Malta is a small, beautiful European country spread over an archipelago in the central Mediterranean. Most of its islands are not occupied except for Gozo, Comino, Cominotto, Fijfla, and, of course, Malta, the largest of them.
Over its vast history, Malta has been ruled by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and many other empires. But Malta has more to offer than just historical interest; it also has great sunny weather for almost 300 days a year, making it a tourist hotspot. No wonder that around 1.5 million tourists visit every year: this country might be small in size, but it’s certainly big in character and beauty.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that it’s a popular holiday destination not only for European tourists but also for Muslims. Considering that it has beautiful weather all year around and it's only a few hours from the Middle East and Europe, it tops the list of European Muslim-friendly destinations.
In addition to all that, Malta has a large Muslim population, plenty of halal food options for Muslim travelers, and a small local mosque. It has everything you might want as a tourist—amazing private villas, history, and beautiful locations. Here are the best places to see in Malta.
PLACES TO VISIT
Valletta, Malta’s capital, is also known as the Fortress City. It was named after its founder, Jean Parisot de la Valette. Many of the streets are open only to pedestrians, but the views from the small streets are inspiring. Spend a day exploring the city and don’t forget to visit St John’s Cathedral as well as the harbor for some amazing views.
Another must-visit place in Malta is the old Mdina. Imposing walls, cobbled streets, and beautiful architecture—Mdina once served as the capital of the island, and it’s definitely a town you shouldn’t miss. It covers only 220 square meters and has only 300 inhabitants within its walls. Few cars are allowed within its walls, and so it’s known to locals and visitors as the silent city. This medieval town can really take you back in time with its dungeons, cathedrals, and cobbled streets. Don’t forget to visit the medieval museum and enjoy the views from the city walls.
Hypogeum of ?alSaflieni
The Hypogeum of ?al Saflieni is a subterranean temple complex cut into rock. It was created by the same people who built the prehistoric temples on the island, and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For conservation purposes, only 10 people are allowed in per hour, and no kids under the age of six are allowed. If you’d like to book tickets to visit the place you should do this well in advance while planning your trip. Definitely a must-visit if you like history.
Best beaches in Malta
Malta has some of the most beautiful and crystal clear waters in Europe. Due to the warm weather throughout the year, the water is warmer than in many other Mediterranean resorts. The beaches are not segregated, but you can swim with a burqini or even just enjoy the sun. The most famous beaches include the Golden Bay and the Blue Lagoon, and you can even enjoy a swim in St. Peter's natural swimming pool lagoon.
As the houses were historically built within enclosed walls, Malta offers great villas with high privacy for Muslim travelers. You can find villas with swimming pools that are not overlooked, making them even more attractive for Muslims. They are also surprisingly affordable, and you can find plenty of choices on Airbnb.com.
GOOD TO KNOW
There are several places in St. Julian and Sliema where you can find halal food, ranging from restaurants to takeaways. The Intercontinental Hotel in St. Julian’s does offer halal options, but it is advisable to check with the property in advance. There are some restaurants owned by Muslim owners that serve halal food, such as Mamounia in Sliema, Turkish kebab, and Shekinah Restaurant in St. Julian’s, which also serves Arabic and Indian dishes.
The Islamic Centre of Malta is a located in Paola, which is only ten kilometers away from St Julian’s and Valletta.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Malta has great weather all year around, but if you want to avoid the tourist crowds it’s best to avoid visiting in July and August. The period from May to October offers great weather for swimming and sunbathing.
DRIVING IN MALTA
Because of its large British influence, the driving system in Malta is the same as in the United Kingdom, so a great way to explore the island is by car. Car rental can be very affordable, especially in the off season, starting at as little as £5 per day.