The islands of Malta and Gozo are packed with history, culture and tradition, openly visible around villages and cities. However, there are some hidden gems worth viewing and visiting, but fair warning to you, dear reader- they’re not your typical tourist attractions!
1. Secret Passage in St. Gregory’s Church
This Church, found within the outskirts of Zejtun, is officially known as St. Catherine’s Old Church, however, locals refer to it as St. Gregory’s for the village’s traditional yearly procession. This medieval church was built before 1436, however, its present edifice is a combination of Gothic and Romanesque architecture, dating back to the 16th century, therefore little remains of the original building. It looks like the typical Maltese church, however, a secret U-shaped passage was built within the church, containing a surprising amount of human bones. Legend has it that people were buried alive within these passages during the siege of 1614. Creepy.
Courtesy of Times of Malta
2. Mdina Underground Tunnel
Fun Fact: The Malta Railway was the only railway ever built on the island, and consisted of a single railway line running from Valletta to Mdina (about 8 miles). Operations started in 1883 but shortly ended in 1931 due to high competition from the new bus transport system introduced in Malta. Nowadays the Mdina tunnel that served to operate the railroad was used for mushroom farming but is now totally abandoned. Grab your torches and your Dora the Explorer backpack and get ready for a day of spook and adventure!
Tunnel entrance courtesy of 28dayslater.co.uk
3. Victoria Lines
Unofficially (and ironically) referred to as the Great Wall of Malta, the Victoria lines are a line of fortifications that run 12 kilometers across the island, separating the northern and southern regions of Malta. These lines range from Madliena, Mosta, Mgarr, Rabat, and Mdina, and was to serve as a military mechanism to be used by the British military in the 19th century. It is said that the Victoria Lines were built as a consequence to the opening of the Suez Canal. In 1998, the Government of Malta submitted the building to UNESCO for consideration for World Heritage Site status. Go for a walk along the lines on a sunny spring day- the views are endless and magnificent!
4. Malta Cart Tracks
These cart tracks can be found around the Maltese garigue countryside, however, the most popular example of the Cart Tracks would be the Clapham Junction Cart Ruts. These ruts are paired grooves within limestone, thought to have been used for the transportation of carts around the Maltese islands, however, strangely enough, they do not appear to be directly linked to the building of any of Malta’s megaliths. What’s most notable, and rather mysterious, about the Clapham Junction ruts is the fact that these ruts seem to go on underwater. What were they used for? Were they man-made, a geological feature, or were they made by extraterrestrials? The theories are plenty- time to go and form your own!
5. Wied il-Ghasri
This valley can be found in Gozo, Malta’s sister island. The valley stretches from Ta’ Dbiegi Hill, all the way to Ghasri village, and goes on between Zebbug and Ta’ Gurdan Hill, where the valley narrows down into a stream of seawater, large enough for people to swim in. The stream eventually opens onto the big blue, where divers enjoy exploring surrounding underwater caves. A very interesting cave to spot is one with a shaft dug up towards the top of the cliffs above the bay, which was used to bring seawater to neighbouring saltpans with ropes and buckets. This valley is not only interesting, but aesthetically pleasing, and usually rather abandoned before peak season.
6. Ahrax tal-Mellieha
This area includes a campsite (for the more outdoorsy of us) and also a dive site (for the more adventurous mermaids and mermen). To camp in the area, one needs to obtain a permit from the Mellieha Local Council, but after that, it is as easy as packing a bag and spending a night surrounded by spectacular views and, more notably, shooting stars- a truly different touristic experience. Alternatively, visit the diving site and snorkel around the coral reef and or dive through an underwater entrance to a large cave, yet it is advised to visit the cave with a professional diver. Watch this video for more inspiration.
Did we miss any of your favourite hidden gems? Let us know in the comments below!