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A few days for possible trip to Malta from Italy

We have done some research and can fly into and out of Malta easily to our destinations. I would like feedback from someone who has been there recently. Our main interest is archeology, temples, Crusader Palaces. We understand through travel books and online websites some of the places on Malta and Gozo are much older than the pyramids. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. We are flying from Venice to Malta then Malta to Paris. Hotel references are also appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by
14448 posts

My visit to Malta was with an intensive guided tour for 5 full days, in early June. Gorgeous, gorgeous especially when it's sunny.

The guide we had on Gozo was an archaeologist who explained the temples , which she said were already falling down when the Egyptians were building the pyramids. It was definitely awesome to see the first free-standing buildings yet discovered, and estimated at around 5,000 years old. You can still see gateways and walls.

The Archaeology Museum was excellent, the Crusader areas are great, the Siege of Malta experience is a little kitschy but still worth the visit. A must-read before you go is The Great Siege: Malta 1565 by Ernle Bradford. It's an excellent read, even though a little slow at the beginning. The National War Museum is very good, and the Lascaris War Rooms are another fascinating site, similar to the Churchill War Rooms in London. Do you know the part Malta played in WWII? There are two amazing Caravaggio's in the cathedral. Lots more.

You may get a bit more information here, a thread I started when I got back from my visit.

Posted by
6764 posts

If you base yourself out of Valletta, you'll have many interesting attractions to choose from, as well as the most central bus accessibility throughout the island. I don't know how much time you'll have but I spent a very packed week or so and still didn't see it all (despite Malta's diminutive size). My favorites were the Hypogeum (must book in advance since it's timed entry and limited to 8 persons per hour), Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, Inquisitor's Palace, St. Johns Co-Cathedral, Catacombs of St. Paul's & St/ Agatha and some private museums such as The Wignacourt. I think getting out of Valletta is a must for getting a sense of Malta. I loved touring Mdina/Rabat, The Three Cities, Gozo, and Naxxar. Getting around by public bus is fairly easy and they are all brand new, nice, and clean (they've had some major operational changes very recently after inferior service in the past, but that means the prices also went up). The Bradt Guide to Malta and Lonely Planet were invaluable, as well as a good road map.

Here is a decent list of sites to see (there are more, however, that are not run by Heritage Malta):
http://heritagemalta.org/museums-sites/

I stayed in an apartment I found on booking.com and really enjoyed it (location could not be beat):
http://www.booking.com/hotel/mt/barrakka-suites.html

Sadly, I gave Gozo only one day and that was not nearly enough. If I had more time, I would have split the trip into a Gozo stay and a Malta stay. They felt different from one another. I would say that if you have less than 5 days in Malta, you have to be selective in what you see. Although the bus system is great, it still takes a while to get from one place to another and you can only see about 2-3 sites a day comfortably (and there are surprisingly a lot of sites to see).

Posted by
409 posts

Ah, Malta! My sister was born there in the 50's during the first NATO conference. A popular destination for family and friends...

My first suggestion is you move (or add) your query away from the "Beyond Europe" section of Rick's travel Forum. Maybe to the Italy section, since its so close and many tourists going to Italy also go to Malta!

My next suggestion is check out VisitMalta.com - excellent information!

Enjoy!