The Mediterranean Sea is known for islands such as Corsica, Santorini, and Cyprus. But are you familiar with Malta? This former naval base has a lot of history, and Peter Greenberg recently traveled to this destination in the middle of the Mediterranean to discover more. While visiting the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa in Malta, Peter sat down with founder and chairman Alfred Pisani. He also spoke with Gina K. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the US ambassador to Malta, to learn more about her experiences and some must-see destinations on this island in the Mediterranean. Click here to listen to their interview on the Travel Today podcast.
First things first: Where is Malta? Malta is part of the Maltese islands, which is located 60 miles south of Sicily and 190 miles north of Libya. The islands hold a long history and are filled with culture that is worth the trip.
One of Gina K. Abercrombie-Winstanley’s favorite destinations is Valletta, the capital of Malta. Within the capital is Saint John’s Co-Cathedral, which the ambassador said is “amazingly large and you discover bits and pieces of it as you get to know more of it.” If you cannot make it to this particular cathedral, there are 364 more churches to tour between the islands. “There are little chapels that are very colorful, with very beautiful artwork, very beautiful carvings inside, and you can find these all around the islands,” Abercrombie-Winstanley said.
Another destination that has been described as a must-see is St. Paul’s Catacombs. The catacombs are filled with tombs dating back from the fourth to ninth centuries AD. The catacombs were created after the Romans prohibited burials within the city.
Raved as a must-see by visitors is the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum. The museum is filled with paintings, furniture, and jewelry, as well as 42 other collections. The museum was actually once a house and is now bursting with a rich history guests can experience as they walk down the hallways filled with swords and other historic collections. Another feature of the museum is a library that contains over 4,500 books and manuscripts stacked from the floor to the ceiling.
For more of an off-the-beaten-path experience in Malta, Alfred Pisani recommends Del Borgo Wine Bar & Café in Birgu: “It is located in part of the Bastions so you have history and it’s locally run, very friendly and you can just sit and have nibbles.” The café offers a variety of Maltese wines and dishes like Ravjul, which is Maltese homemade ravioli.
If you are up for more of an adventure then Pisani recommends just wandering around the city and taking the back roads: “I would suggest find the back roads in these cities and go to a little bar and just sit and get close to the locals. I think just listen to that style of mentality is just soul awakening.”
Lastly, these islands have a lot to offer for wine lovers, since some of the best wines are made in the islands of Malta. Located on the island of Gozo, Tal-Massar Winery is one of the top-rated wineries in Malta. When you visit, you can take a tour of the winery and learn about the various steps in the process of wine making. You can also taste the various wines created and learn about the history behind the winery itself.
For more off the brochure travel guides for Europe, check out:
- The Best Places to See Blooming Flowers in the Netherlands
- Catacombs & Ghosts: The Dark Side of Paris
- Voluntourism Spotlight: Help Stray Dogs in Malta
By Siena Mazero for PeterGreenberg.com