- Manoel Theater
Spectacular and grandioso in design, and also one of Europe’s oldest working theaters (opened in 1732, making it the oldest in the Commonwealth), this is a fairly small but lavish auditorium, with three tiers of boxes made entirely of wood and decorated with 22-carat gold leaf, and, despite the numerous renovations over the years, it retains many of its brilliant architectural features like its marble staircase and Viennese chandeliers. A fantastic place to just wander around in and appreciate the aesthetics, and you can pay for a great tour which takes you behind the scenes and tells you all about its history too. Of course you can also watch a show there.
- St Paul’s Catacombs
More underground tunnels with rich history. These date back to the 4th century AD and, whilst they are an extensive system of galleries, only two are open to the public and they have not been subject to too much renovation work which means you can get a better feel for their character. They may not be as big as some of the other I have described on these pages but they are not as gloomy or scary either, just dark and atmospheric which means they are more family friendly. There are no guides so you can take your time and just listen to your audio guide.
- Ghar Dalam
This is now going back even further, to the end of the last ice age in fact. This is a weird little prehistoric cul de sac on the outskirts of Birzebbuga which contains the bone remains of animals which were stranded on Malta, and then became extinct, and also where the first signs of human settlements (around 7,500 years ago) were found. There’s an interesting, but not extensive, museum and you can learn a lot about the geology of the area, and wandering through the cave you will stumble across many findings of large animals. The bus stops right outside too.
- Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni
More of the underground with more subterranean structures, this time dating back to the Saflieni era (2500-3000BC), and this one is the only known prehistoric underground temple in the world. It underwent some restoration in the 90’s and now only 60 people are allowed in per day in order to not affect the delicate micro-climate of the place, it consists of several rooms on three different levels, and it’s also the place where the statue of the ‘Sleeping Lady’ was recovered from. An amazing construction considering the builders only had rudimentary tools, and there are knowledgeable guides to take you through its history. Remember to book early.
- Comino Island
A tiny but exquisite island just off the coast particularly famous for its tranquility and solitude (only four people actually live on the island) and now a bird sanctuary and nature reserve. There is a beautiful lagoon and cave, and the water around the island is the most striking blue you’ll ever see, with many fish swimming around. It can get busy but absolutely worth the day trip, although it’s probably best to catch the ferry across and take your time rather than taking the organized boat trip.
- Malta Maritime Museum
Malta’s past has always been tightly bound to the sea and this museum charts its maritime history, exhibiting many artifacts from different eras from prehistory to the present day, including the largest known Roman anchor in the world, a 1950’s working steam engine, and around 60 or so boats. Cheap, air conditioned, and well laid out, and there are several nice restaurants close by too.
7 – Popeye Village
Unique. Who doesn’t know Popeye the Sailor Man, and who didn’t read the comics or watch the cartoons as a kid? A musical of it was filmed in 1980 and a village was constructed for its filming, and this village still exists and has now grown into a tourist attraction with many fun activities for the whole family. There are boat rides, water trampolines, a fun park, wine tasting tours, mini golf, or you can just wander around the picturesque village and bump into all the cartoon characters. Great fun for the young at heart.
8 – Valletta Waterfront
This is a Baroque wharf built in the 18th century and is now littered with lively bars, great restaurants (and reasonably priced), and shops, and is also the venue for several events such as the Malta Jazz Festival, the Malta Fireworks Festival, and the Perfect Wedding Fair. Incredibly pretty and impressive, especially at night when it’s all lit up, one of the most picturesque harbors you will ever see, this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a leisurely coffee and savor the scenery and the ambience.
9 – Clubbing in Paceville
Malta has recently become an international hub for the clubbing scene with many top DJ’s playing in a host of different venues, and the spot to aim for is Paceville, right on the coast and littered with bars and clubs of all styles, where the entrance is generally free. Once there take your pick and rave away.
10 – Laze on a Beach
There’s no point in going to a sunny paradise like Malta and not exploring the beaches. The water is crystal clear and a brilliant and an inviting light blue color, most beaches have facilities and amenities and bars nearby, and there is good variety with sandy beaches where you can wade into the water and the kids can frolic about, or outcrops where you can jump off the rocks straight into the sea and where the snorkeling is usually a lot better. The ones to head for are Mellieha Bay or Golden Bay if you’re with your family and want to do some water sports, Dahlet Qorrot Bay if you’re into snorkeling, or maybe Ghajn Tuffieha Bay if you want to bare all. Just remember the sun is hot!