If you are going to Malta you must visit these three places; the Tarxien Temples, the city of Mdina and St. John’s Cathedral in Valletta.
Our cruise ship docked in Valletta and from the cruise ship terminal, it is very easy to walk into the city.
I took a tour to see the Tarxien Temples, the city of Mdina and St. John’s Cathedral. You must see these three places if you only have one day in Malta.
Malta is an amazing place as it has many influences from different cultures. It has been invaded by many countries because of its location in the Mediterranean.
It is in the middle of the European and Africa trade routes. Malta has been ruled by Arabs, Normans, Germans, French, Spanish and the British.
The day started with visiting the Tarxien Temples that date back to 3600 BC. They were hidden under farmland for many years.
As you can imagine it is not a perfect building now, how it really stood in 3600 BC, but it is astounding that parts of it still are.
The Temples were built using limestone bricks and there were spiral patterns on some of the limestone slabs that have been carved using tools made from bones. There was part of a statue that remains of a skirted human with fat legs and feet.
It is believed the temple had a roof and the rooms to of had stone pedestals, pottery, figurines, colourful textiles and maybe wood objects that’s did not stand time. The temple did have a cemetery.
Walking around the building was fascinating, as it so old and from a time we cannot imagine. It has been well-preserved and now it is being preserved by covering it with a large fabric roof to protect it from the elements.
Mdina was once the capital of Malta (Valletta became the capital city in 1571) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the main tourist attractions of Malta. Mdina is a walled city with narrow streets and a breath-taking cathedral.
When you enter Mdina it is like stepping back into medieval time, with the large city gate entrance and the narrow streets and the way the buildings are built.
Mdina dates back to the 8th century and was known as Maleth. The in the 11th century, it became known as Mdina.
I loved walking down the narrow streets and taking photos of all the different types of doors, they were all different styles, shapes and colours. You pass churches, houses, restaurants, shops, small squares and the only cars there are for residents.
On the other side of the walled city, you see a stunning view of the green countryside.
Walking into St. Paul’s Cathedral at Mdina was a beautiful sight. The ceilings are painted with scenes from the bible and there is a large dome with a small window so the light shines down.
The whole cathedral is built beautifully with marble and other beautiful stones and has a lot of gold trimmings.
It is a magical city and you may have seen Mdina in the first season of Game of Thrones as it was the set for Kings Landing.
St. John’s Co-Cathedral
St. John’s Co-Cathedral (formerly the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta) is in Valletta and was another beautiful cathedral with painted ceilings and marble. It is the home to 400 tombs of knights.
I suggest to go to St. John’s Co-Cathedral early in the morning as when we were there at 3 pm it was very busy.
Inside St. John’s Co-Cathedral in the Oratory is the painting ‘The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist’ this is the only signed work and the largest painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
The painting is huge and covers the whole wall. Also, the painting of Saint Jerome Writing by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is there too just a lot smaller.
You cannot take photos inside this area and you cannot wear high heel shoes while inside the cathedral (even if you are getting married there!).
We were in Malta in April and it was already quite busy. In the summer months, Valletta is very busy with the cruise ships and land vacations.
- Weather: Winter 13*C -18*C/Summer 16*C – 28*C
- Wear comfortable shoes for touring
- Wear layers as the weather changes in different areas depending on how high up you are.
Where are you off to next on vacation? If you need help with your packing check out my guides for hot and cold climates.
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Have you been to Malta? What would you recommend doing?