Malta is an island nation to the south of Sicily in the Mediterranean. It offers visitors beautifully preserved mediaeval architecture, an insight into its fascinating war history and some of the oldest free-standing structures on the planet.
Start your exploration of Malta in Valetta, the country’s capital. It was founded in honor of Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette of the Knights Hospitaller after he successfully fended off an invading Ottoman army. Visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral to see a breathtaking Baroque structure built and decorated by the knights of the order. The floor is inlaid with marble tomb stones, there are works by Caravaggio and other famous artists, and it houses an impressive collection of historical artifacts.
Move on to Casa Rocca Piccola to explore a 16th century palace full of antique furniture and old artworks. Fans of military history should check out the National War Museum to learn about Malta’s long and fascinating involvement in European and world conflicts. Make your way over to Fort Rinella to see a British colonial fortification or visit the Lascaris War Rooms to learn about Malta’s role in the Second World War.
Take a tour of Mdina Old Town to see an excellently-preserved mediaeval city. You’ll walk along narrow winding streets lined with houses and churches. Those who want to go even further back in time should visit the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola. It’s an underground necropolis constructed up to 5,000 years ago. For another glimpse of the island’s pre-history, catch the ferry to Gozo and explore the Ggantija Megalithic Temples. They are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Malta might be one of the world’s smallest countries, but its strategic position has meant it’s played an important role in European history. Throughout the centuries it’s been occupied by countless powers including the Greeks, Romans, French, and British. Its cultural legacy is as impressive as it is diversity, so you’re unlikely to run out of things to see and do.