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View from the top of a hill in Malta, overlooking a turquoise bay, another hill in the distance, image used for Manisha Dorawala blog about traveling Malta

Malta is a small archipelago located in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Italy. It’s one of the world’s smallest, but most densely populated countries, with just under half a million residents. The country has had various cultural influences, thanks to its location being greatly coveted by larger countries. It also has evidence of neolithic civilizations, which created structures that still stand today. Since the 1960s, Malta is an independent nation with incredible tourist destinations and a rich and varied history.

Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni

The Hypogeum is a Neolithic structure, located underground in Malta, that dates to at least 3000 BC. It was most likely a sanctuary and necropolis, based on the tombs found there. The Hypogeum is connected to the people who constructed the Megalithic Temples of Malta. Also labeled a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hypogeum features various levels and is stunning to visit. Plan to get your tickets far in advance because only 10 people are allowed into this site every hour in order to help preserve it.

Mdina and Rabat

These two cities are located right next to one another on the Island of Malta. Mdina features an incredible castle that looks as though it came straight out of a fairytale. You’ll feel like you’re traveling to the past as you walk through the stunning Main Gate and make your way to the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Make sure to check out Mdina’s impressive palazzos as well! Since these two cities are fairly small, after visiting Mdina, head over to Rabat to see Casa Bernard and the Roman Villa for a taste of more history.

Valletta

This capital city is completely elegant and stunning, thanks to the work of the Knights of Malta, European nobleman who were given the islands by the King of Spain in 1530. It’s simple to make your way through the city because of the simple grid plan. While here, make sure you visit Saint John’s Co-Cathedral. Knights from various countries worked together to design this worship center and the brilliant architecture shows the care and attention that went into it. You can also visit the Grand Master’s Palace, which was home to the Knights.

Gozo

Gozo is a much smaller island than Malta, but it’s still a place worth visiting. If you want to relax and still see incredible sights, head to Gozo. There are pristine beaches, along with various small towns that have a very local feel to them. Visit Victoria, a medieval city, or Marsalforn, the island’s seaside resort. Also make sure to find time to visit the Ggantija Temples, dating back to 3500 BC.

Megalithic Temples

While at Gozo, take time to visit the Megalithic Temples located there, many of which are labeled as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are some of the oldest free-standing structures on the entire planet, so you definitely want to see them. These temples were built over thousands of years, so you can see developments made in architecture along the way.