From finding secret beaches on which to enjoy Malta’s stunningly clear waters to knowing the best places to find a cup of coffee with a view or tuck into a late-night pastizzi-fest, this guide has got you covered when it comes to discovering hidden Malta.
The capital of Malta is, of course, a popular place to begin your visit to the islands. But for the authentic Maltese experience, stray from the busy thoroughfares and get lost in the winding, pretty backstreets of Valletta. Here family-run cafes, tiny restaurants and kitsch little shops are dotted around, just begging to be explored.
2. Ghasri Valley
Malta has no shortage of beautiful coastal spots for a swim, but the Ghasri Valley on Gozo is a must-visit. Here crystal clear, turquoise waters gently run through a steep-sided winding valley to create a secluded, natural s-shaped swimming pool complete with a tiny pebble beach. It’s also a great place for snorkelers and divers, as the creek hides several impressive underwater caves.
3. The Secret Passage at St Gregory’s Church
Malta has its own secret tunnel to rival Paris’ spooky catacombs; the thick stone walls of St Gregory’s Church in Zejtun have a hidden passageway inside, filled with human bones. With the skeletons believed to date back to the 1600s, the passageway was hidden for centuries before being re-discovered in the 1960s. Watch out for holidays and events when the church is open for visitors.
4. Fontanella Tea Garden
When visiting the city of Mdina, there’s only one place to stop for refreshments. The Fontanella Tea Garden is situated up high on the city’s stone bastions, meaning these al-fresco coffees come with the best views across Malta. Oh, and it’s also famous on the island for its delicious selection of home-made cakes – yes, please.
5. Il-Hofra L-Kbira
If you’re looking for a private slice of coastline, Il-Hofra L-Kbira will not disappoint. From the parking lot on the cliffs above, the beach is almost completely hidden below. Shallow warm waters and a flat, rocky beach with a little cave area providing some shade await visitors who find it. It’s not far from the super popular St Peter’s Pool in Marsaxlokk, so you could enjoy its hidden beauty after visiting the touristy site.
6. Crystal Palace Pastizzis
Pastizzi, a soft filo-pastry filled with mushy peas or soft ricotta, is Malta’s go-to snack. You’ll find them on sale pretty much everywhere, from bars to street food vendors, but Crystal Palace Tea and Coffee Bar has become a bit of a pastizzi icon. On the outskirts of Rabat, this cafe is open pretty much 24/7, so you can get your fix any time of the day or night!
7. Mnajdra Temple Complex
Malta has a long and rich history so the country boasts some incredible Roman ruins and beautiful crumbling architectural sites from different periods of its past, many of which get very busy with visitors. One hidden gem amongst these sites is the Mnajdra Temple Complex, near the village of Qrendi, where one of the three beautiful neolithic temples was built and designed around the movements of the sun. If you can, plan your visit during an equinox or solstice when special events are held.
8. The Jesus Tree
Yep, this is literally a tree that looks a bit like Jesus on the cross. Local legend says that the tree changed shape after being struck by lightning and locals now place flowers and gifts in homage at its feet. After being uprooted during a storm, it unfortunately lost its “head” and roots but the trunk was afterwards secured into a concrete base, so its holy shape can still be admired. If you’re after a quirky afternoon activity, set off to find the tree just outside of Mdina.
9. Seafood in Marsaskala
It’s no surprise that the seafood in Malta is famous for making travellers’ mouths water – with a huge array of Mediterranean fish and shellfish caught offshore each day, dishes here could hardly get any fresher! A great place to sample local dishes is in the small, relaxed fishing village of Marsaskala. Tuck into a swordfish steak or try traditional spaghetti with octopus sauce, before wandering along the promenade to spy the colourful fishermen’s houses and the boats that bob in the harbor.
10. Coral Lagoon
This perfectly-circular sea cave with an open roof is B.E.A.utiful. Either swim or kayak through what looks like a small cave from the sea next to Little Armier Bay and you’ll find yourself in a little round lagoon, harboring bright blue, clear waters. It’s worth getting there early before the tourists arrive – this highly Instagrammable hideaway isn’t going to stay a secret for much longer!
Article credits: https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/language/10-hidden-gems-in-malta/Mdina Cathedral Museum catering for eclectic tastes
The Mdina Cathedral Museum stands out as an institution that is continuously evolving. It is housed in a magnificent baroque building on the right hand side of the cathedral, in Archbishop’s Square. This imposing edifice was built by Bishop Alpheran de Bussan, with the first stone being laid in 1733. This building was to serve as the seminary for the diocese of Malta.
In the 16th century, the council of Trent had instituted seminaries to provide for the training of candidates to priesthood. Twelve years after the last session of the council, Mgr. Dusina, Apostolic Visitor to Malta had decreed the erection of a seminary. Various attempts were made by the bishops of Malta to have such a purpose built building but it was only in 1703 that Bishop Cocco Palmieri welcomes the first seminarians to a building in Mdina.
In 1723 Bishop Mancini (1722-1727) , transferred the Seminary to Valletta. Bishop Fra Paolo Alpheran de Bussan and Grandmaster Manoel De Vilhena funded the building of the current building. The building’s design is attributed to the architects Giovanni Barbara or Andrea Belli, although Barbara was dead when construction began, leaving Belli as the more likely candidate. The Mdina Seminary was inaugurated on the 20th May, 1742.
The Times of Malta talked to its curator, Mgr Edgar Vella and exhibition coordinator, Joseph P. Borg about its ethos and the recent bequest of the collection of John Bugeja Caruana. You may learn all about it in the article on The Times of Malta.
Read the full article here: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/mdina-cathedral-museum-catering-eclectic-tastes.983126Mdina’s de Mondion ranks in ‘top 600 restaurants in the world’ list
Housed within the 17th century Xara Palace Relais & Châteauxis boutique hotel, Mdina fine-dining join ‘de Mondion’ is hands down a staple for any foodies living in Malta.
The restaurant is particularly known for its inimitable take on Mediterranean cuisine, so much so that it was recently awarded a Michelin star.
As if that wasn’t enough praise, acclaimed international restaurant guide La Liste ranked it amongst the top 600 restaurants around the world.The Colours of Malta Luxury Services Journey – Week 2
We chose the perfect winter’s day to stroll through the narrow streets of Mdina as we head to De Mondion Restauranrt to experience a one of a kind cooking session with Michelin star chef Kevin Bonello.
Chef shares one of his prestigious secret dishes with us as he shows us his tricks on how to cook the perfect pigeon!
Simply WOW! Tried, tasted and simply exquisite!
We can’t wait to woo our guests again with more of Kevin’s De Mondion delicious dishes in the very near future!
Enjoy the experience and all the very best to you all!The Colours of Malta Timeless Journey – Week 5
Walking through the narrow winding roads of Mdina, one can stumble on the one of the oldest buildings in the city that has been run by the Vella Gatt family for over 35 years.. Old chambers, antique doors and a beautiful garden hidden in the bastion walls lays the setting for a fantastic culinary experience in this idyllic medieval city!The Colours of Malta Timeless Journey – Week 1
This time our journey takes us to the Old Capital City, Mdina aka The Silent City. A place so magical and quiet, that one might think they’re in a fairytale!
Here we met up with Justin Zammit Tabona the Managing Director of Xara Collection. Justin explains to us the timeless story of the Xara Palace hotel, part of the Relais Chateaux brand and its formidable De Mondion 1* Michelin star restaurant on the hotel’s rooftop terrace.
This quaint hotel has been run by the family for a number of years now and is part of a larger collection of businesses operating within the hospitality industry.Malta Must Knows
- Valletta – The Capital City, a city built by the Order of the Knights of St John and HOME TO St Johns co Cathedral and the Caravaggio Museum
- Birgu – well known for its vital role in the Great Siege of Malta of 1565
- Mnajdra and Hagar Qim Megalithic Sites (Qrendi) – World Heritage Sites that date back to the Ggantija Phase (3600-3200 BC)
- The Hypogeum – the only underground burial prehistoric site in Malta, its over 600 years old and a Unesco Heritage Site
- The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (Mosta) – the 3rd largest dome in Europe, and the 9th largest on the world, survived a German Luftwaffe bomb in 1942
- Mdina – one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture
- St Paul’s Catacombs Rabat – this site represents the earliest and largest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta
- St Paul’s Church and Grotto, Rabat – one of the earliest places of Christian worship on the island and St. Paul’s gift of healing and him remaining unharmed after a snakebite made the locals regard him as a God
- The Roman Domus – a museum that contains what remains of an ancient Roman townhouse built during the Roman reign in Malta
- Dingli Cliffs – highest in Malta at around 825 feet (250 m) with splendid views of the open ocean and of the Maltese islet of Filfla
- Ta’ Qali artisanal village – the hub where Maltese artisans showcase and sell their master works to locals and tourists alike
- Hand made blown Malta glass – glass items to suit all, one of Malta’s top artisanals
- Maltese Wine- Grapes grown on the island are blessed with a favorable Mediterranean climate all year round, yielding wines that are ripe with character and flavour.
- Marsaxlokk – small, traditional fishing village in the South Eastern Region of Malta. It has a harbour, and is a tourist attraction known for its views, fishermen and history
- Sanctuary of Our Lady in Mellieha – located at the edge of a hill, in the heart of Mellieha. Built in the late 19th century, this church is popular both for pilgrimages and for the magnificent views it offers over Mellieha bay, Gozo and Comino.
- WW11 Shelter – The shelter was a fully functioning mini city with a maternity ward and infirmary during World War 2
- Blue Grotto – a number of sea caves in the southern part of the island, famous for the extraordinary sea reflections and remarkable shades of blue
- Gozo – famed for its character and places of interest. Some of these include the Calypso Cave and the Ġgantija Neolithic temples which are among the oldest surviving man-made structures
- Comino – known for the famous Blue Lagoon bay with its crystal clear and azure-coloured water
- Rabbit – Traditional Maltese stewed rabbit, better known as ‘Stuffat tal-Fenek’, is considered Malta’s national dish