On the way back to Dubai from a wedding in Puglia, I took the chance to stop over on the island of Malta. The small nation in the Mediterranean Sea features rich history, amazing nature, cute cityscapes and more things to see and do than I had expected. Having walked over 50km in just over 3 days, I took a few hundred photos, a short selection is below.
The country consists of three major inhabitated islands: Malta. Gozo and Comino.
The interior of the hotel I stayed in, a renovated building in central Valletta.
St John's Co-Cathedral
The nave of one of the most famous cathedrals in Malta, completed in 1577.
The Steps near the Valletta city gate, designed by Renzo Piano.
A tree growing in one of the many trenches around Malta's fortified walls.
There seems to be a special place for cats in Maltese hearts, as I found a few spots for shelter and food.
Unusual Parking Lot
A parking lot inside the walls remaining of this building.
Huge moden cruise liners, fortified walls, churches, and port cranes all come together. Special mention to whoever came up with the idea of painting this crane like a giraffe.
One of the ships of the Mein Schiff fleet from tour operator Tui. The Valletta waterfront is regularly home to large cruise liners.
With a capacity of 2500 people, this one is not quite yet up there with the largest in the world.
One of the beneficiaries of the cat cafe.
Unusual street crossing.
Since 1951 or so...
Malta has an unusual charme - it's clearly old and parts feel run down, but yet not dirty or unsafe.
Looking westwards from Valetta into the harbour. There's quite a lot of cranes in the skyline, the economy is doing well and the government invests in infrastructure.
The north eastern side of Valetta, with the dome of Our Lady of Mount Carmel church.
The typical building walls with colorful offset balconies.
He did have binoculars just a moment ago.
You'll climb and descend a lot of streets in Valletta.
Auberge de Castille
The prime ministers office..
Amazing guitarist in the streets of Valletta.
While Malta's entertainment district is elsewhere, Valletta's streets were still busy in the evenings.
Two girls discussing life's ideosyncracies on the city walls.
As with many mediterranean cities, people like to keep plants outside the doors, windows and balconies.
A cafe near the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
Looking down the stairs of the Barrakka lift, connecing the waterfront with the streets of Valletta.
A large yacht passing Senglea and Birgu, two of the cities opposite Valletta.
One of the "three cities" on the other side of the harbour, largely unknown, yet equally interesting as Valletta.
The aforementioned lift and its stairs, seen from the bottom.
Cul de Sac
A small side street in Senglea.
Although this football field had a peculiar trapez like shape, it's location on the waterfront is unbeatable.
The little tower in Gardjola Gardens provides good views of Valletta - and usually some large cruise liners.
This boat is parked high up in the city, with narrow twisting roads - I do wonder how it got up here.
Looking from Senglea to the Birgu waterfront.
The Saluting Battery
Up in the Barrakka Gardens.
At 12 noon and 4pm, one of the cannons is fired daily out of tradition. Having said that, I have a feeling the Maltese like their historic guns and batteries, I did hear regular shots all around. Sidenote: Loving 60 fps high speed mode on the Olympus OMD-EM-1.
Another great musician playing in the Valletta streets.
Unfortunately these are not love locks, but a cry for justice for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of Malta's leading investigative journalists, assassinated in 2017.
While cities built before the 1900s were not made for cars, people adapt - it's rare to see large SUVs in places like Malta.
Finding a Way
A tree growing through a concrete hole in the ground.
The bustling city life in the evening.
Roaming around empty side streets in the blue hour.
A group of young people discovering the city.
The only light
This taxi took me out to the coast on the south western side of the island, on my hunt for the Milky Way.
Shot about 40min drive outside Valetta at Miġra l-Ferħa.
Yes - this is the moon setting, not the sun.
Probably my favourite shot of the trip, with the moon just disappearing on the horizon, casting a faint light over the landscape, while not overpowering the Milky Way.
Watching the Cosmos
Couldn't quite keep myself still enough on the windy (and steep and tall) coastline. The glow from the left is the airport I believe.
Not so bustling anymore at 2am.
The island of Fifla is the southern most point of Malta.
One of the most famous attractions in Malta, this is actually a combination of multiple sea caves where water, light and rocks create colourful patterns.
Light & Water.
One such pattern.
Our boat captain showing us why this cave is said to turn divers blue.
The spectrum of shades you can spot here is amazing.
It's possible to swim and dive in the caves.
Probably the most intense blue I've seen in the sea.
There's a great viewpoint on the road leading towards the small harbour used for the excursions to the Blue Grotto.
The so called blue wall is one of the most spectacular features of the Maltese coastline.
Filfla seen through two trees.
Surprisingly, Malta has a falconry centre - although this is an Eagle I believe.
Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra are among the most ancient religious sites on Earth and over 5000 years old. Protective tents were built over them a few years ago to minise impact of sun, wind and rains.
I doubt anyone has sat here for a while. The tent over Ħaġar Qim in the background.
Another beautiful arch on the Maltese coast, not far from the ancient sites.
One of my highlights of the visit was Mdina, the former capital, almost 3000 years old.
St. Paul's Cathedral Mdina
The frescoed interior was covered by red clothes - unsure of this is permanet or for a special occasion.
Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady
The dome of the second major church in Mdina.
The Lady in Blue
The streets of Mdina leant themselves for some Instagram snaps...
The ruins of this 1st century BCE Roman theatre with the background of Mdina.
One of the most famous Maltese specialties - indeed, it's delicious.
Local man enjoying an evening drink in a place serving what is said to be the best Pastizzi in Malta, and doing so 24/7, located in Rabat just outside Mdina.
Mdina seen from a distance shows its elevated position.
Officers practicing on St George's square.
Stumbled into this little workshop. restoring figures and other parts of the nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel church.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel church
The interior of the aforementioned church.
On my last morning, I discovered this gem - the Teatru Manoel.
Said ot be Europe's third-oldest working theatre, it isn’t as big as it looks here, with only 623 seats.
Work in Progress
This view gives away that the theatre is actually quite small. Note the woman on the bottom right, doing restoration on one of the decorative paintings on the wall.