We went to Malta in March 2017. We loved it! It was super cheap, and such a beautiful place. There’s a real Mediterranean, old-fashioned feel to the parts of the country we visited. Here is a very small selection of the wonderful sites we visited in Malta with our two little boys.
6 things to see in Malta with kids
Mdina is such a beautiful place. The sandstone walls offer a calming tone to the beautiful town, with little cobbled streets and twisting corners.
We stayed in a fabulous hotel – I really couldn’t fault any part of it – the db Seabank Resort and Spa in Mellieha Bay, and from our hotel, we walked to Popeye Village. This was the place where they filmed the Walt Disney movie, starring Robin Williams, in 1980, and they’ve kept and maintained the set as a tourist destination. The coastal village, consisting of 19 wooden buildings, took a crew of 165 over seven months to construct. We loved to explore the town, although I couldn’t recall ever watching the movie! Helpfully, you can watch clips of the movie at the on-site theatre, and take part in a live performance with some of the Popeye series’ best-loved characters. We took a boat trip around the scenic Anchor Bay, played mini golf, and explored the Christmas scenes hidden behind one of the houses.
St John’s Cathedral, Valletta
The buses in Malta are as reliable as those in the UK. Sometimes they are bang on time, and other times, three go rattling past you and you have to wait for the overcrowded fourth… Anyway, we used the buses in Malta and they were fine, really.
From our base in Mellieha, we travelled by bus to Valletta. Valletta is a city, as European as any other in the Mediterranean. We loved it. There were so many beautiful doors I could have stood and photographed for hours but not captured them all.
The cathedral in Valletta, is considered one the finest examples of High Baroque architecture in Europe. St. John’s Co-Cathedral is one of the world’s most celebrated churches. The impressive structure was built by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578. Though the exterior is somewhat rough, resembling a military fort, the interior boasts intricately carved walls, a painted vaulted ceiling, and a marble floor made up of Knight’s tombs. Visit the cathedral’s seven chapels, all filled with elaborate riches and dedicated to the different patron saints of the Knights. Don’t miss Caravaggio’s masterpiece, “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist” (1608) in the Oratory, for which it was commissioned.
After watching the changing of the guard, we also visited the tomb of the unknown soldier at the harbour in Valletta. These monuments always make me cry.
Very nearby is a slightly broken but still very fun play park, where the kids rocked back and forth on a crazy bouncy car for ages. Something that really stood out about Malta is that you are never far from a play park. Pretty much all of the main sights have a playground next to it – excellent town planning there, Malta!
We took the ferry to Gozo, and had a day out over on that island. We visited just after the window collapsed, so didn’t get to see that! The ferry was a lovely experience. The terminal is modern, with an airport lounge feel about it. The journey itself takes about 20 minutes, though there’s a bit of hanging around before and afterwards. Buses meet the ferry in Gozo and take you into town (through ultra narrow lanes and far too close to buildings for my liking!).
Parish church of Mellieha
From our hotel, one day we decided to walk up the hill away from the beach. We passed really intriguing-looking tunnels, and if we didn’t have the boys with us we’d have explored further. However, we walked up the steep ramp to the parish church of Mellieha.
Nearby the church are World War II tunnels, and this fabulous mural on the steps. There are several bars and cafes nearby, too, as well as another wonderful playground, so you can relax while the kids play.
In Gozo we visited the citadel, which is on the highest point of the town of Victoria. It is part museum now, and part castle. It was a small walk up to the front door of the museum, and from there we were shown the lift we could have taken… Anyway, it was easy enough with two little boys charging up the ramp! It is free to enter if you don’t want to see the museums. There is also a cathedral, with gorgeous ceilings. As in many religious places, you need to dress modestly and cover shoulders and legs. I was initially refused entry as I had shorts on, and I was asked to cover my knees. Tried, couldn’t, apologised, and let in anyway.
We also caught a bus to the beach, where a huge ice cream cost almost nothing, and tasted delicious, and the boys spent a good length of time collecting pebbles to mend the pavements with. The stuff memories of holidays are made of.
Have you been to Malta? These were just six places to visit with kids, but we loved all of Malta and our little trip to Gozo, too. This blog post about Malta could have been several more pages long!
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