The towns and villages listed below are located in the southern part of Malta. We concentrate a lot of our experiences in these villages, as these are the places where you can experience the authentic experience which is Malta. We have a soft spot for these historic villages that have very distinct and pleasant features which are not found in other parts of the Maltese Islands or elsewhere.
The village derives its name from the Semitic word `zejt' meaning olive. One of the earlier industries here was pressing olives for oil. The wonderful Church of Saint Catherine dominates the village and was built by Lorenzo Gafá in 1692The 'Cross in the Village Square' (Is-Salib Tal-Pjazza) is situated at the entrance of the village's main square in front of St Catherine's. There are two beautiful churches in Zejtun. We can see some fortified houses in the village core. The Parish Church of St Catherine (1692) is perhaps the finest work of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa'. The Old Parish Church of St Gregory, dating back to 1592, is a fascinating church. A secret passage was discovered in the church walls revealed the skeletal remains of some 80 or people.
Airport - Gudja - Tarxien - Zabbar Industrial Estate - Zejtun
Marsascala is an ancient fishing village with its picturesque bay - St. Thomas Bay. It is built on the two valleys of Zabbar and Zejtun. This is the place which is loved by the locals and the foreigners alike. Zoncor Point, the northern tip of Marsascala Bay, houses the National Swimming Pool, where important water polo matches are played. There are good numbers of accommodation with a balcony overlooking the picturesque Marsascala Bay. The beautiful sceneries from here like many multi-coloured boats dotted around on the water and the local church just opposite with its Romanesque bell tower are fantastic that gives pleasure to the elderly and for the families. People in this place are open and friendly and their lifestyle looks quiet, simple and unhurried. The communication will never be a problem as most people speak English. There are many open fields scattered around and some are bordered by walls of stone looking resembling ancient Roman structures. Its long U-shaped coastline and beach, its rocky promontories and its multicoloured fishing vessels give it lots of character. The place is enlarged by a wide variety of modern leisure facilities, restaurants and bars. Good fish restaurants and Maltese cuisine are found in Marsascala.
On one of the promontories of Marsascala lies the well-known, no unused Corinthia Jerma Palace Hotel, an area where very good facilities exist for bathing, health and fitness activities and water sports that the family can enjoy. Marsascala is a suitable place for all types of diving particularly, Scuba Diving attractions, as well as other water sports. One can enjoy views of the sea and beach while walking along the promenade and also from the numerous cafes and restaurants.
There are a number of chapels in Marsascala viz., the oldest church (St Thomas Chapel), the Tower's Chapel which is dedicated to St. Thomas and four other chapels dating from the time of the Knights: Our Lady of "Tad-Dawl", St Gaetan, St Nicholas and St Anthony. The most interesting articles found in Tad-Dawl are the 23 "ex voto" paintings. These paintings are fine specimens of popular art and belong to the 18th Century. The Monument of the Three Crosses with the Passion Symbols is an eye-catching curiosity that creates imagination in visitors’ mind. When we go to Zabbar Road, we find a charming farmhouse in a natural setting very close to the water course. A quotation from Psalms is written here – “Taste and See How The Lord is” that became meaningful because of the therapeutic use of the fresh spring water. The chapel of Our Lady of the Girdle, St. Joseph Chapel, the old church of St. Anne, the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary are other attractions where we can see other historical articles.
Airport - Gudja - Tarxien - Zabbar Industrial Estate - Centre of Zabbar - Marsascala
Birzebbugia is a flourishing, small seaside resort. The town’s name means ‘Well of Olives’. Birzebbugia has three main beaches - St George’s Bay and Wied Il-Buni and Pretty Bay. St George's Bay has a entrance used by fishermen to fix boats to the dock. The bay is a good venue for water sports such as windsurfing. The beach at Pretty Bay is sandy and popular among sun-lovers. Birzebbugia is best known for the fascinating Ghar Dalam cave ('Cave of Darkness')which was discovered in 1865 and holds a large number of fossils. Fossilised bones from extinct species were discovered in the cave including: dwarf hippopotami, dwarf elephants, red deer and giant swans. On the cave bed, visitors can still see evidence of bone deposits. Several types of fossils as well as models reconstructed from them are exhibited in the cave's small museum. Ghar Dalam provides a good background for those who are interested in history and Palaeontology.
Here we will get an eye catching scene of the traditional Maltese fishing boats called a “luzzu”, that bear the watchful Eye of Osiris to ward off evil. These “luzzus” can be seen dotted all around the bays. Sandy beach Pretty Bay, has a playground, a covered pavilion and a football pitch. Ghar Hasan - the Cave of Hasan – was the hideout of a 12th century Saracen rebel. The Church of Saint Peter in Chains is the centre of the community. Birzebbugia has a seafront strip of bars, cafés, restaurants and kiosks which have pleasant sea views.
Airport - Hal-Far - Birzebbugia
The etymology of the village may be a corruption of Tirix, meaning a large stone, similar to those used for the village's noted temples. The village motto is Tyrii Genure Coloni ("The Phoenicians created me").The town is famous for its prehistoric temple complex dating back to the copper age that paved the way to the Megalithic phase of the Island. Tarxien is home to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Tarxien Temples. The temples and their artefacts provide an insight into the rituals, beliefs and building skills of these prehistoric peoples. The huge statues called ‘fat ladies’ that are found in the National Museum of Archaeology of Valletta were transferred from Tarxien. Tarxien became the home for the old surviving church known as “Tar-Rokna”.
Temples: Their walls and columns are heavily decorated with carvings of fertility and virility symbols. When we enter into the temple, we can see large stone balls which were used as rollers to transport the massive megaliths from which the temples were built. Inside it, there is a half statue of a female figure (which is thought to have represented a fertility goddess) with a frilled skirt and obese legs.
In the niches of the temple, we can see the stone carvings of the procession of sheep or goats and the spiral works. Various items have been discovered such as cinerary urns, burial offerings and other material used during the funeral pyres of late Bronze-Age invaders. The Eastern Temple is used to be an oracle chamber and is believed to have been used by a priest or priestess.
Hypogeum: The Hypogeum is a series of underground chambers discovered in 1902 and it is believed that it was a burial site and sanctuary as over 7000 fossils were found there. A collection of potteries and statues were also discovered there.
The Hypogeum consists of three levels which are connected by a spiral stone staircase. The statue of the Sleeping Priestess was found there. It is a really fascinating and mysterious place with carved walls and intricate ceilings preserved. The 'Holy of Holies' Oracle Chamber on the second level is notable for its weird acoustics. The curious part is that it has a niche from which only (deep) male voices seem to be able to be projected to the far end of the chamber whereas female voices seem not have any effect.
Airport - Gudja - Tarxien Church
Marsaxlokk is the second natural beautiful harbour as well as the fishing capital of Malta. We can find electricity generating plant and a Freeport in Marsaxlokk. The marine life is also notable. The coves on the Delimara peninsula and the fishing village give a golden opportunity to those who are interested in photography. The low marble sepulchral pillars, Two Cippi, were discovered near the Marsaxlokk village before centuries. The traditional fishing boats 'luzzu' is a common sight in these parts and there is an interesting background to their brightly decorated appearance. The earliest Neolithic settlement on Malta was found on the Ghar Dalam Cave, where we can find the bone deposits. There is also a fish market in the village and a tourist market on the waterfront. Its Sunday fish market offers a fascinating insight into local life and a traditional industry. It is really exciting to see different varieties of fish in various colours and shapes that makes its name worth as the Island’s famous fishing village. Fort Delimara, on the west of the peninsula, was built by the British in 1881. The tourists are attracted because of the authentic seaside atmosphere and to see fishermen coming in with their daily catches. The place is also suitable for the tranquil walks along the graceful promenade. The church is a lovely sand coloured and has the usual red dome of Maltese churches which is a pleasant meeting place.
The surrounding countryside is lovely for early morning or evening walks.
Airport - Gudja - Marsaxlokk
Paola is the 17th century town and is renowned for its Good Friday procession, its football club, for the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and for its large church. Paola also hosts Malta's only Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre led by Imam Mohammed El Sadi that shows the tolerance and freedom of worship on the Island. The country's correctional facilities and the largest burial grounds, the Adolorata cemetery are also situated in this town. One of the sights here is the 1626 church Santa Ubaldesca and the new church dedicated to Christ the King, built in 1924. It was built using modern techniques and materials in the Neo-Classical style.
The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is also a couple minutes’ walk from Paola. Towns in Malta are continuously growing and it is hard to tell where Tarxien ends and Paola starts.
Hibernians Ground is a sports ground located in Paola which offers ample space for sport activities. The town square is surrounded by most of Paola's important buildings - the church, the band club, Hibernians FC, and the police station/prison. At the centre of the square, there is a delightful elongated oval area. It's totally surrounded by trees to give shade and at the centre is a kiosk serving hot & cold food, drinks and beer that reveal the Maltese society. The old prison building bears the words “Women's Prison" in the stonework above the door.
Airport - Gudja - Tarxien - Paola
The Three Cities offer an intriguing insight into Malta and its history. These cities are a slice of authentic life as well as a glimpse into Malta's maritime fortunes.
The historic fortified towns referred to as The Three Cities are located on the other side of the Grand Harbour across Valletta. These cities were built by the Grandmasters Cottoner, have a unique charm and character which distinguish them from all other towns in Malta. The three cities were also a home to the first knights.
In Vittoriosa (Birgu), we will find the residences of many of the well-known knights. The Maritime Museum (housed in a former naval bakery) and the Folk museum in the Inquisitors Palace (the former seat of the Inquisition) are the attractions. They are worth visiting as they hold many interesting artefacts and specimens of the Knights of St. John. Fort Sant'Angelo in Vittoriosa, Church of Saint Lawrence in Birgu are the two famous churches in the place.
In Cospicua [Bormla] you will find a magnificent Parish Church, with its Oratory full of unique masterpieces, the Cottonera line and the St. Clements Retrenchment.
Senglea (Isla), named after the Grand Master Claude de la Sengle, was almost completely rebuilt after the Second World War. It houses two interesting churches namely, St. Philips and Our Lady of Victories.
Airport - Paola - Senglea - Cospicua - Vittoriosa