Malta & The Islands I

After 10 days in Barcelona and Paris, we board a 3-hr flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Malta’s capital city: Valletta.


I wake up bleary-eyed, just as the pilot is making arrival announcements. His speech comes across fast; not because it is, but because the words are in a language I don’t understand. At first, I think he’s speaking French, and then I pick up a word in Italian: grazie, followed by something that sounds Arabic. Now I’m puzzled, but I file my confusion away for later, making a mental note to do some research.

We disembark to pastel blue skies; a welcome departure from Paris’ light grey.

Spacious highway roads become narrow one-way streets as we near Valletta’s center, where our hotel -The Embassy Valletta- sits along Strait Street. Here, sand-colored stone buildings are packed tightly together, and separated by pedestrian streets. The hotel concierge is smiling as she welcomes us with a complimentary offer of Prosecco or water. We both choose Prosecco, sipping from the bubbling glasses as we ride the elevator up to our room.

Inside, we pull off sweaters and thick jackets, and slip into warm weather clothing for our visit to Mdina—a walled city outside of Valletta.

On the way, our driver launches into the usual questions: “where are you from?”, and “is this your first time visiting Malta?”. Finding out that it’s our first visit, he’s excited to share some historical facts: that Malta was colonized by several nations, that a lot of citizens speak Italian, and that Maltese -the official language- is a motley blend of English, Arabic, Italian, French, and Spanish. I find the latter fact both fascinating and relatable, since British occupation in my home country, Nigeria, is the primary reason English is widely spoken.

We talk more about Maltese history until he drops us off at the Mdina Gate—a towering stone archway that serves as an entrance to this ancient city.

Within its walls, the city is almost silent, save for the sounds of a bell tolling somewhere distant, and the patter of footsteps from passersby. We stroll through in quiet awe, stopping to take photos of towering stone buildings, intricate wooden doors, and the sweeping green landscape surrounding Mdina.

Our walk brings us to Fontanella Tea Garden for a late lunch. The rooftop restaurant is known for their cakes, which I order alongside a tasty wrap stuffed with succulent pieces of chicken, veggies, and couscous. I scoop out the excess couscous, drizzle a mild chili oil -the hottest one they have- over the wrap’s contents and take a satisfying bite.

Outside, the sky starts to announce sunset, so we finish our lunch, and leave Mdina to visit her sister city: Rabat.

Here, there’s more activity than in Mdina, though it’s relatively quiet. Street lamps and hanging bistro lights illuminate the maze-like alleys we walk through. The atmosphere fills with the din of voices from people enjoying the brisk evening on restaurant patios.

Nighttime descends in a deep indigo, dropping the temperature to an uncomfortable chill—our cue to call a car, and head back to Valletta.


I would have loved to have more time in both Mdina and Rabat, and take a tour to learn about the history held within those walls, but still, I was content to walk around the quiet cities, and allow some of that tranquil energy in.

Good to Know 

  • English is widely spoken, as well as Maltese and Italian.
  • Mdina is pronounced as: /Muh-di-na/
  • Italian influence is not only present in the language but also in the cuisine. It’s common to see a lot of Italian/Sicilian restaurants due to Malta’s proximity to Sicily.
  • You’ll want to make reservations in advance for dinner. Even in the off-season when we visited, some restaurants were booked full. 
  • This might be an off-season thing but restaurants close early, around 9/10pm.
  • Valletta Harbor is a great spot to watch the sunset.
  • I would recommend at least 3-4 full days in Malta. Though we got to do everything we planned to, I would have loved to go at a much slower pace. 
  • Credit & Debit cards are widely accepted.
  • We flew Air Malta from Paris to Valletta with no issues outside a slight delay in Paris.

Looking to visit Malta, get an itinerary for your trip via the Same Footprints Guide:

As always, 

thank you for reading!

Same Footprints, Different Sands



  1. Inyang says:

    Beautiful. Scenic !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tiesé says:

      Indeed! Thanks for reading 🤎


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