
Languages : Danish Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Maltese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Italian and Hebrew.
Opening Timings and Prices:
Mon - Sat 10:00hrs to 15:00hrs (every half hour)
Public Holidays 10:00hrs to 13:00hrs (every half hour)
Sunday open on request of groups
Adults: €6.00, Child: €3.00, Students: €3.00
Special Offer Prices from 11:30hrs to 13:00hrs: €4.00
The Gozo 360 is also awarded the MTA Quality Assured Certification and is one of the attractions highly recommended.
GREAT SIEGE OF MALTA & THE KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN
Cafe Premier Complex, Republic Street, Valletta, Malta
The Great Siege of Malta walk-through show, now in its tenth year, has been thoroughly revised and adapted.
It presents the event that shaped Malta forever in a much different way than before and takes now about 25 minutes.
More prominence and acknowledgement is given to the Maltese population under siege. Educational, informative, entertaining and a touch of humour is a fair summary of the show.
The Great Siege show is rated PG (parental guidance necessary, as there may be some 'scary' scenes).
The show is available in ten languages: English, Maltese, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Russian and Japanese.
St. Elmo Bastions, Mediterranean Street, Valletta, VLT06, Malta
The Malta Experience attraction presents Malta's 7000 Years of history in an action packed 45 minute audio-visual spectacular.
The show highlights Malta's most dramatic events in the most entertaining education and informative way from the Neolithic period to modern times.
This award-winning show is offered in 15 different languages.
VALLETTA LIVING HISTORY
The Embassy Complex, Level -3,, St. Lucy Street, Valletta, VLT 1185, Malta
Re-live the arrival of Valletta's earliest settlers; the Great Siege that erupted between the Knights of St John and the fierce Ottoman Empire; French and British rule; as well as the city's heroic role in World War II till present day.
A high definition audiovisual spectacular, the show provides great entertainment for all the family, right in the heart of Malta's capital city Valletta. It provides fantastic insight into the history of the capital, local culture and Maltese society, through a documentary that charts Valletta's evolution over the centuries.
So sit back in air-conditioned comfort, and enjoy the ideal introduction to your stay in Malta!
Activity & Fun
The Maltese Islands offer a variety of attractions for the whole family to enjoy together.
Besides the beaches and pools, there is a marine and water park available for water fun. Not to be missed by kids of all ages is the Sweethaven Village - the film set of the 1980 musical production "Popeye".
For crafts, the Islands hold two main villages, one in Gozo and one in Malta. Visitors can see craftsmen making lace, silver filigree, pottery, fabrics, knitwear, baskets and clocks. Also fascinating to watch are the glass blowers; visitors are encouraged to witness the craftsmen as they make the renowned Maltese mouthblown and hand-crafted glass.
JOKERS FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
Baystreet level 2, St. Julian’s, Malta
Think of horse carrousel, carnival, rides, fun fair games, children's games, ball toss games, video games, prizes, gifts, amusement machines, arcade machines, gaming machines, redemption games, pool tables, thrill rides, a soft play area…All this under one roof. A comfortable, clean, air-conditioned Family Entertainment area, Jokers even has a separate adult area where you can relax and play to win.
MEDITERRANEO MARINE PARK
White Rocks, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta
Experience the magic of the sea and its enchanting creatures at close quarters as you interact with dolphins, sea lions and more at the Mediterraneo Marine Park at any time of the year.
Ever dreamt of swimming with dolphins? Being kissed by sea lions? Or maybe holding parrots and petting snakes or iguanas?
The Mediterraneo Marine Park makes dreams come true for holiday-makers and locals alike by introducing this concept of close interaction with the lovable residents at this complex.
A hive of colourful activity, the place is run to a high standard of professionalism and offers an ideal day out for families and groups, with various entertainment options, a special area for the children and a well-equipped restaurant/cafeteria.
Visitors can choose between viewing a number of Shows, an Interactive tour or even a once-in-a-lifetime swim with the resident dolphins.
PLAYMOBIL FUN PARK
HF80 Industrial Estate,, Ħal Far Birżebbuġa, BBG 06, Malta
The Playmobil FunPark in Malta was created with the aim of providing an opportunity for children to interact with Playmobil's range of figures and play-sets in a fun-filled and safe environment. Understanding the importance of imaginative play, Playmobil pays great attention to detail, creating intricate and fun toys that adhere to the highest safety standards. Moreover, Playmobil encourages children's creativity through increased freedom in the toy's play and assembly. The Playmobil FunPark - the unique play area of the PLAYMOBIL toy system - offers all children the opportunity to experience the toy in an environment which is conducive to play and caters for the child's needs.
SPLASH & FUN WATER PARK
Coast Road, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta
The Splash & Fun Park at White Rocks has a large swimming pool and deck for adults to enjoy by the sea. The other pool is equipped with chutes and slides as well as a dinosaur park to keep the children happy.
Other facilities such as a Snack bar and ample parking space are available for those spending the day at the Splash and fun park.
SWEETHAVEN - POPEYE VILLAGE
Anchor Bay, limits of Mellieħa, Malta
The film set of the 1980 musical production "Popeye", also known as 'POPEYE VILLAGE', was constructed in Anchor Bay during the last 7 months of 1979. Today the "village" has grown into a family attraction featuring a number of colorful fun activities for all young at heart. Here you will meet famous cartoon characters to greet and entertain your kids. Grownups can be part of a filming experience with the animation crew, and enjoy a number of attractions such as boat rides, water trampolines, sun bathing decks, beach lido, food outlets, winery offering free wine tasting, mini golf and Santa's toy town. There is also Malta's largest jump around and a fun park with numerous rides for kids.
THE LWS ANIMAL PARK
Zinzell Street, Marsaskala, MSK 4070, Malta
The LWS animal park offers an educational and fun filled day.
The animals in this park are well taken care of and their ambience is much more than a cage. Rabbits are free to roam their ground and so are the mountain goats. Emus, deer, llama and monkeys are only a few of the animals one may see.
There is also a train winding through beautiful gardens and round the animal park. In the centre of the park there is a 'Grand Prix' go-karts track. The Park also has a stable area, with horses and ponies which children can ride. All the facilites in the park are specially designed for easy access and use by the disabled.
The park is open on weekdays from 9am till 1pm and on Saturdays from 9am till noon (viewing only). On Sundays the park is open all day from 9am till 5pm with train rides and go carts available.
Beaches & Bays
Malta has beaches for everyone, from windsurfers to sunbathers. Choose from golden sand, red sand, rocks, blue lagoons and even inland seas. Some beaches and rocky shores are off the beaten track, but worth seeking out for their seclusion. Do not miss a boat trip to Comino's Blue Lagoon for the ultimate in azure water. On larger beaches, you will find cafes or snack bars open during the summer season. With Malta's climate, beach life lasts well into October. Enjoy water sports and activities like windsurfing, jet and water skiing, parakiting and fun rides. You can hire equipment from beach cafes or shops nearby.
The main coastal resorts and larger sandy beaches are in the northern part of Malta. Malta's most popular beaches are Mellieħa Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay. For smaller, quieter beaches, try those at the tip of Malta, overlooking Gozo - Paradise Bay and Armier. In Gozo, the most beautiful beach is Ramla l-Ħamra, a large beach of unusual red sand nestling by countryside. Gozo and Comino offer plenty of out-of-the-way rocky inlets with clear waters and perfect snorkelling.
Discover our beaches and bays by using the intreractive map or the listing below.
Find out about the various Blue Flag Beaches and Beaches of Quality around the Maltese Islands here.
Armier, limits of Mellieħa, Malta
The beach at Armier stretches round the shore of an open bay at the extreme northern fringe of Malta. The sandy bay faces the nearby islands of Comino and Gozo. Bars and small restaurants provide the necessary beach facilities but since the area is rural, there are no hotels or tourist establishments nearby. Although it is generally safe for swimming, Armier Beach can be subject to rough swells because it is exposed to north winds.
Armier is also popular for picnics and barbecues. If you barbecue, please ensure you leave the spot clean for bathers the next day and that you have free-standing barbecue equipment.
Anchor Bay, limits of Mellieħa, Malta
Anchor Bay is perhaps most known for Popeye Village, the set of the 1979 film starring Robin Williams as Popeye. After more than three decades, Popeye's Sweethaven village still occupies the craggy slopes of Anchor Bay, a relatively isolated cove just one kilometre west of Mellieha. The village film set is a tourist attraction and often used as an activity centre.
This tiny picturesque inlet is also used by fishermen who perch on the little quay left by the film set. A steep slope lead down to the bay. Although the waters here are generally calm, the bay is suitable only for good swimmers.
Balluta Tas-Sliema, Malta
Balluta Bay lies on a long stretch of rocky coastline that goes from from Qui-si-Sana in Sliema all the way to St. Julian's. This coastline is thronged with sunbathers during the peak summer months.
Steps and handrails placed every so often allow easy access to the water. There are plenty of flat rocks to spread a towel on. The sea here is deep, and generally clean, clear and safe to swim. It is also excellent for snorkelling. Some hotels along the front, especially at the St. Julian's end, provide beach concessions equipped with pools, water sports and lido areas for nightlife. The favourite beach areas are: the Tigné area, Qui si-Sana, Għar id-Dud, the Exiles and Fond Għadir. Some are well-known lidos or beach clubs with public access. In peak summer the Sliema beaches become a very sociable, lively place to be by mid-afternoon. The promenade is excellent for long, striding walks in winter, slow strolls on summer evenings and for watching the spectacular waves during freak autumn storms. You will find plenty of snack bars and restaurants on the coast road and kiosks near the shoreline.
Birzebbuga is a flourishing, but small, seaside resort not far from Marsaxlokk in south-east Malta. Its shoreline hugs St. George's although the sandy beach is known as Pretty Bay. It has been a popular bathing spot for Maltese holiday-makers for decades.
Sand was non-existent and bathers took to the water from the flat rocks or from specially built platforms on the shoreline. In more recent years, the bay was artificially filled with sand recovered from the sea during dredging works for the nearby Freeport. Pretty Bay is now considered a sandy beach. It lies right in the town centre so there are plenty of shops and restaurants along the coastline. Outside Pretty Bay, towards St. George's Bay, you'll find a rocky shore ideal for sun bathing and snorkelling. St. George's Bay is a lovely inlet used by local fishermen who moor their boats there. The bay is a good venue for water sports such as windsurfing. Next to the small chapel of St. George's are some prehistoric cart ruts.