Discovering Malta: Mdina (The Silent City)

Last year my boyfriend and I spent an utterly perfect fortnight in Malta and one of the highlights was definitely Mdina. The old capital of Malta, Mdina is almost slap bang in the middle of the island, just a little south west of Mosta. We took a scenic forty minute bus ride from Valletta on a day that was hot even for Malta and…I promptly led us the wrong way into the city. Sorry about that.

When we actually found our way into Mdina I was struck by a couple of things. First, how clean the winding streets were and, second, how quiet it was. We were there at the beginning of September, when the season starts to slow down, but I still couldn’t believe how peaceful and quiet the streets were. While Valletta hums with noise, Mdina is its silent counterpart and it’s impossible to do anything other than fall under its spell while you discover the architecture, gorgeous views and pretty damn good cake. Speaking of which…

The first thing you need to do is head to the Fontanella Tea Garden for a doorstep slice of cake (chocolate and orange wins by a mile) and panoramic views of the entire island. Of all the views in saw in Malta, this was one of the best.

After that there’s a task for any Game of Thrones fans out there: find Littlefinger’s Brothel. It took us ages. And ages. After failing to find it on our own I took to the faithful internet to look up the exact location. Mdina is a maze of squares and sidestreets that curve around the city and we’d probably still be there looking for it now if I hadn’t caved and looked it up.

Along the way we ran into some pastel-shuttered buildings I couldn’t help but photograph, as well as ornate religious statues on street corners (you find these all over Malta, one of the most Catholic countries in the world) and St Paul’s Cathedral.

If you didn’t stop and admire it on the way in (or you went in the back way because your head of navigation, ahem, me, got lost) then make sure you spend a few moments at the Mdina Gate when you leave the city. It shines in the sunlight and it’s so intricately detailed that you could stare at it all day and still notice new carvings. Oh, and you might also recognise it from season one of Game of Thrones as part of King’s Landing (after season one it was moved to Dubrovnik).

Mdina is the ideal place to wile away a day, strolling in the sunshine and soaking up the architecture. Out of everywhere we visited in Malta, this was my favourite place, and I truly fell in love with the Silent City.

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