The best of Malta is a tour that includes the visit to Valletta City Highlights (Barrakka Gardens. Merchants/Republic Streets, St. John’s Co. Cathedral), Hagar Qim Temples & Visitors Centre, Blue Grotto (belvedere), Marsaxlokk Fishing Village & Mdina Medieval City.
This is by far the more popular tour due to the diverse itinerary which includes three periods of Malta’s golden history, culture and some great scenery…all in one day.
Our first visit during our tour is the capital Valletta which was built by the Knights of St. John in 1566. Here we include the Barrakka Gardens which offer stunning views of the Grand Harbour and magnificent fortifications, and a walk down Triq Repubblika where you can admire numerous historical buildings: the Auberges, the Grand Master’s Palace and the St. John’s Co. Cathedral, the Church of the Order and also home to Caravaggio’s masterpiece “Beheading of St. John” amongst other treasures.
After our tour of the capital we will then visit the south west of the island where the ancient Hagar Qim Temple site stands. Before entering the temples we start at the visitors centre and new 5D short movie which will help you understand how these magnificent temples where built over 5000 years ago! Set in a rural area this ancient temple is particularly interesting as it has the largest and heaviest megaliths out of all the temple sites around the Maltese Islands, some slabs weighing a staggering 20 tons. This temple dates back to 3300BC, an era dominated by Neolithic man.
Shortly after leaving the temples we should have time for a quick photo stop of the Blue Grotto Arch from the belvedere view point. We then continue to our next stop and an opportunity to experience a little local culture when visiting the pretty traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Marsaxlokk, is a quaint fishing village and is characterized by low lying buildings and the colourful traditional fishing boats known as the ‘luzzu’. A small market lines the seafront and if you would like to sample fresh Mediterranean fish there are numerous local restaurants to choose from (other cuisine is available).
Our final stop during the tour is the ancient city of Mdina, built on a plateau in the centre of the island. Mdina, once the capital of Malta, had many names including Melite (Roman occupation), Medina (Arabic occupation), Citta Notabile (Knights of St. John) and Citta Vecchia (after Valletta was built). Today it is also referred to as the Silent City since it inspires tranquillity at any time of the day or night. The city’s old Baroque buildings, Cathedral and magnificent bastion walls dominate the rural skyline. Mdina was once the capital of Malta. The only way to really experience and enjoy this city is on foot: explore the quaint alleys, narrow streets, ancient buildings and magnificent far reaching views from the high bastion walls.