Yes. Let’s talk about Malta. Did you know it’s not just one island? Malta is more than just an island, it’s an archipelago, but only the three largest islands – Malta, Gozo, and Comino – are inhabited.
Malta is a very special country for us. It is the place where we spent our honeymoon and where we set out to return once every 10 years. And indeed we came back after 10 years and we hope for as many comebacks as possible.
They used to be under British rule, but they have been independent since 1964. They also drive on the left. Do not consider driving here unless you are an expert at driving stick on the left. Actually, this is one of the very few countries where we did not drive a car, but we chose public transport instead.
What language do they speak? Everyone speaks English; locals also speak Maltese, which sounds like a cross between Arabic and Italian.
Malta is home to hundreds of reefs, caves, and ancient wrecks and frequently voted one of the world’s best diving locations. But let’s explore it piece by piece.
Let’s start the journey right in the capital Valletta
Valletta is a lively capital with a festive atmosphere. We really enjoyed walking the streets and piazzas (squares) of this city. From there you catch a glimpse of what Malta looks like.
There’s nothing nicer than admiring Malta’s streets and coming across the many rainbow-painted balconies and beautiful houses.
The capital city of Malta really deserves a paragraph of its own. According to UNESCO, the city is ‘one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world‘.
Valletta was the first-ever planned city in Europe, with the designs being drawn out by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in 1565.
The architecture of Valletta’s streets and piazzas ranges from mid-16th century Baroque to Modernism.
Following the Great Siege of 1565, the knights (Read more about the knights here) , under the Order of St John, set about creating a city ‘built by gentlemen, for gentlemen’. Valletta became the home to elaborate baroque buildings.
From the capital, we move to the periphery.
Marsaxlokk is a very charming fishing village.
The parish of Marsaxlokk was established when fishermen started to build houses near the sea coast in order to save time on traveling. Thus at the end of the 19th century, it was decided to build a church that would minister to the spiritual needs of the fishermen and their families.
We’d be lying to say it’s the kind of attraction we love, but on our second visit here, we wanted to see where the legendary Popeye movie was made.
In Anchor Bay back in 1979, a huge filming project was achieved in Malta. Popeye is a 1980 American musical comedy film directed by Robert Altman and produced by Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions in
To construct this authentic wooden village, tree trunk logs were trailered overland from Holland. A 165 international construction crew consumed eight tons of nails and two thousand gallons of paint to finish off this massive Set. No less than 20 wooden structures had to be built. Before construction could begin, an access road leading to the Set had to be constructed.
Popeye’s village is the same today, we made a visit here and we share some pictures with you.
Despite being so isolated, civilizations have flourished in Malta for thousands of years.
Malta’s most historic claim to fame is the 5,000-year-old Hagar Qim. This limestone beauty is one of Malta’s celebrated Megalithic temples, many of which predate the pyramids and even Stonehenge.
It is in the Middle Ages that Malta first becomes associated with Christianity, with St. Paul being shipwrecked there in 60AD. In the Bible (Acts 27:37) during his fourth missionary journey, it is said that the ship ran into bad weather near Malta and was torn apart by the rough seas and wind of the Mediterranean Sea.
Now we’re leaving Malta— for Gozo, the second-largest island in the Malta chain, which will actually put us just a short ferry. Gozo was amazing.
For a small island, Gozo has a lot of churches – some 46 in all, varying from small village chapels to magnificent structures that you can see from miles away.
One of the most famous churches on Gozo is The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu, which dominates the open countryside on the outskirts of Gharb – a village in the northwest of the island.
The Azure Window in Gozo is probably the most famous spot — but the Maltese Archipelago is filled with everything from rolling fields to white cliffs to desert landscapes and endless vineyards. There’s beauty in every direction.
Victoria is the capital city of Gozo, also known among the Maltese as Rabat. It includes both the old Rabat town and the Citadel – the antique city on top of the hill.
The town has a population of around 7,000, making it the most populated town in Gozo.
Here we visited the Citadel: From this fortified city, you can enjoy fantastic views of the whole of Gozo. Within the Citadel, you can find the Gozo Cathedral – a fine 17th century baroque.
Last but not least, we share with you Sliema
Sliema is right next door to St Julian’s and is like one big place. Along the Sliema seafront, you will find the neighboring town of St. Julians. Both towns serve different purposes- while Sliema is more with leisure activities such as beaches, shopping, cafés, and sea views, St. Julians is a vibrant burst of party life, bars, and restaurants.
We don’t know how others see Malta, but for us Malta was a perfect match. This is such a vibrant Island that sneaked into our heart and we fell insanely in love with it. We love the retro charm, the pristine waters, the ancient cities, the peace of mind, the all of it.