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11 Top Things to do in Mdina, Malta: One Day Guide

Streets in Rabat, Malta

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Not gonna lie, the main reason I wanted to visit Mdina in Malta was for the Game of Thrones filming locations . I’m often guilty of only wanting to visit places for their notoriety on screen, even when they’re an epic place in their own right. And as it turns out, there are plenty of things to do in Mdina beyond filming locations!

Mdina is seen as Malta’s second city after it’s capital, Valletta, which is everything Mdina isn’t. While Valletta is filled with cool bars, modern architecture and has a more ‘lively’ atmosphere (ie. a fair few more people), fortified Mdina isn’t called ‘the silent city’ for nothing. The high city walls that surround the medieval-esque city of Mdina literally drown out the outside noise. And while a few people still live in Mdina , most only visit via the city gate for Sunday mass at St Paul’s Co-Cathedral.

Mdina, and by extension Rabat which is just outside the city walls, are usually the second place in Malta that visitors, erm, visit after Valletta. Definitely plan one day in Valletta but Mdina and Rabat deserve one whole day of your trip, too. Here are all the top things to do in Mdina (including what to eat and how to get to Mdina) if you only have one day!

Things to do in Mdina, Malta

Public Transport: Travelling by Bus from Valletta to Mdina

I’m a  huge  fan of Malta’s amazing public transport system. Because it’s such a small country, the bus services are run by one company so you don’t have the disconnect between cities and towns like in the UK. And I just love it when all single journeys cost the exact same no matter where you’re going, it makes travelling abroad so much easier! All single bus journeys in Malta cost €2 paid to the driver during the day (at time of writing).

If you’re travelling from Valletta, Mdina is very easy to reach. Head to the Valletta/Blata L-Bajda bus interchange where there are several bus stops in one location. Find the stop for bus numbers 51, 52 and 53 as these all travel to Mdina. Buses depart every 10 minutes so you don’t need to plan too far in advance. And even better, unlike UK buses, the buses in Malta have screens that announce every stop so you know when to alight! The journey should take around 30-minutes and you should alight at Telgha. 

Horse carriage outside Mdina in Malta

Accommodation in Mdina and Rabat

Though you’re probably staying in one of the neighbourhoods outside Valletta and are making a day trip to Mdina, there are some fantastic options for accommodation in Mdina or Rabat if you want to stay nearby.

There are plenty of fantastic Airbnbs in Mdina or just outside in Rabat for under £50 per night for the whole apartment. Though you might be stuck for supermarkets in Mdina (the city is super, super, super small if I haven’t made that clear), at least you’ll get a cracking view of all the limestone streets with rainbow-coloured doors when you wake up in the morning. And first dibs of the instagrammable photo ops!

Booking.com has some fantastic hotels in Rabat  and check out the hostels in Malta if you’re a budget traveller. I always book my hostels through Hostelworld , which is usually my prefered type of accommodation when I’m travelling solo. They don’t have any hostels near Mdina but loads near Valletta in Sliema and St Julians.

Purple and pink house in Mdina, Malta

6 Things to see and do in Mdina and Rabat

1. mdina city gate.

One of the first things to do in Mdina is before you even enter the city! It’s no exaggeration that Mdina looks like some kind of fairytale/old-timey walled village with an actual bridge over a moat (a dry one, though). Mdina’s city gate is beautiful and I’m sure you’ll want to take some photographs outside before you head in. Mdina is on the tentative list to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and that doesn’t surprise me at all. I am  surprised it’s not one already!

Mdina's city gate, one of the best things to do in Mdina, Malta

2. St Paul’s Co-Cathedral

The main reason why Mdina is so popular with visitors isn’t just that it’s a beautiful place to spend one day in Malta, but because it used to be Malta’s capital city until 1530. The main cathedral at that time would have been St Paul’s Cathedral built in the 12th century. The grand church has had a few mishaps in its time and was rebuilt in the Baroque style in the late 17th century, which is how we see it today. St Paul’s Cathedral currently shares Catholic church responsibilities with St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta .

I visited Mdina on a Sunday when it is closed all day for mass, but definitely try to go inside the church for a nosey if you can. Opening hours are 9:30-16:15 Monday to Saturday. It’s fascinating how religious the Maltese seem to be and when they go to mass they really  dress up. You think the Spanish and Italians are devout Catholics but they ain’t got nothin’ on the Maltese.

If you particularly love visiting churches in European countries, you might also want to also visit St Agatha’s Chapel. For such a small city, there are a fair few churches! I counted at least six but I don’t know how many are still active.

Things to do in Valletta, Malta if you only have One Day

St Paul's Cathedral in Mdina, one of the best things to do in Mdina, Malta

3. The Elusive Blue Door

Once upon a time, you couldn’t search #bluedoor on Instagram without being bombarded with snaps of this exact  blue door over and over again. Literally, just google ‘Mdina blue door’ and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a huge and heavy, rustic-style front door painted a cool blue adorned with a thriving vine of purple flowers. Instafodder if I ever saw it.

If you too want to get dem likes on Instagram, I’m not judging! It’s now even been listed on Google Maps under ‘Blue Mdina Door’ so you’ll easily be able to find it. It’s right in the west, top corner of Mdina near Fior di Latte .

  View this post on Instagram   This is the famous blue door in Mdina which we walked half an hour to find. It’s down a small alleyway, a short walk away from the towns best gelato shop. It’s got the biggest flower arch I’ve seen in ages which was beautiful and covered in bright pink flowers. I couldn’t walk past without grabbing a photo 🎥 – – – #mdina #mdinamalta #mdinaglass #mdinathesilentcity #jet2holidays #jet2malta #malta #maltaphotography #visitmalta #visitgozo #valletta #vallettamalta #asseenonme #reallifeandstyle #happyselves #shinyhappybloggers #theuncoolclub #thegirlganguk #lbloggersuk #thecaptionclub #chattycaptioncommunity #curateyourownfeed #tarastraveltribe #averagesizegirl #averagegirlsize #midsizestyle #slowsundayclub #mdinabluedoor #maltaphotographer A post shared by SOPHIE’S SUITCASE ↠ (@sophiessuitcasetravel) on Aug 4, 2018 at 11:55pm PDT

4. Mdina City Walls Viewpoint

While you’re over at the Blue Door (and probably queueing for the privilege), check out the utterly phenomenal panoramic viewpoint from the top of Mdina city walls over the rest of the whole damn country. That’s what is so amazing about visiting tiny countries like Malta, you can see from one coastline to the next. Definitely one of the best things to do in Mdina.

Panoramic Viewpoint in Mdina, one of the best things to do in Mdina, Malta

5. Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Mdina and Rabat

Okay, I’d be remiss if I didn’t properly acknowledge that quite a few tourists visit Mdina nowadays for the  Game of Thrones  filming locations. The film crew shot King’s Landing and Dothraki scenes from season one in Malta before production moved to Dubrovnik, Croatia for the rest of the show’s run. Rumour has it that the crew weren’t very respectful to the Maltese landscapes and if that the case, I don’t blame them for telling  Game of Thrones  where to go.

Naturally, I have a whole other blog post on the  Game of Thrones  filming locations in Malta so if you want to know which scenes were shot in Mdina, check it out!

Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Malta

Almost Ginger blog owner in Mdina, Malta

6. Walk around Mdina’s city streets

One of the best things to do in Mdina is to put your phone/Google Maps away and just walk around. Like the rest of the country, Mdina was built purely with limestone which gives the whole city a gorgeous sandy tone and along with the brightly coloured doors and religious shrines that are often found outside Maltese homes. And it’s a teeny, tiny city surrounded by huge walls! You’re not exactly going to get lost.

If you have children, you might also like to visit The Mdina Experience exhibition. But I wouldn’t bother if you’re travelling solo or as a couple, it’s literally just a one-hour movie about Mdina’s history.

The Mdina Experience, one of the things to do in Mdina, Malta

5 Places to eat & drink in Mdina and Rabat

1. fontanella tea garden in mdina.

There aren’t many restaurants in Mdina and personally, I would take the short walk to Rabat for lunch for better, cheaper options. But if you want to eat in Mdina then try the Fontanella Tea Garden . The restaurant is situated next to the city’s viewpoint do you have a cracking view over the rest of the country. Their menu includes homemade cakes, mezze platters and simple toasted sandwiches.

Coffee from Toffee & Co. in Rabat, Malta

2. Fior di Latte in Mdina

I never say no to good ice cream. Yes, I even visited Malta in January and I  still  fancied a couple of scoops. All in the name of research, right? If you too are a sucker for good ice cream then Fior di Latte (also next to the city viewpoint) is ideal to sample a cheap sweet treat and check out the sweet view at the same time.

Fior di Latte ice cream in Mdina, Malta

3. Ta’ Doni in Rabat

I initially went to Ta’ Doni in Rabat for lunch before I noticed all the tables were full. It’s quite a small artisanal café/restaurant so you may have the same problem as me. Ta’ Doni is the perfect place to eat lunch in Rabat if you love fresh bread and quality, deli-style ingredients.

Streets of Rabat, Malta

4. Toffee & Co. in Rabat

Where I  did  end up heading for lunch in Rabat is Toffee & Co. and I’m so pleased I did! They served these delicious traditional Maltese flatbreads with different toppings and sauces and it was bloody beautiful. Like a cross between a pizza and a sandwich. It’s a family-friendly restaurant and they also serve great coffee and homemade desserts.

Outside Toffee & Co. in Rabat, Malta

5. Crystal Palace in Rabat

Finally, Crystal Palace is widely known as the best place in Malta to taste a traditional Maltese flaky pastry called Pastizzi. They’re usually filled with either pea paste or ricotta cheese and probably the closest thing Malta has to street food. And since the Crystal Palace bakery is so  close to Mdina city gate you can pop by to grab some pastries to start your one day in Mdina the right way!

Street lined with cars in Rabat, Malta

And those are all the things to do in Mdina and Rabat in Malta if you only have one day! Are you planning a trip to Malta? Let me know in the comments below!

11 Things to do in Mdina, Malta: One Day Guide | almostginger.com

Hey! I wrote this. And I'm the human (and hair) behind Almost Ginger. I live for visiting filming locations, attending top film festivals and binge-watching travel inspiring films. I'm here to inspire you to do the same! Get in touch by leaving a comment or contacting me directly: [email protected] .

2 thoughts on “ 11 Top Things to do in Mdina, Malta: One Day Guide ”

places to visit in mdina malta

Will be in Malta for 2 days. Love to read your comments.

places to visit in mdina malta

Thanks so much for your comment, Maria! Have a great time! 😀

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What To Do in Mdina, Malta’s Gorgeous Silent City

Panoramic view of the moat with the main gate and its bridge in the backdrop.

Lost-in-time Mdina is one of the most enchanting places to visit in Malta and this thorough guide on what to do in Mdina is sure to make you want to spend more than just a couple of hours in Malta’s Silent City, as most travellers – mistakenly – do.

This article was written by Billy Read, a deaf travel blogger from Birmingham, UK. Through his blog BRB Gone Somewhere Epic, Billy dismantles the myth that travel is too expensive and explains how you can still enjoy hidden gems even in the most popular tourist destinations.

Nestled in the northwest corner of the island nation of Malta lies the fortified city of Mdina. This ancient walled city oozes history, culture and charm in every cobblestoned street. Therefore, it’s no surprise that there are so many amazing things to do in Mdina. In this guide, you’ll find out what to do in Mdina for a trip to remember.

Some of the links in this article are affiliate ones. This means that if you click through them to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, visit our  Disclosure page .

People are relaxing in a little café in Mesquita Square. Over the café's entrance there is a typical gallarija balcony.

Why Visit Mdina Malta

Mdina has been inhabited since prehistoric times due to its strategic location and natural defences. By the 11th century, it was already a thriving Muslim town. It served as the former capital of Malta for centuries and remains one of the most fascinating places to visit in Malta.

Despite its compact size, Mdina packs a serious sightseeing punch. A stroll through this quaint town is like stepping back in time to Malta’s medieval times.

The Silent City, as it is also known ever since Malta’s capital was transferred to the town of Vittoriosa (Birgu), Mdina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with impressive architecture, majestic palaces, magnificent Cathedrals and fascinating museums just waiting to be discovered. 

Beyond its impressive sights, Mdina exudes an intangible magical ambience. Its shady winding streets, peaceful squares and golden stone buildings evoke a sense of wonder and enchantment.

Yet Mdina is more than just a pretty backdrop. Local bars, shops and restaurants infuse modern vibrancy into ancient alleyways. During the day, tourists roam freely while, at nightfall, the picturesque town reverts to a quiet local neighbourhood. 

Visiting the medieval Mdina citadel is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Malta. But, with just one day here, how do you make the most of your time? Use this complete guide to uncover the very best things to see, do, eat and experience in marvellous Mdina.

A narrow alley in Mdina.

How To Get To Mdina

After arriving at Malta International Airport, reaching Mdina is remarkably easy using Malta’s efficient public transportation. Mdina sits between 15 and 30 minutes west of the capital Valletta by bus or taxi. However, if you’re short on time, for a more hassle-free experience, check out this day trip from Valletta with a guided tour of Mdina and Rabat.

Buses run every 15 to 30 minutes daily from the Valletta bus terminus directly to Mdina Gate. Simply take buses 51, 52 or 53 and alight at the Mdina bus stop to reach the city’s main entrance. Roundtrip bus tickets cost just €2 to €4 (2023 prices).

If you’re planning to spend more time in Valletta, read our guide to the best things to do in Valletta.

Taxis offer more convenience and can be booked on the Malta Public Transport smartphone app. The set rate is €20 from Valletta to Mdina. Some key tips:

  • Mdina is pedestrianised so all transport drops off just outside the city walls.
  • The Mdina entrance has a tourist information point to grab maps.
  • Wear comfy walking shoes as you’ll be on foot the entire time.
  • Bring water, sunscreen and a hat as there is minimal shade inside the walls.

What To Do in Mdina – Walking Tour of Mdina’s Top Sights

Start your visit at the impressive Mdina Gate. Also known as Vilhena Gate, this is the Main Gate entrance of Mdina. The fortified gate dates back to the Roman period and the marble inscription above was added in the 18th century. Passing under the gatehouse tunnel is like stepping back in time as you enter the medieval city.

Being the perfect starting point for any walking tour, Mdina Gate is also a Game of Thrones filming location that was used as King’s Landing Gate.

View of Mdina's gate from the bridge. People are crossing the bridge and taking photographs. If you're wondering what to do in Mdina, taking in the grandeur of the main gate tops the list.

Vilhena Palace

Built in Baroque style, the grand 18th-century Palazzo Vilhena was once the residence of the Order of St John’s Grand Master Antonio Manoel. It now houses Malta’s National Museum of Natural History, perfect for families to see dinosaur exhibits. Even if you skip visiting the interior of the Natural History Museum, the palace’s exterior is impressive with its dual stone staircases and statue-lined courtyard.

St. Peter’s Church & Monastery

Before arriving at Mdina Cathedral, step into the oldest female monastery in Malta. Dating back to the 15th century, St. Peter’s Monastery displays artefacts and tools that nuns used to comfort their lives. What’s more, the cloistered nuns are selling delicious baked goods. You can also visit the rooms of Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani, a cloistered nun who lived in the monastery in the 19th century.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

The imposing Baroque St. Paul’s Cathedral dominates the Mdina skyline, making it the city’s most recognisable landmark. Although tradition says that the Cathedral is in the place of the palace of Roman Governor Publius, history buffs will appreciate that it stands on the site of an ancient Roman temple and subsequent Norman Cathedral before being rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake. 

Buy your combo ticket from the adjacent Cathedral Museum that includes the entrance fee to the Museum and the Cathedral.

St Paul's Cathedral exterior and its ornate facade.

Palazzo Santa Sofia

After visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, on your way to the Carmelite Priory, make a stop outside Palazzo Santa Sofia, the oldest surviving medieval building in Mdina. Its ground floor dates back to the 13th century while the upper floor was constructed less than a century ago. The palace is not open to the public.

View of Palazzo Santa Sofia and the Carmelite Priory in the background.

Carmelite Church & Convent

A short walk from the striking St. Paul’s Cathedral is the Carmelite Church and Convent , worth visiting for its peacefulness and unique pieces of art. 

The Baroque church contains lavish gold carvings along with remarkable paintings by memorable artists, such as Mattia Preti. Adjoined to the Carmelite Church, the small convent features an outstanding cloister that will take you back to the 17th century. The room for the communal meals is one of the convent’s original spaces that showcases the friars’ routine of that time.

Palazzo Falson

Just past the Cathedral, Palazzo Falson , the second oldest building in Mdina, allows visitors to glimpse at what life was like for Mdina’s nobility during the Middle Ages. 

This meticulously restored aristocratic townhouse museum showcases period furnishings, art and costumes. History lovers and interior design fans will especially appreciate this window into Malta’s past. Palazzo Falson is also home to famous paintings by noteworthy artists, such as Nicolas Poussin and Sir Anthony Van Dyck.

The courtyard of Palazzo Falson with a small fountain in the middle. There is an external staircase that leads to the upper floor.

Bastion Square

Head to the gorgeous Bastion Square at the edge of the walled city of Mdina for outstanding panoramic views of Mdina’s surroundings.

Panoramic views of Mdina's surroundings from the Bastion square. Taking in the views from up there is one of the best things to do in Mdina.

Main Gate Ramparts

Don’t exit Mdina without the breathtaking views from the Main Gate ramparts overlooking the deep moat. Photographers will love capturing shots of little-changed medieval Mdina on one side and modern Rabat on the other. Look for other remaining original gateways like the Greeks Gate for more panoramas.

View of the Greeks gate from inside the castle. A dog is waiting for a woman to cross the gate.

Roman Villa

As you’re crossing the Howard Gardens outside the city walls, stop by Domus Romana. Dating back to the 1st century BC, the Villa’s remains became later ground for a Muslim cemetery. If you have spare time, visit the Roman Villa’s small museum to see the Roman antiquities displayed there. From there, stroll along Rabat’s narrow alleys towards St. Paul’s Catacombs, a massive underground cemetery.

The Domus Romana facade with its four columns at the entrance.

St Paul’s Catacombs

Just at the outskirts of Mdina lie Malta’s largest Roman-era catacombs of St Paul, not to be missed. The underground tombs date back to the 3rd century BC. Descending into the eerie tunnels offers an immersive experience and a unique perspective to understand the multi-layered history of Mdina.

Graves in St Paul's Catacombs, a must-see place if you're wondering what to do in Mdina Malta.

Other Amazing Things To Do in Mdina

Beyond its fantastic sightseeing, there are lots of other things to do in Mdina to appreciate this magical city from different perspectives:

  • Embark on an open-air land train tour of Mdina for a fun overview of the key sights and history.
  • Visit the Knights of Malta Museum for a history journey through the centuries and an insight into the lives of the Knights of St. John.
  • Join the Mdina Experience show to enjoy the city’s beauty and history under atmospheric nighttime lighting and accompanying audio.
  • If you are a Game of Thrones fan, tour Mdina’s filming locations, such as Mesquita Square, from the hit HBO show. The entire city stood in for King’s Landing, along with other Malta spots like the Blue Lagoon.
  • Have a long lazy Maltese lunch at one of Mdina’s restaurants and cafés overlooking the island scenery under the city walls.
  • Browse the unique souvenir shops in Mdina that line charming narrow streets to hunt for locally made crafts and gifts.
  • At night, after the day-trippers have left, stroll the lantern-lit medieval streets soaking in the magical atmosphere.
  • If you’re into dark tourism, step inside the Mdina Dungeons Museum.
  • Stroll past lesser-known architectural gems, such as the 16th century Palazzo de Piro and the Torre dello Standardo.

View of Mesquita Square and its cafés.

Best Places To Eat & Drink in Mdina

Mdina offers inviting bars and restaurants to refuel between sightseeing. Dining inside the mighty medieval walls is an atmospheric experience but comes at slightly inflated prices. Inside Mdina’s walls, top dining recommendations include:

  • Bacchus  – For fine dining in an elegant setting, Bacchus offers creative Mediterranean-French fusion cuisine and unmatched Mdina views.
  • Trattoria AD 1530  – For authentic pizza baked in a wood-fired oven, homemade pasta and other classic Italian dishes in a romantic setting.
  • Fontanella Tea Garden  – People watch from this café’s prime spot on the Main Gate ramparts while enjoying light bites, tea and decadent cakes.
  • The Medina Restaurant  – Savor a la carte fine dining highlighting quality Maltese cuisine inside this 400-year-old converted townhouse.

A piece of chocolate cake with a strawberry on top in a box from Fontanella Tea Garden.

Outside Mdina, you can try some of the best pastizzi in Malta at Crystal Palace Bar in the town of Rabat.

Don’t leave Mdina without trying Malta’s niche wine. Gellewza is a fruity red or floral white from local grapes. And be sure to sample the traditional date-filled shortbread called maqrut.

A savoury pastry filled with mushed peas called qassatat.

Where To Stay in Mdina

Wake up right inside the medieval city walls with an overnight stay in Mdina. Boutique hotels in converted mansions or townhouses offer a magical experience and great convenience. Recommended options include:

  • The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux  – Live like royalty in this 17th-century palace, featuring lavish rooms, blooming courtyards, fine dining and a pool.
  •   Palazzo Bifora – Pamper yourself in this 5-star hotel that offers luxurious suites, an outdoor swimming pool and a terrace with spectacular views.

Nearby Rabat also makes a great base with more affordable hotels just outside Mdina’s walls like Villa Vittoria or Point de Vue Guest House , one of Mdina’s best budget picks with friendly service, amazing views and nicely decorated rooms. Staying in Valletta, Sliema or St. Julian’s is very feasible too if you don’t mind the short commute.

A building in a narrow street with coloured widows and an embellished facade.

How To Make The Most of Your Day in Mdina

Mdina deserves a full day to uncover all of its medieval magic. Here is an ideal one-day itinerary:

Morning: Arrive early around 9-10 am to beat both the heat and crowds. Start with the Mdina walking tour, ticking off top sights like St. Paul’s Cathedral, Vilhena Palace, Palazzo Falson, city walls, Carmelite Church, etc. Break for a light lunch at one of Mdina’s atmospheric spots.

Early Afternoon: After lunch, see other major landmarks like Palazzo Santa Sofia and St. Paul’s Catacombs. Then join an open-air land train tour or night show for an overview.

Late Afternoon: Wander off the main streets down charming alleyways. Browse souvenir shops and relax over coffee or drinks as the crowds dissipate.

Evening: Stay for sunset drinks on a rooftop terrace before dinner at one of Rabat’s excellent eateries. Stroll Mdina’s nighttime streets for a magical end to your day.

One day allows you to see Mdina’s top attractions, but two to three days lets you dive deeper into museums and day trips to nearby towns like Mosta, Mgarr and Dingli. 

For an extended Malta itinerary, use Mdina as your base to explore the entire island on a road trip , including top attractions like the Blue Lagoon in Comino , the capital Valletta, and one of Malta’s most popular attractions, the Popeye Village . Have more time? Don’t miss an opportunity to go scuba diving in Malta , home to some of the world’s best scuba diving spots. 

This image shows the Blue Lagoon early in the morning.

Discover The Magic of Malta’s Medieval Gem

Mdina encapsulates over 4000 years of enthralling history within its golden medieval walls. This comprehensive travel guide on what to do in Mdina outlined the very best ways to experience captivating Mdina to make the most of your limited time in this medieval masterpiece. 

Get lost wandering the peaceful cobblestone streets, soak up the magical atmosphere, admire breathtaking architecture and indulge in delicious local fare. From wandering ancient alleyways to admiring panoramic views atop the city walls, Mdina offers an unforgettable window into Malta’s past. Its unique ambience and wealth of historic sights cement it as a great place to visit in Malta.

View of the moat with the main gate and its bridge in the background. People stroll on the moat's promenade.

Mdina FAQs:

What are the top attractions in mdina.

The medieval city’s top attractions are St Paul’s Cathedral, Palazzo Falson, Vilhena Palace, the city walls, St. Peter’s Church, Palazzo Santa Sofia and the Roman Catacombs.

How much time do you need in Mdina?

One full day is ideal for the main sights or two to three days to see museums and take day trips. Stay overnight to experience the atmospheric medieval streets of Mdina without the day-trippers. That’s probably the best time to fully grasp Mdina’s allure.

How do you get to Mdina from Valletta?

Mdina is between 15 and 30 minutes from Valletta by bus or taxi. Take bus 51, 52 or 53 directly from the Valletta bus terminal to the Mdina bus stop by the city gate.

Where should you stay in Mdina?

Staying in one of Mdina’s converted boutique mansions or townhouses allows you to wake up within the city walls. Good options include The Xara Palace and Palazzo Bifora .

A woman walking along a narrow alley lined by buildings with gallarijas.

What to do in Mdina at night?

If you’re wondering what to do in Mdina after dark, Mdina reverts to a peaceful local neighbourhood perfect for admiring the historic buildings illuminated at night on an evening walking tour.

Are there restaurants and bars inside Mdina?

Yes, Mdina has inviting bars and restaurants to refuel between sightseeing like Fontanella Tea Garden, The Medina Restaurant and Bacchus for fine dining.

What is the best way to see Mdina’s sights?

This comprehensive walking tour is a great way to see all the top sights and learn about Mdina’s rich history and architecture as you explore its cobblestone streets.

A narrow alley with colourful doors in Mdina.

Mdina is one of our favourite places to visit in Malta. Billy did a great job illustrating the magic of this silent yet charming city in this guide on what to do in Mdina. Contrary to what most visitors do, we’re sure you’re now inspired to spend at least one full day in Malta’s old capital.

WORDS: Guest author IMAGES: Katerina EDITING: Maria

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11 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Mdina

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Dec 26, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Entirely surrounded by ancient ramparts, Mdina is a magical place, where the modern age seems far away. This medieval walled city has a special enchantment, found in the enclosed labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets. Wandering the atmospheric pedestrian lanes, visitors discover shaded squares, exquisite chapels, and magnificent palaces (many of which are now museums) hidden behind large wooden doorways.

Mdina (also known as Città Vecchia ) is among the top attractions on the Island of Malta, as well as one of the most popular day-trip destinations from Valletta , but by evening, the town lives up to its reputation as the "Silent City." After the crowds of tourists leave, overnight travelers experience the dreamy old-world ambience and tranquility.

Mdina overlooks a pastoral landscape of rolling hills, and borders Rabat outside its western ramparts. In contrast to the more touristy Mdina, Rabat is a real working city with several interesting historical attractions, all within walking distance from Mdina.

Learn about the best places to visit and things to do in this captivating city with our list of the top attractions in Mdina.

See also: Where to Stay in Mdina

1. Mdina Citadel: Ancient Ramparts and Bastions

2. cathedral of saint paul, 3. palazzo falson historic house museum, 4. carmelite priory, 5. mdina cathedral museum, 6. historical buildings and viewpoint on bastion square, 7. palazzo vilhena: national museum of natural history, 8. mdina dungeons, 9. palazzo de piro: tools, trades & traditions museum, 10. charming chapels, 11. the xara palace: five-star boutique hotel, where to stay in mdina for sightseeing, nearby attractions in neighboring rabat, parish church and grotto of saint paul, casa bernard: a 16th-century aristocratic mansion, domvs romana museum, saint paul's catacombs, wignacourt museum, map of attractions & things to do in mdina.

Mdina Citadel

As a typical walled city, Mdina's immense ancient ramparts give the town a fairy-tale charm. Enclosing a little warren of narrow lanes and stately old buildings, the town's fortifications date back to the medieval period when the city was ruled by the Arabs and Normans.

The most obvious influence of the Arab occupation is Mdina's labyrinthine street plan. The winding streets and pedestrian alleyways are characteristic of Islamic urban design in the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) during the Middle Ages.

The town's Baroque Main Gate (Vilhena Gate) was built in 1724. The escutcheon bears a coat of arms, while statues of growling lions stand proudly in the front of the gate. Once visitors enter this doorway by foot, they leave the 21st century behind. Only residents' cars are allowed inside.

Main gate at the Mdina Citadel

Within Mdina's ramparts, it feels like an escape to a bygone world. Graceful squares and quiet streets are lined with stately aristocratic palaces and ornate Baroque churches. Street signs are scripted on porcelain plaques.

The bastions of the ramparts, including the Saint John's Bastion and Saint Martin's Bastion , provide excellent viewpoints of the idyllic countryside surrounding Mdina. But the atmosphere within the ramparts is even more enchanting.

To discover the well-preserved historic city within Mdina's ramparts, it's recommended to take a guided walking tour. On the two-hour Mdina Private Walking Tour , participants stroll through Mdina's winding streets to the city's must-see landmarks, while learning the historical context. Another option is the small-group tour of Mdina and Rabat that covers the tourist highlights.

Cathedral of Saint Paul

This splendid Baroque cathedral was designed by Lorenzo Gafà with a handsome facade featuring Corinthian columns. The bright and spacious interior has an inspiring dome that allows light to flood into the sanctuary. The cathedral's opulent decor features marble inlay floors, gilded detailing, pink marble columns, and breathtaking ceiling paintings.

Precious artworks are displayed throughout the cathedral's various chapels. The most prized possession is the 14th-century Byzantine icon of the Madonna in the Chapel of the Sacrament, surrounded by a bejeweled frame in front of a dazzling altarpiece.

The cathedral boasts several renowned Mattia Preti paintings including the Conversion of Saint Paul on the Way to Damascus behind the altar, a piece that depicts Saint Paul on a White Horse in a side chapel, and the dramatic Saint Paul's Shipwreck painting above the altarpiece.

Other artistic highlights are the Domenico Bruschi painting of Mary and the Angels , which illustrates a serene image of divinity, and the wooden Crucifix sculpture by Fra Innocenzo da Petralia Soprana. The pillars in the Presbytery feature impressive mosaic medallions by Luigi Moglia of Rome.

Address: 2 Triq San Pawl, Mdina

Official site: https://www.metropolitanchapter.com/mdina-metropolitan-cathedral/

Palazzo Falson: Museum of Fine Art and Antiquities

The second oldest building in Mdina, this magnificent 13th-century palazzo exemplifies Sicilian-Norman style. During the Middle Ages, the palace was home to Maltese nobles. Unusual among historic palaces, the Palazzo Falson displays the original decor of Oriental rugs, antique furniture, and fine paintings.

The palace has been converted into a museum of fine arts and antiquities. Each of the rooms on display is a treasure trove of art works. The library contains more than 4,500 books, and the kitchen displays the old cooking equipment.

Highlights of the palace's art collection include 17th-century paintings by Sir Anthony Van Dyck; Nicolas Poussin; Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; and Mattia Preti , the most famous painter of Malta.

There is also an impressive assortment of jewelry, hand-painted Brisé fans, and antiquities such as ancient Roman coins. One of the most prized possessions of the Palazzo Falson is the Alof de Wignacourt Medal dating to 1607, a rare medal depicting the Grand Master.

The museum offers refreshments, savory snacks, and Maltese desserts at the Gustav Café on its sunny rooftop terrace, a hidden oasis of relaxation. One of the highest vantage points in Mdina, the terrace affords panoramic outlooks of Mdina's cathedral and cityscape, as well as the surrounding countryside all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

Address: Triq IL Villegaignon, Mdina

Official site: http://www.palazzofalson.com/

Carmelite Priory

Hidden behind an elegant Baroque facade is the spiritual retreat of the Carmelite Priory, one of the most important religious buildings in Mdina. The beautifully renovated 17th-century Carmelite Priory is still a functioning monastery run by the Order of the Brothers of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and is the only priory in Malta open to the public.

The priory features a refectory, where monks take their communal meals, and a typical monastic cloister centered around a tranquil courtyard.

A highlight of the priory, the Carmelite Church is considered one of the most important Maltese Baroque churches. Visitors can admire the church's exquisite frescoes in the dome, as well as exceptional paintings by renowned artists including Giuseppe Calì and Mattia Preti.

Visitors may participate in the priory's daily prayers, Mass, and meditation services or take a guided tour. Mass is held daily and several times on Sundays.

In the monastic tradition of hospitality, the Priory has a restaurant (Al Convento) in its parlor, a lovely space with original painted ceilings. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner; the menu focuses on regional Maltese dishes and other Mediterranean cuisine.

To further share its spiritual and cultural heritage, the Carmelite Priory hosts events throughout the year, such as classical music concerts, theater performances, lectures, meditation classes, and retreats, throughout the year.

Official site: http://www.carmelitepriory.org

Cathedral Museum

A ticket to the Cathedral of Saint Paul includes entrance to the neighboring Mdina Cathedral Museum, located on the same square. Housed in a beautiful Baroque building (formerly the seminary), the museum displays ecclesiastical objects of sacred art from the cathedral, as well as Roman antiquities.

The museum features many masterpieces of European painting. Also noteworthy are the engravings by Albrecht Durer.

The museum is also used as a venue for Historic Piano Concerts , a series of classical piano concerts performed on a historic piano. The concerts take place within the art galleries and are followed by festive social receptions in the museum's halls.

Address: Triq San Pawl, Mdina

Official site: https://www.metropolitanchapter.com/mdina-cathedral-museum/

View from the Ramparts, Bastion Square

This graceful Bastion Square stands at the edge of Mdina's Citadel walls with a bastion overlooking the landscape around the city. Encircling the spacious square are grandiose buildings constructed from golden sandstone, with vibrantly painted shutters and grand doors featuring bronze knockers.

At the edge of the ramparts is a wonderful viewpoint; this spot is one of the best places to visit in Mdina to admire Malta's idyllic scenery of farmlands and rolling hills. It's possible to see all the way to the Mosta Dome and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

Near Bastion Square on Villegaignon Street is the Palazzo Santa Sofia. This is considered one of the oldest palaces in Malta and is Mdina's best preserved medieval building. The date on the plaque of this manor says the structure dates from 1233. The upper floor was added in 1938.

Natural History Museum in the Palazzo Vilhena

Mdina's National Museum of Natural History is housed within the former Magisterial Palace of Justice , an impressive 18th-century building. The palace was designed in Parisian Baroque style for the Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena.

The museum has extensive collections of geology and paleontology, as well as an interesting ornithology collection. A highlight is the Birds Display that features exhibits about the natural habitats of Maltese birds, fish, and mammals. Special sections are dedicated to Malta's national bird, the blue rock thrush (Il-Merill) and national plant (Widnet il-Bahar).

The museum is also worth visiting just to see the gorgeous interior of the Palazzo Vilhena.

Address: Saint Publius Square, Mdina

Mdina Dungeons

Next to Mdina's Main Gate , beneath the Vilhena Palace, this museum illustrates the history of prison life in Mdina. The attraction features underground passageways that lead to chambers and cells once occupied by prisoners.

Scenes have been recreated that show the brutality of medieval-era Maltese prisons. During the Middle Ages, instruments of torture were commonly used in prisons. This museum shows the darker side of Malta's past while explaining the historical context.

View from the Palazzo de Piro Café

Standing beside Mdina's ancient bastion walls, the Palazzo de Piro is a 17th-century palace that has been superbly restored. The palace provides gallery space for the Museum of Tools, Trades, and Traditions , a unique collection that appeals to a niche audience.

The wide range of objects on display includes traditional lace-making tools, woodworking equipment, and even an antique waffle iron. The Palazzo de Piro also houses the Cathedral Museum Extension with a collection of liturgical clothing, tapestries, and paintings.

Visitors will enjoy taking a break at the Xpresso Café and Bistro on the ground floor and in the courtyard of the building. From the café's relaxing courtyard terrace, there are spectacular views of the bucolic Maltese landscape.

During summertime, the courtyard is used as a venue for temporary art exhibits, as well as cultural events such as classical music concerts. Attending a performance in this scenic venue is one of the most memorable things to do while visiting Mdina.

Address: 3 Triq is-Sur, Mdina

Chapel of Saint Agatha

Many of the quiet side streets of Mdina lead to hidden chapels with noteworthy architecture and works of art. The Chapel of Saint Nicholas (Triq Inguanez) is in one of the oldest and most tranquil quarters of Mdina, where many of the 16th- and 17th-century buildings have survived. The majestic little chapel was built in 1550 and remodeled in 1698.

Also on Triq Inguanez, just a few paces away (cross street Triq Villegaignon), the Chapel of Saint Agatha is a tiny place of worship featuring a decorative altar with a painting of Saint Agatha in a gilded frame. The Chapel of Saint Agatha was founded in 1410 and was reconstructed by Lorenzo Gafà in 1693 after an earthquake destroyed the original building. The chapel served as a shelter for refugees during the Second World War.

Xara Palace: Five-Star Boutique Hotel

On a quiet square in the heart of Mdina, The Xara Palace is a luxurious five-star hotel. Part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux association, the hotel occupies a 17th-century palazzo (previously a local nobleman's residence), adorned with antique tapestries and period furnishings. Guest rooms feature fine bed linens and down comforters.

Xara Palace hotel has several restaurants: the Michelin-starred de Mondion Restaurant offers an indulgent fine-dining experience, while more casual options are the garden-courtyard Medina Restaurant and the Trattoria AD 1530 with shaded tables on the piazza for al fresco dining.

Address: Misrah il-Kunsill, Mdina

We recommend these deluxe hotels in and near the medieval walled city of Mdina and its many historical attractions:

  • The Xara Palace : 5-star Relais & Châteaux hotel in a 17th-century palace, guest rooms with antique furniture and sumptuous bed linens, two fine-dining restaurants plus a casual trattoria.
  • Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa : upscale resort hotel in the town of San Anton (five kilometers from Mdina); quiet location near the San Anton Botanical Gardens; superb amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and spa with a Jacuzzi and sauna. The hotel has two restaurants, including a fancy establishment that serves breakfast, brunch, and afternoon tea.

Parish Church and Grotto of Saint Paul

The Parish Church of Rabat is dedicated to Saint Paul, the father of Christianity in Malta. The church was built next to the site of the grotto where it is believed that Saint Paul found shelter after his shipwreck on the coast of Malta in AD 60. This 17th-century Baroque church has an ornately gilded sanctuary with a monumental dome and a grand Latin-cross plan.

The church's most prized artwork is The Shipwreck of Saint Paul painting by Stefano Erardi. This famous painting depicts Saint Paul shaking off a viper in front of the barbarians and the Romans as his ship is pounded by the stormy seas.

After visiting the Parish Church, tourists may descend an adjacent flight of stairs to the Grotto of Saint Paul. In this grotto is a small underground shrine dedicated to the saint. The Statue of Saint Paul in front of the church was donated by Grand Master Pinto in 1748.

Address: Misrah il-Parrocca, Rabat

This grand 16th-century palazzo once belonged to a noble Maltese family of French origins. Behind the simple facade is a lavish aristocratic mansion, which is still a private home. The palace was the residence of Dr. Salvatore Bernard, who was the personal physician of the Grand Master of Malta. The mansion has been renovated and restored to its original splendor.

A visit to the Casa Bernard offers an insight into the life of the Maltese nobility. The Casa Bernard is open to the public for guided tours , Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm (tours are available every hour).

Visitors can admire the lovely rooms featuring antique furniture, masterpieces of paintings, and noteworthy objects of art. Highlights are the barrel-vaulted entrance hallway, the exquisitely decorated drawing rooms, and the peaceful garden courtyard.

Address: 46 Saint Paul's Street, Rabat

Roman Villa Archaeological Site (Domus Romana)

The Domvs Romana is a museum that stands on the site of an ancient Roman townhouse, and reveals well-preserved elements of the house within its galleries. As the house belonged to a wealthy Roman nobleman, the architectural artifacts are quite elaborate.

This important archaeological site features astounding mosaic floors (dating to the 1st-century BC) that adorned the various rooms. These mosaics are some of the oldest and finest examples in the western Mediterranean outside of Rome and reveal incredible craftsmanship by highly skilled artists.

The Domus Romana also includes a rare set of marble statues portraying the Emperor Claudius and his family, the only examples seen in a private house in the Roman Empire. Also on display are household objects that give visitors a glimpse of the everyday life of a Roman aristocrat.

Address: Museum Esplanade, Rabat

Saint Paul's Catacombs

Saint Paul's Catacombs are a complex of Roman-era cemeteries that were in use up to the 4th century AD. The catacombs are on the outskirts of the old Roman capital city of Melite (present-day Mdina). Since ancient Roman law prohibited burials within the city, Saint Paul's Catacombs became the most important early Christian burial site.

These catacombs represent the earliest and largest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta. The complex encompasses interconnected passages and tombs covering an area of more than 2,000 square meters.

This site was named after Saint Paul because it was associated with the Grotto of Saint Paul , which also once served as a Christian hypogeum (catacombs) during the Punic and Roman era.

Address: Saint Agatha Street, Rabat

The Wignacourt Museum is next to the Parish Church of Saint Paul, housed in the Baroque Collegiate Hall of the Chaplains of the Knights of Malta.

The museum's outstanding collection includes fine art, as well as ancient Roman artifacts discovered at nearby sites. The main floor displays important paintings with works by Mattia Preti and other Maltese painters, as well as European artists.

The museum also displays old relics and reliquaries, and a unique wooden altar used for the celebration of Mass by the Order of the Knights of Malta.

Among the assortment of maps, coins, prints, and rare books is the manuscript of King Henry VIII's Septem Sacraments written to counter Martin Luther's arguments.

Address: Parish Square, College Street, Rabat

Official site: http://www.wignacourtmuseum.com/

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Other Attractions on the Island of Malta : Along with Mdina, the other must-see historic town on Malta is Valetta . This elegant capital city created by the Knights of Malta is full of stunning Baroque churches and fabulous museums. In the surroundings of Valletta are wonderful tourist attractions, such as picturesque waterfront villages and traditional country towns. The Island of Malta also has a gorgeous coastline and amazing UNESCO-listed prehistoric megalithic temples.

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Malta Travel Guide

The 31 Best Things to Do in Mdina

No agenda, no maps, no plans. Get lost in Mdina’s ancient bastions & narrow streets and peek through its noble past.

The Silent City stands isolated on a hill in the heart of Malta. An extraordinary mix of medieval and Baroque architecture with century-old buildings and uncountable stories to tell.

In this detailed city guide you will find 31 reasons to visit Mdina ; the best things to do, the must-see attractions and the top sights of Città Notabile.

a house facade in mdina with pink windows

But why Mdina is called the Silent City? After the Great Siege of Malta, Grand Master Pierre de Monte moved Malta’s capital from Mdina to Valletta. Once Mdina lost its capital status, it became a ghost town and that’s when the silent city nickname was born. Nowadays, there is an ongoing effort to maintain silence within the city.

How can I get to Mdina?

By bus : the cheapest way to reach Mdina. Buses 51, 52, or 53 to Rabat (Ir-Rabat bus stop) run every 10 minutes with the ride taking around 30 minutes, depending on the traffic. The bus ticket to Mdina costs 2.60€. As no vehicles are allowed into Mdina, you should get off at Rabat, just 500 metres away. Make sure to check Valletta to Mdina bus timetable here .

By taxi : the official taxis are white, with their number shown on the side. You can only get in a taxi in designated places e.g. taxi stands. You can also try booking a ride with a private company, such as eCabs or Bolt. The cost should be around 30€ to 40€, one way.

By car : the fastest option, as the distance from Valletta to Mdina is only 13 km. The only problem is securing parking during busier days. Here are some free spots. The first one is outside Mdina, next to a playground , the second one is next to Domus Romana and the third parking spot is 500 metres away from Mdina Gate, here .

#1 The Mdina Gate – Seen in The Game of Thrones

Mdina’s baroque-style main gate, built in 1724, during the magistracy of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena, is the first attraction you’ll see.

Walk among the statues of growling lions and take a peek at the gate’s escutcheon bearing the Vilhena coat of arms. Leave the 21 st century behind and enter.

The original King’s Landing The town’s elegant gate can be seen in the first season (episode 3) of Game of Thrones.

the baroque gate of mdina under a blue sky, a got location

#2 The Grand Mdina Cathedral & Museum

The majestic Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul was designed by the world-famous Maltese architect, Lorenzo Gafà.

The magnificent dome, the breathtaking paintings and the grand Corinthian columns on the façade made Saint Paul’s Cathedral a 17 th -century architectural masterpiece . And definitely one of the best things to see in Mdina.

aerial view of the grand mdina cathedral

It was here in 60 A.D. that Apostle Paul found shelter after shipwrecking on the Maltese Archipelago.

On the other side of St Paul’s Square, you can access Mdina Cathedral Museum using the same ticket. Its collections include ecclesiastical objects of sacred art , Roman antiquities and many masterpieces of European painters.

the interior and roof of Saint Paul's Cathedral Interior at Mdina

Which clock will you trust? A weird tale surrounds Mdina’s Cathedral. The clock on the left side always shows the wrong time, to confuse the devil. However, the one on the right is always correct and chimes every 15 minutes.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 9.30 – 16:45

Admission: 10 EUR

You may find more info and book your ticket online on the official website .

front view of Mdina's metropolitan cathedral under blue sky

#3 Palazzo Falson Museum – Fine Art & Antiquities

This magnificent 13 th –century palazzo is the second oldest building in Mdina . An extensive restoration in 2007, turned the house into a state-of-the-art Museum.

Learn why Palazzo Falson is definitely worth a visit!

The formal and luxurious sitting room at Palazzo Falson, Mdina

During the Middle Ages, the palace was owned by Maltese nobles with the last one being Olof Frederick Gollcher . A keen collector and a frequent traveller he restored the Palazzo and turned it into an extraordinary treasure trove.

Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum exhibits his collections; oriental rugs, fine paintings, archaeological artifacts, antique furniture, jewellery, weapons and a library with more than 4,500 volumes.

Paintings and a Maltese clock in the landing of Palazzo Falson

The museum’s rooftop café provides stunning panoramas, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

If you are looking for an interesting cultural activity in Mdina , then a visit to Palazzo Falson is recommended.

Palace’s high guests of honour Rumour has it that the palazzo has received Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, a prominent member of the Knights Hospitaller at Rhodes and later the first Grand Master of Malta.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00 – 17:00

the courtyard of palazzo palson with the external staircase

#4 Mdina Ditch Gardens – a peaceful stroll

Mdina gardens, officially named Howard Gardens , form a natural border between Silent City and the neighbouring Rabat. The ditch had 273 citrus and 7 olive trees but they were all replaced by lawn and stone paving.

Today, the gardens are a popular attraction, providing a quiet spot and beautiful views over the fortified city. What is more, they are regularly being used for food fairs, concerts and festivals, so make sure to ask in the tourist office.

How to find it You may enter the ditch via stairs at the southwest corner of the fortifications. If you keep walking you will eventually get outside of Mdina and be rewarded with beautiful views.

howard gardens at mdina ditch

#5 Palazzo Vilhena – the Magisterial Palace

Vilhena Palace, named after Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, is a Parisian baroque-style palazzo , restructured between 1726 and 1728.

Above its main entrance, a bronze bust of Vilhena proudly stands while the Grand Master’s coat-of-arms are sculptured both on the main door and inside the portico.

the coat-of-arms of Vilhena the Grand Master of Mdina

Over the palace’s side façade there’s a statue representing Justice . The fact that this one is not blindfolded signals that justice is all-seeing and all-knowing. As a former law court, the Vilhena Palace houses several cells.

A sanctuary for those in need Palazzo Vilhena served as a temporary hospital during the Maltese cholera outbreak in 1837, as a sanatorium for British troops in 1860 and also, as a hospital for patients suffering from tuberculosis in the early 20 th century.

Vilhena Palace at Pjazza San Publiju in Mdina, Malta

#6 Palazzo de Piro – a centre for arts & culture

Palazzo de Piro dates back to the 16 th century, built by a famous Maltese engineer of the Order of St. John. Originally consisting of three large halls, it was turned into a cultural & exhibitions centre after extensive restoration works.

The palace houses “ The Museum of Tools, Trades & Traditions ”. A private collection of 2.000 objects and tools related to ancient trades, historical patrimonial artefacts collected by Maltese parishes, painted panels from the Spanish Romanesque period, liturgical clothing, paintings from local & foreign artists and a series of wooden contemporary sculptures.

As of 2022, the museum is temporarily closed.

palazzo de piro at mdina at night

#7 Mdina streets – each one has a story to tell

Narrow and winding, the cobbled streets of Mdina witnessed numerous wars and battles.

The medieval city has many tales to unfold; historical gossip, stories of sacrifice, joy, love and even some with an eerie and mysterious twist. Large squares with flowers, tall bastions, baroque buildings and impressive palaces come out surprisingly in every corner.

a narrow street in mdina under blue sky

Roam through Mdina’s quaint streets, once trod by nobles and knights, and listen to the Silent City . Getting lost in that maze is definitely one of the best things to do in the old capital (if not the best).

Mdina’s streets are extremely narrow so they can stay in the shadow for the whole day. For a country that hot, this architectural system was much appreciated. What is more, having maze-like streets confused the enemy in case of an invasion and allowed the defenders to create ambushes at every corner. Quite resourceful, if you’d ask me!

sand stone lion statue at mdina

#8 Mdina at night – enigmatic & mystifying

If you think Mdina is wonderful during daytime, then you should take a stroll after the sun sets. It is then that the Silent City fully lives up to its name.

Wandering through the lamplit desert streets of the ancient town is a great way to appreciate its eerie silence.

At night, the whole town radiates a medieval charm and you half expect a knight to show up on a dimly lit corner.

Interested in ghost stories? If you bump into a woman standing silently at the end of a dark street urging you to follow her, then I would advise against it. She will simply vanish into a wall, giving you a nice spook. Another Mdina’s popular ghost story is that of a woman killing a knight and then sentenced to death. Before being beheaded, however, they allowed her to get married. What this lady is doing as a hobby nowadays is to pop up in the background of your photos, posing as a headless bride. Well, you better check those selfies again!

a dark alley at mdina in the late afternoon

#9 The Carmelite Priory – a mix of sobriety & architecture

This hidden gem is still functioning as a monastery run by the religious Order of Carmelites. You can participate in the priory’s daily prayers or meditation sessions and experience the spiritual lifestyle of Carmelite friars.

A highlight of the monastery is the Carmelite Church , one of the most important Maltese baroque churches , built between 1660 and 1675.

Visits to the church are always guided by a resident friar. It’s a great way to admire the church’s delicate frescoes and its exceptional paintings while also getting some useful information.

skull decorations of carmelite church at mdina

Mdina’s Carmelite Priory has many other rooms open to the public ; a refectory, where the monks take their communal meals, a sober oratory, an authentic kitchen and a restaurant (Al Convento) serving regional Maltese dishes.

Even though Carmelite Priory is not heavily advertised, a visit there is an interesting thing to do while in Mdina.

Did you know? A typical friar’s cell is open to the public. It includes only the necessary furniture and simple objects required by the friar to live a life of prayer & solitude. Next to the cell is a bier used for delivering the bodies of the deceased friars to the crypt for burial.

Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 – 16:00, pre-booking is required for tours

More info: http://www.carmelitepriory.org

the statue at carmelite priory at mdina

#10 Natural History Museum – Maltese flora & fauna

Mdina’s National Museum of Natural History is housed within the former Magisterial Palace of Justice, known as Palazzo Vilhena. It covers topics like the origins of Malta’s landscape , human evolution, exotic animals, insects and local marine species.

There is a special section dedicated to Malta’s national bird (the blue rock thrush) and a huge collection of almost 850 pieces of rocks, minerals and worked pieces of art.

A rather weird collection The Natural History Museum of Mdina exhibits some unusual geology and palaeontology displays; an 18cm tooth belonging to the ancient 25-metre Carcharodon Megalodon , a skeletal anatomy room featuring the delicate bones of a snake and the largest squid captured in the Maltese archipelago.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 09.00 – 16:30

Admission: 5 EUR

I would advise visiting the museum if you have some spare time. For more info, you may visit the official website .

front view of mdina's natural history museum

#11 Bastion Square – the best views over Malta

There is a certain place, called Bastion Square (Pjazza Tas-Sur), offering magnificent panoramic views over the Maltese countryside . The little square with the military name has some affordable places to relax and grab something to eat while enjoying the best views over Mdina’s bastions.

A secret viewpoint There is an exposed parapet in the square which allows you to walk on a section of the bastion. From there, you can have some amazing views of the surrounding villages; the impressive Mosta Dome (Mosta Rotunda), the small town of Mtarfa and even Sliema and Valletta to the west. Get that camera of yours prepared for some amazing shots!

aerial view of mdina in malta

#12 The Greeks Gate – two architectural styles in one

The second entrance to Mdina, the Greeks Gate, is less ornate than the main gate and was built in the medieval era. However, in 1724, Charles François de Mondion, added an outer structure, in… baroque style.

So the gate consists of two vaulted gateways . The inner medieval and the outer baroque. Once you enter through the gate you will find yourself in a small square called Piazza dei Greci , which connects to a number of roads leading to different parts of Mdina.

Did you know? The gate got its name from a small community of Greeks living close to the gate. This was also the only entrance into Mdina the slaves were allowed to use.

the inner greeks gate at mdina

#13 The blue door – Mdina’s most Instagrammed spot

Almost every house in Mdina has its own door design with a unique door knocker, called il-Habbata, in Maltese.

You surely have bumped upon that bright blue door surrounded by vivid purple flowers while searching photos of Mdina on Pinterest or Instagram.

Obsessed with doors? View our photo gallery with doors from all around the world !

You need to walk to the back of the city; the blue door is located on the same alleyway as Coogi’s Restaurant & Tea Garden.

the blue door of mdina with the purple flowers

#14 Palazzo Santa Sofia – the oldest building of Mdina

Next to the Bastion Square, on Triq IL Villegaignon, is Palazzo Santa Sofia.

What’s so special about it?

Well, the ground floor of this house is the oldest building in Mdina . The oldest part of the exterior contains a square-headed window surrounded by a moulding carrying the date 1233. However, it was not until 1938 that the second floor was added.

Can you visit the palazzo? Palazzo Santa Sofia is privately owned and not open to the public. However, the ground floor and the courtyard of the palace can be hired for dinner, cocktail parties or other events.

the exterior of palazzo santa sofia the oldest building of mdina

#15 The Knights of Malta Experience – see, smell & hear the past

A visit to Casa Magazzini, built by the knights to store ammunition, offers a detailed history of the Knights Hospitaller , known as Order of Saint John .

Through a combination of written information, wax figures and audio effects, you will learn about the Order’s origins, their arrival in Malta, their period of rule and their departure from the island in 1798.

Interested in joining the order? Nowadays, the order is still active, concentrating on its original mission, which is the provision of humanitarian aid. More or less, the institution counts 13.000 members, 80.000 volunteers and 25.000 paid employees, globally.

Opening times: daily, 10.00 – 17:00

Admission: 14.50 EUR, combined ticket for all 3 experiences

More info:  https://theknightsofmalta.com/

view of a beige mdina building

#16 Take a Karozzin ride

The karozzin is a horse-drawn carriage, a Maltese traditional mode of transport dating back to the 19 th century. It is the only «vehicle» allowed inside the Silent City so a ride with it is an excellent option to enjoy Mdina’s architecture.

Nevertheless, the best way to explore Mdina is on foot, if you have the opportunity and the time.

How much does it cost? The prices range from 20€ to 35€, however, you can get a better deal if you haggle.

karozzin horse carriage ride in mdina

#17 Mesquita Square – a picturesque GOT location

Charming and quiet, this little square is one of the best places inside the old city of Mdina to escape the crowds . It is a great place to sit back, grab something to drink and relax.

Mesquita Square is also the shooting location of Littlefinger’s brothel in King’s Landing , featured in the Game of Thrones TV series.

Interested in more movie locations?

The name of the square originates from a Portuguese knight who commanded the city during a Turkish siege.

mesquita square in mdina a game of thrones location

#18 Mdina Dungeons Museum – the dark side of Maltese history

What could someone expect from a museum like this?

Underground cells once occupied by prisoners, brutal interrogation techniques, hideous instruments of torture and detailed information about the darker side of Malta’s medieval past .

Scenes recreated in great detail, creepy sounds, screams and grotesque figures recounting the stories of how everyone in power tortured those that dared oppose them.

Where are the Mdina Dungeons located? Beneath the medieval Vilhena Palace, at the first turning on the right after entering Mdina through the Main Gate.

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10.00 – 16:00 | Saturday to Sunday, 09:30 – 16:30

wax figures representing torturing in medieval mdina

#19 The Chapel of St Agatha – a tale of injustice & martyrdom

St. Agatha’s Chapel (Kappella ta’ Sant’ Agata) is a small Roman Catholic church, built in 1410. This tiny place of worship features a decorative altar with a painting of St. Agatha. It is believed that the saint prayed here.

It’s the first chapel you meet after Mdina’s main gate.

Did you know? St Agatha is one of the three patron saints of Malta, with the other ones being St. Paul and St. Publius. Her statue stands prominently at Mdina’s Main Gate.

More info about the history of St. Agatha and the Chapel can be found here .

external view of the chapel of saint agatha

#20 Nunnery of St Benedict – a medieval hospital for women

The Benedictine nuns arrived in Malta in the early 15 th century.

The nunnery operated as a medieval hospital for women ; nowadays, around 20 nuns live in isolation devoting their life to prayer.

A bond for eternity The nuns are not allowed to leave the building, not even after they have died. Each one is buried in the crypt and the only men allowed to enter are the decorator and the doctor.

the emblem of the nunnery of saint benedict monastery and nuns

#21 St Nicholas Chapel – a hidden gem

One of the oldest and best-hidden quarters of Mdina is the Chapel of Saint Nicholas, a Roman Catholic Church, constructed in 1434.

This small chapel, in the form of a Greek cross crowned by a central dome, is no longer used for religious purposes and sits in disrepair.

An abandoned treasury The building is used as a storeroom for numerous artifacts and furnishings from the Grand Mdina Cathedral, with the most notable one being the Cappella Ardente, a wooden gothic structure that was put up when a notable person died.

the church of saint nicholas at mdina

#22 The Mdina Experience – a glimpse of Mdina’s history

Another top tourist attraction in the Silent City, the Mdina Experience, is a 25-minute movie revealing the several mysteries that surround Mdina .

It is a great opportunity to get more information about the city’s history from the comfort of your seat; St Paul, the earthquake, the Knights of Malta and the battles that took place on the island.

You can also grab a bite at the Medieval Tavern built in Gothic style dating back to the 14th century.

From the prehistoric Bronze Age… The city was founded in the 8 th century BC by the Phoenicians and was called Maleth . With the Roman Republic taking over the city in 218 BC, the city was renamed Melite . Around a millennia after, in 1048, Malta was resettled by a Muslim community who built a settlement called Medina , on the same site as Melite.

Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 10.00 – 17:00

Admission: 6 EUR

Visit the official website for tickets and more info.

a narrow street in mdina

#23 Mdina Glass – the ancient art of glassblowing

The furnaces of Mdina Glass were first fired up back in 1968. Skilled glassmakers turned raw materials into molten glass using traditional glassblowing techniques .

Don’t lose the opportunity to visit Mdina Glass and discover a great variety of colourful glassware – small vases, bowls, perfume bottles, candleholders, figurines and lamps. Those traditional handicrafts are the perfect Mdina souvenir to get back home.

You also need to visit… It’s worth watching the craftspeople work as they craft various objects from molten glass. For this experience, you need to visit Ta’ Qali Crafts Village, just 2 km away.

Visit the official eshop for more info.

street at malta decorated with mdina glass items

#24 Torre dello Standardo – a medieval communication «device»

The Tower of the Standard was built by the Order of St. John in 1726 with the sole purpose of relaying signals from the Silent City to the rest of the island.

A fire would be ignited to warn the Maltese in case of an invasion and cannon shots were fired every evening before Mdina closed its gates. Well, that would be an interesting act to see!

Did you know? In the early 19 th century the Tower of the Standard housed the porter and servants of the nearby sanatorium. In 1888 it was turned into a telegraph office and later on, it became a police station until 2002. Torre dello Standardo is now used as a tourist information centre.

torre dello standardo in mdina malta

#25 Banca Giuratale – the majestic baroque palace

Built in baroque style, with imposing limestone walls and heavily decorated façade, the Banca Giuratale was erected between 1726 and 1728 to house the city’s administrative council and courts, the Università .

A glorious monument Banca Giuratale was the meeting place of the National Assembly during the Maltese uprising against the two-year French occupation of Malta after the Order of Saint John surrendered to Napoleon Bonaparte.

banca giuratale in mdina malta

#26 Palazzo Costanzo – a residence of the noble Sicilians

The palace on Villegaignon Street, with its symmetrical façade and rectangular doorway, was built in 1666 by the Costanzo family.

The two-storey building with the underground cellars was formerly a residence but today it serves as a restaurant, café and gift shop .

Grapevine-covered walls, multi-coloured lights, the sound of running water – is there a better place to enjoy a pizza?

Bookings and menu are available here .

the entrance of palazzo costanzo in mdina malta

Full of secrets … As time went by, Palazzo Costanzo was fortified and has been the refuge of many distinguished figures. Rumour has it, that the secret revolutionary society of Carbonari remained hidden in the secret vaulted chambers below the palace.

#27 Corte Capitanale – Mdina’s old Court of Justice

The Corte Capitanale was built along with the rest of Vilhena Palace, between 1726 and 1728. Like most of the buildings of that period, it was designed in baroque style by a French architect and a member of the Order of Saint John.

Corte Capitanale served mainly as a courthouse until 1813. The prominent statues of Justice and Mercy can be still seen standing proudly on the balcony.

Today Corte Capitanale is Mdina’s City Hall and the seat of the local council .

Justice will (not) be served During the French occupation, the Maltese insurgents accused a local doctor of treason, spying for the French. Even if he was not found guilty by the court, the Maltese still asked the judge to sentence him to death. After the judge turned their new demand down the doctor was (mysteriously) assassinated as soon as he exited the building.

view of Corte Capitanale, Mdina’s City Hall

#28 Fontanella Tea Garden – delicious cakes & magical view

Fontanella, one of the most popular cafés in Mdina, is known for its generous slices of homemade cakes (including but not limited to walnut, apricot, chocolate, apple & carrot) and its sweeping views over Malta , stretching all the way to the sea.

After a full day of exploring the old city, grab a table on the bastion walls and relax. Fontanella Tea Garden also serves light meals such as sandwiches, pastizzi, pizzas, baguettes and has an intimate wine bar decorated with fairy lights to illuminate the garden and the tables at night.

Ever tried Maltese ftira? Fontanella Tea Garden is the best place to taste the traditional Maltese ftira, a ring-shaped bread with loaf usually filled with capers, sardines, olives, tuna, onion, potato, or fresh tomato. Maltese state that the making of ftira dates back to the 16 th century.

fontanella tea garden rooftop with view

#29 St. Roque’s Chapel – Our Lady of Light

The quaint little Chapel of St. Roque (Kappella ta’ San Rokku) is always shadowed by the other churches in Mdina. However, what St. Roch’s Church lacks in its exterior it makes up with a beautifully decorated interior .

The baroque temple with the oval dome and the Ionian pilasters was built in 1732 as part of Mdina’s urban re-planning.

The name “ Our Lady of Light ” comes from a painting located in the church, depicting the Virgin of Light. It is located on Triq il-Villegaignon, just past St Paul’s Cathedral. It no longer performs liturgical services but is open to the public during daytime.

Did you know? The locals still call the chapel by its original name, Santa Maria della Porta, since it was rebuilt on a site of an older church, under the dedication of the Holy Cross, existing since 1393.

saint roques chapel in mdina

#30 Mdina’s Neo-Gothic House is an architectural oddity

As you probably understood by now, Mdina’s buildings are a fine example of baroque architecture.

However, a residential house, designed by Andrea Vassallo, stands out among the rest, representing a rare example of neo-Gothic architecture in the Silent City. The house can be found in Mdina’s main square showcasing its distinct Gothic Revival architectural roots.

Can you spot it?

mdina's only gothic building

#31 Things to do around Mdina and Rabat

Rabat, less known than its famous neighbour, adjoins the ancient capital of Mdina.

A famous movie location Parts of the movies Black Eagle and Munich were filmed in Rabat.

Nevertheless, there are numerous things to do in Rabat; the Catacombs of St. Paul and St. Agatha where Romans used to bury their dead, Domus Romana (an ancient Roman Empire Villa) and Wignacourt Museum are some of them.

Further Reading : More things to do in Mdina!

lion door knocker on red door in mdina malta

Is Mdina worth visiting?

Mdina, surrounded by its glorious walls, is the pivot of Malta’s 7.000 years old history and a highlight of any visit to the island .

The soft colour of the sandstone walls, the tiny hidden restaurants and the cobbled streets lined with well-preserved noble houses, baroque palazzi & cathedrals give the city a timeless atmosphere.

The fortified city of Mdina invites you to step inside its sandstone maze and discover all its century-old secrets.

Discover more things to do in Malta!

mdina streets with colourful windows and churches

Frequently asked questions about Mdina

There are several transport options to get to Mdina – public transport, taxi or self-drive. Find more information here .

Grab the bus line 202, it takes 45 to 60 minutes to reach Mdina. Find other transport options from Valletta to Mdina here .

There aren’t many options when it comes to hotels in Mdina, but there are a few good ones if you manage to secure a room. How does it feel like to be in Mdina by night?

If you use your transport to get to Mdina be aware that parking is limited especially during weekends. However, there are some free places to try your luck. Find them here .

Mdina has a population of 243 people who live inside the city walls.

Rabat’s city centre is just a step away from Mdina, only a five-minute walk from the main gate. There are plenty of things to do in both cities!

Mdina is open every day, including weekends, free of admission. However, some of the attractions are closed for the weekend. Here are the best things you can do in Mdina!

Mesquita Square: Season 1, Episode 5 “The Wolf and the Lion”. It’s where Jamie Lannister and his spearmen attack Ned and his guards. The square also housed the entrances to the Little Finger’s brothel and the Street of Steel. The Gate of the Mdina: In Season 1, Episode 3 “Lord Snow”. Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel rode into King’s Landing through the main gate.

Mdina at a glance

All images are licensed under the Creative Commons  Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International  license.

What’s the best thing you did in Mdina? Leave a comment and let us know!

  • Palazzo Falson – Discovering Mdina’s Noble Past

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Nikos Taskos

Combine travelling, food and SEO and you'll have Nikos. A Greek with a passion for exploring, he is always game for a bit of adventure and will never pass on an opportunity to discover something new – local bites and weird drinks, unique experiences, a dark cave or that mysterious footpath down the corner.

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We were in Malta in Sept. 2021 and rented a car to see the island. We tried to visit Mdina twice on a week day. Parking was impossible to find, even after driving around for over an hour each time. We tried the parking lots you suggested. We gave up and were disappointed to miss seeing Mdina. We stayed in St. Julian. I wished we had known about the 202 bus line that you mentioned.

I can also remember the parking lots being full, but cars just kept coming all the time. The bus took ages to arrive but hopefully, it showed up after 45 mins of waiting! Next time, you will defo see Mdina, Steve!

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The Top 10 Things to Do in Mdina, Malta

Mdina City Gate

Mdina, also known as Malta’s ‘Silent City’, sits atop a hill overseeing many of the neighbouring towns. This small city is fortified and boasts an eclectic mix of medieval and Baroque architecture lining the quaint narrow streets. Here’s our pick of the best things to do when in town.

Admire the architecture.

Inhabited in the past by noble families, many of the residences have been passed down through the generations and are still associated with the more wealthy. Tiny, deceiving doorways embedded in tall walls lead to properties with vast interiors. Dubbed the ‘Silent City’ due to its quiet streets and strict vehicle restrictions, entering Mdina is like stepping back in time. The main entrance to Mdina, known as Mdina Gate or Vilhena Gate, is a fine example of what to find beyond it. Designed by Charles Francois de Mondion, the Baroque style gate was built in 1724 and named after Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena .

Mdina residences

Check out St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral, Archbishop Square, Mdina Malta , +356 21454697

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul, commonly known as St. Paul’s Cathedral or the Mdina Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Mdina, Malta, dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle.

Take in the Cathedral Museum

In the same square as the cathedral sits a Baroque building dating back to the 18th century,with its first stone laid in 1733. Built by Bishop Alpheran de Bussan , this building today is the home of the Cathedral Museum . The museum houses a number of collections such as the Silver Collection dedicated to objects owned by the Brotherhood of the Souls in Purgatory and the Numismatic Collection, and a collection of coins discovered in Malta. Along with a wax collection, silver statues, a bell room chapels and halls, this magnificent building has a lot to offer its visitors.

The Cathedral Museum, Triq San Pawl, Mdina, Malta +356 2145 4697

Stop off at Fontanella Tea Garden

Renowned across the whole of Malta and a must-visit in Mdina, are the Fontanella Tearooms. This is an extremely popular place and depending on the time of day (and year) you may have to wait a little to find a seat. With seating both downstairs and upstairs, it is upstairs that offers the most spectacular views (particularly if you manage to grab a table by the surrounding wall). Views across agricultural land and neighbouring towns go on for miles, and make the perfect accompaniment to a drink and bite to eat. Fontanella is, however, most popular for its homemade cakes , of which the menu appears neverending, and the portion sizes are pretty generous too!

Fontanella Tea Garden, 1, Bastion Street, Mdina, Malta , +356 2145 4264

Visit the Knights of Malta Experience

Gaining both a Quality Assured award from Malta Tourism Authority and an Award for Excellence from Thompson holidays, the Knights of Malta takes you way back to the 16th century to the time of Grand Master L’Isle Adam and his arrival in Mdina. Emerge yourself in the special sound effects and lighting surrounding the life-like figures in an experience for young and old bringing to life both the terrors and the celebrations of what was an epic period of Malta’s history.

The Knights Of Malta, 14/19 Casa Magazzini, Magazine Street, Mdina, Malta , +356 2145 1342

Knights of Malta

See the National Museum of Natural History

Situated in a breathtaking 18th century palace, that was also once a hospital for cholera sufferers and British troops during the 19th century and tuberculosis patients in the early 20th century, Vilhena Palace became the home to the National Museum of Natural History in 1973. Display areas within the palace cover natural topics ranging from Maltese geology to exotic animals and habitats. A whole hall is dedicated to the skeletons of vertebrates. Discover the importance of Malta’s animals of the past alongside the small uninhabited Maltese islands of Fifla , Fungus Rock and St Paul’s.

National Museum of Natural History, Vilhena Palace, St Publius Square, Mdina Malta , +356 2145 5951

Be enthralled by St Paul’s Catacombs

Adjacant to Mdina, in the neighbouring village of Rabat, are St Paul’s Catacombs. Albeit not actually in Mdina,they are within very short walking distance and play a part in Mdina’s history. In the region of Ħal Bajjada in Rabat, lie a series of catacombs , of which the main, St Paul’s Catacombs can be visited by the general public. The underground chambers were used as a resting place and are said to have still been in use up until circa the 8th century. The burial chambers are firm evidence of the earliest Christianity on the island to date, as Roman law forbid burials in the city. A series of corridors, cavities and small and large rooms still bear the original work carved into the stone and this is the largest Roman underground cemetery on the island.

St Paul’s Catacombs, St Agatha Street, Rabat, Malta , +356 2145 4562

St. Paul’s Catacombs. Rabat, Malta.

Wander in Buskett Gardens

Again, in neighbouring Rabat, Buskett Gardens is a lush, green, woodland area which is very rare for Malta. Originally planted as a hunting ground by the Knights of Malta, today pathways throughout the gardens lead to ideal spots for picnics, which from autumn to spring are abundant with natural springs and a spectrum of colour in the form of wild flowers. Enjoy orange trees, cacti, and Mediterranean pines as you stroll through the gardens and admire the vineyards, olive groves and lemon groves all within its walls. If visiting the gardens in June, you can take up the opportunity to enjoy the feast of St Peter and Paul too.

Rabat, Malta

Orange trees in Buskett Garden in Rabat, Malta. The Buskett Gardens forming one of the few woodland areas in Malta, are located in the fertile valley of Wied il-Luq in Siġġiewi.

Marvel at the Mdina Dungeons

Located a stone’s throw from Mdina’s main gate are the dungeons, a tourist attraction that is one of a kind on the island. Wander the dimly lit, authentic entwining passageways and chambers of the dungeons which run under the Vilhena Palace and experience recreated scenes, with sound effects of a dark and often forgotten side to medieval Malta.

Mdina Dungeons, St. Publius Square, Mdina, Malta , +356 2145 0267

Mdina dungeons – torture

Stroll Mdina by night

Although the majority of visitor attractions and quaint shops are closed, a trip to Mdina after dark is a wonderful experience. Some restaurants and bistros lie tucked away in the narrow streets, and the quietness of the ‘Silent City’ makes it hard to believe you are surrounded by private residences full of families. Besides grabbing a meal, a walk around the dimly lit streets is a wonderful experience in itself, beautifully eerie and with the echoing sound of the cathedral bells, under a pitch black Maltese sky and with hardly a soul in sight makes for an unforgettable experience.

Night in Mdina

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10 Things to Do in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

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Mdina is a tiny walled city and the former capital of Malta. It lies on a hilltop about 200m above sea level in the centre of Malta, providing some spectacular views across the island. The city isn’t as packed with attractions as the current capital, Valletta . However, there is still plenty to see and do in Mdina to make it a worthwhile daytrip during your time in Malta .

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something. Clicking these links won’t cost you anything, but it will help us to keep this site up and running! Learn more about our affiliate policy.

Table of Contents

Brief History of Mdina

Sitting atop a hill, Mdina is the oldest fortified medieval town in Malta, founded around 700 BC by the Phonecians. At that time it was called Maleth, before the Romans renamed it Melita when they took control in 218 BC. The town got the name Mdina during the Arab occupation. They also reduced the size of the city to what it currently is. It was much bigger before the Arabs took over and included most of Rabat. They also fortified the city. Over the centuries Mdina has been under the control of various rulers such as the Normans, the Swabians, the Angevins, the Aragonese, the Spanish, the Knights of St John, the French and lastly, the British.

Mdina remained the capital city of Malta until the Knights arrived and decided to base themselves in Birgu (Vittoriosa). As you would expect, all the nobles started to move out of Mdina. Especially after they built Valletta , the current capital.

Slowly, the vibrant city of Mdina became a bit of a ghost town and gained its name ‘the silent city’. Even today with all the tourists visiting, you can definitely feel just how quiet it is compared to other places. It does help that cars aren’t allowed in Mdina and people generally keep their voices down.

places to visit in mdina malta

How to Get to Mdina, Malta

Mdina is easily accessible via rental car or public transport. As always, you can also visit Mdina as part of an organised tour.

In case you’re relying on public transport, you can take buses 50, 51, 52 and 53 from Valletta or bus 202 from Sliema . If you’re staying in one of the resorts such as Bugibba , you can take bus 186 or X3. You can even travel straight from the airport with the X3 or 201 service. From places like Mgarr , Marsaxlokk and Marsaskala you will need to take two different buses to reach Mdina.

places to visit in mdina malta

10 Things to Do in Mdina, Malta

1. enter mdina through the main gate.

To enter Mdina, you’ll have to walk through its Main Gate. The beautiful entrance you’ll walk through today was designed by Charles Francois de Mondion in 1724.

Did you know? – The baroque style gate you see today isn’t the original one. In the medieval period there were actually three gates to enter Mdina. During the time when they were expanding the Vilhena Palace they also shifted the gate and walled up the original one. You can still see the outline to the right of the current gate.

It’s definitely a picturesque gate and if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll most likely recognise it as one of the gates of King’s Landing.

places to visit in mdina malta

2. Visit the Mdina Dungeons Museum

Located right next to the Main Gate is Mdina Dungeons. The museum consists of underground passageways, chambers and cells. They have been recreated to visualise some of the dark events that happened in these dungeons over the decades. Since Malta was ruled by many factions, they have stories from different time periods such as the Romans, Byzantine, Arabs, Knights and French.

The entry fee is 5EUR.

3. Vilhena Palace: National Museum of Natural History

The Natural History Museum is housed in Palazzo Vilhena, an impressive 18th century building. As you may have guessed, it was designed in a baroque style.

The museum opened to the public in 1973 and houses a large collection of rocks, minerals, birds, mammals, fish and plenty of insects. It might not be the highlight of your trip, but it could be a great activity if you’re visiting with family.

places to visit in mdina malta

4. Wonder Around the Streets of Mdina

Wondering the streets of Mdina is definitely a great way to get a feel for the place. Its narrow streets with their honey-coloured buildings towering above you will make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time. There are flowers and colourful doors everywhere you look, so you won’t have a hard time taking dreamy photos in Mdina.

Top Tip – Make sure to take a closer look at the doorhandles. We definitely noticed them in Valletta, but here in Mdina almost every door handle had the shape of an animal. It’s pretty cool and definitely reminded us of Mardin’s door handles in Turkey .

places to visit in mdina malta

5. St Paul’s Cathedral and Cathedral Museum

You’ll find the 17th-century baroque-style cathedral in the heart of Mdina. It was designed by Lorenzo Gafa after the 1693 Sicily earthquakes that severely damaged the original 12th century cathedral. St Paul’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Malta. It actually shares this honour with St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.

Right next to the Cathedral is the Museum where you can see some religious artworks from between the 14th and the 20th centuries.

Joint entry to the Cathedral and museum is 10EUR.

6. Visit Palazzo Falson

This 13th century house is the second oldest building in Mdina. It was home to Maltese nobles during the Middle Ages. Today it’s a museum of antiques and fine arts. It actually displays some of the original décor of Oriental rugs, antique furniture, and paintings.

Entry Fee is 10EUR per person. Note that Palazzo Falson is closed on Mondays.

places to visit in mdina malta

7. Enjoy the Views from Bastion Square

Located at the edge of Mdina’s walls you can get some lovely views of the surrounding area from Bastion Square. There are quite a few popular tea gardens such as Fontanella Tea Garden or Coogi’s Restaurant & Tea Garden where you can sit down to eat something or just treat yourself to a coffee and cake and enjoy the views.

places to visit in mdina malta

8. Walk Over to Rabat

Don’t worry, we wouldn’t ask you to walk all the way to Morocco. That definitely wouldn’t be a relaxing day trip! Just adjacent to Mdina is a town with the same name as the Moroccan capital: Rabat. The name actually derives from the Arabic language and it means “suburb”. During the Roman times Rabat and Mdina made up the capital city called Melita.

Mdina and Rabat are pretty much divided by the Howard Gardens, so it’s very easy to walk between the two places. Rabat is definitely more vibrant than the Silent City of Mdina. It has its own charm and plenty of cafes and restaurants, so it could also be the perfect lunch spot.

Here are a few interesting places to visit in Rabat:

  • St Paul’s and St Agathas Catacombs . Did you know that Christian catacombs lie under Rabat covering an area of 2000 sq m? If you visit only one place in Rabat, let it be the Catacombs. Entry fee is 6EUR.
  • Casa Bernard . A 16th century palace that’s still home to George and Josette Magri. You can take a guided tour around the house and garden. Entry fee is 10EUR.
  • Roman Villa. You can visit the remains of many Roman mosaic pavements dating back to the first century BC. Entry fee is 6EUR.

places to visit in mdina malta

9. Visit the Dingli Cliffs

Visiting the  Dingli Cliffs  from Mdina / Rabat is a must if you’re in the area. Dingli is a small village to the southwest of Rabat. Just outside of the village is where the Dingli Cliffs are located. At around 253m above sea level, they are actually the highest point of the Maltese Islands.

How to get to the Dingli Cliffs? – If you have a  hire car , then it’s only about a 10-15 minute drive from Rabat. However, you can also visit the cliffs by bus if you take the 201 from  Rabat bus stop  and get off at either  Maddalena  or  Zuta  bus stops. On your way back we recommend getting the bus back from Dingli village. From this bus stop you can take the 52, 56, 181 and 201 back to Valletta or Rabat.

places to visit in mdina malta

10. Stay in Mdina after Dusk

You didn’t think Mdina was too ‘silent’ during the day? Then consider lingering in town until after dusk when most tourists have gone. Wondering the same streets during the day time might feel a bit creepier after sunset. You’ll definitely appreciate why they call Mdina the Silent City. If you want to learn a bit more and don’t fancy walking around on your own, then consider joining a group night tour.

However, if dimly lit narrow streets and ghost stories aren’t your cuppa, then perhaps head back to your accommodation before the sun goes down.

Check out our Malta related posts:

  • One Week Malta Itinerary – Best Things to Do in Malta

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  • Comino Day Trip Itinerary – How to See Malta’s Blue Lagoon

places to visit in mdina malta

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Mdina, Malta

We definitely enjoyed our visit to Mdina, Rabat and of course to the Dingli Cliffs. Mdina just felt very peaceful even with a good amount of tourists wondering its streets. Our absolute highlight was eating our lunch with the most perfect view of the Dingli Cliffs. We love the outdoors, so I guess it comes as no surprise.

Have you ever been to Mdina and Rabat before? If so, how much of the area did you explore? If not, would you spend a day in Mdina and Rabat? Let me know in the comments below.

Now, let your adventure begin,

places to visit in mdina malta

Our Top Travel Resources

Accommodation:  For hotels we always use  Booking.com  and  Hostelworld  for hostels. We also book longer stays on Airbnb or  Vrbo.

Flights:  To find the best flight prices we always check  Skyscanner ,  Google Flights  or  WayAway.  Then we also check the airlines’ websites too for comparison.

Car Rentals:  We use  Discover Cars  when we want to rent a car as it compares local, national and international companies.

Activities:  If we book organised tours we always check either  GetYourGuide  or  Viator.

Foreign Currency:  Whenever we can we prefer to pay in local currency and for that we always use our  Wise card.   We can easily withdraw money from the ATM or pay by card at most shops and restaurants.

Travel Insurance: We never go anywhere without travel insurance. You never know what will happen on your trip, so good travel insurance like SafetyWing can protect you in case of injury, illness, theft and cancellations.

eSIM and VPN: To get data abroad we use  Airalo which is an app that allows you to download a prepaid eSIM to your phone in over 190 countries. Make sure to have a VPN to avoid hackers accessing your personal data when using public WIFI. We use  Surfshark  which is the only VPN that offers one account on unlimited devices. 

Remember…It all starts with a Pin…

places to visit in mdina malta

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Best Things to Do in Valletta, Malta

I love posts like this that highlight “under the radar” spots away from all the tourists! Looks like Mdina is rich in historical sites.. saving the post for a future visit.

Thank you so much Jennifer. Hope you can visit Mdina in Malta in the near future.

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Mdina Guide: Everything you need to know about Malta’s Silent City

Resembling a time capsule that survived through the centuries, Mdina appears today like a picturesque sleepy town. However, the so-called Silent City of Malta encompasses thousands of years of Maltese history. Mdina served as the capital of Malta for more than 2,000 years, from the 8th century BC until 1530 AD. Despite its small size, the town hosts a number of must-see places, which you’ll find in this Mdina guide .

Specifically, in this article, you’ll read about the best things to do in Mdina and how you can get there. Moreover, I’ll share several travel tips about this stunning town in Malta’s Northern Region and info about its historical importance. Finally, you’ll find a shortlist of the best hotels in Mdina in case you’d like to spend a night or two there.

So, let’s start with this travel guide to Mdina and the must-see attractions. Simply navigate through the sections and find everything you need to know before visiting the Silent City.

Table of Contents

*Some of the links are affiliate links. It means that if you buy something, I might earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

How to get to Mdina

There are several ways to reach Mdina: from public transport to guided tours and from taxis to car rentals. So let’s break down each of them.

To Mdina by bus

The cheapest way to reach Mdina is definitely by bus. The ticket costs 2 euros during the summer and 1,50 euros during the winter. In general, you can reach Mdina from anywhere in Malta, but please keep in mind that Malta has no intercity buses. Therefore, every bus will stop several times on the way. Nevertheless, if you have enough days in Malta and don’t care about riding old buses, that’s a great way to see the country.

From Valletta to Mdina by bus

Most travelers will visit Mdina from Valletta. The buses from downtown Valletta to Mdina start next to the iconic Phoenicia Hotel , and the rides take slightly more than half an hour. However, Malta’s traffic can be chaotic despite its size, and there might be delays. Therefore, from Valletta to Mdina you must take bus 50 or bus 53 . Please click on the links to see the schedule.

From Malta’s airport to Mdina

If you’re a more sophisticated traveler and have booked accommodation in Mdina, you can also travel there directly from the airport. The ride takes approximately 40 minutes. From the airport to Mdina, you need to embark on bus 201 .

A travel tip for buses to Mdina

Mdina is a walled city, and both buses and cars are not allowed to drive through its streets. Every bus itinerary to this side of the country will terminate at Rabat, a small city next to Mdina. However, there’s a bus stop straight outside the wall, and that’s where you should disembark. The bus stop is “Mdina.”

A guided tour to Mdina

The Silent City is one of the greatest Malta attractions, and several tour operators offer day trips to Mdina. Most of them start, of course, from Valletta, and there is a variety to choose from. All these day trips will pick you up from your accommodation and drive you back after the tour’s conclusion. There is, of course, a variety of prices, depending on the services offered.

There’s a fantastic guided tour to Mdina, and it’s also relatively cheap. It currently costs 28 euros, and it will bring you from Valletta to Mdina, Rabat, and the famous San Anton Palace and Gardens. It lasts 5 hours, and you can book a place here .

To Mdina by taxi

If you’d like to have a smoother journey to Mdina but still prefer exploring independently, you can also take a cab to Mdina. You can either ask your hotel’s reception to book a taxi for you, or you can download the ecabs app (imagine it like the Maltese Uber). The taxis are usually 20-30% pricier than ecabs. I used ecabs extensively on my trip to Malta and was delighted by their services. A trip from Valletta to Mdina booked via ecabs cost me 15 euros. You can download the ecabs app here (iPhone & Android) .

To Mdina by car

Finally, if you feel comfortable driving abroad and right-wheeled cars don’t scare you, renting a car in Malta will give you lots of flexibility. That’s probably the most expensive way to visit Mdina, but if you’re on a road trip to Malta, it’ll save you time. The place to look for a car is RentalCars. That’s the best car rental aggregator, comparing dozens of local and international car rentals. Simply add your dates and instantly get an offer. You can find the best prices for renting a car in Malta here .

Things to do in Mdina: what to see in Malta’s Silent City

Mdina has only 300 inhabitants and, as you can imagine, is a very compact city. You can walk every street in less than two hours. However, this doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t have enough places to see. Moreover, one of the most important things to do in Mdina is to enjoy its atmosphere and adapt to its rhythms. I firmly believe such places deserve more time than we usually give them. Therefore, try to spend some quality time in Malta’s gem.

Walk through Mdina’s Gate and start your journey

Mdina Gate (also known as Vilhena Gate) is the main gate to the fortified city. It’s a stunning Baroque Gate built back in 1724. On the entrance, you can see the coats of arms of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena; it was under his reign that the gate was constructed. On the rear side of the gate, you’ll also see the reliefs of St. Publius, St. Agatha, and St. Paul, the patron saints of Mdina.

Plus, if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll probably recognize the Mdina Gate: it’s one of the gates of King’s Landing in “Lord Snow” (S01E03).

See the stunning St. Paul’s Cathedral

This impressive Roman Catholic Cathedral is Mdina’s most iconic building. Dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, the original Cathedral was erected in the 12th century. According to the locals, its position is not random: it stands on the spot where Roman governor Publius met St. Paul after he shipwrecked in Malta.

However, the Cathedral you see today is not the original one. The original was destroyed in the 1693 earthquake of Sicily, and local architect Lorenzo Gafà rebuilt it. The Baroque building we see today dates back to 1705. Don’t miss the opportunity to enter the St. Paul Cathedral and admire its stunning interior. Adjacent to it, you’ll also find the Cathedral Museum, where you can see a number of religious artworks.

Visit the Palazzo Falson

Initially built as a residence for a Maltese noble family, the Palazzo Falson is the second oldest building in Mdina. Named after the Falson family, it’s a museum-house featuring seventeen rooms full of antiques and charm. The building dates back to 1495 and was further enlarged in the 16th century. Despite the speculation, its architect is still unknown.

During the 20th century, Olof Frederick Gollcher bought and restored the iconic palace. Nowadays, it’s a must-see Mdina attraction due to the impressive collection it hosts but also because it feels like wandering in a long-lost era. The Palazzo Falson has two floors, and it’s built around a peaceful inner courtyard.

One of the rarest exhibits you can see is the 10-hour French Revolution-era timepiece, one of the three that still exist. The clock features a 10-hour day, with 100 minutes per hour and 100 seconds per minute, and was introduced in 1793 as part of the decimalization effort of Revolutionary France.

The Palazzo Falson is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 am and 5 pm. On the top floor, you’ll find the wonderful Gustav Cafe, which enjoys splendid Mdina views.

Pro Malta travel tip

If old times fascinate you and you’d like to learn more about the country’s noble past, there’s a fantastic guided tour for you. It’ll bring you to several palazzos around the island in an unforgettable experience of the country’s history. Of course, Palazzo Falson is part of this tour, together with Palazzo Parisio (the Maltese Versailles), Palazzo San Piro, and the San Anton Gardens. You can book the Noble Homes tours here .

Walk the narrow streets of Mdina

The city is very small, and one of the best things to do in Mdina is walking its picturesque narrow streets. Every street and every building has a century-long history, and the atmosphere of the Silent City is unique. There’s no way to get lost in the streets of Mdina, and walking all around the compact walled city will create fantastic memories. It’s not an exaggeration to say that every building has a fascinating history: Mdina is full of palazzos like the Palazzo Santa Sofia, the Palazzo Costanzo, and the Palazzo Gatto Murina. The city is truly an open-air architectural museum.

Enjoy the view from the Bastion Square Viewpoint

Walled cities usually enjoy a strategic location, and they often have fantastic viewpoints. Such a viewpoint you can find in Mdina at Bastion Square, close to Palazzo Falson. You can climb on the square’s top and enjoy spectacular views of Malta -and you can even see the impressive Mosta Dome. The scenic viewpoint offers a panoramic view, and next to it, you’ll find the famous Fontanella Cafe.

Unwind at Fontanella Cafe

After strolling around Mdina, it’s time to discover the best spot to enjoy coffee and delicious cakes. Apart from that, Fontanella lies on the top of Bastion Square, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Malta. If you’re on a short visit to Mdina, make sure to spend some time at Fontanella: the sweets are delicious, and the view is something to remember. Of course, such things come at a price; therefore, be ready to splurge: a piece of cake will cost you about 20 euros.

See Fontanella’s location on Google Maps and save it in your Mdina itinerary.

Explore nearby Rabat

Straight outside the walls and exiting Mdina from the Greeks Gate, you’ll find Rabat. That’s a sister town, and despite its old style, it feels more contemporary. Compared to Mdina, Rabat feels like a more modern settlement. However, there’s a good reason to visit Rabat (which in Arabic means “suburb”), and that’s the St. Paul’s Catacombs. The Catacombs lie opposite St. Paul’s Basilica in Rabat, and they are one of the earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.

The Catacombs have thirty rooms, most of which are open to the public. They are part of a cemetery, and you’ll see most of the burial types that the Maltese used throughout history.

Last but not least, in Rabat, you’ll also find the Casa Bernard, one more impressive palazzo, open to the public. It dates back to the 17th century and is built on top of a medieval watchtower. Don’t let its rather dull facade discourage you: the interior is stunning.

Malta Street Food tip

After exiting the Greeks Gate and on your way to Rabat, you’ll come across a small unpretentious eatery called Crystal Palace . It serves traditional pastizzi , a small pastry made of dough and filled with ricotta or peas. Grab one and carry on walking.

Take a Mdina walking tour

If strolling around Mdina is not enough for you, there are a couple of guided tours to expand your horizons. The Mdina walking tours are a pure joy: you’ll walk through an ancient city and listen to its history from a certified local guide. However, since Mdina is small, most of these tours won’t last more than 2 hours. Therefore, consider booking a tour with a local guide to make the most of your Mdina visit.

The best Mdina guided tours cost 15 euros, and you’ll also discover Rabat. You can book the best one here and a very similar one here .

See the beautiful Piazza Mesquita

Finally, still within the walls but slightly off the Mdina center, you’ll see the Piazza Mesquita. That’s probably the most beautiful square in Mdina. After so many narrow streets, it’s time to enjoy some open space, and Mesquita Square also has a cafe-restaurant to relax. The beautiful Piazza Mesquita has an old cistern, and it was -of course- featured in Game of Thrones: it was the shooting location of Littlefinger’s brothel.

So, find a place at the Piazza Mesquita cafe, enjoy some relaxing time, and then go through Mdina’s streets before leaving.

Where to stay in Mdina, Malta

Most people will stop in Mdina for just a couple of hours. While it’s easy to do a Mdina sightseeing tour quickly, it’s a good idea to spend at least one night in this magical place. Late in the afternoon, the crowds will leave, and you’ll have the beautiful Silent City for yourself. Wandering through the stunning streets of ancient Mdina at night is a memorable experience. That said, if you’re on a longer Malta vacation, consider spending at least one night here.

Quite unexpectedly, Mdina has some hotels within its walls and is also home to one of the best hotels in Malta. So, in this short section, you’ll find the best hotels in Mdina and what to expect from them.

The best hotels in Mdina Malta

The Xara Palace Relais & Chateux . That’s one of the best places you can stay in Malta. The Xara Palace is located in a stunning 17th-century palace inside the Silent City. It offers luxurious rooms, and it’s home to an award-winning restaurant. This 5-star boutique hotel is a true Maltese paradise, and every room enjoys stunning views. The hotel is next to the National Museum of Natural History. Book your room at the Xara Palace .

Palazzo Bifora . That’s one more great option for your Mdina stay. The Palazzo Bifora is hosted in an old palazzo and offers beautiful rooms within Mdina’s walls. The hotel has a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool and daily serves a delicious continental breakfast. See the Palazzo Bifora .

St’ Agatha’s Bastion . Finally, if you are a group of people (up to 5) traveling to Malta and would like to stay overnight in Mdina, that’s an excellent option. As its name suggests, St. Agatha’s Bastion is a holiday home featuring 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and a swimming pool. Plus, there is a terrace to unwind and enjoy the sun. See St’ Agatha’s Bastion .

Please use the interactive map below for all other accommodation options in Mdina and nearby Rabat.

Facts about Mdina

In the final section of this Mdina guide, you’ll find some extra information about the Silent City. These facts about Mdina intend to give you some additional insights about the city and reply to some commonly asked questions.

Why is Mdina called the Silent City?

After the Great Siege of Malta (1565), Vittoriosa took the place of Mdina as Malta’s capital. After that, people started leaving Mdina behind, and in just a couple of years, it became almost a ghost town. Therefore, the Silent City nickname refers to the lack of inhabitants. Finally, in 1571, Valletta became the capital of Malta.

Which are Mdina’s Game of Thrones locations?

In the first episode of season 3 of Game of Thrones, Mdina’s Gate and Piazza Mesquita are among the filming locations.

Are there any other Mdina nicknames?

While everybody refers to Mdina as “The Silent City,” there are also a couple more nicknames. Mdina is also called Città Vecchia (“Old City”) and Città Notabile (“Notable City”). Finally, the Ancient Greeks called it “ Μελίττη ” (pronounced: Melíttee ).

How much time should I spend in Mdina, Malta?

You can see everything in 2-3 hours. However, for a fuller experience, it would be great to spend at least one night in the Silent City.

Is Rabat bigger than Mdina?

Rabat is significantly bigger than Mdina. Mdina is home to 300 people, while Rabat has 11,000 inhabitants.

When Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked in Malta?

St. Paul shipwrecked in Malta in 60 AD. The location where he met with Publius, the governor of Mdina, became the spot where the Mdina Cathedral was erected.

How did the Order of St. John change Mdina’s fate?

The Order of Saint John took over Malta in 1530. At this time, the Knights decided to settle down in Birgu, and Mdina lost progressively part of its importance. A couple of decades later, Mdina also lost its capital city status. During the Great Siege of Malta, Mdina hosted the Order’s cavalry.

Can I learn more about the city’s past?

Yes, there are two museums dealing with the city’s past. The Mdina Experience will take you on a half-an-hour journey to the city’s past, while the Mdina Dungeons will expose you to the city’s dark history.

Was there ever a train in Malta?

There was a train in Malta for almost fifty years. The so-called Malta Railway was used to connect Valletta and Mdina. It was a single-track line, and it operated between 1883 and 1931. The locals called it poetically il-vapur tal-art , which means “ the land boat .”

Mdina guide: Final thoughts

Mdina is one of the most beautiful fortified cities in Europe. Despite its compact size, the Silent City is home to numerous tourist attractions, and it’s a must-see even if you’re on a long weekend in Malta. The ancient narrow streets, the stunning architecture, and the great vibes of Mdina guarantee a memorable experience. On the other hand, if you’re on an extended Malta vacation, consider spending at least one night in Mdina. The walled city feels even more atmospheric at night -and you’ll be one of the few people walking the streets.

More Malta guides : 4 days in Malta without a car , Valletta travel guide , What to do in Marsaxlokk

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Last Updated on October 1, 2022 by George Pavlopoulos

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places to visit in mdina malta

Your ultimate guide to the Silent City of Mdina

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  • Attraction , Town

places to visit in mdina malta

It’s known by many different names such as Medina , Mdina , Imdina (in Maltese) or simply The Silent City .

It has been the backdrop for major motion pictures and television series. A small city filled with beautiful medieval architecture, amazing restaurants, stunning views and above all a true must for an authentic experience in European and Mediterranean history. Dear readers, we’d like to present to you Malta’s former capital city of Mdina .

City Map of Imdina

  • Read also the guide to the actual capital of Malta: La Valletta

Why visit Mdina?

Mdina is named as The Silent City for good reason. In a small country where construction development is taking place at an alarmingly fast race, Mdina is perhaps the one and only place where you can lie still without listening to the peace-disturbing sounds of modernisation. That does not mean that you will be rid of people.

places to visit in mdina malta

Mdina is a very touristic place and once you’re there you’ll completely understand why. However, tour guides and those visiting the silent city always respect its number one rule – to stay silent. So definitely, Mdina always takes prominence on the list of any itinerary for your holiday in Malta. It’s enjoyable in summer and winter alike, most of its roads are left for pedestrian and you can walk to all of the attractions this beautiful spot has to offer.

Imdina Square

If there is one thing which Mdina is very famous for is its incredible history. In fact, historians date this city’s history to over 4000 years back. There is a bit of a local legend which suggests that after the shipwreck, Saint Paul resided inside one of the grottos just outside Mdina in the next adjacent town called Rabat.

places to visit in mdina malta

Besides being known as the Silent City, in its origin, Mina was also known as Citta’ Notabile (the noble city). In the beginning of the 12 th century, Mdina housed some of the most-noble families on the island including those of Sicilian, Spanish and Norman descent. This is why as you walk in Mdina you will see facades of beautifully decorated Palazzos. But that is not all. The walled city of Mdina still hosts a monastery for the Carmelite community.

places to visit in mdina malta

The city was also very active during the Roman’s period in Malta and relics retrieved from the area which was known as Melita give testimony to this. Visitors flock the Silent City because of the medieval and Baroque architecture. In fact Mdina still remains one of the best examples of wall-cities in Europe.

Where is Mdina located?

The fortifications of Mdina sit on top of one of Malta’s highest peaks. That is why the city offers some stunning views from the very centre of Malta to the very points which touch the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea.

places to visit in mdina malta

Its location was strategic in the past and it still is for today’s tourism industry. It’s a few hundred metres away from the small town of Rabat which means that you can find all the necessary convenience stores literally a short walk away.

places to visit in mdina malta

How do you get to Mdina

From valletta.

From the main terminus in Valletta you can catch the numbers 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 and 56 .

From the Airport

To reach Mdina from the airport of Malta , catch the X3 for direct bus or 201 .

From Sliema

From the city of Sliema to get to Mdina, you can catch the direct bus 202 from Sliema Ferry 5 , Sliema, Chalet, Ghadir, Torri, Exiles or Antik. There is a bus every hour.

From St. Julian’s

places to visit in mdina malta

Things to do in Mdina

The beauty of a small place like Mdina means that you can cover most of the attraction in one or two days. This, however, does not mean that the things to do are relatively short. On the contrary, there’s so much to do and visit.

places to visit in mdina malta

What to do in Mdina:

  • Visit the amazing St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Walk through the city’s main gate built in baroque style in 1724
  • Climb up the bastions and enjoy the views
  • Visit Palazzo Falson Museum of fine arts and antiquities
  • Explore the National Museum of Natural History
  • Visit Palazzo De Piro
  • Simply walk through the ancient narrow streets and admire the architecture
  • Visit the Cathedral Museum
  • Visit the Knights of Malta Experience (a must if you want to know more about the knights’ presence in Malta)
  • Check out the realistic figures at the Mdina Dungeons

As part of your full experience of Mdina, you should check out any Game of Thrones tours in the area. If you’re a fan of the show then you have the chance to visit Little Finger’s brothel and the street where Jaime Lannister and Ned Stark had their iconic sword fight.

places to visit in mdina malta

Where to eat and drink in Mdina

Some old buildings in the Silent City have now been transformed into some amazing-looking restaurants and cafe’s which are definitely worth visiting.

  • Fontanella – Probably the most popular cafe in the central area of Malta. Known for the amazing cakes and it’s perfect for lunch as it’s an ideal place to enjoy the views.
  • Don Mesquita – A great place to enjoy an authentic Maltese platter.
  • Palazzo De Piro – For the ultimate meal with a view.
  • Bacchus Restaurant – They have an extensive menu featuring dishes from all across the Mediterranean.
  • De Mondion restaurant – For that unique fine-dining experience offering exquisite cuisine and fantastic surrounding views.

places to visit in mdina malta

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Worth a visit when in valletta.

places to visit in mdina malta

Visit a local restaurant just at 5 minutes walk away from the capital city. Balzunetta Restaurant will blow your mind with their quality food and atmosphere. Check their menu and book your table here .

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places to visit in mdina malta

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How to spend one day in Mdina Malta, Malta’s Silent City

By: Author Monica

Categories Malta

How to spend one day in Mdina Malta, Malta’s Silent City

Rebecca Sharp from Almost Ginger shares her guide to Mdina in Malta. Mdina is a tiny fortified city in the northern region of Malta. As you can see, it looks more like a film set than a real city which is why it was used as a Game of Thrones film set! Rebecca shares the must-see attractions in Mdina Malta and some hidden gems she found during her trip.

places to visit in mdina malta

How to spend a day in Mdina, Malta

If you have a trip to Malta planned, it’s likely you’ll want to spend at least one day exploring Valletta and one day in Mdina.

Mdina is the former Medieval capital city of Malta, before Valletta existed. I’m not exaggerating when I say it looks like Mdina has been frozen in a time ever since. It’s a tiny place that is completely en closed with high city walls, which is how it earned its nickname of ‘the silent city.’ It’s hard to imagine this is an actual place where people live and not a film set.

Mdina Malta is a truly fascinating, enchanting city with limestone buildings, colourful doors, a strong religious community and lots of hidden stories lurking in the winding streets. Here’s how to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s silent city…

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

How to get to Mdina, Malta

If you’re based in the towns surrounding Valletta, as most visitors are, then the best way to travel to Mdina is by bus. Don’t panic, traveling by bus in Malta is extremely straightforward! All single journeys across Malta cost €2 paid to the driver.

Head from wherever you are to the Valletta or Blata L-Bajda  bus interchanges. They are super close together and both have several bus stops. Find the stop where buses 51, 52 and 53 depart from (should be really easy to identify from the bus stop signs) as these all go to Mdina. One bus departs every 10 minutes, and every stop is announced, easy peasy.

Travel Hack tip: Let your bus driver know you are heading to Mdina. When I travelled to Mdina from Valletta, I followed the journey on Google Maps which said to depart several stops too early. Our driver was really helpful and stopped me and several other bemused tourists from departing in the middle of nowhere.

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

Start your day wandering around Mdina’s city streets

Just walking around Mdina is a sightseeing tour in itself. You’ll first stumble along the main city gate which extends over a huge moat around the city perimeter. Once inside, you should just start exploring because every street has a colourful door or a well-decorated façade!

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

St Paul’s Cathedral Mdina

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of Malta’s most important religious sites. I visited Mdina on a Sunday and I felt very scruffy next to the effortlessly stylish churchgoers leaving the grand St Paul’s Cathedral after mass.

This is still a working church so opening hours are 9:30 – 16:30 Monday to Friday, though there may be some odd opening hours on a weekend. There is a €5 entrance fee to the cathedral and museum.

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

Don’t forget the Instagrammable blue door of Mdina Malta

As you’re wandering around Mdina, if you’re thinking about your Instagram followers you might want to make the effort to find the ‘blue door’ with a vine of purple flowers. I know, I hadn’t heard of it either before planning my one day in Mdina. If you search #BlueDoor on Instagram, this is the door that will appear on the feed more often than any other.

I don’t really know why because every door and street in Mdina is incredibly Instagrammable!

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

It’s incredibly difficult to find out actually where the blue door is. People really don’t want to give away their secrets, do they? Well, I do know it’s on a side street near Fior di Latte , Mdina’s best gelateria (I can vouch), but I personally couldn’t find it on my visit! You might be able to ask a local in a shop, but otherwise, do what everyone else does and just keep an eye out.

Enjoy the stunning views over Malta

While sampling the flavours in Mdina’s best gelateria, I suggest you take a look at the views over Malta from the top of Mdina’s city walls. It’s one of the best views in the country and, since Malta is so small, you can see straight out to Valletta and beyond.

And you don’t have to climb hundreds and hundreds of steps to see it! Those are the best kind of views.

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

Game of Thrones film sets: Mdina or King’s Landing?

You know how I said Mdina looked like a film set? Well, it actually was for season one of Game of Thrones. The city gate was used as the entrance of King’s Landing, and head to Pjazza Triq Mesquita for the location used as Lord Baelish’s brothel.

There are plenty of other Game of Thrones locations all around the rest of Malta and Gozo, but those are the main ones inside Mdina’s city walls.

Lunch at the Fontanella Tea Garden

In all honestly, Mdina is very small. If you’re planning a full one day in Mdina, you might be surprised when you end up walking around the whole city by lunchtime.

If you’re spending a whole one day in Mdina, you’ll need somewhere for lunch. I recommend checking out the Fontanella Tea Garden . They serve lunch and a variety of cakes and desserts, all with that breathtaking view over Malta from above the city walls.

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

More things to see and do in Mdina

Other things to do in Mdina include The Mdina Experience , a one-hour long film made by the tourism board which details Mdina’s diverse history. Think of it like a museum exhibit in film form. You can find The Mdina Experience in the same square as the Game of Thrones location, Pjazza Triq Mesquita.

For a city with only 300 permanent residents, it’s got an awful lot of churches! If that’s your thing, you’ve got St Nicholas’ Chapel , St Agatha’s Chapel , the Carmelite Priory and many more to visit.

Outside Mdina’s city walls: The almost-as-silent Rabat

Rabat is where you will alight the bus before walking to Mdina, and many people won’t think to explore this small town. However, I really recommend you do as you’ll be seeing a local side to Malta that most other visitors will overlook. Rabat is just a normal, quiet town and even if you just spend an hour walking around, checking out the cafes or local churches and shops, you’ll feel as if you’ve got a glimpse of everyday Maltese life. You won’t find that in Valletta or Mdina.

If you’d prefer more lunch options, walk only a couple of minutes into Rabat and check out either Ta’ Doni or the restaurant I tried, Toffee & Co . I loved their traditional flatbread sandwiches, it was like a cross between a salad and a pizza! It’s easy enough to walk back into Mdina if you’ve got more to see. I bet that view over Malta looks pretty amazing around sunset.

How to spend one day in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

Have you spent one day in Mdina, exploring every side street?

This guide to Mdina was written by Rebecca from Almost Ginger,  a blog about Rebecca’s love for travel and films with helpful travel tips and information about film locations, festivals and screenings.

“ Almost Ginger is a film and travel blog aimed at showing film and TV lovers how their silver screen escapes can be a reality by documenting my own travels to film locations and film festivals around the world.”

Tuesday 12th of July 2022

Thank you very much for your informations!! I went to both Fior di latte and Fontanelle and truly enjoyed Mdina! I also found the blue door!! It is on the other side from the little square where Fior di latte is! Just ask the owner and he will direct you ?

Thursday 14th of July 2022

That's great to hear and I'm so pleased you had a good day!

Pati's Journey Within

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City – My Quick Travel Guide

This is my quick guide to Mdina, The Silent City in Malta. Everything you need to know before visiting Mdina whether for a day trip or a few days stay.

Mdina is a city like no other. There is no doubt about that. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a city at all, it feels more like a place you’d like to find yourself in if you could travel in time. It feels like a film set for a historical adventure or a costume movie, except it’s real.

Visiting Mdina is a one-of-a-kind experience. Mdina will capture your imagination and never let you go.

Mdina is small and easily walkable. You can walk around it in just a couple of hours, yet I was able to come back over and over again and I have never felt like I had enough. Every time I had friends or family visiting me in Malta, I took them there; it was always magical.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Mdina, the former capital of Malta, is situated on top of the highest hill in the country and has a history dating back to 4,000 years ago. It remained the capital of Malta throughout the Middle Ages until 1530 when the Order of St John arrived and moved the administrative centre of the island to Birgu.

It boasts a mix of mediaeval and baroque architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with many other places and landmarks in Malta.

The streets were purposely built narrow and curved so that the tall stone buildings cast cooling shadows and the cooling draft and air would circulate, bringing much-needed relief in hot summers. This is still the case today but also adds to the incredible beauty of the place.

This charming city with only just under 300 inhabitants was also the filming location for Game of Thrones. So what are you waiting for? Let’s visit Mdina, the silent city!

Table of Contents

Why is Mdina Worth Visiting

If you asked me what are the top 2 places you must see in Malta, I would say Valletta and Mdina. Malta has somehow done capital cities remarkably well.

Mdina is not only very much worth visiting. It’s also a must-see when you are in Malta. This city is a feast for your eyes and food for your mind. With its cobbled streets, limestone buildings, colourful doors and many picturesque courtyards, it’s a beautiful place to lose yourself in.

But Mdina is also a captivating, magical city of turbulent and fascinating history. This walled city was home to many of Malta’s past rulers, from the Phoenicians and the Romans to the Arabs and the Knights of St John. Each ruling nation left its mark and remarkable architectural gems behind.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Why is Mdina called a Silent City

After the capital was moved to Birgu in the 16th century, Mdina experienced a decline and many inhabitants left its walls. As people were leaving Mdina behind, the city became almost a ghost town. Therefore, over time, it was called the “Silent City”.

Today, this name has taken on an additional meaning, at least in my eyes. Although Mdina is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malta, it somehow managed to retain its silent status. Today, Mdina has only a little under 300 inhabitants and the city feels like an open-air museum. Everywhere you go in Mdina, you’ll find signs asking tourists and businesses to adhere to noise restrictions and respect the residents. Strangely enough, this compliance somehow comes naturally.

In addition, cars are also not allowed within the city and are strictly limited to residents, limousines for newlyweds, and cars for emergency services or funerals.

Mdina does get busy during the day so if you want to experience the true silent city, visit early in the morning or in the evenings, when the tourists have already left the city. During the evening hours, Mdina is even more magical and very soothing.

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How to get to Mdina

Visiting Mdina on a day trip or even just for a couple of hours is very easy. 

The best and cheapest way of getting to Mdina is by taking a bus from Valletta . Catch bus numbers 51, 52 or 53 from the Valletta bus terminal, and it will take you straight to Mdina in 30 minutes for an absolute bargain of $2.

You can also opt for a guided tour to Mdina which will take care of your transportation. This guided tour will cover Mdina but also Rabat and San Anton Gardens.

If you prefer to travel in comfort, a Bolt shared cab will not cost you more than €15 one way. You can, of course, rent a car as well but you will have to find a car park near Rabat. If you decide to rent a car I recommend combining a visit to Mdina with Dingli Cliffs, Buskett or even a Popeye Village.

Finally, you can also use a Hop on Hop Off bus for a day and stop at a few additional spots around the island.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Things to do in Mdina

To be frank you dont even need to read the below list to enjoy Mdina. The city is small and very walkable and as you walk around you will inevitably come across all its landmarks and interesting sights and buildings.

One of the best things to do in Mdina is just to let your feet and heart guide you and you will have an amazing trip nevertheless. But just in case you were still wondering, here is the list of the best things to see and do in Mdina

Walk down the King’s Landing gate… sorry Mdina City Gate

Mdina is a fully fortified city and can be entered through one of the two gates.

If you are a fan of Game of Thrones like me (minus the final season), you will get goosebumps entering the city of Mdina through the main gate. This gate was used in the first season as one of the gates of King’s Landing.

A stone bridge leads to the City Gate. The structure itself was only erected only at the beginning of the 18th century and consists of an ornate portal and guardrooms above. Above the entrance is the coat of arms of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Wander around its cobbled streets (and take photos of colourful doors)

Mdina is extremely photogenic and wonderful to walk around. When I first visited Mdina, I did not follow a sightseeing agenda, but simply got lost in the cobbled streets and took pictures aimlessly. I then had a coffee at a random cafe and lunch with a view at Adelina restaurant.

As you walk around you’ll notice many colorful doors, ornate windows and walls, and quaint courtyards. If you notice interesting doors, look closer and you will also discover unusual door knockers. There are so many little things to discover in the city. Take the time to discover them.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Stroll through Howard’s Gardens

Howard’s Gardens was created in a dry moat lying between Mdina and Rabat and is one of the largest gardens in Malta. Here you can relax or take a walk and have a closer look at the walls and bastions.

Check out The Mdina Experience

If you want to learn about the history of Mdina in 30 minutes, then Mdina Experience might be a good choice. This is a multimedia show that takes you through Mdina’s fascinating journey through time. I especially recommend it if you are travelling with family. If you choose to do so, I recommend starting your visit here as it will give you a good overview of the city’s history.

Enjoy the spectacular view from the city walls of Mdina

The city’s fortifications and bastions offer the opportunity to enjoy incredible views. Both Saint John’s Bastion and Saint Martin’s Bastion provide outstanding panoramic viewpoints of the countryside surrounding Mdina. From Bastion Square, located near Palazzo Falson, you can even see the famous Mosta Dome.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral and cathedral Museum

The original St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in the 12th century, was destroyed in 1693 during an earthquake of Sicily. After this tragic event, the cathedral was rebuilt in just 10 years. The building was designed in a baroque style by local architect Lorenzo Gafà.

The cathedral building is very impressive both from the inside and outside. Be sure to go inside and admire the rich baroque decoration.

The Cathedral Museum is housed in the former seminary and is located across the street from the cathedral. It houses a collection of sacred art, famous Italian and Maltese paintings, coin collections, Roman antiques and original documents from the time of the Inquisition, and much more.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Explore Vilhena Palace and Mdina’s Dungeons

This 18th-century palace was designed by Paris-born Charles François de Mondion and features a beautiful Baroque facade and an impressive entrance courtyard. It also houses the Maltese National Museum of Natural History, which is definitely worth visiting.

The Mdina Dungeons are located under the Vilhena Palace and are worth a visit if you want to see the former instruments of torture and wander through a series of secret underground passages, chambers and cells. The entrance is located next to Mdina’s Main Gate.

Discover Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum

Palazzo Falson is the second oldest medieval building in Malta, dating back to the 13th century. It was originally built as a family residence, and its name comes from the former owners – the Falson family. Today it is open to the public as a house museum. Inside you will find an impressive collection of fine art and antiques, a huge library, an armoury and so much more!

Do not miss the extraordinary 18th-century clock with a 10-hour day, with 100 minutes per hour and 100 seconds per minute!

Visit Mdina at night

If you only have the opportunity, visit Mdina at night or stay for the evening. After dark, the city becomes even more mysterious. As you walk along the streets, you will find many colourfully lit souvenir stores and Mdina glass shops, the streets are dimly lit, and if you choose to dine at one of the restaurants on Telgha Tas Saqqajja Street just outside the walls of Mdina, you will be rewarded with the best evening views.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Beyond Mdina – places to see around Mdina

Discover the town of rabat.

Just outside Mdina is the city of Rabat, which is equally worth visiting. Although a bit more occupied and feels more like an actual town, Rabat has a very special feel about it too.

Rabat is located just a 5-minute walk away from Mdina, so there’s no excuse, and there are a few sights really worth checking out. One of them is the St. Paul Catacombs , the largest underground complex of Roman cemeteries in Malta, covering over 2,000 square meters.

Also, be sure to visit St. Paul’s Church and Grotto. It is believed that this is where St. Paul and his missionaries found refuge after being shipwrecked on their way from Crete to Rome.

Rabat is also home to some famous cafes and restaurants. Be sure to try what is said to be Malta’s best pastizzi at Cristal Palace Bakery , and then have a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine at Ta’ Doni cafe . They also have great Maltese sharing platters if you are hungry after a day of exploring. Enjoy!

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Have a picnic in Buskett Gardens

If you start your day early and have enough energy for a good walk, I recommend a visit to Buskett Woodlands, known to be the greenest area in Malta.

It is located in the fertile valley of Wied il-Luq in Siġġiewi and is the only semi-natural woodland in the country, covering an area of 47 hectares. It is a wonderful lush space perfect for a picnic or just if you are looking to relax surrounded by the greenery. During the summer months, Chateau Buskett hosts great events, and one of my favourite ones must be Open Cinema Night.

Malta off the beaten path

Take a hike (walk) to Dingli Cliffs

It’s totally doable if you like walking and I did it myself. Allow yourself a whole day for this but visiting Mdina in the morning and watching a sunset at Dingli will make for a spectacular day! trust me!

Dingli is one of the most beautiful spots in Malta for sunset. It is only a little over an hour’s walk from Mdina and it’s a very pleasant walk too. I managed to walk from Rabat to Dingli with a little stop at Buskett and it was one of the best walks I have done in Malta. 

Once at Dingli Cliffs, you can catch the bus or a Bolt back to Valletta or grab a Bolt for less than €20. It will make a memorable day!

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

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How long do you need to visit Mdina

You can visit Mdina in 2 hours if you are planning just walk around and not visit museums. However, I recommend spending half a day there and also visiting Rabat.

To fully experience and appreciate Mdina, I recommend reserving at least 4 hours.

Pop into the cathedral and a museum, stop for a coffee or lunch and take on the views from the bastion. Relax in the garden and go to Rabat for the best pastizzi. This city deserves a bit more than a couple of hours.

You can also stay a little longer and see what this part of Malta has to offer, especially if you want to experience Mdina at night. Stay for a couple of nights and take a scenic hike the next day, and relax away from the crowds of Valletta or St. Julians. Because why not!

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Where to stay in Mdina and Rabat

Mdina is a small and very protected city, so you will find only 2 extraordinary but also expensive hotels within the city walls. Both the Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux and the Palazzo Bifora are incredibly beautiful and very highly rated, so if you want to treat yourself, you will not regret it.

But for the rest of us, the regular folks, Rabat is where you’ll find great and more affordable accommodation. In fact, if you dont like to stay in bustling resorts or busy cities, Rabat might be the best choice with many great walk around and good transport links.

D’Ambrogio Guest House BnB offers semi-affordable and lovely rooms with a terrace or balcony, and My Travel House offers a buffet breakfast and location you cannot beat.

If you are looking for a boutique hostel, check out the stunning Adelphi Boutique Hotel or Villa Vittoria , which has a more traditional Maltese feel.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Best restaurants and cafes in Mdina and Rabat

Probably the most famous cafe in Mdina is the Fontanella Cafe. All the guidebooks rave about its cakes, the food, the coffee and of course the view. I can not comment on that, as I have never eaten there. That’s partly due to my irrational resistance towards overly hyped and extortiously priced restaurants. But definitely give it a try and let me know!

I really enjoyed the dinner at Step 15 , and the view from the terrace is fantastic. On the same street, you will find the fine-dining Fork and Cork restaurant, which has incredible reviews. I also ate at Adelina , which is less upscale, but the food is delicious and the service excellent.

Within the walls of Mdina, Palazzo de Pirro has an excellent restaurant with great views, and of course, The Medina Restaurant is a gem of a place, flooded with natural charm. Don Mesquita Restaurant is located in the middle of Mdina and is a great place for lunch and a glass of wine.

Moving to Rabat this is where you will find great cafes and wine bars, but also some excellent restaurants. Of course, there is the famous Crystal Palace bakery but also Chalk , an excellent café and wine bar, as well as TownhouseNo3 restaurant.

Visiting Mdina, The Silent City - Mdina Travel Guide

Mdina is a magical city and you simply can’t miss it if you are visiting Malta. Maybe there aren’t too many things to do in Mdina but it is one of those places where you don’t go to find attractions and sights to visit. You visit Mdina for Mdina itself.

I hope you agree!

I hope you found this guide to visiting Mdina useful and as always let me know if you think I have missed something important or if you have any questions.

Until then, happy travels my friends!

Looking for more things to do in Malta?

You will find it all in this post detailing all the best things you can do during your trip to Malta!

Here you will find a list of everything you need to know before travelling to Malta.

If you are looking for a picture-perfect, ultimately Maltese fishing village, be sure to visit Marsaxlokk ! And a visit to Malta would be complete without exploring its capital Valletta.

I am sure you are looking for some beach time while in Malta! I wrote a complete guide to the best beaches in Malta. 

Are you having trouble choosing the best area to stay in Malta? I got ya! Here is my comprehensive guide to all the best areas and places to stay in Malta!

This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase the product or make a booking via one of my links, I will receive a small commission. Please know that I will never recommend or promote a product I don’t believe in or haven’t used. This way, you are supporting this blog at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

My favourite Travel Resources 

  • For most of my accommodation management, I use  Bookings.com  and  Hostel World . With both booking platforms, you will often get free cancellations and access to tons of reviews. Read them! You will also get the most extensive selection of all types of accommodation. I hardly ever look elsewhere. If you are travelling in Asia – Agoda is definitely worth checking out!
  • Make sure you download  Google Maps  and, on the first day, download an offline map of your location. This way, even without the internet or Wi-Fi, you will be able to get to your destination.

Moovit is also an excellent and very underrated travel and journey-planning app. It works great in many countries and will show you all possible routes by public transport, including the timetables.

For busses, I mainly use  Busbud  or  Omio  and  Flixbus to travel in Europe. 

123Go   — Great for tickets for trains, buses, ferries and charters in Southeast Asia! The best way to buy your ticket for the overnight Bangkok train! Rome2rio   – Another great journey-planning app. If your way of travel is mainly public transport  – you will use this app for sure!

 The travel insurance I use is Heymondo , and their plan suits me perfectly. They have clear policies with no deductibles, the price is excellent for what they offer and the price doesn’t go up when you are over 30 years old. They have a dedicated, easy-to-use app and free assistance calls.

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  • I carry two debit cards with me. Given I don’t have a permanent country of residence,  Revolut  and Wise  work fantastically. In case one gets frozen, stolen or simply lost, I have a backup. The great thing about both cards is that you can freeze them straight from your phone and transfer money between them in case you need to. You will also get a great exchange rate and create separate foreign currency accounts. 
  • I booked most of my tours via either  Get Your Guide  or  Viator . You can also book locally, but I advise you to ask around and follow the local recommendations. 

For more travel tips and recourses, visit Pati’s Travel Tips page!

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The World Was Here First

A Guide To Mdina & Rabat, Malta

Last Updated on February 27, 2024

by Maggie Turansky

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

While it can be easy to spend your entire Malta itinerary soaking up the Mediterranean sunshine on the coast, the inland towns of Mdina and Rabat are fantastic places to visit as well.

Mdina is a popular day-trip destination, and it isn’t difficult to see why. With a fascinating history as the original capital of Malta and its beautiful walled setting, there are some great things to do in Mdina.

Mdina also has a claim to fame as being the filming location for King’s Landing in the first season of HBO’s  Game of Thrones . Luckily, however, it hasn’t seemed to have attracted near the number of tourists that Dubrovnik has but it can make you long for the days when Jaime Lannister still had two hands and Ned Stark still had his head.

The adjacent town of Rabat — which quite literally translates to “suburb” — is often overlooked by tourists. However, it is also a wonderful place to visit with some intriguing points of interest. Both towns can also offer a calming refuge from the busyness of Sliema and the touristy streets of Valletta .

In fact, Rabat has arguably more places of interest than the far more popular tourist attraction of Mdina and there are many things to do in Rabat that make it worth visiting.

If you’re wondering what to do in Mdina and Rabat and plan to visit these cities while on a trip to Malta, then this is the guide for you.

Table of Contents

Getting to Mdina and Rabat

Arguably the best way to get around Malta for tourists is by bus. The local bus system is extensive, with multiple reliable connections throughout the island per day.

If you are travelling from Valletta, getting to Rabat is incredibly straightforward, as multiple direct buses depart from the main terminal every hour. Depending on the traffic and the time of day you are travelling, the journey should take somewhere from 30 to 40 minutes.

Traditional Pink Balconies in Mdina, Malta

Even if you’re only intending to visit Mdina, you still need to take the bus to Rabat. There is no bus station within the walled city of Mdina as they only allow a very limited number of registered cars in. The centre of Rabat, however, is only located about a five-minute walk away from the main gates of Mdina so this is not an inconvenience in the slightest.

If you are arriving from the north of the island, there are also a number of direct buses that will get you there. As Rabat is a main residential area of Malta, it is well-served by public transport so it is, therefore, quite easy to access no matter where you happen to be on the island.

If you don’t want to rely on the bus, you can opt to drive to Mdina and Rabat, as well. Many people find that renting a car in Malta gives them a bit more flexibility and can be a good option if you’re short on time and you don’t mind dealing with the crazy Maltese traffic.

If you want to hire a car, we recommend using RentalCars.com in order to compare prices from many different companies. It can also be a good idea to take out a third-party excess insurance policy with iCarHireInsurance in order to save money and give you peace of mind should anything happen to your vehicle.

Mdina and Rabat are located close to the centre of the island, so it shouldn’t take more than about 30-40 minutes to drive to the cities from anywhere on Malta.

Mdina, Malta

Things To Do In Rabat

While the main attraction in this area of Malta is medieval Mdina, the larger town of Rabat is also quite worth exploring in its own right. With several interesting attractions, lovely architecture, and a wonderful cafe culture, one can easily spend a leisurely day exploring this wonderful place.

St. Paul’s Catacombs

Nothing provokes the imagination more than a creepy jaunt into the bowels of a church to find out where and how (important) people in Ancient Rome were buried, right?

While the Catacombs of St. Paul are arguably the biggest point of interest for visitors to Rabat, they are still not all that busy, which makes it all the more interesting to enjoy.

As the largest underground Roman cemetery in Malta (is it just me, or does that seem like  very specific criteria?), these catacombs span over 2,000 square metres in area. Believed to be in use up until the 4th Century, CE and originally excavated in 1894, they are also the earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.

Admission into the catacombs is €6 for adults and €4.50 for concessions (students and seniors) and are well worth exploring if only to get away for some sweet relief from the Maltese sun.

St. Paul’s Church and Grotto

Malta is a very Catholic country and that means that almost every town has at least one church or cathedral that is a major point of interest. Rabat is no different.

St. Paul’s Church and Grotto (not to be confused with St. Paul’s catacombs, which are located a little way down the road and are completely detached from the church) has quite a bit of historical significance when it comes to Catholicism in Malta.

It is believed to be the place where St. Paul himself sought refuge after being shipwrecked with his missionary party on the island.

It is believed, however, that St. Paul chose to live and pray in the subterranean grotto beneath the church instead of the building itself.

St. Paul’s Church is a known place of pilgrimage for many practising Catholics, most notably Pope John Paul II, who visited the premises in 1990.

St Paul's Church in Rabat, Malta

The Roman Villa

Located between Rabat and Mdina is a museum housing the ruins of a traditional Roman villa. While little remains of the villa itself, there is an impressive collection of excellently preserved mosaics and other Roman antiquities that have been found by archaeologists throughout Malta. It also gives an interesting understanding of what life was like in Roman times.

Admission into the Villa Museum costs €6 for adults and €4.50 for concessions.

Restaurants And Cafes In Rabat

One of the things that we were incredibly impressed by in Malta was the quality (and value for money!) of the food. The local cuisine is delicious and there are myriad fantastic restaurants where you can sample it. There is also a great cafe culture in Rabat that is worth trying out. Here are some of our favourite Rabat restaurants and cafes:

Crystal Palace

One could easily walk by this local, hole-in-the-wall bakery without a second glance, but that would be a grave mistake. This is because Crystal Palace, located across the street from the Roman Villa, makes what numerous sources agree to be the best pastizzi in Malta. And this is no joke.

Pastizzi are small, savoury pastries traditionally filled with cheese, meat, or mushy peas surrounded by a flaky, filo-like dough. Crystal Palace serves fresh-from-the-wood-fired-oven pastizzi 24 hours per day, all at incredibly low prices.

This is an excellent option for an affordable breakfast, lunch, or midnight snack and you should definitely take the time to enjoy these delicious little pies.

Fresh Pastizzi in Malta

Ta’ Doni Cafe

If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee, chilled-out wine bar, or a local craft beer along with good, affordable food and a great atmosphere then look no further than Ta’ Doni cafe.

Located just a stone’s throw down the road from Crystal Palace, this small cafe has an excellent wine list and local craft beer selection along with great sandwiches and fantastic local sharing platters.

They also have a lovely outdoor terrace making it a perfect place to sit down, have a cold beverage, and people-watch for an hour or two.

A sharing platter from Ta' Doni

Things To Do In Mdina

Mdina, or The Silent City, is one of the most popular day trip spots in Malta and it’s easy to see why. This majestic walled city was the capital of Malta for thousands of years until the Order of the Knights of St. John took up residence and moved it, first to Birgu (one of the three cities) and finally to Valletta.

Because of its small size, there aren’t a lot of things to do in Mdina and it can easily be combined with its neighbouring town of Rabat. For visitors who want to learn more about the history of Mdina, it’s possible to book a walking tour in advance.

Mdina, Malta

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, no town in Malta is in want of churches and the same can be said for Mdina. The imposing structure of St. Paul’s Cathedral was built in 1693 after a destructive earthquake destroyed the original, believed to have been constructed sometime in the 12th Century CE.

Inside, there are impressive and intricate artwork and facades, reminiscent of that from St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta. There is also a massive mural depicting the shipwreck of St. Paul and his missionary party on the island of Malta, believed to have happened some 1,900 years ago.

The cathedral museum is also worth visiting, as it houses several interesting and intriguing artefacts from Malta throughout its history.

The City Walls

Mdina is a completely walled city situated high on a hill, so it is only logical that there would be spectacular views of the small island nation from the walls. And that is just so. One of the best things to do in Mdina is to watch the sunset over the Mediterranean from the city walls, where you can see the beautiful panorama that is Malta.

City Walls View from Mdina, Malta

Mdina By Night

While Mdina is a very popular spot to visit in Malta, most tourists only come for a day trip before heading back to their accommodation come nightfall. This leaves the beautiful city almost deserted once the sun sets and makes it one of the best times to wander around.

The high marble buildings and low light feel majestic as you can hear your steps echo down the back streets. While walking around Mdina at night, one can truly understand why this town is referred to as “The Silent City.”

Restaurants And Cafes In Mdina

Despite its diminutive size, there are a number of very nice restaurants and cafes in Mdina, though some come with very hefty price tags.

While some of the best restaurants in Malta are located in Mdina, the prices are much higher than similar restaurants elsewhere in Malta and Gozo, so I would recommend eating more at the mid-range restaurants while in Mdina.

Fior di Latte

There is nothing better than enjoying a lovely scoop of gelato on a hot day, and Fior di Latte has some of the best! This little shop located close to the city walls viewpoint has a large selection of both sweet and fruity flavours and is well worth a stop.

Fontanella Wine Bar

A wonderful wine bar and cafe , this place has a great roof terrace providing spectacular views over Malta and an excellent wine list where most wines are available by the glass! They also serve fantastic traditional sharing platters and also have a full dinner menu. Also, in traditional Maltese fashion, the portion sizes are huge! This place can get popular in the evening, so it is advisable to book in advance.

A massive sharing platter at Fontanella Wine Bar

Where to Stay in Mdina and Rabat

If you’re interested in staying the night around Mdina and Rabat, your best bet is to look for accommodation in Rabat rather than in Mdina.

However, there are a couple of hotels within the walls of Mdina itself that can be appealing for those looking to add some luxury to their trip to Malta.

Adelphi Boutique Hotel  — Located in the centre of Rabat, this is a great base in Malta as you’re also within walking distance of Mdina. They have rooms suitable for couples and larger groups with breakfast available daily.

Point de Vue  — A great mid-range guesthouse in Rabat located close to the city walls of Mdina. There is a restaurant and bar on site with comfortable rooms available for couples and families.

Not quite what you’re looking for?  Click here to browse other hotels in Rabat!

Maltese Balconies in Rabat

Mdina and Rabat are two of the best places to visit in Malta. Though both are quite small, I would recommend taking your time to wander around and explore both towns. There are several things to do and interesting sites to see and both are well worth adding to any Malta itinerary!

Are you wondering what to see in Mdina and Rabat? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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About Maggie Turansky

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

Great guide, Maggie, thanks for sharing! Next time I’ll be in Mdina, I will stay the night for sure, it’s so worth it!

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Mdina, the Silent City of Malta: A Walking Tour Guide

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta

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Mdina, also called the Silent City, is the ancient capital of Malta. It’s all surrounded by fortifications. You can see a mix of Baroque and medieval architecture around. If you’re curious about Maltese history and culture, add Mdina to the top of your travel itinerary.

I’ve lived in Malta since 2011. I’ve wandered around Mdina’s quiet streets many times. Every time I go, I learn about its interesting history. Mdina is an amazing town, with a peaceful vibe and beautiful architecture. It is a must-visit if you want to experience Maltese culture up close.

This Mdina guide is all set up to help you make the most of Mdina. You will find a map to lead you through the streets of this Silent City. Plus, I’ve listed all the attractions and shared info on what’s worth seeing there.

So, are you ready to uncover Mdina’s best spots?

Table of Contents

The Historical Significance of the Silent City of Malta

Mdina, also known as the Silent City, is one of Malta’s oldest towns. You won’t see many cars here, which makes it very peaceful.

Although only a few hundred people live in Mdina, it feels much bigger. It’s connected to Rabat , a town with over 11,000 people. Rabat is an Arabic word, and it means suburb.

The Silent City has a rich history. People have lived on Mdina’s land since ancient times. Phoenicians built a city here, called Maleth. The Romans renamed it Melite.

Medieval times brought more change. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city wall was built to make the town smaller and easier to protect. After an invasion in 870, the city’s churches were destroyed.

But Mdina made a comeback in 1048 or 1049 when a Muslim community moved in. They built a city that differed from the ancient Melite. It resembled a traditional Arabic city or medina, hence the name Mdina.

Even after the Order of St. John moved Malta’s capital to Birgu in 1530, Mdina stayed the place where nobles liked to live. It kept changing, getting Baroque features in the 18th century but keeping its old-timey feel.

Tourists today flock to Mdina’s blend of Norman and Baroque influences. Its resilience through history makes this Silent City truly special.

The Architecture of Mdina

As you wander through Mdina, take a look around. You’ll see a maze of narrow streets where each turn brings surprises. Mdina’s buildings are as impressive.

Some have a Baroque design with lots of detail. There are also some houses from the medieval period, straight out of a storybook. They’ve stood here for centuries. If only walls could talk! 

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Narrow Streets

Mdina’s Walking Tour: A Map of the Silent City of Malta

Mdina walking tour map.

Are you ready for a tour? In Mdina, you will see old houses full of charm. Look at the windows and doors. They’re painted in bright, bold colours. Each one is different. You’ll see blues, reds, yellows, and greens. And the streets are so small you can touch both sides.

This city is amazing – full of history and friendly people. Don’t rush. Enjoy every moment of your walk in the Silent City of Malta.

Here’s a map for a self-guided walking tour. Click on the pins for more information.

Do you prefer a guided tour? Book one using this link .

Mdina Gate: The Entrance to the Silent City of Malta

The first stop is the Mdina Gate . On the Mdina walking tour map, it’s the number one spot.

Mdina Gate is the main entrance to Mdina in Malta, built from limestone in the Baroque style. That means it’s full of detailed carvings and has a grand look. 

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Mdina Gate

The front has a decoration that shows the coat of arms of both Mdina and Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena. There’s also a Latin inscription. There’s a stone bridge leading to the gate with statues of lions holding the coat of arms.

The Mdina Dungeons Museum

The Mdina Dungeons Museum is our next stop (refer to point 2 on the map). In this museum, you’ll learn Malta’s scary stories from Roman times to Knights and Napoleon.

The storytelling is real and engaging. This isn’t a place for the faint-hearted. So, if you’re brave enough, the Mdina Dungeons Museum is a place to check out.

National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is next door to The Mdina Dungeons Museum. It’s labeled as number 3 on the Mdina walking map.

It’s not the biggest museum around, and it could use a bit of updating, but it’s in a really old building Palazzo Vilhena.

Palazzo Vilhena is a beautiful French Baroque building from the 18th century. Over the years, it served many purposes. It was a hospital during a cholera outbreak. Later, it was turned into a sanatorium and then a hospital for the treatment of patients with tuberculosis.

In 1973, the palace opened as the National Museum of Natural History. Now, you can see all kinds of things there, like rocks, minerals, and animal habitats.

Kappella ta’ Sant’ Agata

Next on the walking tour is Kappella ta’ Sant’ Agata (see point 4 on the map).

This chapel has truly stood the test of time. The original chapel was built by a noble family in the 15th century. But an earthquake in 1693 changed everything. The old chapel was ruined, but the people of Mdina built it up again in 1694.

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Kappella ta' Sant' Agata

Once, when Mdina was under attack, the townsfolk took St. Agatha’s image and marched in a procession. They believed she helped them, and the attackers left. People celebrate this event every year on February 5th.

After World War II, the chapel served as a home for two refugee families. It has been beautifully restored recently.

places to visit in mdina malta

Medieval Places to Stay in the Silent City

Palazzo Bifora : Luxury in Mdina with a mix of historical charm and modern comfort, outdoor pool, and attentive staff. Book here .

The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux : 17th-century palace in medieval Mdina offering luxurious rooms, award-winning cuisine, and stunning baroque surroundings. Book here .

Mdina Cathedral Museum

Next, visit Mdina’s Cathedral Museum. On the Mdina walking map, it’s labeled as number 5.

This museum is full of surprises and treasures. From striking church art and sparkling silverware to ancient furniture and paintings, there’s so much to see. You’ll find more than 60 prints by Albrecht Dürer. You could easily lose track of time exploring the halls and rooms packed with art and historical pieces.

The most convenient way to experience the area is by getting a combination ticket for both the church and the museum. It’s an excellent place to visit if you love art and history. 

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Colourful Doors

St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral is named after St. Paul the Apostle (point 6 on Mdina’s walking map). It’s said that it was built where the Roman governor Publius met St. Paul after he was shipwrecked on Malta. The first church here was built in the 12th century. After the earthquake, the old church was taken apart and a new one was constructed in 1702.

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - St. Paul's Cathedral

The cathedral is full of beautiful art. The ceiling and dome are covered with detailed paintings, and the floor is made of tombstones and marble slabs. If you visit the Silent City, you must visit this special cathedral.

Fontanella Tea Garden

Our next stop is Fontanella Tea Garden (see point 7 on the map). Here you can take a break and taste some of the most delicious cakes in Malta. Sit back, sip tea or coffee, and try something sweet. The cakes there are top-notch, in all flavours. If you’re lucky, you might even get to sit at a table with a breathtaking view of Malta. 

Palazzo Falson

Palazzo Falson is marked as no 8 on the Mdina city walking map. This house, which is now a museum, was once home to Olof Gollcher. He lived there in the 1900s, but the house itself is even older, from the 1200s! Gollcher was a collector, so he filled his home with things he loved.

When you visit, you can see various items from different times and places. You’ll find furniture, jewellery, paintings, and more. An audio guide will tell you all about them. The people there are friendly and will help you out.

Plus, there’s a cafe on the roof where you can get a bite to eat and enjoy the view. It’s a nice place to visit, and you’ll probably spend an hour there. You can get your entrance ticket here .

Bastion Square

Next is Bastion Square (no 9 on the Mdina map). It has breathtaking views of Malta. And the trees in the square are beautiful when in bloom.

There are wall ramparts from where on a clear day, Valletta and Mosta Dome can be seen. 

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Fountain in the Bastion Square

On the way to the next spot, The Knights of Malta Museum, you will see some of the most romantic photo spots in Malta. 

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Romantic Spot in Mdina - Blue Door and Flowers on the Wall

The Knights of Malta Museum 

The Knights of Malta Museum is next on our walking tour (refer to point 10). In this museum, you will see a video show that lasts 30 minutes. Then there’s a puppet show that’s just as long.

The museum shares stories about the Knights of Malta, including how they defeated the Turks. You can also learn about knights’ grand adventures. And you can also learn about the different Grand Masters. They each did their own thing. Some loved coins. Others were into science. You can see all these interests on their coat of arms. 

Pjazza Mesquita

Lastly, visit Pjazza Mesquita in Mdina. It’s marked as number 11 on the map.

This square is a hidden gem in Mdina. It’s quiet, full of charm and beauty. There is an old well sitting in the middle of the square. 

But that’s not all. This place is also a star! It was on the TV show Game of Thrones. And it’s a perfect place to take photos. 

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Well in the Pjazza Mesquita

Howard Gardens in the Silent City of Malta

As the walking tour ends, take some time to relax in Howard Gardens . These gardens are marked as point 12 on the Mdina walking map.

This park is a favourite outdoor spot for many in Malta. It got its name from Malta’s first Prime Minister, Joseph Howard, and opened in 1942.

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Howard Gardens

This garden is also full of history. Here, you can find the remains of an ancient Roman city called Melite. And there’s a column marking where a Middle Ages church used to be. But it’s not all about the past. There are benches to sit on and kiosks selling snacks. It’s a peaceful place to enjoy nature, with a great view of the Silent City.

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta - Architecture

That’s the end of our tour in Mdina, Malta’s Silent City. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time—it’s the magic of Mdina. Many more sights, stories, and secrets await. Don’t miss out!

If you prefer a guided walk, why not book a tour ? See if one’s available and book it.

Mdina, The Silent City of Malta: FAQ

Mdina is a must-visit for its charm, views, and beauty. Known as the Silent City, it offers historical attractions. Simply walking its streets is enchanting.

Half a day is plenty to explore Mdina’s streets and vibe. You can extend your visit by checking out Rabat nearby or dining in Mdina.

No, but its tranquillity is a big part of its allure, thanks to limited car access and its peaceful streets.

Mdina is called the Silent City due to its calm vibe. This is amplified by its narrow, car-free streets and its just over 300 residents. This makes it uniquely quiet.

Yes, Mdina transforms at night. It’s when the city truly feels empty and magical. Mdina also has great dining options. They are perfect for a memorable evening.

Mdina stands out for its rich history. It has breathtaking medieval and Baroque buildings. It also has amazing views across Malta.

Game of Thrones shot various scenes in Mdina. In episode #103, “Lord Snow,” Mdina Gate became King’s Landing Gate. Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik entered the city through it. Another location in Mdina was Pjazza Mesquita, Littlefinger’s brothel in the same episode.

While Mdina itself is always open, many attractions close around 5 PM.

Indeed, around 300 people live in Mdina. Some palazzos have been turned into boutique hotels, adding to the city’s charm.

They are different. Mdina is a historic fortified city. Rabat, meaning “suburb” in Arabic, is just outside its walls. Nowadays Rabat is bigger and has a higher population.

In Malta, you say Mdina as “im-dee-nuh”.

Mdina is a must-see in Malta. But don’t stop there. Malta has so many more places to visit .  How about exploring Valletta , the Three Cities , Rabat or the top historical sites of Malta ? If you’re a fan of UNESCO sites , you’ll find some gems in Malta too. Just click on the links to view my guides to all of these.

Let’s make your Malta adventure memorable. After all, you’re not just visiting places. You’re building memories. So, let’s make them count!

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Home » Malta island » Mdina and Rabat

Mdina and Rabat travel guide and insider tips

Mdina and Rabat are two popular towns in Malta (in the southwest of the main island), and each is admired for very different reasons.

Mdina is one of Malta’s most popular tourist destinations because there’s no place like it anywhere. Sitting on top of a hill overlooking large parts of Malta, it’s a fortified medieval town enclosed in bastions, small but rich in history. It’s filled with centuries-old buildings that have been well-maintained throughout the ages.

Wandering through its narrow streets and alleys, Mdina genuinely feels like history coming to life. The only real giveaway is the local residents’ cars parked within.

Rabat, the village that’s located on Mdina’s doorstep (and once considered to be its suburb), on the other hand, is known for its quiet, more rural character and natural beauty. Apart from offering a few key museums and points of interest, Rabat is also known for one of the few forested areas the country knows, Buskett Gardens , the entrance to which can be found on the outskirts of the village.

A typical Maltese town that still hosts traditional village festas , there’s a lot of character to discover on a leisure walk through its streets.

In terms of accommodation, neither of the villages is a popular place to actually stay, although a few boutique hotels can be found. If exploring the country is your priority and you’re looking for a quieter place to stay, it’s definitely a lovely location to consider. Mdina, even though a popular tourist destination, rarely really feels busy.

If you decide to stay elsewhere, it’s an area to visit multiple times, for sightseeing but also to enjoy a beautiful part of Malta in the evening.

Mdina's main street

Quick facts

  • Mdina is (tentatively) listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Mdina was Malta’s capital city until the Knights of Malta arrived in 1530
  • The Silent City is an often-used name for Mdina , and you’ll understand once you walk around inside the city walls. It’s also known as Città Vecchia (“Old City”) and Città Notabile (“Notable City”)
  • The name Mdina comes from the Arabic word medina , which means ‘city’.
  • The region was first inhabited in 700 BCE
  • Built at a strategic defensive location with a clear sight of surrounding areas
  • Rabat is known for its quiet character, the forested area of Buskett and attractions such as the Roman Domus and St Paul’s Catacombs
  • Its main entrance features in the popular TV series Game of Thrones , scenes of which were filmed in different parts of Malta and Gozo.

The beauty of the “silent city” of Mdina

Mdina, also called the Silent City, is surrounded by fortified bastion walls and sits on top of one of the highest hills of Malta. The town, as it exists today, was built in medieval times on the footprint of a city called Maleth, which was founded in the 8th century BC by Phoenician Settlers. With its tall outer walls having been erected in the 11th century, many buildings built several centuries ago have been preserved, and its narrow alleys tell tales of centuries of history and the various rulers that governed Malta.

Mdina is visible from large parts of Malta, and the view of the skyline as you drive up to Rabat from the centre of the island is iconic.  There’s a mythical sense to the city when you enter it, and you can almost taste the history as you walk its streets. There’s no mistaking that this city was built with pride for important people who wanted to build a small fortress that would be easy to defend from enemy attacks.

Surrounded by a ditch that has been turned into a public garden, you can wander around freely and enjoy the view of the age-old bastions from underneath. The inner streets are all paved with large stones and cobbles, and you’ll often hear the sound of horse-drawn carriages taking tourists on a tour of the city.

All around you are stately buildings, built at various points in the history of the town and featuring distinct architectural designs from different periods. At its heart, you’ll find the imposing St. Paul’s Cathedral and its small square in front, while a few chapels are open to admire to the public in a few of the smaller streets.

The streets are narrow and winding, and walking along them feels like you’re trying to find your way out of a maze, although really and truly, the place is so small it’s hard to get lost. With all the noise of everyday life in the busier parts of Malta, the silence inside the city’s walls is very noticeable and really adds to the magic of the city itself, as well as its panoramic views out over the island.

One of the lions on the side of Mdina's main gate

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Things to do and see in Mdina

Featuring a mix of medieval and baroque architecture, Mdina has many gems to be discovered.

12 places to see in Mdina

1. the silent city itself.

It’s not just a good location to visit individual museums or points of interest, the city itself is something to behold and experience. A myriad of streets and alleys paved with stone slabs, surrounded by a blend of architectural styles introduced over the centuries, all together make for an impressive place to admire.

2. The National Museum of Natural History

The Natural History Museum is located to your right as you enter the Main Gate and is popularly visited. To be fair, the museum could do with a little work and part of the interest is in the building itself: Vilhena Palace. It’s a commanding building, with its beautiful baroque facade and impressive entrance courtyard.

3. Torre dello Standardo

Right opposite the museum, the Torre dello Standardo formed part of the system of watchtowers around the Maltese islands, which together functioned as a communication system. To raise the alarm in case of attack or to pass on the message, a fire was lit and visible to at least two other towers in the line of sight. This tower nowadays houses a small tourist information office, but it’s worth having a quick peek inside.

4. St Paul’s Cathedral

Easily recognisable in the skyline of Mdina, St Paul’s Cathedral (Pjazza San Pawl, in the centre), with its baroque cathedral, bastions, and palaces, is an imposing landmark visible throughout central Malta, The Cathedral is the architectural heart of this elegant, ancient walled city, and ties on the site of a much earlier Norman church destroyed by a violent earthquake in 1693.

The rebuilt cathedral was decorated with various artefacts that survived the earthquake and can still be admired by visitors today. The floor is covered by large marble gravestones commemorating the several bishops and canons, as well as laymen from noble families who were buried in the cathedral.

5. Cathedral Museum

Originally a seminary, the museum (located across the street on the side of the cathedral to the South) today is one of the most outstanding religious museums in Europe. A small chapel is found on the second floor exhibiting church vestments. It also exhibits an impressive cross-section of sacred art, famous paintings, a coin collection, Roman antiquities, and original documents from the time of the Inquisition.

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6. Archbishop’s Palace

The silent city has always been the seat of the Bishop of Malta. The Archbishop’s Palace (next to the cathedral), which was built in 1722, serves as the residence of the Archbishop of Malta.

7. Palazzo Falson (The Norman House)

Palazzo Falson (towards the end of Triq Villegaignon), generally known as the Norman House, is the best-preserved medieval building in Mdina. Built in 1495, it was occupied by the first Grand Master in Malta, Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, when the Knights of Malta arrived here in 1530.

8. Mdina Ditch Garden

The ditch around the town was landscaped and upgraded in recent years, which makes it a great place for a little stroll. You can enter the ditch from the small parking area at one of the side gates (Greeks Gate) or from a staircase to the side of the il-Veduta restaurant.

9. Banca Giuratale

After Grand Master Vilhena confiscated the original Ministerial Palace for his private use, the Universita (local government) found its new seat in this building. It sits at the square’s edge in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. During the revolt against the French, a national assembly came together here.

10. Bastion views

You can get an excellent view towards the East of Malta from the bastion at Triq is-Sur, at the back of Mdina. Good for a quick peek or for a quiet spot to enjoy the silence and view on a summer’s night.

11. Palazzo Gatto Murina

Palazzo Gatto Murina, one of the earliest ‘Siculo-Norman’ structures (i.e. built between 1100 and 1530), was erected during the latter part of the 14th century. An audiovisual show, “Tales of the Silent City”, is housed inside the Palazzo.

12. St. Roque’s Chapel

Tucked away in Triq il-Villegaignon, this is a beautiful chapel that looks very unassuming from the outside. It’s open to the public on most days and worth taking a peek inside.

Mdina's main gate as seen from underneath in the ditch.

Things to do in Mdina

  • Take home a couple of traditional souvenirs in the form of Maltese lace and decorative items from Mdina Glass on the long central road Triq il-Villegaignon .
  • Take a karozzin ride within the narrow streets and alleys of the silent city itself to admire the serenity and beautiful architecture. (Note that however traditional they may be, they are controversial in terms of animal welfare.)
  • Around in April? Attend the Medieval Mdina event and see the fortified medieval town come to life with re-enactment and other activities in one of the most popular annual events in Malta .
  • Be sure to visit the Chapel of St Roque , located on Triq il-Villegaignon, the longest street in the centre of Mdina, just past St Paul’s Cathedral, coming from the Main Gate. What looks like a quaint little church from the outside hides a beautiful interior that is worth admiring. No longer used for liturgical services but opened to the public during the day, the church of St Roque is definitely worth a quick visit, whether you’re religious or not.
  • The Mdina Experience (Pjazza Mesquita) and Mdina Dungeons (right behind the Main Gate) are heavily advertised tourist attractions. The first is a short historical movie, which is pretty static but informative for those who have a keen interest in Mdina’s history. The second is generally found not to be worth the €5 entrance fee, however.
  • If you think Mdina’s a nice place to visit during the day, it’s even nicer in the evening after the sun sets . It’s a lot quieter, and the dimly lit streets create even more of an atmosphere. It’s also a great excuse to try out a few of the nice restaurants inside Mdina and at Saqqajja Hill, just outside the Main Gate.

Recommended tours

Mdina and rabat walking tour, mdina & malta highlights, mdina & rabat ghost tour, hotels in mdina.

The Xara Palace is probably the most well-known boutique hotel in the area, situated in the heart of Mdina. It’s housed in a 17th-century palace and offers luxurious accommodation (with a price tag to match) with different levels of rooms (most with a great view, as you can imagine).

Another elegant boutique hotel in Mdina is Palazzo Bifora , showcasing 12th-century architectural features and a rooftop swimming pool.

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Things to do and see in Rabat

Rabat also has its share of historical sites.

5 places of interest in Rabat

1. howard gardens.

Howard Gardens is one of the biggest public gardens in Malta and can be found right outside Mdina. These gardens form a natural border between Rabat and neighbouring Mdina. There are a few kiosks around with tables and chairs, and it’s pretty peaceful and quiet there. Great for a lazy Sunday morning coffee and snack.

2. St Paul’s and St Agatha’s Catacombs

The Maltese islands are rich in late Roman and Byzantine burial sites. Both sites contain a typical complex of interconnected, underground Roman cemeteries that were in use up to the 4th century AD. St Paul’s Catacombs represent the earliest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta.

Both sites are accessible from the middle of Bajjada Triq Sant Agata, in the village core of Rabat.

3. Domus Romana (Roman Villa)

The mosaic pavements in the ‘ Roman villa ’ at Rabat rank among the finest and oldest mosaic compositions from the western Mediterranean, alongside those of Pompeii and Sicily. They were discovered in 1881 just outside Mdina in the remains of a rich and sumptuously decorated townhouse of the Roman period.

4. Wignacourt Museum

Once home to one of the Chaplains of the Order of St John, the Wignacourt Museum (Triq il-Kullegg, around the corner from the Paris Church of St Paul) is a well-preserved representation of what life was like for the Chaplains of the day. Named after Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, the museum is well worth a visit for its magnificent setting and beautiful baroque architecture alone.

5. Casa Bernard

At the museum of Casa Bernard (46 Triq San Pawl, you can catch a glimpse of how Maltese nobility lived in this well-kept and beautifully restored 16th Century Palazzo . Passed on through generations, descendants from its original owners actually still live there. Guided tours are offered, and it makes for a very unique place to visit.

The Domus Romana in Rabat

Things to do in Rabat

  • Take a quick tour of the area with a small train that drives around, starting from in front of the Roman Domus or explore the area around Mdina (the moat) and il-Buskett (forest area) on foot.
  • Grab a newspaper, buy a few pastizzi (Maltese pastry snacks) from Crystal Palace and sit on a bench to enjoy the peace and quiet at Howard Gardens, overlooking the bastion walls.
  • Rabat is one of the few villages in Malta where multiple village feasts (or festa ) are celebrated, honouring different saints. Attend one of these festi in March, early June and early July to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the fireworks displays and music.
  • Love wine? Try one of the wine bars/restaurants on the hill approaching Mdina and Rabat ( Telgħa Tas-Saqqajja ), like Root 81 and The Fork and Cork. Both have tables and chairs set outside with a nice view. Great place for wine lovers to share a bottle and food together with good company.

Howard Gardens on the edge of Rabat

Hotels in Rabat

There isn’t an awful lot of choice when it comes to hotels in Rabat, although there are a few very good options to consider if you’re looking to stay in a part of Malta that is less touristy and busy.

Point de Vue is Rabat’s oldest hotel and a budget-friendly option, ideally located at the top of the hill leading up to the area. Choose a room at the rear opening onto the countryside for extra comfort.

There are more high-end options, such as Casa Azzopardi Guesthouse , a beautiful Maltese house with all the amenities, and 100 Boutique Living .

On the outskirts of Rabat, Maple Farm Bed and Breakfast offers high-quality lodging in a very quiet area that’s within walking distance of Rabat and Mdina. It’s a family-run business that gets great reviews and loyal guests.

Restaurant and food recommendations

Snacks and street food.

  • Fontanella Tea Garden is a cafe located inside Mdina that is known for its delicious selection of cakes. Offering a beautiful view from atop the edge of the bastions, it’s a nice stop for a coffee and snack and is a popular establishment locally.
  • Serkin Crystal Palace Bar is a small everyday bar across the street from the Roman Villa, known for selling some of the best pastizzi (a staple of Maltese food ) on the island. If you really want the local experience, ask for a glass (yes, glass) of tea (called te fit-tazza locally) to enjoy your pastizzi
  • Will you be in Rabat (or nearby) in March? In the run-up to and around the local festa (village feast in celebration of a Saint) of San Guzepp, you can find traditional sweets called zeppoli in local pastry shops. Zeppoli are pastries with a fluffy texture filled with either sweet ricotta cheese, custard or cream.
  • In the mood for Italian ice cream? Try Fior di Latte .

Restaurants in Mdina and Rabat

  • The Medina is one of the few restaurants in the area to serve fine dining within an old building inside the town’s bastion walls. Food and service of a high standard with a lovely setting to boot.
  • Trattoria AD 1530 at the Xara Palace is a restaurant that’s open for both lunch and dinner and serves high-quality food. It offers tables outside under a canopy (which is heated in winter), right around the corner from the main gate. One of my personal favourites in the area.
  • Looking for Michelin Star-level dining? De Mondion is one of the highest-rated fine dining destinations in Malta, serving Mediterranean cuisine.
  • The Fork and Cork is a highly-rated (Michelin-recommended) restaurant in the area which you can find on the outskirts of Rabat along the road leading south down Saqajja Hill. It offers outdoor seating with a great view, serves excellent food and offers a good choice of local and foreign wines.
  • Palazzo Castelletti Restaurant is another great option for dining out in Rabat. Set inside a 400-year-old palazzo, you can enjoy a variety of Mediterranean dishes there.

Map of Mdina and Rabat

How to get there

Mdina and Rabat are located in a quieter part of the island, and once you leave the busier parts like Valletta , Sliema , and St Julian’s , it’s fairly easy to get there . The closest central localities to these villages are Attard, Zebbug, and Mosta, although major road signs in the central part of Malta will include Mdina.

Where to park around Mdina and Rabat

Parking spaces are limited in the area, although on weekdays, it’s not too bad. These are a few options to try (which are all within walking distance the city):

  • Right outside the entrance to Mdina , next to a playground, public parking is available, although it’s rare to find a spot here on busier days. A parking attendant is usually present, and their income is based on gratuities (although paying them for parking there is not required as such).
  • There’s a large paid parking area near the Roman Villa (museum in Rabat – more on that below) for starters.
  • You can also drive through a narrow tunnel into the moat of Mdina from that location, with more public parking spots. You’ll often find a parking attendant here as well. You can enter the moat from just outside the Roman Villa museum at the edge of Rabat
  • Finally, there’s a road in the same place that leads down to what used to be one of the few train stations around Malta (and is currently in use as a restaurant). On busy days, that road is my best bet to find a public parking space.

By public transport

The following direct bus routes stop at Mdina and Rabat:

  • From Valletta: Route 53 (destination Rabat – 30 mins). Also, but less efficiently: Routes 50 (destination Rabat – 45 mins), 51 (destination Mtarfa – 45 mins), 52 and 56 (destination Dingli – 45-60 mins)
  • From Bugibba/Qawra (Bus Terminus): Routes X3 (30 mins) and 186 (45 mins), the latest also departing from St Paul’s Bay (the main road – Triq il-Mosta)
  • From Sliema and St Julian’s: Route 202 (45-60 mins)

If you’re staying elsewhere, the journey planner from Public Transport Malta will be of help to plan the best route for you.

Hop-on-hop-off

You can also take the North Route of the Hop-on-hop-off bus routes. Get your tickets in advance here!

Airport transfers

If you opt for a private taxi airport transfer from Malta International Airport , that will cost you around €22, while a shared shuttle bus will cost around €14 for 2 adults (both one-way fares).

History of Mdina and Rabat

Punic remains have been found in the area around Mdina and suggest that Phoenician settlers inhabited the region around 700 BCE. Historians believe that even they fortified the city they then called Maleth. The location was of strategic importance, situated on one of the island’s highest points and relatively far away from the sea.

The Romans also recognized Mdina’s strategic importance and developed the city further, building the Roman Governor’s palace there. It was during the Norman conquest of Malta in 1091 AD that the city’s outline was shaped as we know it today. Its thick surrounding fortifications and wide moat were constructed by the Normans, and much of the architecture dates from the medieval period.

Mdina is one of the few great architectural treats in Malta that did not result from the activities of the Knights of Malta. The oldest city on the island, going back to prehistoric times, the word Mdina derives from the Arabic word ‘medina’, which means ‘city’. The Arab legacy continued even though the Arabs were officially expelled from Malta in 1250 when the Islands were under Christian rule. Thus, the name survived even though the city was referred to as ‘Civitas’ (which means ‘city’ in Latin) or ‘Citta Notabile’.

The city was fortified in medieval times, but its protection in early times must have been its high location on a rocky crag. It is certain that either during the Byzantine or during the Arab occupation of Malta, the fortifications were retracted to the present proportions, perhaps for better defensibility.

A strong earthquake destroyed parts of Mdina in 1693, after which the Knights of Malta rebuilt the cathedral and erected buildings such as Palazzo Falzon and the Magisterial Palace in Baroque style.

The fortress city once extended to the adjoining town of Rabat. Yet the fortified city was subsequently downsized in order to defend it more effectively. Mdina was Malta’s capital city until the Knights of Malta arrived in 1530 and built their headquarters in Birgu (Vittoriosa) , which subsequently became their Administrative hub.

Do you have any tips/reviews to share about Mdina? Leave a comment and let me know!

About the Author: Edward Lansink

Edward is the Founder and Editor of Malta Uncovered and author of two guidebooks on Malta and Valletta.

As a tourist-turned-expat with Maltese roots, he knows the islands inside out and helps thousands of visitors enjoy a memorable trip every year.

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Avoid the horror museum in Mdina – not worth 5€

Thanks for chipping in that tip Patrick. I haven’t listed in the article for that very reason.

Hi Edward, I plan to go Blue Grotto in a Saturday morning followed by Rabat and Mdina. Is that too rush? Please advise the best route if possible.

Hi Joe, I wouldn’t say so, no. I’d go to the Blue Grotto earlier in the morning, say at around 9am as that’s when most boat tours start their day, it’ll be quieter and the early sunlight is beautiful inside the cave. I’d head to Rabat first for a stroll around town and maybe visiting a few museums if you’re in the mood for it, then a late lunch in Mdina at Xara Palace and an afternoon coffee or tea at Fontanella, after wandering around and exploring the Silent City. I wouldn’t want to recommend a specific route simply because both towns are pretty small and part of the fun there is finding your own way around in my opinion. I hope you enjoy your day!

Hello, I was thinking about spending our last day/night in Mdina-Rabat in order to enjoy the evening there. It seems though that there is going to be little accomodation and resturants, is that so? Will it be better to just enjoy Mdina during the day? Thank you for your advice.

Hi Beatrice, there are only a few options for accommodation in the area (best bet is Airbnb probably), although you can find a good choice of nice restaurants around and dining in the evening is still pleasant.

Just got back from a lovely week in Malta! Stayed at Maple Farm B&B, complete with swimming pool, though we were not brave enough to use it in March, on the edge of Rabat. The owners even hired a wheelchair for me and took us on a tour of their olive grove and vineyard. The restaurant Fork and Cork in Rabat was brilliant: Masterchef meets Maltese cookery without the fancy prices. Generally Maltese portions elsewhere were huge. Bacchus in Mdina was another good restaurant and we enjoyed listening to the locals practising their band music at the David Adams d’Isla (not sure about that name) in Rabat, just across the road from the Castelleti which we didn’t have time to try out. We could have spend a fortnight just exploring Rabat & Mdina, Don’t go to Valletta on Sunday. All the tourist traps are open but many of the attractions are closed, also no smart cars which I was hoping to use as I have limited mobility, which meant I could only explore the pedestrianised flat ares near the entrance. Keep on with the good work!

Happy to hear you enjoyed your stay Catherine, it is a lovely area. I like recommending Maple Farm B&B – you’re not the first to tell me they’ve gone out of their way to make their guests’ stay a comfortable one.

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the enchanting Mdina in Malta

Wander around the old capital of malta.

Mdina in Malta is an ancient, unique, fortified city of incredible historical value. Erected on a hill overlooking the rest of the island from the north and east to west. It is an enchanting old capital that has kept its character with a tiny population of around 240 people.

So beautiful and historic, the city filled with Medieval, Norman and baroque architecture. Several palaces, churches, cathedral, monasteries and high fortification walls that stretch all round visible from many parts of the island.

Throughout the ages it has been maintained. It was shaken by Sicily’s earthquake of 1693 which left many buildings damaged and subsequently rebuilt as it is today.

review about mdina in Malta

  • Mdina in Malta Facts

How To Get To Mdina

  • Parking In Mdina
  • Staying In Mdina
  • What To See In Mdina Malta

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Mdina In Malta Facts

  • The region was first inhabited in 700 BCE .
  • Mdina possesses origins that go back 4,000 years old .
  • One of Malta's Top Instagram location .
  • We also refer to as the  Silent City .
  • The oldest and first capital of Malta.
  • Around 1.5 million people visit Mdina each year.
  • The city of Mdina in Malta is among the tentative list as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.
  • A location featured in the series Game of Thrones   Season 1 .
  • The city used to be called Citta’ Vecchia or Citta’ Notabile.
  • It was and is still home to some of Malta’s noble families .
  • The silent city has just under 300 residents.

During the day it is a major tourist attraction. There is no other place like it on the island. At night it is quiet with a unique character also pleasant to visit lit by lanterns, quiet alleys, people walking the main road to the rear fortifications for the incredible view.

People roaming around Mdina square Malta

Just next, there is the village of Rabat , which once formed part of the city. But during the Normans the defensive walls were narrowed to the present size for better defense.

Many restaurants are busy for lunch and dinner in old amazing buildings nicely restored. Both Maltese and tourists enjoy quality time.

Mdina, is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site . A site that will tempt you to revisit.

What to do in Mdina Malta

Mdina in Malta is a city that takes you back hundred's of years. See our list of what to do in Mdina and other places of interest you might want to visit when coming here.

With limited vehicle access, the city remains a jewel of the Maltese islands as it still has that medieval vibe.

There are some great things to do. Visit historical museums, old palaces, cathedral.

Related Page:  See how we planned a day trip in Mdina.

Restaurants in mdina.

Within the walls of Mdina you find several restaurants to have a bite to eat. Dine or have lunch at beautiful renovated palaces. There is also a One Michelin star restaurant in the heart of the city. Find out the best Mdina and Rabat restaurants to have a meal.

fortification walls of the city

The fortifications surround the entire city. They were used as defensive walls to keep the city safe from attackers. From these fortifications it was very easy to have a view of the entire island to keep an eye on any invaders looking to attack the city.

The medieval fortification were rebuilt as we see them today especially during the 18th century due to modern warfare by the Knights of St. John. Still today there are still  Punic-Roman ramparts visible and other medieval remains.

Take photos of The Lovely city

Mdina is beautiful both during the day and during the night . Make sure you have your camera or mobile phone ready to snap multiple shots of the city. There is a house in Mdina that is a famous Instagram hot spot that tourists love to pose in front of.

places to visit in mdina malta

Mdina is located on the west side of Malta, a calmer area of the island. Getting here is rather easy. Villages located close to Mdina are Zebbug, Mosta, Attard and Dingli.

You can get to Mdina by car, bus, sightseeing tour or taxi and this how.

arriving by car

If you are coming from the central part of Malta, it is mostly a main road leading to Mdina. You will find lots of signage to get here. It is basically the main road from the villages mentioned above.

mdina in malta parking

Parking outside the fortifications of Mdina is both easy and difficult. It all depends when and what time you go.

here are a few suggestions of where to find parking in mdina

  • There is a small car park beside the playground area just outside the Mdina gate. Parking is limited on busy days.
  • There is a larger car park 200 meters away from Mdina Gate , just beside the Rabat bus terminus. 
  • The ditch just under the Fortifications of Mdina  there are parking places. You will need to pass through a narrow tunnel to get there.
  • At the nearest village of Rabat around the narrow streets.

In the car parks mentioned above there will be a parking attendant. Payment is under your own free will.

You cannot park inside the city of Mdina as it is prohibited . Only Mdina residents are allowed inside with their vehicle as they have a special permit. So you will need to park outside the bastions.

How to arrive by bus

There is a bus stop just outside the Mdina Gate called 'Mdina'. It is a very popular bus stop so you can expect lots of people depending on the time.

  • To 'Mdina' Bus Stop  (Towards Valletta) :  Direct routes 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 109, 181, 182, 186, 201, 202.
  • To 'Rabat Saqqajja' Bus Stop  (Direction to Mdina) :  Direct routes 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 109, 181, 182, 186, 201, 202.

Just 5 minutes away from Mdina Gate there is the Rabat bus terminus.

  • To 'Rabat 1' Bus Stop  (Direction to Rabat) :  Direct routes 50, 51, 52, 53, 56.
  • To 'Rabat 2' Bus Stop  (Direction to Rabat) :  Direct routes 109, 181, 182, 186, 201, 202, X3.
  • To 'Rabat 3' Bus Stop  (Direction to Rabat) :  Direct routes 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 181, 182.
  • To 'Rabat 4' Bus Stop  (Direction to Rabat) :  Direct routes 109, X3.

getting to mdina in malta from several locations around the island

  • St. Julian's to Mdina: 202
  • Sliema to Mdina Malta: 202
  • Valletta to Mdina: 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 109, 181, 182, 186, 201, 202.

How to arrive by Sightseeing bus

  • There is a sightseeing tour that stops exactly outside the Mdina Gate. You will need to hop on the Sightseeing North Tour (Blue Line) .
  • The best solution would be by taking one of the many coach tours available incorporating Mdina where it stops you just in front of the main entrance leading inside the city. The hop-on hop-off also gives one the opportunity to stop at this location for any duration.

other ways to get to mdina Malta

Grab a taxi.

All taxi companies in Malta take passengers to Mdina. The taxi will stop you just outside the gate and not inside the city. The fare of the taxi depends from where you take it.

go on a tour

Mdina and Malta highlights is a full-day tour that visits a combination of villages around Mdina. One stop is Mdina the Silent city. 

airport transfer

If you booked your accommodate in Mdina, then you can opt for an airport transfer for around €22 (one-way) or a shared mini-bus for two adults is €14 (one-way).

places to visit in mdina malta

Hotels in Mdina Malta

There aren't many hotels in Mdina. You will only find one hotel.

Xara Palace Hotel Relais & Châteaux

Unique Mdina hotel located within the silent city of Mdina with luxurious interiors, imposing building and excellent service. The hotel is a beautiful 17th century palazzo built as a residence for the noble family Moscati Parisio. It has beautifully decorated baroque architecture built on the edge of the bastion with a stunning view of Malta.

  • Rates including breakfast: €150 - €450 single/double
  • Location: Council Square, Mdina

Point De Vue Guesthouse

This guesthouse is located around 100 meters from the fortifications of Mdina. Since it is situated up on a hill, there are breath-taking views of the island. The guesthouse is equipped with 12 pleasant rooms.

Situated some 100m outside Mdina, with breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside, this charming guesthouse offers value for money, with 12 comfortable rooms equipped with ensuite facilities an excellent in house restaurant. Half board options are also available.

  • Location: Saqqajja Square, Rabat
  • Rates including breakfast: €60 single | €90 double

places to visit in mdina malta

where to visit after mdina

Beside the city of Mdina, lies the village of Rabat . You can combine Mdina and Rabat together as they are just a couple of minutes on foot away from each other.

While in Rabat you can visit the following places of interest:

  • Roman Villa - Also known as Domus Romana
  • St. Paul's Catacombs
  • Parish church of Rabat Malta
  • Wignacourt Museum
  • St. Agatha's Catacombs
  • Ta' Qali Village Malta

What is Mdina for the Maltese

For the Maltese population, it is a favourite. Apart from its attracting character, the Maltese like to come here for serenity, fantastic views and for a quiet walk both during the day or at night. In summer, it is pleasant to come here for the fresh breeze over the bastion walls.

Magnificent view from the rear of the fortifications showing Valletta the capital city and all the surrounding areas. They built Mdina on a high promontory having a strategic location enabling the defenders to protect the island from invaders.

Not least to the restaurants that have made a name for themselves. There is a very popular cafeteria called ‘Fontanella’ which offers delicious food and sweets. It is on the edge of the bastions overlooking the vast landscapes of Malta. Do not miss this opportunity. Very often full and have to wait to be seated.

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Media Decision US

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This Hidden Mediterranean Gem Has History, Culture, and Unbelievable Beaches. Here Are Its Best Bits.

Posted: May 9, 2024 | Last updated: May 9, 2024

<p><span>Malta is geographical proof that size doesn’t matter. </span><span>It’s a tiny archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Yet history’s greatest empires coveted it, and bloody wars have been fought over it – realities that shaped Malta into the fascinating destination it is today.</span></p> <p><span>From fortified cities and paradise beaches to cave systems and ancient temples, there is a huge and eclectic mix of things to do in Malta. Keen to visit? Here are</span><span> 14 incredible sights, activities, and attractions that belong on anyone’s Malta itinerary.</span></p>

Malta is geographical proof that size doesn’t matter. It’s a tiny archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Yet history’s greatest empires coveted it, and bloody wars have been fought over it – realities that shaped Malta into the fascinating destination it is today.

From fortified cities and paradise beaches to cave systems and ancient temples, there is a huge and eclectic mix of things to do in Malta. Keen to visit? Here are  14 incredible sights, activities, and attractions that belong on anyone’s Malta itinerary.

<p>Forgive the cliché, but this tiny Mediterranean island truly has something for everyone. Ancient temples and fortified towns will satisfy the history buffs. Beautiful sandy coves with clear waters will appease <a href="https://www.whatsdannydoing.com/blog/best-gifts-for-beach-lovers-gifts" rel="noreferrer noopener">beach lovers</a>. Numerous famous filming locations will delight the movie fans…Malta deserves a place on anyone’s bucket list.</p>

1. Explore Valletta

I could write an entire article about Malta’s capital city. The place is magical – a history lover’s dream – and jam-packed with things to see, do, and experience.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this fortified city, with its huge, imposing stone walls, seems like something straight from Game of Thrones . And for good reason. Various “Kings Landing” scenes were filmed here, not to mention scenes in Gladiator and other popular movies.

Valletta’s so unique that my main recommendation is simply to explore on foot and soak it all in. However, specific highlights include St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, and the Grandmaster’s Palace.

<p><span>When you visit Valletta, you’ll gaze out across the Grand Harbor and see three peninsulas jutting out into it. Collectively, they’re known as Malta’s Three Cities. Individually, they’re called Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua.</span></p><p><span>If you love history, visiting them will be one of the best things to do in Malta. T</span><span>hey’re magnificent medieval towns home to unbelievable fortresses, palaces, museums, cobbled streets, and age-old artifacts. A fun way to visit them is by catching the boat from Valletta.</span></p>

2. Visit the Three Cities

When you visit Valletta, you’ll gaze out across the Grand Harbor and see three peninsulas jutting out into it. Collectively, they’re known as Malta’s Three Cities. Individually, they’re called Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua.

If you love history, visiting them will be one of the best things to do in Malta. T hey’re magnificent medieval towns home to unbelievable fortresses, palaces, museums, cobbled streets, and age-old artifacts. A fun way to visit them is by catching the boat from Valletta.

<p><span>Mdina (pronounced em-dee-nah) was Malta’s capital city throughout most of the country’s history. </span><span>Yet most of its inhabitants left when this shifted to Valetta in the 16</span><span>th</span><span> Century.</span></p><p><span>Apparently, this is one reason for its rather evocative nickname, </span><i><span>the Silent City</span></i><span>. </span><span>Of course, it could also have something to do with Mdina’s knack for leaving you speechless.</span></p><p><span>This walled city opens another portal to the past. </span><span>Cobbled streets, laid eons ago, twist and wind past sandstone palaces and pretty piazzas. Eventually, you hit the walls themselves, where epic views of the surrounding area await.</span></p><p><span>Like Valletta, you can while away a happy afternoon simply strolling around, embracing the heavy sense of history in the air.</span></p>

3. Visit Mdina, the Silent City

Mdina (pronounced em-dee-nah) was Malta’s capital city throughout most of the country’s history. Yet most of its inhabitants left when this shifted to Valetta in the 16 th Century.

Apparently, this is one reason for its rather evocative nickname, the Silent City . Of course, it could also have something to do with Mdina’s knack for leaving you speechless.

This walled city opens another portal to the past. Cobbled streets, laid eons ago, twist and wind past sandstone palaces and pretty piazzas. Eventually, you hit the walls themselves, where epic views of the surrounding area await.

Like Valletta, you can while away a happy afternoon simply strolling around, embracing the heavy sense of history in the air.

<p><span>Adjoining Mdina is Rabat. At face value, this town isn’t the most enticing part of the island. Yet dig a little deeper, and you’ll find some of the best things to do in Malta.</span></p><p><span>Take <a href="https://heritagemalta.mt/explore/st-pauls-catacombs/">St. Paul’s Catacombs</a>. </span><span>These underground burial chambers go back thousands of years and are the largest in Malta. You can walk the stone passageways for a small fee, duck through narrow chambers, and see where ancient Romans laid their dead to rest.</span></p><p><span>Rabat’s piazza is full of charm and character, too. </span><span>Sitting and watching the world go by grants visitors a taste of Maltese life. The town is also a great spot to gorge on the famous Maltese pastries, called </span><i><span>pastizzi</span></i><span>, or indulge in a night out.</span></p>

4. Go Underground in Rabat

Adjoining Mdina is Rabat. At face value, this town isn’t the most enticing part of the island. Yet dig a little deeper, and you’ll find some of the best things to do in Malta.

Take St. Paul’s Catacombs . These underground burial chambers go back thousands of years and are the largest in Malta. You can walk the stone passageways for a small fee, duck through narrow chambers, and see where ancient Romans laid their dead to rest.

Rabat’s piazza is full of charm and character, too. Sitting and watching the world go by grants visitors a taste of Maltese life. The town is also a great spot to gorge on the famous Maltese pastries, called pastizzi , or indulge in a night out.

<p><span>Malta’s history is long, complex, and fascinating. </span><span>Drawn to its strategic location, the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Knights of St. John, and the British, among others, have all ruled here.</span></p><p><span>However, people have lived in Malta since Neolithic times – and possibly even before.</span></p><p><span>You can witness this distant history first-hand at Malta’s extraordinary megalithic temples, such as Tarxien, Hagar Qim, and Mnajdra. Gozo, which I’ll talk more about later, is home to the remarkable Ggantija temples, too.</span></p><p><span>Questions remain over how such immense structures, which pre-date the Great Pyramids of Egypt, were built. But one thing’s for sure: they’re worth seeing. </span></p>

5. Visit Ancient Temples

Malta’s history is long, complex, and fascinating. Drawn to its strategic location, the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Knights of St. John, and the British, among others, have all ruled here.

However, people have lived in Malta since Neolithic times – and possibly even before.

You can witness this distant history first-hand at Malta’s extraordinary megalithic temples, such as Tarxien, Hagar Qim, and Mnajdra. Gozo, which I’ll talk more about later, is home to the remarkable Ggantija temples, too.

Questions remain over how such immense structures, which pre-date the Great Pyramids of Egypt, were built. But one thing’s for sure: they’re worth seeing.

<p><span>Although it lacks the charm of other places, St. Paul’s Bay provided a perfect base for my trip. A mid-sized town on the north coast, it’s relatively built-up and modern.</span></p><p><span>Expect lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants, a lovely promenade along the waterfront and beaches ideal for swimming. Another perk of St. Paul’s Bay is its strong public transport connections. Regular buses take you almost anywhere in Malta.</span></p>

6. Chill Out at St. Paul’s Bay

Although it lacks the charm of other places, St. Paul’s Bay provided a perfect base for my trip. A mid-sized town on the north coast, it’s relatively built-up and modern.

Expect lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants, a lovely promenade along the waterfront and beaches ideal for swimming. Another perk of St. Paul’s Bay is its strong public transport connections. Regular buses take you almost anywhere in Malta.

<p><span>There are some hidden gems nearby, too. </span><span>For example, if you head west to a suburb called Xemxija, a heritage walk up a hill connects several ancient landmarks. Among the coolest is an ancient apiary (somewhere you keep bees) carved straight into the rocky hillside.</span></p><p><span>In typical Maltese fashion, there’s no fanfare about any of this. </span><span>In other countries, having these age-old sites in such proximity would be a major tourist attraction, complete with paid entry and a museum. Here, you can stumble upon it and are free to roam.</span></p>

7. Do the Xemxija Heritage Trail

There are some hidden gems nearby, too. For example, if you head west to a suburb called Xemxija, a heritage walk up a hill connects several ancient landmarks. Among the coolest is an ancient apiary (somewhere you keep bees) carved straight into the rocky hillside.

In typical Maltese fashion, there’s no fanfare about any of this. In other countries, having these age-old sites in such proximity would be a major tourist attraction, complete with paid entry and a museum. Here, you can stumble upon it and are free to roam.

<p><span>Welcome to one of Malta’s more unusual attractions.</span></p><p><span>Popeye Village is precisely that – the “village” (AKA film set) built for the 1980 musical production of </span><i><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081353/"><span>Popeye</span></a></i><span><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081353/">, starring Robin Williams</a>. Rather than knock it down when filming finished, they kept and transformed it into a themed tourist attraction.</span></p><p><span>It’s the definition of kitsch. Expect something a little tired and cheesy, with actors dressed in tacky costumes who may or may not want to be there.</span></p><p><span>But don’t let that put you off. It’s just a bit of fun. The novelty value alone makes it worth visiting – when was the last time you explored a movie set on a Mediterranean island? And anyone (especially kids) tired of cultural activities will love it.</span></p><p><span>There are cafes, a water park, a mini-golf course, a cinema showing a documentary about the movie, and more.</span></p>

8. Explore Popeye’s Village

Welcome to one of Malta’s more unusual attractions.

Popeye Village is precisely that – the “village” (AKA film set) built for the 1980 musical production of Popeye , starring Robin Williams . Rather than knock it down when filming finished, they kept and transformed it into a themed tourist attraction.

It’s the definition of kitsch. Expect something a little tired and cheesy, with actors dressed in tacky costumes who may or may not want to be there.

But don’t let that put you off. It’s just a bit of fun. The novelty value alone makes it worth visiting – when was the last time you explored a movie set on a Mediterranean island? And anyone (especially kids) tired of cultural activities will love it.

There are cafes, a water park, a mini-golf course, a cinema showing a documentary about the movie, and more.

<p>Marsaxlokk is a small fishing village in the south renowned for its bustling marina, markets, and brightly colored fishing boats called Luzzu.</p><p><span>The latter is one of the main draws, with people coming from all over to see/photograph them. You can also pay for luzzu tours that take you out along the coast.</span></p><p><span>Feeling hungry? Marsaxlokk is a great place to buy fresh seafood. </span><span>If you want to cook it yourself, the markets have stalls overflowing with the day’s catch; if you want it cooked for you, several high-quality restaurants line the waterfront.</span></p><p><span>Overall, Marsaxlokk offers something vibrant and different – a glimpse into traditional Maltese culture with a modern touristic twist.</span></p>

9. Venture South to Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk is a small fishing village in the south renowned for its bustling marina, markets, and brightly colored fishing boats called Luzzu.

The latter is one of the main draws, with people coming from all over to see/photograph them. You can also pay for luzzu tours that take you out along the coast.

Feeling hungry? Marsaxlokk is a great place to buy fresh seafood. If you want to cook it yourself, the markets have stalls overflowing with the day’s catch; if you want it cooked for you, several high-quality restaurants line the waterfront.

Overall, Marsaxlokk offers something vibrant and different – a glimpse into traditional Maltese culture with a modern touristic twist.

<p><span>Anybody going south to visit Marsaxlokk should spend a few hours swimming and sunbathing at </span><i><span>St. Peter’s Pool</span></i><span>. Colorful luzzus aside, this scenic natural swimming spot is arguably the most popular attraction in the area.</span></p><p><span>It’s a funny place in some ways. </span><span>Unlike typical beaches, there’s no sandy expanse to lay your towel down. You’re directly on the limestone – the same limestone that’s eroded over time to create the swimming spot.</span></p><p><span>Ignoring that slight discomfort, you can see why people gravitate to St. Peter’s Pool. </span><span>It’s a classic Instagram spot: an emerald alcove that glistens in the sun, inviting you to jump from rocky ledges into the clear waters below.</span></p><p><span>With trails leading up to and around it and with such close proximity to Marsaxlokk, you should definitely check it out.</span></p>

10. Swim in St. Peter’s Pool

Anybody going south to visit Marsaxlokk should spend a few hours swimming and sunbathing at St. Peter’s Pool . Colorful luzzus aside, this scenic natural swimming spot is arguably the most popular attraction in the area.

It’s a funny place in some ways. Unlike typical beaches, there’s no sandy expanse to lay your towel down. You’re directly on the limestone – the same limestone that’s eroded over time to create the swimming spot.

Ignoring that slight discomfort, you can see why people gravitate to St. Peter’s Pool. It’s a classic Instagram spot: an emerald alcove that glistens in the sun, inviting you to jump from rocky ledges into the clear waters below.

With trails leading up to and around it and with such close proximity to Marsaxlokk, you should definitely check it out.

<p><span>Talking of Instagram spots, next on this list of things to do in Malta is the beautiful Blue Grotto on the southwest coast.</span></p><p><span>Countless years of erosion have hollowed out a distinctive archway in the cliff. It almost looks like the land is pouring into the sea, which glistens in brilliant blue hues below – hence the name.</span></p><p><span>If you come in peak season, you can pay to explore the sea cavern by boat tour. You can also see it from a viewing platform at the top of a nearby cliff. This platform is right next to a bus stop.</span></p><p><span>A bonus of the Blue Grotto is that it’s close to Haqar Qim and Mnajdra. Why not kill two birds with one stone? See the Grotto, then venture further up the coast to explore two world-famous megalithic temples.</span></p>

11. Go to the Blue Grotto

Talking of Instagram spots, next on this list of things to do in Malta is the beautiful Blue Grotto on the southwest coast.

Countless years of erosion have hollowed out a distinctive archway in the cliff. It almost looks like the land is pouring into the sea, which glistens in brilliant blue hues below – hence the name.

If you come in peak season, you can pay to explore the sea cavern by boat tour. You can also see it from a viewing platform at the top of a nearby cliff. This platform is right next to a bus stop.

A bonus of the Blue Grotto is that it’s close to Haqar Qim and Mnajdra. Why not kill two birds with one stone? See the Grotto, then venture further up the coast to explore two world-famous megalithic temples.

<p><span>Malta comprises three separate islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo. If you have enough time, I strongly suggest you visit the other two – especially Gozo, Malta’s sister island.</span></p><p><span>This beautiful island shares many of Malta’s main draws. For example, the history is unbeatable. Gozo’s breathtaking ancient citadel rivals places like Mdina and Valletta. You’ll find impressive geological features, as well – not to mention pristine sandy beaches.</span></p><p><span>However, Gozo also feels very different. </span><span>Although it’s definitely still popular <a href="https://www.whatsdannydoing.com/blog/different-types-of-tourists">with tourists</a>, it’s not as busy. There</span>‘s<span> masses to see and do, but Gozo’s smaller and feels more rural. It has a peaceful, local vibe. History and nature lovers seeking a tranquil escape will love it.</span></p>

12. Visit Gozo

Malta comprises three separate islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo. If you have enough time, I strongly suggest you visit the other two – especially Gozo, Malta’s sister island.

This beautiful island shares many of Malta’s main draws. For example, the history is unbeatable. Gozo’s breathtaking ancient citadel rivals places like Mdina and Valletta. You’ll find impressive geological features, as well – not to mention pristine sandy beaches.

However, Gozo also feels very different. Although it’s definitely still popular with tourists , it’s not as busy. There ‘s masses to see and do, but Gozo’s smaller and feels more rural. It has a peaceful, local vibe. History and nature lovers seeking a tranquil escape will love it.

<p><span>Most people visit the Maltese archipelago for its historical attractions, gorgeous Mediterranean weather, and glorious beaches. Others go scuba diving.</span></p><p><span>I don’t dive, so I can’t speak from personal experience. </span><span>But it’s common knowledge that Malta’s clear waters, interesting geological features, and countless shipwrecks make it a haven for enthusiasts.</span></p><p><span>You’ll find two famous dive spots on Gozo’s glorious <a href="https://www.whatsdannydoing.com/blog/best-west-coast-parks">west coast</a>.</span></p><p><span>One is the Inland Sea – a turquoise lagoon separated from the ocean by a tunnel through the cliffs. </span><span>And next door is the Blue Hole – a fitting name for a small pool of water that descends 10m to an archway connecting it to the ocean.</span></p><p><span>Diver or not, this part of Gozo is worth seeing. Once upon a time, you’d have seen a huge rock archway called the Azure Window. Unfortunately, it collapsed in 2017. </span><span>Thankfully, it was just one attraction in this stunning landscape.</span></p>

13. Go Scuba Diving, Visit the Inland Sea

Most people visit the Maltese archipelago for its historical attractions, gorgeous Mediterranean weather, and glorious beaches. Others go scuba diving.

I don’t dive, so I can’t speak from personal experience. But it’s common knowledge that Malta’s clear waters, interesting geological features, and countless shipwrecks make it a haven for enthusiasts.

You’ll find two famous dive spots on Gozo’s glorious west coast .

One is the Inland Sea – a turquoise lagoon separated from the ocean by a tunnel through the cliffs. And next door is the Blue Hole – a fitting name for a small pool of water that descends 10m to an archway connecting it to the ocean.

Diver or not, this part of Gozo is worth seeing. Once upon a time, you’d have seen a huge rock archway called the Azure Window. Unfortunately, it collapsed in 2017. Thankfully, it was just one attraction in this stunning landscape.

<p><span>Visiting Gozo? Take the short boat ride to Comino, as well.</span></p><p><span>This rocky landmass between Malta and Gozo is tiny – only 3.5 square kilometers. Likewise, other than a hotel, there’s practically no infrastructure. </span><span>You won’t find any paved roads or cars. It’s just nature and history.</span></p><p><span>Comino’s most famous attraction is the aptly named Blue Lagoon. The <a href="https://www.whatsdannydoing.com/blog/crystal-clear-water">crystal-clear turquoise water</a> is heavenly to swim in, and</span><span> snorkeling and diving are popular. If you want to stretch your legs, you can walk to an impressive 17</span><span>th</span><span>-century watchtower called Saint Mary’s Tower.</span></p><p><span>Comino’s a place of simple pleasures. But it’s definitely worth spending an afternoon or two there.</span></p>

14. Take a Boat to Comino

Visiting Gozo? Take the short boat ride to Comino, as well.

This rocky landmass between Malta and Gozo is tiny – only 3.5 square kilometers. Likewise, other than a hotel, there’s practically no infrastructure. You won’t find any paved roads or cars. It’s just nature and history.

Comino’s most famous attraction is the aptly named Blue Lagoon. The crystal-clear turquoise water is heavenly to swim in, and snorkeling and diving are popular. If you want to stretch your legs, you can walk to an impressive 17 th -century watchtower called Saint Mary’s Tower.

Comino’s a place of simple pleasures. But it’s definitely worth spending an afternoon or two there.

<p><span>This list of the best things to do in Malta is far from exhaustive.</span> <span>However, these are the places, activities, and attractions that helped make my time in Malta so special – plus one or two I</span><i><span> wish</span></i><span> I’d ticked off <a href="https://www.whatsdannydoing.com/blog/30-before-30-bucket-list">my bucket list</a> but wasn’t able to.</span></p><p><span>With any luck, the recommendations will also help you have an unforgettable Maltese adventure.</span></p><p><strong>MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS COMING UP:</strong></p>

Enjoy These Things to Do in Malt a

This list of the best things to do in Malta is far from exhaustive.   However, these are the places, activities, and attractions that helped make my time in Malta so special – plus one or two I wish I’d ticked off my bucket list but wasn’t able to.

With any luck, the recommendations will also help you have an unforgettable Maltese adventure.

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS COMING UP:

<p>It’s never fun to find out you overpaid. But it’s even worse when it’s something expensive, like airfare, and when that money could have gone toward something fun, like a vacation.</p> <p>Unfortunately, almost everyone overpays for flights at some point – usually because they don’t realize there are discounts hiding in plain sight.</p> <p>In this post, you’ll learn some of the most common mistakes people make when booking flights. Doing one or two things differently could save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip! Let’s get into it…</p>

How to Save Money on Travel: 17 Proven Tips

Traveling isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, either. The following tips should help you save money on travel so you can justify going on more adventures.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON TRAVEL: 17 PROVEN TIPS

<p>Some people don’t realize they can cancel any flight to or from the US for free within 24 hours of booking. This creates a few possibilities!</p><p>For example, imagine booking a flight in the evening that drops in price the next morning. You could call up, cancel, and rebook the cheaper ticket.</p><p>Likewise, imagine seeing a dirt-cheap mistake airfare crop up. Why not book it before it disappears, even if you haven’t booked time off work? Worst-case scenario, your boss declines the request for leave and you cancel the ticket for a refund.</p> <p><strong>MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS COMING UP:</strong></p>

16 Common Mistakes Stopping You From Booking Cheap Flights

Want to save money on your next flight? Here are the most common mistakes people make that cause them to overpay unnecessarily. Keep them in mind, and you’ll be one step closer to scoring the cheapest possible tickets.

16 COMMON MISTAKES STOPPING YOU FROM BOOKING CHEAP FLIGHTS

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The best things to do in malta, from hiking and sightseeing to sandy beaches and nightclubs.

The warmest country in Europe is expecting a record-breaking year for tourism.

Malta , in the middle of the Mediterranean , is awash with ancient architecture and a beautiful coastline. Located between Sicily and North Africa , the Maltese archipelago is also home to the islands of Gozo and Comino, which both offer their own cultural attractions and natural highlights.

Plus, Malta has an average annual temperature of 23C – which is the warmest in Europe. Should you be looking to explore the shoreline or soak up some medieval history, there are plenty of things to do that suit the entire family.

From enjoying a beach day at Golden Bay on Malta’s north-west coast to hiking across Gozo or exploring a Baroque cathedral in the capital, Valletta , there’s no shortage of things to see and do. You’ll also find a vibrant nightclub scene in centrally situated St Julian’s, and could hotfoot it across to smaller island Comino to luxuriate in the Blue Lagoon’s glorious turquoise water.

Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Malta.

Read more on Malta travel :

Unmissable beach spots in Malta and Gozo

The best things to do in Valletta, Malta

How Gozo became one of the greenest islands in the Med

Meander through Mdina’s Vilhena Gate

The ancient walled city of Mdina sits in the southwest of Malta and is one of the island’s most famous tourist locations. Access into the fortified city is through the main Vilhena Gate, and inside you’ll see an array of medieval architecture: Palazzo Costanzo, St Paul’s Cathedral and Torre dello Standardo. Plus, if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you may recognise the gate from the first season. Meander through the city’s gateways and explore its shops, bars, and restaurants. Nearby Rabat is also worth a visit while you’re there, with this village known for its feasts.

Swim in the Blue Lagoon, Comino

The Blue Lagoon is a beautiful bay found between the island Comino and its smaller counterpart, Cominotto. The ferry ride is less than an hour from the mainland’s Cirkewwa and Marfa harbours, or you can charter your own boat to the turquoise spot. The stunning sea offers a crystal-clear view of the white sands below and you can snorkel from the shallow beach, too. Meanwhile, watersports – such as jet ski hire – and diving sites are also available on Comino. Just be aware that the Blue Lagoon gets extremely busy during the summer months.

Visit St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta

Malta’s capital city, Valletta, has an array of architectural masterpieces and Baroque buildings, including the Grandmasters Palace and St John’s Co-Cathedral. The latter was built in the 16th century by the Order of the Knights of Saint John, and while its exterior is fairly simple, the inside of the Roman Catholic church looks far more impressive. There are nine chapels, a series of tombs, a crypt, famous works of art – including The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist – and ornate marble details throughout. It’s worth noting that a modest dress code must be adhered to while inside the cathedral, with visitors expected to have their shoulders covered.

Enjoy the nightlife in St Julian’s

St Julian’s is one of the most built-up parts of central Malta and offers a “buzzier” vibe. The town’s Portomaso Bay is a busy marina with casinos, hotels, and shops, while Spinola Bay is where you’ll find quieter bars. Paceville is the heart and soul of the party, and where you’ll find a vibrant nightclub scene alongside a selection of restaurants. The Feast of St Julian’s is a large, outdoor celebration featuring fireworks and festivities and it usually takes place at the end of August, should you be planning a summer trip.

Have a beach day at Golden Bay

There aren’t many sandy beaches across Malta, which makes Golden Bay even more special. Situated near the village of Manikata on the island’s north-west coast, it features an azure blue sea and (as the name suggests) golden sand. Reached down a flight of steps, there are cafes, sun loungers and umbrellas to make for a long seaside day. If you don’t feel like lounging about, water sports options include paragliding and jet skiing.

Go hiking in Gozo

Gozo is Malta’s second-largest island, and it’s only 45 minutes away by ferry. Like Malta, the island has several historic buildings, such as the medieval citadel seen in Rabat, its capital. However, if you fancy veering into its rural landscape, there are multiple hiking paths to explore. You could set off from eastern city Nadur and follow a route past Ramla, where you’ll discover a sandy bay and the intriguing Calypso Cave. Other options offering an amazing coastal view include a trail along the Sanap Cliffs or a walk to Dwejra Bay.

Soak up the view in Marsaxlokk

If you’re looking for a more traditional Maltese vantage point, Marsaxlokk is a small fishing village situated in the south-east, famous for its colourful boats and harbour view. Tuck into seafood caught from the surrounding waters and wander the narrow streets, all while gazing out over the horizon. There’s also a fish market every Sunday, should you fancy mingling with the locals.

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  1. Mdina, Malta: informazioni per visitare la città

    places to visit in mdina malta

  2. 7 Places to Visit in Mdina the Silent City of Malta

    places to visit in mdina malta

  3. 11 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Mdina

    places to visit in mdina malta

  4. Mdina Ancient Walled City Of Malta And The Knights Visit

    places to visit in mdina malta

  5. 11 Best Mdina Malta Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit

    places to visit in mdina malta

  6. 11 Best Mdina Malta Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit

    places to visit in mdina malta

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  1. Virtual Tour around the silent city in Malta

  2. The best Instagram spot in Mdina, Malta

  3. [4K] Mdina Long Walk ... Malta Walks

  4. Exploring Mdina, Rabat and the Dingli Cliffs!

  5. Exploring Mdina Oldest City In Malta 2023 4K

  6. ❤️Is Malta The Most Romantic Place In The World!

COMMENTS

  1. Things to Do in Mdina, Malta

    See ways to experience (2) 8. The Knights of Malta. 634. History Museums. Historical attraction with a 3D movie and audio-guided exhibit walk-through, detailing the legacy of the Knights, featuring informative wax figures and displays. See way to experience (1) 9. Magic Train Ride.

  2. 11 Top Things to do in Mdina, Malta: One Day Guide

    2. St Paul's Co-Cathedral. The main reason why Mdina is so popular with visitors isn't just that it's a beautiful place to spend one day in Malta, but because it used to be Malta's capital city until 1530. The main cathedral at that time would have been St Paul's Cathedral built in the 12th century.

  3. What To Do in Mdina, Malta's Gorgeous Silent City

    The magic of Mdina Why Visit Mdina Malta. Mdina has been inhabited since prehistoric times due to its strategic location and natural defences. By the 11th century, it was already a thriving Muslim town. It served as the former capital of Malta for centuries and remains one of the most fascinating places to visit in Malta.

  4. 11 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Mdina

    Learn about the best places to visit and things to do in this captivating city with our list of the top attractions in Mdina. See also: Where to Stay in Mdina. On This Page: 1. Mdina Citadel: Ancient Ramparts and Bastions. 2. Cathedral of Saint Paul. 3. Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum.

  5. 31 Best Things to Do in Mdina, Malta (photo guide)

    Mdina, surrounded by its glorious walls, is the pivot of Malta's 7.000 years old history and a highlight of any visit to the island. The soft colour of the sandstone walls, the tiny hidden restaurants and the cobbled streets lined with well-preserved noble houses, baroque palazzi & cathedrals give the city a timeless atmosphere.

  6. The Top 10 Things to Do in Mdina, Malta

    Stop off at Fontanella Tea Garden. Renowned across the whole of Malta and a must-visit in Mdina, are the Fontanella Tearooms. This is an extremely popular place and depending on the time of day (and year) you may have to wait a little to find a seat. With seating both downstairs and upstairs, it is upstairs that offers the most spectacular ...

  7. Top Things to Do in Mdina, Malta

    2023. 3. Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum. 588. Speciality Museums. The 13th century palazzo, set in the heart of the medieval city of Mdina, was the home of Captain Olof Frederick Gollcher OBE (1889-1962). Olof was an artist, soldier, collector and philanthropist. The Gollchers were Swedish ship owners and traders, who came to Malta in 1848.

  8. Your Guide to Mdina Malta

    3: Carriage Ride Tour. Our favorite activity in Mdina was taking a carriage ride through Mdina and through the surrounding neighborhoods of Rabat. This carriage ride is a great way to get oriented to the city. Plus, your carriage driver will share lots of interesting facts about the city as well.

  9. 30 BEST Places to Visit in Mdina (UPDATED 2024)

    Top Things to Do in Mdina, Malta. Places to Visit in Mdina. Explore popular experiences. See what other travellers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings. See All. Walking Tours (29) Day Trips (40) Historic Walking Areas (8) Half-day Tours (45) Ports of Call Tours (61)

  10. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Mdina

    5. Mdina Metropolitan Cathedral Museum. Well worth a visit. 6. Mdina Dungeons. Well worth a visit. 7. The Knights of Malta. A great 3d show followed by an audio tour giving the history of the Knights of St John in Malta and before.

  11. 10 Things to Do in Mdina, Malta's Silent City

    How to Get to Mdina, Malta. Mdina is easily accessible via rental car or public transport. As always, you can also visit Mdina as part of an organised tour. In case you're relying on public transport, you can take buses 50, 51, 52 and 53 from Valletta or bus 202 from Sliema.If you're staying in one of the resorts such as Bugibba, you can take bus 186 or X3.

  12. MDINA OLD CITY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

    It was the ancient capital of Malta and built like a fortress on a plateau in the centre of the island. Highlights include a Palace, a Natural History Museum, a Cathedral and a Chapel. With its narrow streets, only horse drawn carriages are allowed. For me Mdina was the highlight of our visit to Malta.

  13. Mdina Guide: Everything you need to know about Malta's Silent City

    After the Great Siege of Malta (1565), Vittoriosa took the place of Mdina as Malta's capital. After that, people started leaving Mdina behind, and in just a couple of years, it became almost a ghost town. Therefore, the Silent City nickname refers to the lack of inhabitants. Finally, in 1571, Valletta became the capital of Malta.

  14. The Ultimate Guide to Mdina: Malta's Formal Capital

    The walled city of Mdina still hosts a monastery for the Carmelite community. The city was also very active during the Roman's period in Malta and relics retrieved from the area which was known as Melita give testimony to this. Visitors flock the Silent City because of the medieval and Baroque architecture. In fact Mdina still remains one of ...

  15. 8 Awesome Things to Do in Mdina, Malta for First-Timers

    8 Best Things to Do in Mdina. 1. Walk Through Mdina Gate. Mdina Gate is one of the first things you will see when you arrive in the walled city of Mdina. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks here, especially for those who have watched the HBO series, Game of Thrones.

  16. How to spend a day in Mdina, Malta

    If you're based in the towns surrounding Valletta, as most visitors are, then the best way to travel to Mdina is by bus. Don't panic, traveling by bus in Malta is extremely straightforward! All single journeys across Malta cost €2 paid to the driver. Head from wherever you are to the Valletta or Blata L-Bajda bus interchanges.

  17. Visiting Mdina, The Silent City

    Visiting Mdina on a day trip or even just for a couple of hours is very easy. The best and cheapest way of getting to Mdina is by taking a bus from Valletta. Catch bus numbers 51, 52 or 53 from the Valletta bus terminal, and it will take you straight to Mdina in 30 minutes for an absolute bargain of $2.

  18. A Guide To Mdina & Rabat, Malta

    While it can be easy to spend your entire Malta itinerary soaking up the Mediterranean sunshine on the coast, the inland towns of Mdina and Rabat are fantastic places to visit as well.. Mdina is a popular day-trip destination, and it isn't difficult to see why. With a fascinating history as the original capital of Malta and its beautiful walled setting, there are some great things to do in ...

  19. Mdina, the Silent City of Malta: A Walking Tour Guide

    Mdina, also known as the Silent City, is one of Malta's oldest towns. You won't see many cars here, which makes it very peaceful. Although only a few hundred people live in Mdina, it feels much bigger. It's connected to Rabat, a town with over 11,000 people. Rabat is an Arabic word, and it means suburb.

  20. Is Mdina, Malta Worth Visiting? What To Do in Mdina For Free

    Mdina is one of the most unique places to visit in Malta and is the perfect option for a day trip from Valletta. The history of Mdina can be dated back to the Bronze Age and for thousands of years this site has always been a fortified area due to its strategic position. ... Visiting St Paul's Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Mdina ...

  21. Mdina and Rabat travel guide and insider tips

    5 places of interest in Rabat. 1. Howard Gardens. Howard Gardens is one of the biggest public gardens in Malta and can be found right outside Mdina. These gardens form a natural border between Rabat and neighbouring Mdina. There are a few kiosks around with tables and chairs, and it's pretty peaceful and quiet there.

  22. Mdina In Malta

    Mdina In Malta Facts. The region was first inhabited in 700 BCE. Mdina possesses origins that go back 4,000 years old. One of Malta's Top Instagram location. We also refer to as the Silent City. The oldest and first capital of Malta. Around 1.5 million people visit Mdina each year.

  23. This Hidden Mediterranean Gem Has History, Culture, and ...

    Mdina (pronounced em-dee-nah) was Malta's capital city throughout most of the country's history. Yet most of its inhabitants left when this shifted to Valetta in the 16 th Century.. Apparently ...

  24. The best things to do in Malta, from hiking and sightseeing to ...

    The ancient walled city of Mdina sits in the southwest of Malta and is one of the island's most famous tourist locations. Access into the fortified city is through the main Vilhena Gate, and ...

  25. Belgium vs Malta Live Score & Commentary

    Belgium vs Malta Live Score - Catch live cricket score, ball by ball commentary & highlights of BEL vs MAL, Mdina Cup Online. Also find latest news, match highlights, twitter reactions, photos ...