Mdina is the former capital of Malta and is definitively smaller than Valletta. The city is already an eye candy from the distance: You can see a nice, medieval city with a city wall and a church in the center. Unfortunately, the tower was scaffolded, but it is still a beauty. Mdina was built on a hill and the landscape around is full of green fields, small stone walls and houses and in the closer distance you can see small villages. Malta is a rather flat island, therefore we saw the north shore from Mdina.
When arriving with the bus, you’ll find a big bus station in front of the gate. The city wall is surrounded by a moat which is now a garden with some trees, pathways and green area.
When entering Mdina, you go through the old city gate taking a bridge over the moat. It is a nice scenery and I could imagine how people walked through the gate hundred years ago. The wall and all of the buildings of Mdina are quite well retained. I really loved the small houses made of lime stone with their beautiful window shutters in nice colors.
The highlight of Mdina is the St. Paul’s Cathedral that was built by St. Paul as a gift for the Maltese people who rescued him after being wrecked. A ticket for a student was 3€ and next to the cathedral, there was also a museum to visit. The cathedral itself is a pompous, catholic church with a lot of golden decoration, paintings, altars, tombs and memorial plaques.
What I mostly liked about Mdina was the little alleys and buildings, nicely decorated and I loved to walk around the city. Mdina is a sedate and quite village during spring, but I can imagine (and postcards also showed) that during summer, a lot of tourists visit the old capital, promenade the alleys, drinking tea in one of the cafés and having tasty Mediterranean dinner in the restaurants.
At the Fontanella Tea Garden we had a tea and enjoyed the sun (even though the wind was blowing like crazy). I loved the decoration of this place with fresh oranges and flowers.
Rabat, the city directly next to Mdina, is also a nice town with another church (we did not visit) and restaurants, cafés and well decorated houses and alleys.
BTW, Malta’s traditional food is rabbit and in Rabat (hehe), I had a really good rabbit in garlic pesto with potatoes and zucchini-capsicums garnish. I can really recommend the Cosmana Navarra, they have delicious wine, tasty rabbit and (I guess) very good self made pasta.
Rabat and Mdina are rather small and quite villages and I don’t know whether this changes during summer time. We spent like 3 hours there and went to the Dingli Cliffs afterwards, just a 20 minutes tour by bus or 90 minutes hiking…