The former capital of Malta, this historic hilltop settlement—known as the Silent City—features honey-hued palazzos and centuries-old buildings. The town center, a knot of shady and quiet streets, is shielded from the hubbub and traffic of the outside world by thick walls that date back to between the 16th and 18th centuries.
One of Malta’s most atmospheric destinations, Mdina is a common stop on many hop-on hop-off tour bus routes. Sightseeing tours departing from Valletta often include a guided visit of Mdina, as well as making stops at Rabat, the Blue Grotto cave network, the Hagar Qim temple complex, and Golden Bay. To see Mdina at its most tranquil, opt for a night tour and explore the city’s peaceful streets after the day-tripping crowds have departed.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Mdina is a must for history buffs and architecture lovers.
- Mdina’s streets feature cobbles and flagstones, so wear appropriate walking shoes.
- The walled town is wheelchair accessible, with level access available. St. Paul’s Cathedral is also wheelchair accessible, though many other attractions are not.
How to Get There
Mdina is situated about 8 miles (13 kilometers) east of Valletta. Driving between the two cities takes about 20 minutes. Public bus routes 51, 52, and 53 connect Valletta to Mdina.
When to Get There
Mdina is magical year-round, though the main drag can become crowded during the peak summer months of June, July, and August. Come in early evening after the day-trippers have left to see the fortified city at its silent best. After dark, it’s bathed in an attractive golden light.
Highlights of Mdina
Mdina’s biggest attraction is St. Paul’s Cathedral. The baroque-style cathedral is dedicated to Malta’s patron saint, who supposedly came to the island in AD 60. While the exterior is restrained, the interior boasts an array of gilding, stonework, marble, frescoes, and elaborately decorated chapels. For more information about the history of Mdina, visit the Mdina Experience, where informational films recount key episodes from Malta’s history.