5 awesome unique and unusual things to do in Malta
Malta is a country that has always strongly resonated with Stefan. Just like Cyprus, it’s a small island country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, a former British colony, and always has a popular entry in every Eurovision Song Contest. Malta is also one of our top 10 most gay friendly countries in the world.
Just like Cyprus, Malta is a small Mediterranean island country, with stunning beaches, making it a popular summer destination. There are plenty of lagoons, gorgeous islets and crystal clear waters to dive into. We can’t wait to visit Malta soon, but in the meantime, fellow travel blogger and local boy Ed Lansink from Valetta gave us his top 5 unique and unusual things to do in Malta in this awesome guest post.
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Biking in the Wied il-Ghasri valley
One of my favourite places to go for an evening stroll or ride my bike is in the Wied il-Ghasri (aka the Ghasri Valley). It starts at the Ta’ Dbieġi Hill and winds down through the village of l-Għasri, continuing on to iż-Żebbuġ and the Ta’ Ġurdan Hill.
I also love the underwater caves at the Ghasri Valley because it’s the perfect place to have a quick dip to cool off from all that cycling. This spot is also popular with scuba divers because of the rich sea life. You can stay in one of the farmhouses here over#night, which I definitely recommend.
If you’re not biking, you can reach the Ghasri Valley by taking the Marsalforn bus from the Victoria bus station and getting off at the stop near the Xwejni Bay. From there, follow the path going to the salt pans until you see a paved winding road going up. Follow this road for around 3km and you will eventually reach the Ghasri Valley.
Explore the Mnajdra temple complex
The less known Mnajdra temple complex is one of my favourite unique highlights of Malta. Not many people take the time to visit this ancient neolithic temple complex so definitely a hidden gem to seek out. It’s located on the southern part of Malta, and is famous for being one of the oldest religious sites in the world, dating to the fourth millennium BC. Another highlight is the astronomically aligned solar temple, which was strategically positioned so that the sunlight illuminates the entire structure perfectly.
The Mnajdra was also a place where medical functions and ceremonial sacrifices took place, which you can see in the old flint knives, ripes and animal fossils found at the stone. To find out more, check out my blog post about the Mnajdra temple complex.
Get lost in the Old Prison of Gozo
This one’s quite gruesome but definitely worth a visit! It’s a 500 years old prison located in the Citadel of Victoria in Gozo city.
The Old Prison was actively used from the 1550s until 1962. Initially, it was the place where the more rowdier knights would be taken to cool down! The jail’s 5×10 foot cells gave an isolated vibe, which was said to trigger the knights’ artistic side – you can see from the graffiti etched into the limestone walls, including crosses, medallions, handprints, names and dates.
One of the Old Prison’s famous prisoners include Jean Parisot de La Vallette who was the founder of Valletta City:
Check out the views from the Dwerja Watchtower
For me, one of the most romantic things to do is to climb up to the roof of the Dwerja Watchtower for the views. It’s so beautiful up here – I always bring a date or my friends here when they visit.
The Watchtower was built in 1652 as part of the Lascaris towers. It is one of the four surviving coastal watchtowers in Gozo and is still in excellent condition. The other towers include Xlendi Tower, Mġarr ix-Xini Tower, and Isopu Tower.
Another thing I love to do at the Dwerja Watchtower is to watch the locals’ skills and craftsmanship who come here to demonstrate their different methods of building. At the basement of the tower, you can also watch a short film about the underwater life.
The Dwerja Watchtower is open everyday except Saturdays. To reach it take the #311 bus from Victoria bus station for 25 minutes. To find out more, check out my blog post about the Dwerja Watchtower.
Learn about the St Paul and St Agatha Catacombs
The catacombs of St Paul and St Agatha form a major part of my country’s Christian heritage. They are fascinating historical sites featuring a complex system of burial grounds located in the small town of Rabat. These catacombs are home to graves containing over 1,000 bodies in a huge space of land of around 2,200 square metres.
I particularly like the tombs because of the pretty medieval frescoes and other archeological discoveries. There is also a small museum with ancient coins, which currency collecting geeks will no doubt be interested in.
For more Malta local tips and practical advice, check out Ed’s Malta Uncovered travel blog.