Owing to the scant frequency of flights from Geneva (Switzerland) we had set on our 2 days sojourn to Malta ardent to make the best out of our time in the amazing country. Few hours sauntering the alleys and exploring the history and heritage of Valletta had left us smitten by the charm of the Maltese Capital city. We collected the car keys and drove to the old capital Mdina to explore more of what the country had to offer from its well preserved bygone treasure.
We maneuvered through the narrow lanes of Valletta swiftly past the beige walls punctuated with vividly colored windows. A short drive along the glinting sea and the colorful boats docked at the harbor and we were back into the bustling towns. The towns we drove through emanated a charm consonant with that of the historical city of Valletta.
We drove into the interior of a neighborhood lined with elegant houses bedecked with bougainvillea and other colorful flowers to park our car.
Our first stop was San Anton Palace Garden which is one of the oldest and most pretty gardens of Malta. We bought our tickets and strolled through the paths winding through the spectacular beds of flower and gorgeous fountains.
During our visit, the garden hosted a fascinating ‘Fur and Feather Show’ with more than 60 specimens of types of fowls and rabbits, a tradition dating back to the early 20th century. I had a chance to cuddle one of the furballs too.
We next drove to the 17th-century Parish Church of Balzan. Built in the form of Latin cross the elegant red dome and the belfry dominated the small town of Balzan.
Around 10 minutes drive is the Rotunda of Mosta an imposing neoclassical Roman Catholic in the town of Mosta. The church with its magnificent facade flanked by two bell towers and a massive rotunda is the third largest in the world.
Mosta Dome is also known as a ‘Miracle Church’. During the World War II, two bombs hit the church but failed to explode leaving more than 300 people assembled in the church unharmed.
Next on the list was Mdina the old capital city of the island of Malta. St. Paul’s Cathedral’s magnificent dome, with red-and-white stripes, flanked by 2 bell towers and the hilltop medieval town of Mdina could be spotted from afar.
We parked our car in a public parking right outside the entrance to Mdina. The entrance to the city is through a monumental Mdina gate which runs over a moat, a public garden today. Entering into the Mdina gate is like a dramatic entry into the bygone era.
On our right was an entrance to the courtyard of a remarkable baroque building of Vilhena Palace which houses the National Museum of Natural History.
Mdina Glass is the Malta’s first glass factory producing a myriad of handmade glass items, a collection of novel and quality glasswares.
We strolled through the lovely cobbled stone alleys of Mdina to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Mdina cathedral is a 12th century Roman Catholic cathedral built in the baroque style. The dome’s interior is decorated with remarkable paintings and the marble floor contains inlaid tombstones similar to Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
Palazzo Santa Sofia in Villegaignon Street is one of the oldest well preserved medieval building which dates back to 15th-century. The palace today houses a museum of art and antiques.
One can saunter through many gorgeous backstreets of Mdina winding through sandstone walls and impressive statues .
Along the same street was the Church of St. Roque with a remarkably beautiful interior.
The ‘Silent City’ Mdina within the ancient ramparts encloses immaculately preserved buildings, palaces, and cathedrals of medieval and baroque architecture. The bastions offer a breathtaking panoramic view of Malta and the surrounding sea.
Rabat the neighboring city of Mdina is a buzzing suburb of the old capital of Mdina and connected to Mdina through the Greek gate.
Typical backstreets and houses in Rabat.
Rabat has quite a few historical attractions like Domus Romana and St. Paul’s Catacombs.
The sun was scorching hot so we decided to head towards the coast to explore the seaside. After driving for a few km on good roads we started driving into the interior clueless of where we were headed though our GPS still showed our destination as the coastal villages we were looking for. We were surrounded by open stretches of land with no sign of inhabitation and even if we could find someone to guide us there was no U-turn.
After around half an hour we finally spotted a building. The Tal-Providenza chapel is located in the countryside of the town of Siggiewi in the southern part of Malta. So we now knew where we headed.
We further drove through the dry countryside with no vegetation or civilization. We could not think of going back into those stone-walled streets so instead chose to continue. Finally, after 10-15 minutes of the drive, our road joined a highway along the vast blue seas.
Beautiful promenade lined with benches where people stopped and took pictures. We too parked our car and spend some time taking in the fresh air.
And Lo and Behold there below along the sea shore was a tiny brightly colored village with boats resting at the shore.
Exhilarated we drove further looking for a way down to the seashore and found a hairpin turn leading down to the shore.
The small quaint village of Zurrieq was fortunately not a touristy spot. We parked our car and strolled along the inlet bay lined with boats beautifully painted. From here one could take boats to the Blue Grotto Malta caves one of the natural wonders of Malta.
The bay was surrounded by astounding and picturesque rock formations.
Amidst the sea, we could spot a silhouette of the Filfla island which is a protected bird sanctuary.
We watched with awe as the sun melted into the overcast sky suffused with orange hues and drove back to Valletta.
It had been a delightful day exploring the Maltese capital city Valletta and the old capital city Mdina and there could not have been a best way than to end the day with a gorgeous sunset in the village of Zurrieq.
Do you agree? Let us know in comments.
Would you like to pin this post?