Exploring North Malta with iSee Malta

Limestone building with pillars in Valletta

If you’ve read previous travel posts, you’ll know that we love a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. It’s just a super convenient, and easy way to see all the sights in one or two days. When we went to Malta, being out of season, the regular service wasn’t running and instead, there was a dedicated programme which chose some of the ‘best’ stops, or places deemed a point of interest. Annoyingly, it was the same price – €25 per adult (Alfie was free).

That said, we booked both the North and South tours – and tonight, I’ll be talking about the former. It’s slightly misleading, as we stayed in the north, in Buggiba – and ended up travelling east to Valletta, back to central Malta and then around the west coastline on our way back to the north! The North Tour runs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

We booked though iSee Malta, who had a representative at our hotel – and it was also through them that we booked our Gozo pass. There are a couple of open-top bus services, and we did actually book the Hop-On-Hop-Off, so it was the usual red bus we had to look out for.

Back to Valletta

We had previously spent the day in Valletta and hadn’t realised it was one of the stops on our tour – which we did on the Friday, our penultimate day. As we had spent a lot of time previously, walking around and exploring the city, we used the time relaxing. We walked through the city centre to a café, which overlooked Grand Harbour.

I think we only had an hour, so were quite pressed for time. I have to say it was busier walking back to the bus, than it had been on the Thursday – which was a public holiday. We still managed to get plenty of steps in – and thankfully, Alfie wasn’t so fussed about the fountains second time around.

View over Ta'Qali from the back of a tour bus

Souvenir shopping in Ta’Qali

Travelling west to central Malta, we had a short pitstop – and it was short, half an hour – at Ta’Qali Crafts Village. Ta’Qali itself is home to the National Stadium, where Malta’s national football team play, as well as a national park and an aviation museum.

It was the Crafts Village we were here to see – a collection of artisanal shops selling handmade goods, such as jewellery, glassware, and ceramics. Of course, you could get no end of souvenirs, including postcards, prints and all the usual bits and pieces. Some of the huts were quite samey, and we ended up just buying a couple of prints to frame at home.

Limestone building, with balcony and baroque features

Getting lost in Mdina

The beautiful walled city of Mdina featured in my 5 things to do in… Malta post, and what an incredible place it was! We had a fair few hours here, but it still wasn’t enough – and first on the agenda was lunch. There were only a few places to eat, and it was difficult finding somewhere that would seat and feed us in time for us to explore before returning to the bus. We found a super cute café for toasted sandwiches, Twistees (which are life, btw) and a hot drink.

And then we did all the exploring! The architecture’s just stunning – all medieval and baroque, with the buildings mostly made from limestone. It’s so picture-perfect, and easy to get lost down the narrow, meandering cobbled streets. As I say, I wish we had more time here, because I felt like we didn’t see it – and certainly missed the tourist attractions.

The small city is inhabited, although we didn’t see any people – other than those on the bus, and probably other tours. If you just like mooching about, admiring architecture – this is the place to do it!

Limestone church, with large rotunda

Marvelling at Mosta

While we didn’t get to go inside, the Mosta Dome (also known as the Rotunda of Mosta) was also absolutely beautiful. From a distance, it was so imposing, and we could see it hiding behind trees and other buildings as we drove down the main street. We then pulled up virtually opposite it, for a photo opportunity – although we could have got off the bus if we wanted. The view was better on the bus, for sure. Its dome is said to be third largest in the world and really is impressive. I’ve since Googled photos of the interior and it’s equally as spectacular.

And fun fact (if fun is the right word for what I’m about to say) – during World War II, a bomb fell through the dome without exploding, while people were in mass. They all remained unharmed, the detonator was later removed and there’s now a replica inside the church. I would love to go back to find out more – and obviously look inside!

We then made our way around the coastline, to Mellieha and St. Paul’s, where we got off and walked back to the hotel.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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