Malta April 2024 DAYS 6-10

Day 6 Valetta

No holiday to Malta would be complete without a trip to Valetta. From the minute we got off the bus, it was obvious Valetta was a buzzing city. The previous city gate, has been replaced by steps that lead up to architect, Renzo Piano’s Parliament building in Freedom Square. I actually preferred the striking open air theatre next door which was also designed by Renzo Piano. This was a clever conversion of the old Royal Opera House which had been bombed out during the war and was now a monument to the destruction of the war but also a public place of entertainment . Looking down Republic Street, the shopping street of the city, there was a sea of people.

We were promised that National Museum of Archaeology would be anything but a bore, so that was our first stop. And it paid off! It was a tribute to the brute strength of man – the carrying of stones to build temples and the craft of man’s hands that could produce tiny figurines like The Hug and The Sleeping Lady. We were so impressed with just the ground floor that we decided to leave the other floor for another visit. On the way out, we visited The Clean Room an exhibition by Sofie Muller called The Perfect Baby – seven alabaster sculptures of life-sized nude babies on metallic tables exploring how far we would go to have the perfect baby. It was part of the Malta Biennale 2024 Art Programme.



We had a lovely dinner in the Kings Own Band Club (recommended by Irish Times). The service was great and the food was amazing.



We hit for St John the Baptist Co-Cathedral. The floor is so impressive – 375 tombstones depicting coats of arms, skulls and skeletons and under which Knights of St John are buried. The chapels on each side are allocated to the Langues (Germany, Italy, France, Provence, England, Aragon and Auvergne) of the Order of St John, each one trying to surpass the others in elegance and splendor. Another highlight of course is the Caravaggio painting of the beheading of St John the Baptist and there were long queues to see it in the oratory.
After a quick visit to NEXT, just off the main shopping street (always hard to pass) it was time to hit for Cirkewwa/home.

Day 7 Valetta

One day was never going to be enough to see Valetta so we hit for there again today. Valetta and the Three Cities seemed to be a popular tour so we decided to hit for one of the three cities Vittoriosa/Birgu first.


We picked up our own personal tour guide on the bus, Birgu born and reared and now in his eighties who advised us to just stroll through the city and only stop at the Inquisitors Palace and the Fort St Angelo. Ever obedient, we decided to follow his advice!!!!



The Inquisitor in Malta seemed to differ greatly from his counterpart in Spain and merely required confession and repentance! However that did depend on individual Inquisitors – there were 62 of them – so we did see examples of torture and interrogation. The Palace itself was a lovely building and the position of Inquisitor with its life of opulence was much sought after by many church leaders.
The Fort St Angelo situated at the very tip of the peninsula seemed to be an easy find on the map, but renovations made the only bridge very difficult to find. It was very impressive. However it location afforded absolutely no shelter and we were almost blown out to sea. We did climb to the top – and saw the hospital where “Auntie Nancy” was based and we watched a short film on the history of Birgu. Our old gentleman had advised us not to eat anywhere but on the waterfront so that was literally our next “port of call”. Super luxurious yachts lined the quayside and we splashed the cash alongside their owners!!!! Food was fine but the service was atrocious.
We got waylaid on the journey back to the bus stop by St Lawrence Church, reputedly the first parish church of Malta. Sneaking in to have a “very quick” look, we discovered there was an organ and choir concert and we decided to wait and listen – really well worth it.

Day 8 Gozo

We returned to Gozo today to use public transport to visit Ta’Dbiegi Craft Village and Ggantija Temples. We almost missed the village but luckily recognized some landmark. It was a fine example of a craft village – many of the artists actually working on their crafts or members of their families in the shops selling. We were very constrained in our spending and I bought some small examples of lace and tatting and two small pieces of Resin work.

Our next stop was the village of Xaghra and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ggantija. This is a megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic era, older than the pyramids of Egypt. The walk through the interpretation centre was so interesting, emphasizing that the two temples were not just impressive megalithic sites, but held profound spiritual and cultural importance for the community of Gozo. As a hub for community gatherings, these temples hosted rituals, ceremonies and celebrations to honour gods and seek blessings for fertility and prosperity.

Day 9 Mosta

We travelled through Mosta three times previously and each time wondered at the crowds getting off the bus there. Luckily we had a read of the guide book and realized that the Rotunda at Mosta was not to be missed. Mosta witnessed a miracle in 1942 when a bomb hit the cathedral dome but failed to explode. Today the bomb is seen as the proof of the hand of God and is on display in the vestry. The church itself is fascinating with many images not usually seen – the engagement of Mary and Joseph, the death of Joseph, the Widow’s son at Nain, Our Lady of the Rosary and the Assumption. Organ music played softly in the background – it was especially peaceful to sit and listen to Jesus Remember Me. We climbed to the gallery and roof – almost blown off. Fiona visited the underground shelter just outside the church.


Although we had planned to go on to Mdina, we decided to head towards home and visit instead the Grotto in Mellieha. The little chapel supposedly dates to 409 and the depiction on the wall of Mary is allegedly by St Luke – we couldn’t see it at all!

Day 10 Pool, Sun worshipping and Home

We got an extension in our room till afternoon and decided that after packing we would hit poolside (Fiona had some Jazz Mass practicing to do). We had our last lunch in Porto Restaurant before some more sunbathing.
Taxi driver advised us to take the mountain route back to the airport – very scenic but also showed the amount of agriculture that there is in Malta.

Author: Breda Fay

I'm retired since end August 2016 and loving the new life! More time now for family and friends and to explore craft, history, travel and certainly more of a chance for, me-time. To paraphrase Seuss: I've no tears that (teaching) is over; but many smiles that it happened!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.