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Sights, Malta

As well Malta’s glorious, sunny skies there is an array of sightseeing activities to discover the truly magical landscapes, far and wide. Hop on one of the scenic boats floating in the bay at Popeye Village, where you can sail across the turquoise waters and inhale the breathtaking views. History buffs love Malta’s ancient history, which can be experienced at Malta 5D – a short film compiling fascinating information on Malta’s historical background and how it became the country it is today.

Casa Rocca Piccola

Casa Rocca Piccola is a 16th century palace of the Maltese Noble family built in 1580. It is a fabulous traditional old building in central Valletta with over 1000 items to see across 50 rooms, including two libraries, a chapel and three bomb shelters, the largest of which is big enough to fit 100 people inside. It has been awarded with Trip Advisor’s “Best of the Best’, Travellers Choice award for four years running since 2014.

The 430-year-old building has an abundance of attractions, including fine collections of furniture, art and silver. It is also home to Malta’s largest collection of antique costumes, and an archive room, which holds details of family records and state business from the 16th century to the present day, and is used for research purposes by the University of Oxford.

45-minute guided tours take place hourly every day, so you can get an insight into the terrific insights into the exhibits that the palace holds. The building has wheelchair access and trained guide dogs are allowed in.

Day trip to Comino

Take a day trip to Comino during your Malta holiday to enjoy some peace and tranquillity. This small island, located halfway between Malta and the Island of Gozo, is home to an incredibly small number of inhabitants, who are friendly and welcoming to visitors. In fact, most of the people you will find on the island of Comino are only there for a day trip.

Comino is a change of pace from the more touristy islands of Malta and Gozo. It is home primarily to farmers; a rocky terrain, it is home to jagged cliffs and two intimate beaches that are perfect for those who are in need of some rest and relaxation. Comino is also famous for its blue lagoon, which is so called because of its crystal clear water, which is an amazing shade of blue. Visitors flock here in the busy season to swim in these beautiful waters.

Day trip to Gozo

Gozo is Malta’s beautiful, small sister island that sits just 5km off the North West of the main island of Malta. It is accessible by a 20-minute ferry ride that leaves regularly from Cirkewwa ferry terminal.

The peaceful, rustic island was independent from Malta for slightly less than three years (1978-1801) during the French revolutionary wars. It is also home to the Ggantija, which is a brilliantly preserved prehistoric temple. The island is full of beautiful hidden beaches and high quality restaurants and bars, so you can find somewhere peaceful to relax and take in the brilliant landscape.

There is also plenty to do if you are looking to spend your day doing something more active. Many companies offer sea cliff climbing sessions up Gozo’s most spectacular cliffs, as well as abseiling down them. You can also go sea kayaking and stand up paddling into the island’s spectacular caves and Gozo is also one of the best places in the Mediterranean for diving, with reefs, caves and wrecks all to see beneath the surface.

Fort Manoel

Fort Manoel is an 18th Century star fort in North West Valletta. It is a stunning structure that is steeped in history and culture. Recently, it has been used in multiple films and TV shows, including “Game of Thrones”.

Construction finished on the fort in 1733, although it has changed a lot since then due to alterations in its structure to accommodate changing military strategies. It has also sustained a lot of damage since then, including from some significant attacks during the Second World War. However significant restoration work has been ongoing for several years now, to restore it to its former glory.

The fort was first occupied by the French in 1798, during the French invasion of Malta, and was attacked by the Maltese on a number of occasions as part of an uprising against the French. It was also taken over by the British when Malta became a British protectorate in 1800.

The fort is also believed to be haunted by the “Black Knight”, who started to appear at the chapel after it was bombed in the 1940s.

Grandmaster Palace

The Grandmaster’s palace is the administrative centre of Malta, and is the location of the office of the president of Malta. It is the biggest palace in Valletta and is often referred to as just “the palace”. It is a spectacular old building that dates back to 1571, and there are multiple rooms open to the public.

One of these rooms is the Palace Armoury, which is home to one of the world’s largest collection of arms and armoury to be kept in its original building. When it was in use in 1604, the collection had over 25000 suits of armour. However, there is much less than this today, with much being damaged and lost during the Second World War and the French occupation of Malta.

There are also several rooms open in the state apartments, including the State Dining Room, the Supreme Council Hall, and the Council Chamber, which is home to a rare collection of Gobelin tapestries dating back to the 17th Century.

Lascaris War rooms

The Lascris War Rooms are a network of tunnels and chambers that lie underground in Valletta in Malta. They are beneath the Upper Barrakka Gardens, and were originally used as slave headquarters. They were expanded in 1940 by the British during the Siege of Malta and adapted for use as a war defence headquarters. Its operations rooms were used to coordinate the air defence during the Siege of Malta and the Allied Invasion of Sicily and also acted as the Maltese defence headquarters during the Second World War.

It is still fully intact today and functions as a museum, so you can visit to see all of the rooms and areas where some of the fiercest battles fought in the Mediterranean were coordinated. There are guided tours of the site given throughout the day as well as free audio tours. There is also a film about Malta during the Second World War shown regularly throughout the day. In 2016, it won a Traveller’s Choice award from Trip Advisor, so it is well worth a visit.

Malta 5D

Malta 5D presents a terrific 20-minute film of Malta’s history and culture in 5D. It is a fascinating, fun and exciting experience that the whole family can enjoy.

The film takes you aboard the “Maltese Falcon”, which takes you back to see some of the most significant events in Maltese history. This includes seeing prehistoric temples (which were the first evidence of humans being on the island), and experiencing Malta’s role in great historic battles such as in the Great Siege of 1565 and World War 2. The Maltese Falcon takes you up to great heights and great depths to give you astonishing views of Malta from both the sky and underwater. It also takes you twisting and turning through the island’s narrow streets.

The 5D effects bring the show to life with 3D images, moving seats, water sprays and air blasts. It is situated just 5 minutes away from Valetta bus terminus, so it is easily accessible. It is also shown in 17 different languages, so it is popular with locals as well as tourists from around the world.

Popeye Village

Popeye village is a small, open-air entertainment park at Anchor Bay in Malta with an array of unique and entertaining amusements to keep the whole family smiling. It was initially built as a set for use in the 1980 live-action musical “Popeye”, before being converted into the park after filming on the set was complete. The set itself is a collection of old looking rural wooden buildings.

There are plenty of attractions to keep you entertained at the park all day. There are multiple shows throughout the day, including interactive shows such as puppet shows and the “Jerry Sprinjer Show”, as well as a Popeye play which includes a performance of the Popeye theme song.

The site also acts as a museum of the set’s history, including an hourly 20-minute audio visual show of the history and information of the village, which includes clips from the film it was used in and clips of the set’s construction. There is also a small recreational water park, so don’t forget to bring your swimming costumes.

Portomaso Tower

Also known as just “The Tower”, The Portomaso Business Tower in Portomaso, St. Julian’s is the tallest building in Malta, standing at over 97m high and comprising of 23 floors. Opened in 2001, the building is a large commercial space housing offices for multiple business, and is regarded as the leading location for businesses on the island as well as being one of the most recognizable and must-see landmarks in the country.

The tower is more than just an office space though, as there are several floors dedicated to entertainment as well. This includes a terrific shopping centre with high quality restaurants, as well as a fantastic casino, which has hosted the “Battle of Malta” poker tournament twice in previous years. The top floor of the tower houses a unique nightclub with multiple balconies from which there are stunning views of the island and Portomaso Marina in particular.

The surrounding area is also home to a wide variety of high quality bars, shops and restaurants as well as a classy promenade.

The Citadel

If you want to spend a day taking in the local culture and history, then a trip to The Citadel in Victoria in Gozo is an absolute must visit attraction for you.

Also known as “The Cittadella”, it is a large, old, stone structure that is visible across almost the entire island. The Southern walls that remain intact today date back to the 17th century, and it is known to have been inhabited since the Bronze age and possibly even the Stone age. It has been listed as a world heritage site since 1998, as it is home to some stunning views and a fascinating history.

There are several fantastic areas to visit within The Citadel. The Ramparts have been brilliantly preserved and boast great views of the island. Gozo Cathedral is also located within the Citadel’s walls, which features a beautiful religious painting that makes the ceiling look like a dome when it is actually flat. There are also several museums, including the Folklore Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and the Cathedral Museum.