Exploring the North Side of Malta
Malta isn’t a large island, so it’s very easy to travel around the island and see many places during your time. Whether you would like to rent a car or to travel by public transportation, everything is possible! The bus network of Malta is very good, so there are several possibilities.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my time in Malta, where I traveled around the island by rental car. In 8 days I’ve seen most of Malta, Gozo and Comino. This week, I would like to tell you some more about the places to visit in the North side of Malta.
The Silent City Mdina
Mdina may be one of the most well-known sights at Malta. Also known as the Silent City or as the Old Capital of Malta, this beautiful city is built between walls and consists out of buildings with a beautiful kind of baroque architecture. In Mdina you can also visit some historical sites. In the evening, the city is lighted by lights and there’s a timeless atmosphere.
The history of Mdina goes back more than 4.000 years. You can say that this city is the origin of the Maltese Christianity, because it’s said that the apostle Paulus has lived here after he arrived at Malta approximately 60 after Christ.
Mdina definitely is one of the highlights during your trip to Malta.
Close to the Dingli Cliffs, located at the East side of Malta, you can find the Buskett Gardens. You can actually compare it to a big park where all ages can entertain themselves. It’s an ideal place for a relaxing afternoon. You can walk around and enjoy the nature, this is namely one of the few places of Malta where you can find a forest. You can find many orange trees in the park as well, together with all other kinds of trees.
Close to the Buskett Gardens, you can find the Verdala Palace. This was the palace of the French maestro Fra Hughes Loubens de La Verdalle. The palace was built around 1586 and nowadays it’s used by the presidents of Malta as their official summer residence. Unfortunately it isn’t possible to pay a visit to the palace.
Bugibba – St Paul’s Bay – Qawra
On the North-East side of Malta, you can find the tourist places Bugibba, St. Paul’s Bay and Qawra. You can easily walk from one place to another, the distances aren’t that big. It’s almost like the place are fused into each other. Although the places aren’t that beautiful (it features more concrete than anything else), they’re a popular holiday destination.
Along the water side of the places, you can find many restaurants and bars where you can sit very nice and enjoy the views. In Bugibba, you can also find a car-free square named Pjazza tal-Bajja. This is probably the most lively area of the place and her as well you can find many eateries and bars. I have to say, there are some really good restaurants. The ones I’ve been are Venus Restaurant and The Chef’s Table; both located nearby the square.
Buggiba is a very lively place where a lot of young, English tourists come to have some nice nights out. The town next to Buggiba, Qawra, is more quiet compared to Buggiba. There are some nice hotels, but the center is very small. Here you can also find Malta’s National Aquarium.
Personally, these places weren’t for me. If you want to stay in a place where you can go out very well, you’re at the right place. If you are, like me, more a culture- and nature seeker, than this isn’t the place for you. The places consists out of lots of (high) buildings and there aren’t beautiful beaches either. I really enjoyed the food in the named restaurants and some of the terraces at the water side, but I wouldn’t go here another time.
Golden Bay Beach
Malta is an island which isn’t really well-known for the beaches. There are not many beaches; especially around Valletta you can see that the “beaches” are more like rock plateaus. However, if you explore more, you can find some hidden beaches. In the North-West side of Malta you can probably find the most beaches of the whole island. From these beaches, Golden Bay Beach is the most popular. Around it, you can find some eateries and you can easily enjoy yourself here for a whole day. The reason why this beach is so popular probably is the fact that the Radisson Blu Hotel is right next to this beach (and of course it’s a beautiful beach).
If you would like to spend some time on more quiet beaches, you can go for Ghajn Tuffieha Bay (my personal favorite) or Gnejna Bay, which are located just underneath Golden Bay Beach. If you would like to read more about all the beaches on Malta, Gozo and Comino (Blue Lagoon), click here.
Mellieha Bay is another beach which is located in the North side of Malta. The big difference between Mellieha Bay and Golden Bay Beach is the location. Golden Bay Beach is located in a green en quiet environment, while Mellieha Bay is located in the middle of a center and next to a busy road. However, Mellieha Bay also is the largest and one of the most beautiful beaches of Malta. A big privilege of the fact that Mellieha Bay is located very centrally, is the large offer of restaurants and bars around the beach. Besides, there also are possibilities to go windsurfing, kite surfing, canoeing and water-skiing.
An absolute must-visit in the North side of Malta, but not very well-known, is Popeye village. Popeye village is the original film set of the 1980 musical production Popeye. Nowadays, the film set is still the same, but has been converted into a primary tourist attraction.
You can walk into the houses and see the details of the film set. There is an animation crew on the park who do some performances, Popeye-themed of course. Furthermore, there are some games to play and there are some fun activities planned throughout the summer; in the park as well as in the water.
The park is mostly focused on the target group children and that’s also the reason why Popeye Village is most fun to go to for families with children. For other target groups it’s fun to explore Popeye Village when you recognize it from the movie. The prices differs per period. From 01/06 to 30/06 and from 03/09 to 27/10 the entrance fee is € 15,- for an adult and € 12,- for the children. In the period of 01/07 to 02/09 it’s € 17,- for adults and € 13,50 for children. In winter time you can also visit the park and then there are special fees applying.
Despite the fact that the entrance fee is very reasonable, I found it kind of high for myself personally. I just wanted to take a look in the park (and wasn’t traveling with children), so I was done in approximately an hour. In that case, I find +/- € 12,- kind of a lot of money. For other people like me, I can definitely recommend to just go to the place where Popeye Village is situated. You can have a beautiful view over the film set and make some beautiful pictures without going inside the park.
Are there other places you’ve traveled to on the North side of Malta which are worth a visit? Let us know in the comment section below!