Mdina is a captivating medieval town in central Malta, known as the “Silent City.” Enclosed by massive fortifications, it offers a timeless charm with narrow cobblestone streets and historic buildings. The city’s warm ambiance, panoramic views, and cultural heritage make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and travelers seeking a unique experience.
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Visiting Mdina is like stepping into a living history book, where every corner holds stories of a bygone era. The well-preserved architecture, cultural treasures, and serene ambiance make it a must-visit destination for travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Malta.
Brief History of Mdina, Malta
Mdina, located in the heart of Malta, has a fascinating history that spans over 4,000 years. Originally settled by the Phoenicians, it became an important Roman town known as Melita. Throughout the centuries, Mdina witnessed the rule of various civilisations, including the Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans. In 1530, the Knights of St. John fortified the city and made it their home until they moved to Valletta in 1571. Mdina served as Malta’s capital until the 16th century and continued to be a significant cultural and religious center. Today, its well-preserved medieval architecture and historical landmarks make it a captivating destination for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in Malta’s rich heritage.
Do you know?
For those who have some knowledge of Malta, they should have heard of the capital, Valletta. However, Mdina is an even older city than Valletta. Before the arrival of the Knights of St. John, Mdina was the capital of Malta. The name “Mdina” is similar to “Medina,” which means “castle” in Arabic. Enclosed within city walls, Mdina covers an area of only 0.9km2, yet it is considered one of Europe’s finest ancient walled cities.
Where is Mdina, Malta
Mdina is located in the central part of Malta. It is situated on a hilltop, providing panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the distant coast. The city is approximately 8km southwest of Valletta, the capital of Malta, and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Its strategic location in the heart of the island has contributed to its historical significance and role as a major cultural and administrative center throughout the centuries.
How to Get to Mdina
- By Bus: Mdina is a car-free city, so you can take any bus that passes through Rabat from Valletta. Get off at Rabat and walk for 5 minutes to reach Mdina.
- Self-Driving: The best way to visit Mdina is by renting a car. In fact, we believe that self-driving is also the best way to explore the entire island of Malta. Renting a car in Malta is not only affordable but also provides a comfortable way to get around. There are several parking lots outside Mdina, so you can easily find a parking spot and walk into the city.
If you wish for a hassle-free and fully-guided tour to Mdina and surrounding neighbourhoods, you can consider this tour. It comes with lunch!
What to See and Expect When Visiting Mdina
The city gate of Mdina is a magnificent entrance that welcomes visitors into the historical heart of the city. It is a beautifully preserved stone archway with fortified walls on either side. The city gate holds a special significance for Game of Thrones fans, as it was used as a filming location for the popular TV series.
As you wander through the winding alleys, you’ll encounter impressive architectural wonders, including the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral, adorned with intricate baroque elements and stunning works of art. The Mdina Cathedral Museum houses a collection of religious artifacts and historical relics, providing a deeper understanding of the city’s cultural heritage.
The breathtaking views from the Bastion Square overlooking the Maltese countryside and the sea are not to be missed. The panoramic vista allows you to appreciate the beauty of Malta’s landscape from a different perspective.
Beyond its historical significance, Mdina has a warm and welcoming ambiance. The quaint town offers charming cafes, boutique shops, and traditional restaurants serving authentic Maltese cuisine. Enjoy a leisurely stroll on the fortified walls during sunset, and you’ll be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the surrounding countryside and the distant blue sea.
Visiting Mdina is like stepping into a living history book, where every corner holds stories of a bygone era. The well-preserved architecture, cultural treasures, and serene ambiance make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Malta.
One more tips! If you have been searching photos of Mdina, you should have seen a lovely blue door, which probably is the most photographed spot in the city. We will just let you explore around to find this door!
Tips for Visiting Mdina
- Mdina’s cobbled streets can be uneven, so wearing comfortable shoes is essential for exploring the city.
- Mdina can get crowded during peak hours, so visiting early in the morning or later in the evening can offer a more peaceful experience.
- Mdina is a small city, best explored on foot to fully appreciate its historic charm and hidden corners.
- Mdina is known for its serene ambiance, so be mindful of the peaceful atmosphere and avoid making loud noises.
- Don’t forget to take a photo of the famous blue door, one of Mdina’s most iconic features.
Where to Stay to Visit Mdina, Malta
Malta’s small size makes it unnecessary to constantly change accommodations. We recommend staying in Valletta or Sliema. These two cities are convenient, offer various amenities and restaurants, and provide a wide range of accommodation options.
- The Embassy Valletta Hotel $ $ $ – Book here
- The Capital Boutique Hotel $ $ – Book here
- Hotel Castille $ $ – Book here
- Hotel Verdi $ $ – Book here
- Marea Boutique Hotels $ $ – Book here
- Hotel Juliani – Boutique Hotel $ $ – Book here
Attractions Near Mdina, Malta
Nearby Mdina, there are several attractions and activities worth exploring. These are our recommendations.
Located just outside the walls of Mdina, Rabat is a historical town that offers a glimpse into Malta’s rich past. One of its main attractions is the St. Paul’s Catacombs, an extensive underground complex of interconnected Roman cemeteries dating back to the 4th century. Visitors can explore the fascinating network of tombs and chambers, providing a unique insight into ancient burial practices. Additionally, the Domus Romana, a Roman-era townhouse with well-preserved mosaics and frescoes, showcases the island’s Roman heritage.
The Dingli Cliffs are an essential destination for nature lovers and those seeking awe-inspiring panoramic views. Rising more than 220 meters above sea level, these majestic cliffs provide breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean Sea and the picturesque countryside. It’s an ideal spot to witness mesmerising sunsets over the horizon and take leisurely strolls along the cliff edge, relishing the invigorating sea breeze and immersing in the rugged beauty of Malta’s landscape.
Is Mdina Worth Visiting?
Mdina is undoubtedly a worthwhile attraction in Malta. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and enchanting atmosphere, it offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors.
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