On our third day in Malta we jumped on a bus from Mellieha and headed over to The Silent City, Mdina. Sitting on top of a hill overlooking large parts of Malta, Mdina is a small town, rich in history and surrounded by tall bastion fortifications. Today Mdina is a major tourist attraction recognised internationally as an important UNESCO World Heritage Site (currently on its tentative list).
Top Places to visit in Mdina
• St. Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina
• St. Paul’s Catacombs
• Domvs Romana
• Palazzo Falson
• The blue door
• National Museum of Natural History, Malta
• Fontella Tea Rooms
Mdina and Rabat are each admired for very different reasons. Mdina is one of the most popularly visited places by travellers because there’s no place like it anywhere. Whereas, Rabat, on the other hand, is known for its quiet, more rural character and natural beauty.
I fell in love with Mdina, before we had even set foot on the Mdina Gate Bridge. Mdina in fact served as the island’s capital from antiquity to the medieval period and is still recognised today as one of the most important attractions on the island.
The city is still confined within its walls, and has a population of just under 300, but is every bit as magical. The city is surrounded by a deep moat, acting nowadays as a public garden, and inside the city’s walls you will find cobbled streets lined with immaculately preserved noble houses, private chapels, palazzi and cathedrals. Walking along the cobbled streets feels like trying to find your way out of a maze; a feeling which adds to the element of surprise at finding large squares with stunning pink flowers adorning the houses.
There are also some rather magical Instagram spots in Mdina, including the bench with the pink flowers, that you can see above of Arabella and I, and the blue door, which has become infamous with the city. Every few minutes there were hoards of tourists looking to grab a photo as these two stunning locations.
The streets are narrow and winding, and after hours of wandering around the city, we stopped off at Fontella Tea Garden, for a quick Aperol, and a bite to eat. The tea rooms offer amazing views across the rest of Malta and in the August heatwave it was a well-needed respite.
Once entering the cafe, Fontanella has an indoor-meets-outdoor style garden, with fairy lights to illuminate the trees and tables at night. There are two staircases that take you to the upper floor – overlooking the bastions, you will immerse yourself to a magical view of the Maltese Islands. For those of you who have a sweet tooth it is almost a must to try out one of Fontanella®‘s famous home-made cakes! And the views are just incredible…
We had a wonderful day exploring this magical city – it’s well worth a visit if you’re in Malta!
How to get to 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.
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) and St. Paul’s Bay (the main road – Triq il-Mosta): Route 186 (45 mins)
• From Sliema and St. Julian’s: Route 202 (45-60 mins)
I flew to Malta with the wonderful team at Jet2 Holidays on a package holiday, including flights, accommodation and transfers. We stayed at the lovely Maritim Antonine Hotel in Mellieha Bay. For more information and to book your own trip to Malta visit Jet2 Holidays.