Historic sites, museums, Valletta, Popeye Village, Rabat, Mdina, Gozo, & Camino
Malta, is an historically significant archipelago because it homes the oldest freestanding human made structure, World War II bases for Allied powers, and more, made up of Malta, Gozo, and Camino. As soon as I arrived to Malta the sheer popularity of this small nation was made obvious by obnoxiously long lines waiting to get covid-19 clearance and enter the country. After arriving, we learned the best way to travel in-island is via the app eCabs, which functions like Cabify in Spain or Uber in the USA. eCab prices are a tad cheaper(3 to 8 euros on average) than the traditional taxi and more convenient with credit/debit payment options. Generally, most taxis do not accept credit / debit card in Malta.
Despite Malta’s popularity many things are not tourist friendly for example in Valletta there are few food delivery companies actually working and the ones that do work may only accept cash with no change back. Additionally, the country is deeply religious and some cathedrals do not accept skimpy clothing and will either turn you away or ask that your cover with a covering they provide. The sidewalks are small and narrow and not all paved safely. The temperatures in late September were still boiling hot in Valletta.
We spent 3 nights in Valletta and I believe two nights would have been suffice to see all of the sites. We visited Popeye village, despite outdated information on Google tickets are 15 euro and they do accept card and they have an atm onsite. The water is accessible if you want to swim however only visiting the houses commemorating Popeye is more then enough for 1-2 hour(s) of fun. Make sure to sign your name and country on the chalk board too, I signed both the USA and Panama to represent both places!
St. Paul’s Catacombs in Rabat was one of my favorite stops during the trip. The ceilings in some of the structures were extremely low and required that I crouched down to enter and move around. I was wearing a hat that day luckily because I did lightly bump my head a few times. The feeling was eerie and heavy in the catacombs and there were so many to explore onsite we only made it to some.
Gozo & Comino
Gozo felt like a different world to Valletta, much less tourist centered in the streets and less polished. The main attraction in Gozo is the water, and access to the Blue Lagoon and Camino. I booked a private boat tour and I highly recommend investing in a private tour because you get to beat the crowds and enjoy the island waters more peacefully. I really enjoyed Gozo the most and if I ever travel back I’d like to book a more relaxing rather than adventurous trip and stay in Gozo.
Malta has historically and still today remains deeply connected and dependent on Sicily, Italy. For example, all of the water and electricity used on Malta is imported from Italy. Historically, the majority of grain that the population survived on came from Sicily as well. Malta’s food reflects its Mediterranean location, fondness and free movement in-and-out of Italy for several years, food scarcity, religious waves (Islam, Christianity etc.) and multiculturalism. One of the history books I bought to learn more about Malta, A Concise History of Malta by Carmel Cassar explains “Maltese identity rarely meant much more than a purely narrowly geographic expression” (28). In this way, the food is mainly just Mediterranean in character rather than supremely unique. On average, I found the food in Valletta better than other locations. Overall, I’m happy I went to Malta because as someone with a history background I found the experience invaluable. With the proper foreplaning a trip to Malta is well-worth it! ❤