Hidden Gems to Add to Your Maltese Islands Bucket List
Going off the beaten path on the Maltese Islands definitely pays off, as the most exciting local treasures may not be as well-known as you’d expect. Here are the Malta Airport Foundation’s recommendations.
Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta
Let’s start off with a historical gem hidden underneath Malta’s capital city, Valletta. The Lascaris War Rooms are an underground complex of tunnels and rooms which housed the British War Headquarters where the defence and offense plans for Malta were strategically plotted during World War II. While each of the military services were allocated their own operations room, their leaders met inside the Combined Operations Room at the heart of the complex. This room was also the most heavily guarded, as it housed the encryption machines which were used to send and receive top secret communications.
You can visit the chambers, which have recently been restored and transformed into an accessible museum by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna in collaboration with the Malta Airport Foundation, from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 4.30pm*.
Metropolitan Cathedral Museum in Mdina
A testament to Malta’s rich religious and artistic heritage, the Metropolitan Cathedral Museum in Mdina is a sight to behold. Situated to the right-hand side of the Mdina Cathedral, the halls of the ornate baroque museum house exhibits raging from papal coins and sacred vessels, to rare books and religious paintings. One of the most fascinating exhibits is a recently restored 15th century triptych of the Madonna del Soccorso, which is one of Malta’s earliest Renaissance paintings, attributed to artist Antonio de Saliba.
Take a closer look at the work of art by visiting the Cathedral Museum in Mdina, which is open from Monday to Saturday between 9.30am and 4.30pm*.
Torri Xutu in Wied iż-Żurrieq
A few metres away from Malta’s iconic Blue Grotto in Żurrieq lies another landmark of historical importance which was recently restored by the Malta Airport Foundation. Torri Xutu is a watchtower in Wied iż-Żurrieq which was used as an observation post by the coast guard during World War II. The 17th century tower is one of more than 25 watchtowers which were constructed in strategic locations around the Maltese Islands to provide the archipelago with a robust defence system during the time of the Knights of St. John.
The area in which the newly-restored tower stands today is protected as a Natura 2000 site, making it the perfect place to take a quiet stroll and enjoy a magnificent sunset.
Santa Maria Caves in Comino
You may have heard of Comino’s idyllic Blue Lagoon, but there is much more to this island paradise than meets the eye. Although the island is riddled with caves, the most impressive cave system, known as the Santa Maria caves, can be found on the northside of the island. Snorkelers and divers of all levels can visit this spot to discover the rich underwater life which calls Comino home, from the Fried Egg Jellyfish to the colourful Nudibranch, as the caves are shallow and drenched in sunlight, offering explorers crystal clear visibility underwater.
Want to know more about Comino? Check out the Malta Airport Foundation’s documentary Comino: A Secret Paradise.