Are we still in Europe? Mdina, Malta

The small Mediterranean island of Malta appeals to travellers seeking beautiful, sunny weather, gorgeous coastlines and beaches, crystal-clear sea and impressive historical sites.

Although much of Malta has been over-developed, there are many beautiful destinations on this island which immediately transport you back in time. My tip is to visit the charming, exotic Maltese town of Mdina (according to Maltese friends, pronounced EM-dina), with its impressive fortifications.

Although originally settled by the Phoenicians, the town today bears the stamp of its later Arab settlers. While wandering the winding, narrow, labarynth-like alleyways, you could be forgiven for wondering if you are in northern Africa rather than Europe.

There are wonderful  baroque details on the buildings, much of it pointing clearly to the golden era of the Knights of Malta. The powerful Knights of Malta brought great wealth to their island state and this is clearly reflected in the ornate baroque churches and palaces that the Knights constructed during major renovation efforts of the town in the early 18th century. Not to be missed is the stunning and elegant St. Paul’s Cathedral, completed in 1702.

In northern African towns, it is always a pleasure to observe the intricate door-knockers. Mdina also has some fine, whimsical examples.

Malta is extremely hot during the spring and summer months. It is best to visit Mdina in early morning or late afternoon hours. My suggestion would be to combine this lovely town with the nearby beach of Ghajn Tuffieha, just a few kilometers away.

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Enjoying a day wandering the magical, warren of streets in stunning Mdina, followed by lazing on the golden sands of  Ghajn Tuffieha and swimming in its refreshing, turquoise waters as you enjoy the view up to one of the Knights’ impressive watchtowers.

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