Mdina is the old capital city of Malta with a rich history. 

The city greets you with an extravagant archway.

Upon walking through you’ll notice a decrease in noise because of Mdina’s ban of domestic vehicles.

This makes walking around Mdina a very quiet and peaceful experience.

There is plenty to see and do including the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina Dungeons, Mdina Glass, the catacombs, The Knights of Malta exhibit, and the numerous palaces that are now used as private residences.

Mdina is a unique place that appeals to anyone seeking history, culture, adventure or a quiet area to relax.

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1. St Paul’s Cathedral

Rebuilt in 1702 after being destroyed by an earthquake, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most extravagant examples of Baroque architecture in Malta.

The Cathedral rises above the rest of Mdina with two large bell towers either side of its entrance. 

Inside, St Paul’s Cathedral contains beautiful architecture and impressive furnishings.

It has paintings on the walls and roof showing religious moments in history including “The Conversion of St Paul”.

The Cathedral’s museum is located in a separate building next door.

It’s worth visiting to see the vast collection of religious artwork, silverware, and other church treasures.

The Cathedral and museum are open 9 am – 1 pm and 1:30 pm – 4:45 pm.

Official site

2. The Mdina Experience 

Located in an old medieval building on Mesquita Square, the Mdina Experience is an audio-visual tour into the detailed history and fascinating mysteries that surround Mdina.

The theatre is air-conditioned with comfortable seating.

It has high-resolution projections and surround sound headphones that provide a fantastic viewing experience.

The 25-minute long presentation provides really interesting information about Mdina’s history with St Paul, the Romans, Knights of Malta, and the earthquake.

It’s all delivered in an entertaining and easily digestible manner.

The Mdina Experience is open 9:30 am – 4:30 pm (Monday-Saturday) and 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (Sunday).

Official site

3. Mdina Dungeons 

The Mdina Dungeons is an interactive experience that is equal parts spooky entertainment and educational history.

The Dungeons consists of one tour underneath the streets of Mdina.

It focuses on the darker side of Mdina’s history.

Each area reveals a particular incident or individual(s) that left a lasting impression on the city and country.

You can learn about hideous torture techniques, the punishments for being a witch, the violent French rule of Malta, and hangings, through detailed information and displays.

The Mdina Dungeons are open 10 am – 4:30 pm (last admission 4:15pm).

Official site

4. Mdina Glass 

Mdina Glass is a unique glassware shop, because all its products are made in the same building.

The actual shop sells beautifully hand-blown glassware including clocks, decorations, glasses, and mirrors.

However, what really makes this place worth a visit is the opportunity to watch the glassblowers craft numerous objects from molten glass.

The workshop is open 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (Monday-Friday) and 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (Saturday).

Official site

5. Catacombs

Mdina has the St Agatha’s Catacombs, which is basically a chapel where it’s believed St Agatha, a patron saint of Malta, prayed. 

Taking the guided tour inside gives you an opportunity to learn about the various paintings and grave markings.

Tours last for 30 minutes and run on the hour from 9:30am-4:30pm (except Sunday).

There is also the St Paul’s Catacombs, which is a series of dark and narrow paths through ancient tombs.

These catacombs can be entered from 9 am – 5 pm.

6. City Streets and Views

Once inside Mdina there’s no need to immediately start searching for things to see and do, because the entire city is worth taking the time to explore.

The streets and buildings are very different to those found in other countries and the tranquil silence of the city creates the perfect atmosphere for exploring at a leisurely pace. 

Walking deeper into the city, you will eventually reach Bastion Square (Pjazza Tas-Sur on the map). 

Bastion Square has magnificent panoramic views over the surrounding Malta countryside and some affordable places to eat and sit down.

7. The Knights of Malta

This exhibit is set out in a similar style to Mdina Dungeons, using wax figures and audio to present a detailed history about the Knights of St John. 

There’s a lot of written information to read, but everything combined presents a thorough and interesting look at the entire ruling of the Knights from when they were first founded until their exile.

There’s a lot of information to take in, but fortunately you can go through the exhibit at their own pace.

The Knights of Malta is open 10 am-5 pm.

Official site

8. Restaurants

Mdina has a wide range of restaurants that showcase Maltese fun and traditional culture. 

Menus typically include meals with inspiration from Italy and Malta.

One of the gems that can be found in Mdina is Fontanella Tea Garden in Bastion Square.

It’s very open, with incredible views of the countryside.

The specialty is cake, and more than a few sweet teeth will be satisfied by the options. 

If money is an issue, you can always bring in their own food and enjoy a picnic anywhere in the city.

9. Special Events

Events are held in Mdina throughout the year including the Grand Prix, medieval performances, and fireworks for major calendar dates.

Check online to see if anything is happening during your visit.

How to get to Mdina

Because only residential and other certain vehicles are allowed in the city, expect to do a lot of walking if you intend to see everything when you get there.

This means that Mdina can take a little while to see, but it’s a great place to spend hours exploring.

Here are a few transport options to get to Mdina.

Hop-on Hop-off Bus 

The Hop-on Hop-off Bus provides cheap and easy transport for anyone wishing to visit more than one attraction in Malta.

You will have unlimited use of the bus for a 24-hour period.

To get to Mdina, catch the Malta North Tour and disembark at the Mdina stop.

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Local Bus 

The local bus provides an easy and cost-effective way of reaching Mdina.

Catch bus number 51, 52, or 53 to Rabat.

Mdina is a short walk from the Rabat bus station.

Buses run every 10 minutes and a typical ride will take 30 minutes to reach Mdina. 

Taxi 

A taxi from Valletta will take about 20 minutes to reach Mdina and will cost about 20-25 euros.

Join a Tour

For a more personalised experience, join a guided tour.

You’ll get picked up and dropped off directly at your hotel.

No need to figure out how public transport works!

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echo
For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!