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Malta's historic sites: the archaeological treasures you must see.

Amanda Angus / 29 April 2015 ( 04 February 2017 )

Malta is rich with history, with Neolithic tombs to Bronze Age circles Here's our tips on the top historic sites to visit on your next Maltese adventure.

The ancient city of Mdina, Malta's capital until the medieval era
The ancient city of Mdina, Malta's capital until the medieval era

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There are many reasons why you might feel drawn to the sun-drenched island of Malta when you’re thinking about booking your next holiday. 

Here you’ll find coastlines kissed by the glorious Mediterranean Sea, peppered with charming outdoor cafes.

You’ll be welcomed by friendly locals, eager to show off their beautiful island and let you in on a myriad of secrets; and you’ll be able to discover centuries of history. 

Here are just a few examples of Malta’s historic gems that you might like to visit during your holiday…

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Incredible History

For such a small island, Malta is jam-packed with intriguing glimpses into the past, and one of the most intriguing are the centuries-old grooves that criss-cross various sections of land.

Disappearing off cliffs and appearing again under the sea, these tracks long baffled historians, though the generally accepted explanation now is that they are the ruts left by carts carrying goods around 2000BC. 

You can see these throughout Malta and Gozo, but the most concentrated are near Malta’s south coast and are affectionately named Clapham Junction, after the busy British railway station!

Driving in Malta; the best way to see the island

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

For an unforgettable trip that combines ancient history with magnificent sea views, take a day of your holiday to visit the megalithic Hagar Qim temple complex. 

At this UNESCO World Heritage Site you’ll find weathered limestone blocks said to have stood for over 5000 years, making them older than Egypt’s pyramids. There’s also a fascinating on-site museum to put everything you see into context. 

Once you have soaked up the prehistoric atmosphere you can take a stroll along the cliffs to drink in spectacular views of the Blue Grotto; these sea caverns boast startling blue waters due to the way the sunlight hits the submerged flora.

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Roman influence 

Malta also has its fair share of Roman influences from its time under Roman rule after the Punic Wars of 264-146BC. 

Perhaps most well-known are St Paul’s Catacombs; these labyrinthine burial chambers are located just outside of Mdina, the former capital of Malta, and were in use until the 4th century BC. 

It was here that the apostle is thought to have spent three months after he was shipwrecked on the island, and if you wish you can visit St Paul’s Grotto, a peaceful shrine where you can collect your thoughts.

Many of our Malta hotels include excursions to these remarkable insights into history, and plenty other excursions besides!

Explore Malta's intriguing archaeological past

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.