Attractions
5 places in Malta that make the locals proud
Etched in the hearts of Maltese people!

Melanie Drury

The Maltese archipelago is a collection of very small islands. Yet, they possess so many attractions and places of interest! Of all of these, however, there are a few that are etched in the hearts of the Maltese people - they truly make them proud, for various reasons. You will find every local invariably enamoured with these special locations!

1. The Silent City of Mdina

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by VisitMalta (@visitmalta) on

Ask any Maltese person where a tourist should go if they had only one day in Malta, and, nine times out of ten, you’ll have Mdina included in the answer. When considering how many fortified cities Malta has, why does Mdina capture the hearts of the Maltese?

The Silent City, as it is known, is something of a gem. Founded 4,000 years ago, the old capital is simply charming. It was home to Malta’s nobility and boasts Baroque and medieval architecture, with spectacular views over the whole island. Moreover, the restriction of cars makes strolling its streets akin to walking through another time.

2. The ‘Fallen’ Azure Window

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Egali Intercâmbio (@egali_intercambio) on

No single event related to a place has caused such widespread grief as the falling of the Azure Window in Dwejra, Gozo, during a storm in March 2017. The loss of this local icon pierced the heart of the Maltese people and even made it to world news.

Probably the most photographed location on the Maltese Islands, the huge natural limestone structure endured 500 years of weathering before it was taken by the very forces that made it. The heartbreak that washed over the island was as hard as the waves that brought it down. 

3. The Grand Harbour

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @malta_visit on

If you’re Maltese, one look across the Grand Harbour with its beautiful fortified cities - including Valletta and the Three Cities of Birgu, Bormla and Isla - as well as forts, and your heart cannot but swell with pride. The port in this natural harbour dates back to medieval times and has an astounding history to tell, from the Great Siege to World War II.

In these peaceful times, huge cruise liners contrast with the historic monuments; local kajjik boats ferry passengers across the harbour, while people observe the scene during an al fresco meal at the Valletta Waterfront.

4. The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by pastofmalta (@pastofmalta) on

How many countries can boast archaeological remains dating 7,000 years back? Tiny Malta has many of these, with several megalithic sites such as Ggantija, Mnajdra and Hagar Qim. The jewel of the crown, however, is most certainly the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a unique underground site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Its three levels are precisely carved from limestone and the structure contains the famous ‘oracle chamber,’ whose unique acoustic properties magnify anything spoken here. Nobody can guess its original purpose - who built it and how (huge amounts of rock would have had to be removed with very primitive tools, by ordinary estimations) - but the large number of human remains suggest it was used as a necropolis at some point.

5. Maltese Churches

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by all-in (@h0ney0112) on

While every local person is likely proud, somewhat, of their village church, there are a few that inspire country-wide admiration. Gold gilded walls, mosaic marble floors, paintings by famous artists - including the Beheading of St John by Caravaggio - are only some of the awe-inspiring baroque contents of St John’s Co-Cathedral which was built between 1573 and 1578 in the capital Valletta by the Order of the Knights of St John.

Meanwhile, the Mosta Rotunda invokes wonder due to the 200 kg bomb that fell in an air-raid during a service but failed to explode, saving the lives of 300 faithful. The dome, which is also the third largest dome in the world, had been built over the previous existing church, making the place one of daily prayer since 1614. In Gozo, Ta’ Pinu Basilica is now a place of pilgrimage due to its association with the granting of many miracles, especially healing of the sick.

Which other places do you think should be in this list?

13th December 2022


Melanie Drury
Written by
Melanie Drury
Melanie was born and raised in Malta and has spent a large chunk of her life travelling solo around the world. Back on the island with a new outlook, she realised just how much wealth her little island home possesses.

You may also like...
Attractions
Attractions
What's so special about this rock jutting out of the water?

Melanie Drury
Attractions

Caroline Curmi
Attractions
Attractions
They’ve truly withstood the test of time

Jillian Mallia
Attractions
Attractions
Discover the bleak unspoken history that lies behind the Nix Mangiari Stairs, which connect the Grand Harbour and the city of Valletta at Victoria Gate.

Melanie Drury