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20 Top-Rated Day Trips from Valletta

Written by Lisa Alexander
Updated Mar 29, 2021

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Valletta is the ideal base for exploring the Island of Malta. Because the island is so small, it takes less than an hour to drive across from the two farthest points, and just a few hours to circle the entire coastline. If you have a car, anywhere on the Island of Malta is an easy day trip.

Travelers can choose from beautiful seaside destinations and waterfront towns or fascinating cultural attractions, such as fortified cities on Valletta's Marsamxett Harbor that have a heritage tied to the Knights of Malta.

Further afield is the Blue Grotto, a gorgeous nature site on Malta's southern coast, and the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, a perfect place to visit for an authentic seafood lunch.

It's also worth exploring inland. The rural landscape is dotted with marvelous historic towns such as Mdina, a completely enclosed medieval world; Naxxar with its impressive aristocratic Maltese palace; and several enchanting country villages that offer a taste of Malta's traditional lifestyle.

There is so much to discover just a short distance from Malta's capital city. Find the best places to visit with our list of the top day trips from Valletta.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto

In its unique Mediterranean topography and sparkling azure waters, Malta's Blue Grotto is similar to the famous Blue Grotto on the Island of Capri in Italy. This dazzling nature site along the dramatic southern coast of Malta is part of a system of six limestone caves that were created by the force of waves over millennia.

A winding road alongside a sheer cliff leads to the little harbor in Wied iz-Zurrieq, where boats depart for guided tours of the Blue Grotto. The best time to visit is in the morning until about 1pm, when sunlight floods into the caves and the pools of seawater take on a brilliant cobalt-blue glow.

The serenity of Malta's Blue Grotto belies a storied past. According to ancient Greek mythology, sirens bewitched sailors here. In more recent history, on the eve of the Great Siege of 1565, a Maltese cavalry squadron defended against the Turkish Armada at this location. Today, tourists can expect nothing more turbulent to occur here than inclement weather that may cause Blue Grotto boating tours to be canceled.

2. Medieval Walled City of Mdina

Medieval walled city of Mdina
Medieval walled city of Mdina

Behind the monumental golden-hued walls of this atmospheric medieval city are narrow cobblestone streets, echoing alleyways, shaded courtyards, and stately sandstone buildings that speak volumes about the past. Historic details are found in every corner of Mdina, a place that feels completely untouched by the modern world and where the newest buildings date to the 18th century.

Elegant aristocratic palaces reveal the town's former importance during the Middle Ages, when it was known as the Città Notabile ("The Noble City"). Beginning in the 12th century, Mdina became home to Malta's noble families of Norman, Sicilian, and Spanish lineage. Later, the Knights of Malta built graceful Baroque churches, with intricate facades, and palaces with luxuriant interiors.

Mdina has retained the glorious architecture of bygone eras, but most of the city's ancient palaces are now museums, with the exception of the 17th-century Carmelite Priory, still a functioning monastery. The Carmelite Priory is open to the public; visitors may take a guided tour, attend a religious service or classical music concert, or participate in a retreat.

Today Mdina is known as "The Silent City," befitting its quiet, unpopulated ambience. In a spacious courtyard at the center of the town, the Cathedral of Saint Paul dazzles visitors with its awe-inspiring sanctuary and breathtaking ceiling paintings. Just outside the city's ancient ramparts is a pastoral landscape of olive groves and vine-covered rolling hills.

Idyllic vistas are found at the Palazzo Falson and Palazzo de Piro museums, which both have cafés with outdoor terraces, as well as at Bastion Square. Soaking up the scenery on languid summer days is a memorable tourist experience.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Mdina

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Mdina

3. Vittoriosa: Maritime Capital with a Legacy of the Knights

Vittoriosa
Vittoriosa| Photo Copyright: Lisa Alexander

On a hilltop overlooking the Valletta harbor, Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu) is the most important of the Three Cities, the original settlements of the Order of Saint John (Knights of Malta) until they built Valletta. The second oldest town in Malta and the oldest maritime capital, Vittoriosa has been inhabited since the ancient Phoenicians, and later, the Romans settled here.

Vittoriosa was one of the earliest headquarters of the Knights of Malta, who enlarged and strengthened the town's existing fortifications. The Grand Master Juan de Homedes created the bastions of Fort Saint Angelo, separated from the town by a moat with a drawbridge. This fort, together with Fort Saint-Elmo in Valletta and neighboring Fort Saint-Michael, allowed the Knights of Malta to defend against the Turkish attack during the Great Siege of 1565.

Vittoriosa has the authentic ambience of a small Maltese town. Few tourists are found wandering the cobblestone pedestrian streets. Neighbors socialize at church and at the cafés, and children play games in the village's hidden squares.

Visitors will discover an abundance of noteworthy historic buildings. Must-see monuments are the 16th-century Inquisitor's Palace (which houses a museum and is open to the public) on Triq Il-Palazz Ta' L-Isqof and the Norman House (open to the public) on Triq it-Tramuntana.

Several residences of the Knights of Malta are indicated by placards on the building facades: the Auberge de France (residence of the French Knights), with its palatial facade on Triq Hilda Tabone; the Auberge d'Auvergne et Provence (residence of Knights from the provinces of Auvergne and Provence); and the Auberge de Angleterre (residence of the Knights of England), which has been converted into a public library.

While wandering the town's quiet medieval streets, tourists will be enticed to stop at a small café and then continue meandering down to the harbor.

The Church of Saint Lawrence presides over the waterfront; this 16th-century church was designed by Malta's most renowned Baroque architect, Lorenzo Gafà, and was used as a place of worship by the Knights of Malta.

Another attraction on the Vittoriosa waterfront is the Malta Maritime Museum (housed in the old Naval Bakery), which tells the story of Malta's seafaring history.

For WWII history buffs, the Malta at War Museum is not to be missed. Housed in 18th-century army barracks at the Couvre Porte military complex, the museum educates visitors about "The Siege of Malta" (Malta Blitz), which the people of Malta endured from 1940 until 1943, when the Maltese Islands suffered over 3,000 air raids. The museum contains an underground bomb shelter.

Vittoriosa Map - Tourist Attractions
Vittoriosa Map - Attractions (Historical)

4. The Invincible City of Senglea

Aerial view of Senglea and Fort Saint-Michael on the Grand Harbor
Aerial view of Senglea and Fort Saint-Michael on the Grand Harbor

Standing on a promontory jutting into the Grand Harbor, this small historic town is another of the Three Cities. The promontory was fortified in 1551 by the Grand Master Claude de la Sengle, the town's namesake. (Senglea is also known by its Maltese name L-Isla.)

The Fort Saint-Michael at the tip of Senglea's promontory, along with Fort Saint Angelo in Vittoriosa, protected the town from invading Turks during the Great Siege of 1565. Because of the residents' heroism during this battle, the Grand Master Jean de la Valette awarded Senglea the title of "Citta Invicta" (Invincible City).

Senglea's 16th-century parish church is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. The church was built as a tribute to the victory after the Great Siege of 1565, and in 1921, Pope Benedict XV gave the church the title of a Basilica. The church was badly damaged during World War II. More than 15 years of renovation have restored the church to its original beauty.

One of the highlights of Senglea is its breathtaking view over the harbor. An excellent viewpoint is found in Safe Haven Gardens at Senglea Point.

On the bastion point is a lookout post known as Il-Gardjola with an eye and ear that symbolize vigilance. Another viewpoint is at the watch tower, a relic of Fort Saint-Michael on the tip of the promontory. Visitors will be awed by the sweeping panoramas of the Grand Harbor, the skyline of Valletta, and the little towns surrounding the capital city.

5. Cospicua: Brave City of the Great Siege

Cospicua
Cospicua

Just opposite Valletta on the other side of the Grand Harbor, the town of Cospicua (also known as Bormla) is the largest of the Three Cities. The city was named after the Knights of Saint John because of their bravery during the Great Siege of 1565. (The word "cospicua" means "brave".)

Cospicua's harbor was once an important dockyard and is now a picturesque yacht marina. The town's top tourist attraction is the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a gorgeous Baroque church that is one of the most richly furnished churches on the island of Malta.

During World War II, much of Cospicua was severely damaged. The Firenzuola Fortifications and the Margherita Lines, the immense fortifications surrounding Three Cities, are the only part of the old town that survived heavy bombing during the Second World War.

6. The Fishing Village of Marsaxlokk

The fishing village of Marsaxlokk
The fishing village of Marsaxlokk | Photo Copyright: Lisa Alexander

Marsaxlokk is a traditional Maltese fishing village on the southeast coast, just 10 kilometers from Valletta. The sun-drenched waterfront town shelters a vibrant harbor, which is the largest port on the Island of Malta. Hundreds of colorful fishing boats bob and sway in this picturesque expanse of deep turquoise waters.

The Maltese fishing boats, called luzzu, are painted vibrant primary colors and feature two eyes in front. These "Eyes of Osiris" are meant to ward off evil spirits, a custom that comes from North Africa and dates back to the Phoenician era.

A North African influence is also seen in the town's architecture: weathered stucco houses with shutters and doors in bright shades of red, green, and yellow. Hints of the proximity to Tunisia can be felt in the balmy sea breezes and the ribbon of palm trees lining the port.

Marsaxlokk remains the fishing capital of Malta, yet strong traditions and a tightly knit community have preserved its village charm. The village centers around a lovely Baroque church and bustling town square overlooking the harbor.

The best time to visit Marsaxlokk is during the Fish Market on Sunday mornings, when fish vendors and souvenir stands set up shop along the waterfront. The market gets very crowded, with locals coming out to pick up fresh catches, and tourists gawking at this exciting glimpse of everyday Maltese life.

After visiting the Fish Market, tourists will want to stop for lunch at one of the seafood restaurants in the town square or at the waterfront. Tartarun Restaurant treats patrons to superb fresh-caught fish, prepared simply in Maltese style. This casual family-run restaurant also serves delicious Italian pasta dishes and international specialties. La Nostra Padrona restaurant and Pisces Restaurant have outdoor seating with stunning harbor views.

7. Archaeological and Nature Sites near Marsaxlokk

St. Peter's Pool
St. Peter's Pool

To discover some of Malta's most distinctive seaside scenery, continue two kilometers away from Marsaxlokk to Saint Peter's Pool. This secluded spot, with its natural swimming pool, is a (not-so-well-hidden) treasure of the southwest coast.

The crystal-clear azure and emerald waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling (ladders offer access to the sea). Smooth flat rocks around Saint Peter's Pool provide sunbathing areas, and there are shaded areas as well.

Saint Peter's Pool is popular with locals, but tourists should keep in mind that this is an undeveloped nature site with no facilities (no restrooms and no lifeguard). The site is only accessible by car. It is recommended to park on the main road and not on the poorly maintained road at the top of the cliff.

Also nearby is the archaeological site of Tas-Silg on a hilltop overlooking the turquoise waters of Marsaxlokk Bay. The Tas-Silg site includes ruins of four different historical periods. There is a settlement dating back to the Bronze Age, a temple of the Tarxien period (3000 BC to 2500 BC), a Greco-Punic temple to the Goddess Astarte, and an early Christian chapel (1st century AD).

The pottery, ivory, and stoneware uncovered on the Tas-Silg site indicate that the Greco-Punic temple may have been the Temple of Juno, which was looted by Verres, the Roman governor of Sicily and Malta around 70 BC.

8. Beautiful Baroque Buildings in Naxxar

Church of Saint Paul in Naxxar
Church of Saint Paul in Naxxar | Photo Copyright: Lisa Alexander

Naxxar was once a sleepy farming village, but urbanization expanded the town and has linked Mosta and Naxxar together (a short bus ride or drive away).

Legend has it that Saint Paul first received and dried his robes over the fire after the shipwreck here (Naxxar means "to hang clothes to dry"). Saint Paul is also said to have preached at this site. In the saint's honor, at the center of town, is the 17th-century Church of Saint Paul, with a grand Baroque facade and an elaborate Neoclassical interior.

The top tourist attraction in Naxxar is the Palazzo Parisio. This glorious 18th-century Maltese and Italian-style palace was originally built by Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena in 1733. Palazzo Parisio is still a private home owned by an aristocratic Maltese family.

The palazzo impresses visitors with its opulent interior decor and precious works of art. The immense Grand Staircase was crafted out of a solid piece of marble from Carrara, Italy. The ornately gilded ballroom is rented out for private weddings. In the music room, the chaise lounges are gilded with 24-carat gold music motifs. The dining room is adorned with its delicate frescoes that recall paintings found in villas of ancient Pompeii.

Palazzo Parisio's sensational Baroque interior is matched by its enchanting Italian-style garden, immaculately landscaped with Mediterranean trees and shrubs, citrus trees, fragrant herbs, and seasonal flowers. Some of the plant arrangements were created by gardeners from Sicily.

Another highlight of the palace is its fine-dining restaurant, Luna, which serves gourmet Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner on the inviting garden terrace or in the elegant dining room. Luna has won "Top Ambience" awards because of its romantic setting. The palace also offers a traditional English afternoon tea experience with handmade pastries and dainty sandwiches served on three-tiered towers.

During the summer months, families with kids flock to the Splash & Fun Water Park in the seaside community of Bahar Ic Caghaq (five kilometers from Naxxar). The park features exciting water slides, a dive pool, and children's pool. Parents will appreciate the casual restaurant and barbecue nights.

9. Hagar Qim Temples

Hagar Qim
Hagar Qim

This prehistoric megalithic site is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Malta. Constructed between 3600 BC and 3200 BC (predating the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge in England), the Hagar Qim Temples are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Standing on a rocky promontory with amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea, the site evokes a sense of mystery and awe. Monumental stone blocks (as tall as five meters) attest to the gigantic proportion of the ancient temples. One of the megaliths weighs nearly 20 tons.

The archaeological site includes the remains of a main building (consisting of multiple chambers) and two other structures. One of the chambers features an elliptical-shaped hole that aligns with the sunrise on the summer solstice.

A visitor center presents information about the archaeological site. The interactive exhibits are educational and engaging.

The Hagar Qim Temples are 15 kilometers (a 25-minute drive) from Valletta, and less than two kilometers away from the Blue Grotto.

Address: Hagar Qim Street, Qrendi

10. Sliema: Waterfront Restaurants and Harbor Cruises

Sliema's harbor
Sliema's harbor

Sliema has a wide selection of dining options and a lively atmosphere but offers little in the way of charm or historical value. Once a small fishing village, Sliema has become a touristy holiday destination overdeveloped with modern high-rise hotels. Travelers seeking old-world ambience and authentic Maltese culture are better advised to stay in Valletta, just across the harbor.

Sliema's main attraction is its Strand, the seaside promenade lined with hotels, restaurants, shops, and cafés. The Strand invites visitors to take a leisurely stroll or enjoy a meal at a waterfront terrace. There are no real beaches, only rocky areas for sunbathing. Some spots have ladders leading to the sea and cordoned-off swimming areas.

The Sliema waterfront is the departure point for the ferry to Valletta and for boat trips to other locations in Malta such as the Blue Grotto, the Island of Gozo, and the Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino.

For an in-depth tour of the Valletta Grand Harbor, take a Grand Harbor Tour. This sightseeing cruise gives tourists a view of Valletta's impressive defense fortifications and bastions, the towns around Valletta, and the scenic yacht marinas within the creeks of the Grand Harbor.

Noteworthy monuments in Sliema are Saint Julian's Tower, a coastal watchtower, and the Baroque-style Parish Church of St. Julian, originally built in 1682 and enlarged in 1848.

The town celebrates the Feast of Saint Julian the last weekend of August. During this joyful festival, the parish church is illuminated by multicolored lights, and monumental statues are brought out from the parish church into the streets during a procession. The religious festival includes several days of marching band parades and fireworks. Visitors will not want to miss the festival's street stalls that sell Maltese delicacies such as nougat and other sweets.

Sliema Map - Tourist Attractions
Sliema Map - Attractions (Historical)

11. Mosta Rotunda

Mosta Rotunda
Mosta Rotunda

The only reason for tourists to visit Mosta is to see its parish church, but it is certainly a worthwhile sight. The Parish Church of Saint Mary is known as the Mosta Rotunda or Mosta Dome, named after its dome which is one of the largest in the world. The dome is so immense that it is visible far in the distance from many different points on the island of Malta.

The spectacular Neoclassical church was designed by Grognet de Vassé and construction began in 1833. It took 27 years to build the church, and the entire dome was constructed without the use of scaffolding.

The exterior and interior of the church come close to being a replica of the Pantheon in Rome that was built in the 1st-century AD, except that the Mosta Dome is ornately decorated and brighter. The massive towering dome features a ceiling pattern that mimics the geometric pattern of the ancient Pantheon, albeit with gilded and pastel blue painted details.

With light flooding through the 16 ceiling windows, the light and airy sanctuary has an inspiring celestial ambience. The floor of the church reveals intricate marble inlays that weave an interplay of patterns to mirror the ceiling. Evocative religious art and lavish wall paintings are displayed throughout the chapels of the sanctuary. The murals were painted by Guiseppe Calì.

Mosta is famous for having survived the bombing of World War II. In April 1942, a large Luftwaffe bomb pierced through the dome but did not explode. At that moment, more than 300 people were in the sanctuary for evening mass. This event is known as the "Miracle of Mosta." The spot where the bomb entered the dome is still visible in the ceiling, and a replica of the bomb is displayed in the Sacristy.

Address: 15 Church Street, Mosta

Official site: http://mostachurch.com/lang/en

12. Zejtun's Historic Churches, Feast Days, and Olive Festival

Zejtun
Zejtun

This slow-paced country village is rich in culture and history, boasting a heritage of producing olive oil. The town's name derives from the Arabic word "zejt," which means oil.

During September, when the olive harvest begins, Zejtun hosts an Olive Festival, with folk music, traditional dance performances, and a market featuring local specialties made with olives. The market also has stalls selling arts and crafts created by residents of Zejtun.

At the main square of Zejtun is the 17th-century Baroque Parish Church of Saint Catherine, considered one of the finest accomplishments of architect Lorenzo Gafà. Brightened by its internal dome, the interior has a harmonious quality. Every year on the third Sunday of June, the parish church hosts Saint Catherine's Feast Day with marching band competitions, processions, and fireworks.

Zejtun has another remarkable house of worship, the Church of Saint Gregory, an austere medieval church with a hidden door that was probably used centuries ago during pirate raids. The church is only open for special occasions, such as Saint Gregory's Feast Day, the first Wednesday after Easter. The legendary festival includes a procession from Zejtun to the nearby village of Marsaxlokk, about two and a half kilometers away.

13. Saint Paul's Bay

Saint Paul's Bay
Saint Paul's Bay

This scenic bay has deep spiritual and historical importance tied to Saint Paul, who is considered the Father of the Christian Church in Malta. Saint Paul was shipwrecked on an island in the bay in AD 60 during his journey from Caesarea (near present-day Haifa in Israel) to Rome.

The Maltese people believe that it was Saint Paul himself who introduced Christianity to the local population. There is a Statue of Saint Paul near the spot where the Apostle was thought to be shipwrecked.

Saint Paul's Bay was once a little fishing village but has expanded to include the communities of Qawra, Bugibba, Xemxija, and San Martin. The bay offers beautiful natural areas and splendid coastal views of the open sea. A waterfront promenade runs the entire course of the bay, ideal for a leisurely walk.

Close to Saint Paul's Bay on the Wardija Ridge, tourists can find the mysterious Cart Ruts that reveal the island's ancient heritage.

14. The Seaside Town of Marsaskala

Marsaskala harbor and town
Marsaskala harbor and town

Just five kilometers from Marsaxlokk, this old Sicilian fishing village has a quaint seaside charm. The town was built around a picturesque bay, where fishing boats and yachts are docked in the calm waters.

One of the most enjoyable things to do in Marsaskala is take a stroll along the waterfront. The charming ambience and wide selection of restaurants tempt visitors to stay for a meal. It's an obvious choice to try the fresh seafood that is locally caught and prepared in traditional Maltese style.

15. Ta 'Xbiex: A Tranquil Waterfront District

Ta'Xbiex
Ta'Xbiex

Overlooking Marsamxetto Harbor, this pleasant district of the Valletta surroundings is called Ta' Xbiex (which comes from the Maltese word "tbexbix" meaning "sunrise") because of its spectacular views in the glow of morning sunlight.

Ta' Xbiex is home to many embassies and a noteworthy yacht marina. Some of the most expensive yachts are docked at the marina. The Royal Malta Yacht Club in Ta' Xbiex has a restaurant with sea views and hosts events throughout the year.

For tourists, the appeal of Ta 'Xbiex is the waterfront promenade. Visitors can take a walk along the quays to stroll past the stately villas and fancy yachts. The promenade runs all the way from Ta'Xbiex to Saint Julian's. Along the way are many restaurants with outdoor terraces that take advantage of the serene seaside location.

16. Trendy Restaurant Scene in Saint Julian's

Balluta Bay in Saint Julian's
Balluta Bay in Saint Julian's

In a small bay immediately north of Sliema, Saint Julian's district was once just a humble little fishing village with a chapel dedicated to Saint Julian. Today, the district is a very popular tourist area near Valletta (less than 10 kilometers away).

Saint Julian's is especially bustling during the holiday high season and on summer nights, when a young and hip crowd hits the trendy restaurant scene. Like Sliema, Saint Julian's offers plenty of accommodations with a wide variety of hotels, from budget to upscale.

Saint George's Bay of Saint Julian's district appeals to a well-heeled clientele because of its luxury hotels and private beach clubs. However, Saint George's Bay also has a large public beach with a sandy shoreline. Originally the beach was rocky, but the local council shipped in sand to improve the beach. The beach has a "Blue Flag" designation thanks to its clean, calm waters, which are ideal for swimming. Lifeguards are on duty during the summertime.

Nearby, around Balluta Bay, is a narrow shoreline beneath the promenade that extends from St. Julian's to Sliema. Vacationers enjoy sunbathing on the flat rocks of the shoreline and swimming in the gentle waters or enjoying outdoor activities. Balluta Bay is well equipped with facilities for water-skiing, windsurfing, and scuba diving. The area is also known for its top-notch restaurants and cafés frequented by locals.

17. Birzebbuga by the Sea

Birzebbuga
Birzebbuga

Birzebbuga began its life as a typical Maltese fishing village. Now, it is a popular seaside resort in Southeast Malta, about four kilometers from Marsaxlokk. The town was built around the Pretty Bay, which has an attractive sandy beach as well as many waterfront cafés, restaurants, and shops.

The first weekend of August, the town celebrates the Feast of Saint Peter at the Parish Church. Festivities include fireworks, a marching band parade, a procession in which Saint Peter's statue is carried around the town's streets, and kiosks selling Maltese treats like nougat and other local specialties.

In a tranquil valley just outside the village of Birzebbuga is a fascinating archaeological site, Ghar Dalam. This prehistoric cave dates back to the Neolithic era (7,400 years ago) and is the earliest evidence of human inhabitants in Malta. There is also another prehistoric cave nearby, the Borg in-Nadur Cave, that dates back to the Bronze Period.

18. The Fishing Village of Kalkara

The fishing village of Kalkara
The fishing village of Kalkara

The characteristic Maltese fishing village of Kalkara is next to Vittoriosa along the Grand Harbor, in an area filled with dghajjes, the Maltese gondola-like boats used for transportation to Valletta.

A popular tourist attraction in Kalkara is Fort Rinella, a 19th-century British fort famous for its 100-ton cannon. The cannon was developed by the Victorian-era Lord William Armstrong of Newcastle, England. The cannon can fire a one-ton shell up to 12 kilometers in distance.

Fort Rinella is open to the public for visits and guided tours. Tourists will be delighted by the site's historical reenactments that include "soldiers" (outfitted in British uniforms of the First World War) engaged in military drills.

To the north of Fort Rinella is the Fort Ricasoli, which has been pictured in several movies (Gladiator and Troy) and TV shows (Game of Thrones). Fort Ricasoli was built in the 17th century for the Order of Saint John knights and is the largest fort in Malta.

19. Antique Shops and Historic Churches in Birkirkara

Parish Church of Saint Helen in Birkirkara
Parish Church of Saint Helen in Birkirkara

In the center of Malta about six kilometers from the Valletta city center, Birkirkara is known for its antique shops and numerous churches. Most of Birkirkara is modern, but the historic part of town has atmospheric narrow streets and alleyways.

The Parish Church of Saint Helen's is considered one of Malta's finest Baroque churches. This grandiose church was built between 1727 and 1745 towards the end of the Maltese Baroque period. Intricate details distinguish the Sicilian-influenced exterior, with its decorative classical pilasters on the facade. The spacious Latin-plan interior is adorned with rich frescoes.

Every year in August, the Feast of Saint Helen is celebrated at the parish church. This lively festival includes a religious procession, marching band, and festive events.

Another noteworthy house of worship in Birkirkara is the Parish Church of Saint Mary designed by Vittorio Cassar in the early 1600s, when Renaissance design was merging with Baroque style.

20. Quiet Country Villages in Central Malta

San Anton Palace in Attard, Malta
San Anton Palace in Attard, Malta

About 10 kilometers from Valletta, the small medieval village of Gharghur has an appealing old-world atmosphere. Visitors can stroll around the maze of ancient streets to discover the village's charm.

Gharghur has two noteworthy churches: the 17th-century Parish Church of Saint Bartholomew, designed by Tommaso Dingli, and the Church of the Assumption, originally built in 1560 and rebuilt in 1650.

For those who like outdoor activities, Gharghur is a good point to set off on cycling and hiking expeditions and countryside walks.

An easy six-kilometer walk begins at Gharghur and leads to the nearby village of Attard, surrounded by a profusion of orchards. The quiet village lives up to its motto "Florigera Rosis Halo" (which translates to "Perfuming the Air with Blossoms") because of its wonderful gardens.

Attard's San Anton Palace, the official residence of the Maltese President, features an expansive botanical garden, which is open to the public. San Anton Garden is landscaped with fountains, palms, bougainvillea, roses, orchids, and other flowers. The romantic walled garden features walking paths and park benches placed beneath leafy trees. Adding to the exotic ambience, peacocks can be seen roaming the grounds.

The Villa Bologna in Attard, the Prime Minister of Malta's residence, has a large private garden that is used as a venue for weddings, private parties, and special events.

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