Malta is a well-liked tourist destination that attracts plenty of holidaymakers and backpackers alike. It is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. But what is Malta famous for?
From its stunning coastline and crystal-clear waters to its fascinating historical sites, we’ll explore the top things that Malta is known for, to adequately give you an idea of what to expect on your visit.
What Is Malta Famous For?
Malta is famous for its beautiful architecture, scenic cliffs, breathtaking coastline and dive sites. The island nation has a long and fascinating cultural heritage reflected in its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the ancient city of Valletta, the Megalithic Temples of Malta, and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.
In addition, Malta is known for its turquoise waters, making it a popular destination for scuba diving and water sports. The country’s mild Mediterranean climate, friendly locals, and vibrant nightlife make it a sought-after tourist destination year-round.
History, Culture, And Traditions Malta Is Known For
Despite its smaller size, this is a nation with a lengthy history. Malta is known for being St. Paul’s birthplace, along with several ancient temples.
The country is also home to the Hypogeum, an underground UNESCO Site. You’ll also find plenty of museums and galleries on the island and fortifications dating back to the medieval era.
In addition, the city of Valletta was built by the Knights of St. John and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Numerous excursions will take you to the island’s most intriguing historical places if you’re eager to discover more about Malta’s fascinating past.
The Malta International Arts Festival
The Malta International Arts Festival is one of the top events for anyone who loves the arts.
This annual event features a variety of activities, such as dance performances, live music, theatrical productions, and more. Not only that, but it’s also a great platform for international artists to showcase their work.
Furthermore, it’s a great way to experience the best of Malta’s culture while getting to know some of the country’s famous people, who are often featured in the performances. The festival usually takes place in July each year and is a must-see on any traveler’s itinerary.
The country’s rich culture contains some diverse and unique folklore.
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, Maltese folklore is full of mythical creatures, traditions, and superstitions. From the mysterious Kraken monster to the tales of witches and giants, prepare to venture into some mind-blowing stories of insane adventure.
In addition, Malta is famous for its folk music. Traditional music is played on various instruments including drums, ukuleles, and brass wind instruments.
One of the best things to see when traveling in Malta is the locals belting out traditional Mediterranean tunes while they go about their daily lives.
Malta’s cuisine is one of the things to look out for. It’s a melting pot of influences from all over the Mediterranean, and you’ll find both traditional Maltese food and also interesting fusion dishes.
Favorites include pastizzi (warm pastries filled with ricotta cheese or mashed peas), fire (open-faced sandwiches), and tortilla—an egg-based dish similar to a Spanish omelet. The Maltese also enjoy stews, pasta, and roasted meats.
Seafood lovers will be in their element as Malta’s waters are teeming with tummin (octopus) and lampuki (dolphin fish).
If you have room for dessert, try traditional sweets such as halva or date cakes—both made with semolina flour.
Other favorites include figolla (a marzipan cookie) and kannoli (fried pastry shells filled with ricotta cream). There are also Maltese cheeses to explore, like gbejna, which are small, slow-ripened cheeses.
Malta is known for its breathtaking beaches! Unfortunately, because most of Malta is rocky, there are not as many places to sunbathe. But if you look around a bit, you’ll find some great sandy spots where you can kick back and relax.
The Blue Lagoon in Comino is a popular tourist destination, and it is easy to understand why. The waters are crystal clear blue, and the golden sand beach is something out of a postcard.
Paradise Bay and Golden Bay Beach are also great spots. Stroll the boardwalks or rent a sun bed and umbrella if you want to stay in one place to soak up the sun.
When visiting the beaches, ensure you respect nature and don’t leave any trash behind. Keeping this beautiful paradise clean should always be a priority.
If you’re an avid scuba diver, Malta is a place you should add to your bucket list! As the Mediterranean’s deepest sea, the Maltese Islands are famous for their underwater rock formations, clear blue waters, and rich marine life.
You can explore tunnels and caves filled with colorful coral and sponges, swim over archeological sites dating back centuries, and watch schools of tuna and barracuda. More – there’s something new to discover every dive!
Plus, with a relatively warm climate and waters, you’ll be able to enjoy an extended dive season without having to worry about being too cold.
Besides diving spots around the islands of Gozo and Comino, Malta is also known for some incredible shipwrecks from World War II. In particular, the famous wreck of U-576 in Valletta has been preserved in its original condition for generations afterward.
This makes it a great spot for experienced divers who want to explore history beneath the sea surface.
If you see a Maltese Cross around Malta, it’s not just an elaborate symbol. It actually has a history that dates back to the 12th Century.
The Maltese cross represents courage and bravery and is important to Malta’s national individualism. It was originally used by the Knights of Malta, Christian warriors defending the island against invaders.
Nowadays, you’ll find the cross on everything from flags to souvenirs. So keep your eyes peeled for this iconic symbol wherever you go!
One of the things Malta is famous for is its film industry. Many renowned films have been shot on location in Malta, such as Gladiator, Troy, The Count of Monte Cristo, and World War Z.
A fun fact about Malta is its scenic landscape can be easily adapted for different backdrops and settings. This is why the country is known for its amazing filming locations.
Not only this, but Malta also has a thriving film industry of its own, featuring reputable studios like Malta Film Studios and Filming Locations Malta.
The film industry in Malta has also given rise to some famous people in the film industry, such as Valletta-born actor Edward Mercieca, who starred in Gladiator.
It’s increasingly becoming a popular destination for international production companies looking to create their vision of the perfect movie setting.
When it comes to rock formations, Malta is full of them! If you’re visiting the island, take a trip to the Azure Window in Dwejra for views of the eroded limestone cliffs and collapsed arch. This is a popular spot for photographers, so be sure to bring your camera and snap away.
For more rugged terrain, head to Fungus Rock in Gozo. The unique rock formation resembles an upturned boat and is known for its tall white cliffs. This spot was also featured in the epic movie Gladiator.
If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, check out Ghar Dalam in South East Malta. Here you can explore a stunning ancient cave, and its unique rock formations formed thousands of years ago. This is a great spot for peaceful contemplation—the perfect way to spend a day exploring Malta!
Cities And Travel Destinations Malta Is Known For
Without a doubt, Malta is famous for its enchanting capital city, Valletta. It’s one of the most picturesque places on earth, and its Baroque architecture is renowned worldwide.
You’ll love its narrow streets, pretty plazas, and stunning churches. There’s an inexplicable old charm to the whole city.
Make sure you spend some time wandering around the city walls and admiring the views of the Grand Harbor. And remember to visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens for some unforgettable panoramic scenes.
All the bus transportation lines also end up at the station here, so it is easily accessible from all parts of the island.
The Silent City of Mdina
Mdina, known as the “Silent City,” is a walled medieval city at the heart of Malta. Its name derives from the Arabic word “medina,” meaning “city.”
Founded in the 8th century BC, Mdina is one of Malta’s oldest inhabited cities and was once its capital. It’s surrounded by imposing stone walls filled with Baroque homes, cobblestone streets, and ancient fortifications.
When you visit Mdina, you can see why it got its name – it’s eerily quiet after the tourists leave. A small group of locals actually still live here and they appreciate the peace.
During the day though, you’ll be able to walk around this medieval city and marvel at the architecture. Take time to explore all of the historical sites in town, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Agatha’s Chapel, Palazzo Vilhena, the British War Memorial, and several other churches.
Marsaxlokk is a fishing village on the south coast of Malta, and this is where you will find some of the freshest seafood restaurants. If you’re looking for a taste of Malta, this is one place to visit.
The village itself is famous for its picturesque harbor and colorful fishing boats that dock there. The buildings also give off an inexplicable charm.
Most importantly, it is the perfect place to take in the local culture, particularly during the weekend. Fishermen set up stalls bright and early to sell off their spoils for the day.
From the market stalls to the small restaurants and cafes, it’s easy to spend hours strolling around, taking in the sights and smells. Beware that it does get incredibly crowded during the weekends and you should go early if you plan on catching the overly full bus.
Marsaxlokk is also home to some of Malta’s most important religious buildings. It has several churches and monuments, including the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Porto Salvo and the chapel of St. Nicholas.
It’s also near St. Peter’s Pool, one of Malta’s best swimming spots. The village is known for its traditional Maltese crafts, especially pottery and glass blowing.
Malta is famous for its stunning seascapes, and the Blue Lagoon is no exception. Located on the picturesque island of Comino, this crystal clear, turquoise water surrounded by white sand beaches makes it the perfect spot for a blissful day out.
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon is a must-do if you find yourself in Malta, so bring your swimsuit and sunscreen! There’s plenty of room to walk around or rent one of the many boats available for hire. You can even take advantage of the diving opportunities nearby.
Malta also boasts beautiful clear waters outside Comino, perfect for snorkeling and sailing. For all sun worshippers out there, make sure to come prepared with plenty of sunscreen and sunglasses as you explore all this stunning area has to offer!
Landmarks And Architecture Malta Is Famous For
The Citadel is a stunning fortress sitting on the highest point in Malta – the city of Victoria. It stands as an imposing symbol of past military strength.
Built by the Knights of St. John, The Citadel was used to ward off foreign invaders in the past. It comprises complex maze-like walls and towers, which offer amazing views over the beautiful islands of Gozo and Comino.
Inside The Citadel lies St. Mark’s Church—a beautiful building with a rich history that dates back to the 1500s. A must-visit spot here is Palazzo de Peralta, which has a captivating collection of antique furniture and other objects from days gone by.
You can also see the statue of Sir Alexander Ball, who was the Governor-General of Malta during most of his tenure. Don’t miss out on visiting this majestic monument that Malta is famous for.
The Buskett Gardens
Buskett Gardens is a must-visit in Malta if you love nature and greenery. It is located just south of Rabat.
Built in the 16th century by Grandmaster Wignacourt, this is one of Malta’s oldest gardens. The gardens has many pathways to explore and is a great spot for picnics during summer.
In addition to the beautiful flora, Buskett gardens is home to some amazing wildlife, such as rabbits, hedgehogs, wild boars, and many songbirds. It is an oasis for those who need some time away from the rush of tourists.
You can find a few local restaurants nearby if you’d like to have a bite while admiring the lush views. Remember to also check out Verdala Palace, which sits on a hilltop overlooking the gardens.
Malta is known for some of the oldest standing structures in the world: the megalithic temples. Some of Europe’s first settlers, the ancient Maltese people, built these temples.
There are many different theories about who built these temples and why. But what we do know is that they are a marvel to behold. The temples are carved out of solid limestone dating back to around 3600–2500 BC.
There are several temples you can visit in Malta, each unique. So, if you’re interested in history and architecture, then be sure to include a visit to at least one of Malta’s megalithic temples on your itinerary!
Maltese islands are full of captivating natural beauty, and none more famously so than the limestone archway of Azure Window.
This incredible landmark used to be picturesquely framed against Dwejra Bay before its collapse in 2017. Nevertheless, the area remains a marvel for any travelers visiting Malta.
To get to it, you must drive along winding roads from the nearest town, San Lawrenz. Once there, you’ll be welcomed by a stunning view of limestone cliffs and crashing waves. And although you can’t see the famous arch anymore, the surrounding geographical features are still worth the trip/
You can take a boat ride around the area or even explore nearby dive sites as part of your itinerary. And remember your camera!
The Azure Window used to be one of the most iconic and famous things that Malta is known for. Hopefully, it will continue to be so with the scenic landscape.
St. John’s Co-Cathedral
Malta is famous for its stunning architecture, and St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a prime example of this.
This Baroque-style cathedral is a magnificent sight to behold and one of the main attractions in the capital city of Valletta. The church was built in the late 1500s, and its interior walls feature stunning hand-painted statues and frescoes by some of the best artists at the time.
The co-cathedral is also home to a world-famous painting called The Beheading of St. John by Caravaggio and works by Mattia Preti and other notable Maltese artists.
In addition, St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a must-visit location while visiting Malta’s rich culture and legacy since it also has a museum where you can learn about the history of knights and grandmasters who formerly resided in Malta.
Famous People From Malta
Although Malta doesn’t have an extremely large population, many famous people have called it home at one point in their life. Some are even based here today.
A famous person that has ties to Malta is none other than one of the world’s most influential fashion designers, Giorgio Armani.
Born in Piacenza, Italy, in 1934, Armani moved to Malta in the mid-1950s and began working in the local textile mills. It is on this beautiful island that he honed his skill in tailoring and design.
Armani established his fashion brand in 1975. Since then, he has become a household name in the industry and Giorgio Armani boutiques are famous worldwide.
Armani’s designs are beloved for their classic lines and luxurious fabrics. His clothing has become a wardrobe staple for some of the world’s most celebrities.
In 2004, Armani was named an Honorary Citizen of Malta to recognize his contribution to the fashion industry. Giorgio Armani’s incredible talent has taken the island of Malta and pushed it onto the world stage.
Another famous figure associated with Malta is Mario Testino, one of the world’s most successful photographers. Born in Lima, Peru, in 1954, Testino moved to Malta at the young age of 15.
Since then, he has become a star in photography, creating iconic images of some of the world’s most famous faces, from Princess Diana to Kate Moss.
Testino’s work are known for their vibrancy and energy, and his masterpieces has been featured in many of the world’s leading fashion magazines. He has also worked on advertising campaigns for many of the world’s top brands, including Burberry and Gucci.
Today, Testino is one of the most sought-after photographers around the world. He continues to make Malta proud, donating his works to museums and galleries worldwide.
He is truly an example of the creative talent that can be found on the beautiful island of Malta.
Discover More Things Malta Is Known For
This Mediterranean island has a lot to offer, from the ancient megalithic temples to the baroque palaces. Malta is famous for its vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine, and crystal-clear waters, which attract tourists yearly.
It is also home to many famous people, including actors, musicians, and sports figures. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder Malta is a popular destination for travelers interested in history and culture or just wanting to soak up the sun.