Impressions of Malta

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A window with a view in Valletta.

“The reason we often refer to Malta as an archipelago is because it sounds bigger”, my guide quipped. I smiled. At just over 300 square kilometers, Malta is indeed small. However, as I was about to discover, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in history and culture. Situated smack in between Sicily and the African continent, Malta has long benefited from its prime location on one of the most important trading routes in the Mediterranean Sea. Its prized location made it a magnet for the region’s superpowers through the centuries, from the Phoenicians and Romans to the Moors, Normans, Aragonese, Spanish Habsburgs, the Knights of St. John and lastly the French and the British. These influences are visible till this very day through the Maltese people, their culture and language, and the ancient structures across the islands.

I recently spent two days (way too short!) exploring the main island of Malta and its capital, Valletta. What I found was an island of proud citizens, a gorgeous capital and a multitude of cultural and historic attractions. Here are my impressions of Malta, packed into a photo essay.

A photo essay of Malta

I spent my first day walking around Valletta and exploring the quiet town of Birgu. The weather was perfect, around 22 degrees Celsius and sunny – awesome, considering it was winter!

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Valletta is the capital of Malta. Built on a peninsula between two stunning harbours, Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town, surrounded by imposing walls, is packed with atmospheric streets, grand historic buildings, bustling squares and shops that made me reminisce about my childhood days.

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Imposing arches at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta.

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The historic Auberge de Castille houses the offices of the Prime Minister.

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I loved the colourful covered balconies in the streets of Valletta.

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The historic centre of Valletta is predominantly pedestrian-only. However, you can choose between these two types of taxis to get around!

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There are lots of quaint shops, many of them a legacy of the British, around Valletta.

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Valletta is just packed with picturesque streets and lanes.

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The red telephone box – another legacy of the British.

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The magnificent interior of the St. Johns Co-Cathedral.

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The serene Lower Barrakka Gardens.

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The National Museum of Archaeology is a must-visit.

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An imposing lift connects the upper parts of the town with the harbour front.

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A great thing to do in Valletta is to take a boat ride across the Grand Harbour to Birgu.

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Birgu is one of three historic towns on the other side of the Grand Harbour facing Valletta.

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A quiet lane in Birgu.

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The historic Auberge de France in Birgu.

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The view of Senglea from Birgu at sunset.

The next day, I was taken on a drive to the south of the island where I got to see parts of the rugged coastline, several amazing Neolithic Temples and the colourful fishing town of Marsaxlokk.

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Malta’s rugged southern coastline has many amazing natural features such as this arch and the Blue Grotto.

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Malta is also home to the oldest Neolithic Temples in the world – these structures are reputedly older than Stonehenge.

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Fishermen preparing their nets in the picturesque town of Marsaxlokk.

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Colourful fishing boats in Marsaxlokk.

From here, it was short drive back to the airport. My stay was too short but it was the perfect teaser! I’ll be back for sure and share my Maltese tales with you. Watch this space!

Note: a big thank you goes to my hosts, the Malta Tourism Authority and Air Malta. Air Malta operates frequent services from major European hubs such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Rome to Malta.

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18 Responses to “Impressions of Malta”

  1. Arnab 30/04/2014 6:11 pm
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    Fascinating! Apart from the extremely beautiful things on the ground, the brilliantly blue sky caught my eye

  2. Chanelle Boshuizen 28/04/2014 3:14 pm
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    The photos are beautiful. Makes me want to visit the country too.

  3. Keith Jenkins 12/02/2014 8:00 pm
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    Thanks Karen!

  4. Karen 07/02/2014 3:50 am
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    Wow Keith! I’m Maltese, but I live in London – I love how you captured the essence of Malta

  5. doozy 31/01/2014 6:11 pm
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    Malta is one of Europe’s greatest tourist attraction. the weather of this city is so fascinating.

  6. Hector Alambarrio 30/01/2014 9:44 pm
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    Hi Keith,

    Malta reflects much colorful past. I have read in the Bible the story of the shipwreck of the apostle Paul on the island, I was impressed hospitable attitude of the countrymen, I think it has not changed until today. Beautiful pictures, congratulations, really invite prepare a holiday there.

  7. Elena 21/01/2014 11:32 pm
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    Stunning photos. I have never been to Malta–but have wanted to go. My parents are hoping to go next year (so I am going to forward this to them!) I love the lift picture- I have only ever seen something similar in a small town in Tuscany that installed a glass elevator to connect the upper and lower parts of the medieval town.

  8. Timothy W Pawiro 20/01/2014 10:16 am
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    Great photos of Malta, and love that blue sky :-)

  9. Suzanne (Travelbunny) 15/01/2014 6:26 pm
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    Stunning photos! Malta is such a fascinating place and you packed so much into your short visit. I had just a day there in November and would have loved to learn more about the Knights. The Neolithic temple looks interesting too.

  10. Heather 15/01/2014 3:28 pm
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    Sounds like quite the place to ride out the winter in Europe … if you hate the cold, that is!

  11. Solo Traveller 14/01/2014 11:44 pm
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    Malta looks like a beautiful, warm and charming. Your photos is a great representation of that and scenery that everyone sound see and explore.

  12. Mica 14/01/2014 11:01 pm
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    We also visited Malta for 10 days, staying mostly on Gozo then back in Sliema. Gorgeous. You just reminded me I still have to write about that trip! Definitely go back! I got a great food rec for Sliema!

  13. Maria 14/01/2014 7:23 pm
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    Gorgeous – I’d never leave.

  14. Renuka 14/01/2014 6:47 pm
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    Malta looks a like a charming town! I liked the idea of colorful covered balconies. Really well captured!

  15. Keith Jenkins 14/01/2014 5:49 pm
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    Hi Ana,
    I had the same – what a pleasant surprise! Hoping to get a chance to see more of Malta and the smaller islands, Gozo and Camino.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  16. Keith Jenkins 14/01/2014 5:48 pm
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    Thanks Abhishek! Watch this space! ;-)

  17. Abhishek Behl 14/01/2014 5:46 pm
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    Great post Keith and thanks for the picture perfect imagery of Malta – Stunning capture. I look forward to your longer trip and updates of Malta when you are back there next. Cheers A :-)

  18. Ana Silva O'Reilly 14/01/2014 5:37 pm
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    I have visited twice with 5 years in between – I think 2007 and 2012. It was a really pleasant surprise – Valetta is stunning, there are some quite interesting almost private beaches, and the culture is just so interesting. The mix of Italian, British, North African and something unique which is really Maltese. I just wished it was easier to get there.

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