Culture
Sightseeing in Malta? Here are TEN churches you must visit
Church visits are an absolute must on every trip to the Maltese islands.

Emma Galea

Malta is known for its exuberant number of churches, amounting to a whopping 365.

Whilst every single one is worth visiting, it’s admittedly pretty impossible to do so – especially if you’re only on the islands for a short period of time.

For that very reason, we’ve gathered what we believe are ten of Malta and Gozo’s most beautiful churches. Here we go!

1. Saint John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta

Arguably the most well-known church in Malta, this cathedral, situated right in the heart of Valletta, is a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.

The interior of the church was designed and painted by iconic baroque Italian artist, Mattia Preti and its extreme grandiosity is truly something to behold.

2. Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina

Speaking of cathedrals, the one in the Mdina is another must-visit for any history-lovers.

The cathedral was first constructed in the 12th century and legend has it that it was built on the exact spot where Saint Publius met Saint Paul following the latter’s shipwreck, hence why it’s dedicated to him.

Unfortunately, during the cathedral was severely damaged during the 1693 earthquake and was thus rebuilt in the Baroque style under the direction of genius Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa.   

3. Cathedral of the Assumption of Saint Mary, Victoria (Gozo)

Jumping on to Malta’s third Cathedral, this gem is located within the thick walls of the Cittadella in Gozo.

Originally built as a pagan temple dedicated to Juno, it was transformed into a church following Malta’s Christianisation. The cathedral is, however, mostly known for its ‘dome’ which might seem like a normal circular dome but it’s actually an illusion as it was built on a flat ceiling.

4. Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, Mosta

If you go through Mosta, it is almost impossible to miss this gigantic church. It was built during the 1800s and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome – hence the humongous dome.

On 9th April 1942, a German aerial bomb fell right through the dome but failed to explode, avoiding a horrific tragedy. 

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5. San Gorg Church, Victoria (Gozo)

Nicknamed ‘the Golden Basilica’, Victoria’s San Gorg Church was originally the main roman pagan temple in Gozo, until it was converted into a Christian temple.  

The church was severely damaged during the Ottoman invasion of 1565 but one of the priests captured during the siege bought back his freedom and managed to rebuild it.

The church now basks in absolute Baroque beauty and is popular amongst many of the locals for the traditional Saint George feast it hosts every third week of July. 

6. Ta’ Pinu, Gharb (Gozo)

Originally, this church was nothing more than a small chapel for farming folks to pray in. That is until 1883, when Karmni Grima, who was walking past the church, allegedly heard a mysterious voice calling her in to pray.

The Catholic Church was led to believe that this was Saint Mary’s voice and thus, decided to erect a huge sanctuary in her honour. Since then, Ta’ Pinu has been transformed into a popular place of pilgrimage for all those who want to be healed of a variety of ailments. In fact, behind the church there is a musuem commerating all those who prayed to the Virgin Mary for their healing.

7. Carmelite Church, St Julian’s

This is one of the few churches in all of Malta that is built in a Neo-Gothic style, rather than a Baroque style.

The Carmelite Church looks over the iconic Balluta Bay, making it the perfect sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of St Julian’s.

8. St Paul’s Shipwreck, Valletta

This stunning church dedicated to the father of Maltese Christianity is found within one of Valletta’s most picturesque steets.

The St Paul’s Shipwreck church is best-known for its magnifcent altarpiece, painted by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio – a 16th century Italian artist who studied under Michelangelo. This holy site also houses a fragment of St Paul’s right wrist bone and a piece of the column on which he was beheaded.

9. Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta

Chances are you’ve seen an image or two of the Valletta skyline with a huge dome towering over the other buildings. Well, that immense structure is part of the capital’s very own Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

A visit to this church is bound to result in the perfect Instagram-worthy picture.

10. Ta’ Giezu, Valletta

This church might seem tiny compared to the other churches listed above but don’t be fooled, as it is a must-visit nonetheless, especially if you happen to be visiting Valletta during Easter week.

Every Good Friday, a procession leaves from the church showing off a series of centuries-old statues depicting the Passion of the Christ.

Instagram/Visit Gozo & Instagram/Paulo Siqueira

7th August 2022


Emma Galea
Written by
Emma Galea
Emma is a Gozitan writer who loves all things related to English literature and history. When not busy studying or writing you will either find her immersed in a fictional book or at the cinema trying to watch as my films as she possibly can!

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