I wasn’t really sure what to expect before visiting Malta. I knew that this little island was previously under the rule of the British and lies almost as close to Africa as it does to the rest of Europe and it gets ridiculously hot in the summer months. Other than that I didn’t really know much about it, so I didn’t really expect too much.
What I hadn’t counted on was friendly people, beautiful breathtaking views, fascinating ancient sites, British touches and an overwhelmingly relaxed pace of life.
This is a nation that’s so small you can see the sea from pretty much every point on the island. I absolutely adored this view from the ancient city of Mdina, in the centre of the island (if you look closely you’ll see the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea!).
Mdina is a medieval walled town that dates as far back as 700 BC and was once the capital city of Malta. It was protected by thick defensive fortifications and a deep moat to keep out attackers and keep it’s residents safe.
Today Mdina is commonly referred to as the ‘Silent City’ because it was left abandoned when current capital city Valletta was built. These days it is home to 360 people and residents houses are peppered in the streets among ancient, intricate buildings such as St. Paul’s Cathedral.
One thing I loved about Mdina was the doors. They’re all different shapes, sizes, vibrant colours and they have notoriously funky door knockers and handles.
I particularly loved this fierce looking lion.
Outside of the ancient city of Mdina there is plenty to see on the island. Unfortunately as my time in Malta was limited, I spent the majority of it in the port city of Valletta, and found it to be utterly charming. I loved the Baroque architecture that can be found everywhere. I also loved the juxtaposition that existed as some of the buildings are crumbling and their beauty is fading whereas others are wonderfully restored and look perfect.
As a consequence of being in the British Empire for more than 150 years there are British touches all around the island. You’ll spot red telephone boxes, which look entirely out of place in sun drenched Malta when you’re more used to seeing them against the grey skies of Britain!
My time in Malta was entirely too short and I look forward to returning soon and exploring more of what it has to offer. Not least because I’ve heard they have the most amazing cheese pastizzi’s that I didn’t get to try this time around!
Have you visited Malta? What did you think of this pocket sized island?