Southern Coast, Malta Attractions
This region has very little tourism although it contains some of the oldest archeological sites to be found anywhere in Europe; the Tarxien Temples and the Hypogeum, as well as some interesting caves.For centuries the area was outside the protective embrace of the Three Cities, and therefore out of the mainstream of Maltese life.Fishing is a way of life here now.
Cave of Darkness
This cave is an extraordinary prehistoric cul de sac containing the bone remains of animals stranded on Malta at the end of the ice age.The cave was first scientifically investigated in 1865 but was not opened until 1933. The most important and irreplaceable relics, including four tusks of a dwarf elephant and the skull of a Neolithic child, were stolen from the museum in 1980.What is unique about Ghar Dalam are the bone deposits of long-extinct fauna, such as dwarf elephants, bears and hippopotamuses, which date back approximately 180,000 years. Together with the even earlier deposits of bone-free material, they offer a window of understanding into the Pleistocene era.The illuminated cave is 145 meters long, with one entrance where you can see across the valley to what was the other end of the cave. The most interesting part is the free-standing layered sandwich section that shows part of evolutionary history.Ghar Dalam is undoubtedly the best maintained site in Malta. There is a well-kept garden and a small museum on the premises.
Address: Zejtun Road, Malta
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), New Year's Eve (Dec 31), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €5.00, Child 17 & under €3.50, Senior over 60 €3.50, Child 11 & under €2.50, Child 5 & under FREE
St George's Chapel
Just before the Zejtun road is St George's Chapel. Built by the knights in 1683 on the site of a medieval chapel, it is the only fortified church on the coastline. Access was via a drawbridge and portcullis at the back of the small church. The knights often wintered their galleys in the bay and mass was said here before a voyage. The path behind the church leads to the historically significant Borg in-Nadur. The hilly area around here was a late Bronze Age settlement. All that exists today, however, is an overgrown wasteland of boulders.
Our Lady of Graces Church, Zabbar, Malta
The two casals of Zabbar and Zejtun are similar in many ways. They both grew out of agricultural communities and both enjoyed the dubious honor of Grand Master Hompesch's patronage. It has lost its old country feel, becoming one of the area's largest communities with few rural features remaining.The fussy, confused-looking parish church of Our Lady of Graces sits alone on an island site. Designed by Tommaso Dingli in 1641, it has since been added to by others less skilled. The dome was replaced in 1928.The stunning barrel vault in the nave, the bays of which are decorated in a linear pattern, is one of the best surviving features of Dingli's original design.The church has a small museum established in the 1950s (open Sundays), consisting of votive paintings from sailors miraculously or fatefully rescued from the seas by Our Lady of Graces.
Cave, Ghar Hasan, Malta
This region once had hardy olive trees in abundance. Once a simple village and a quiet summer resort, the town has now grown, but it retains its traditional character.The cliff cave of Ghar Hasan is imbued with Saracenic legends and has fine views of the sea. This is where Hasan, the last of the 11th century Saracens, is supposed to have lived. The view of the deep-blue sea from the natural window in the cliff face on the right as you go in is spectacular.
Gudja stands alone and Ghaxaq almost forms part of Zejtun. Both villages date back to the 14th century when they were probably agricultural satellites of Zejtun. The medieval church of Ste Mary Ta'Bir Miftuh, built in the early 15th century, and the narrow twisty streets of Gudja attest to how long these villages have existed. Gudja was the birthplace of Gerolamo Cassar, architect of many of Valletta's buildings. The town has a particularly good public garden near the bus stop.
Ste Mary of the Open Well Church
This church on the Luqa-Gudja road is believed to predate the 10 original parishes. Double the size and a few years younger than the church at Hal Millieri, it is constructed in the same box-like idiom and has been added to over the centuries. The most notable features are the cyclopean window above the Norman-influenced door and the simple late 16th century bellcote. The very high parapet conceals not only the pitched roof but five long waterspouts. Inside there are some pieces of original stone-painted frescoes of the Last Judgment.
Built in 1770 between Gudja and Ghaxaq, this has survived as one of the finest private houses in Malta. It is not open to the public.
Defenseless Marsascala was the scene of the last Turkish invasion of Maltese soil. In the late spring of 1614 the Turks began a revenge attack on the knights for plundering grain. The 5,000 strong force was repelled at Fort St Lucian, but came ashore here. It was then driven back to its galleys once it reached Zejtun.The long thin creek of Marsascala was the favored fishing port of the Sicilian community from the north of Zejtun.
Fort St Thomas
The tall bulky fort, with its four corner towers and seaward battery was designed to be garrisoned by 100 men in times of emergency, and to field eight cannon and a mortar. The seaward battery was eaten by the elements and finally demolished in the 1970s.
Zoncor Point, the northern tip of Marsascala Bay, houses the National Swimming Pool, where important water polo matches are played.
St Thomas Bay
St Thomas Bay takes its name from a long-since demolished church. There is a reasonably easy three to four kilometer walk and the cliffs along the south coast are not unnervingly high. Diving off the Munxar reef is only for the skilled.There is reasonable swimming and good snorkeling here.
This 17th century miniature fort is on the Zejtun to St Thomas Bay road. Build in the shape of the cross of St Andrew, the fort has one floor and a vaulted ceiling.
Although named after the white poplar tree, Luqa is linked more to the nearby airport. The 17th century Parish Church of St Andrew is credited to Tommaso Dingli. To the west is the small Chapel of the Assumption, with a fine little bellcote.
The international airport at Luqa, 4mi/7km southwest of Valletta, is used by a number of airlines, and there are regular connections, mainly flown by Air Malta, with Britain, Austria, Switzerland, West Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Libya.Luqa Airport has gained increased importance with the rapid growth of the tourist trade, a welcome source of the foreign exchange, which Malta so urgently requires.The Government has accordingly made great efforts to foster the development of tourism; and the successful marketing of Malta's mild and healthy climate and its monuments of the Neolithic period and the period of the Knights brought in 12% of the country's gross national product in 1976 and is likely to earn even more as a result of the increase in hotel capacity over the last few years.Over 347,000 passengers pass through the arrival and departure gates annually.
Delimara Point, Malta
Delimara offers excellent uncrowded swimming, sunbathing, walks and hunting. Geckoes inhabit this desolate limestone peninsula of wild green marquis.
Delimara Point Beaches
The inlets for swimming on the eastern coast are Peter's Pool, Long Bay and Slugs Pool. The dive off the tip of Delimara Point is for experienced divers only.