It’s known by many different names such as Medina, Mdina, Imdina (in Maltese) or simply The Silent City.
It has been the backdrop for major motion pictures and television series. A small city filled with beautiful medieval architecture, amazing restaurants, stunning views and above all a true must for an authentic experience in European and Mediterranean history. Dear readers, we’d like to present to you Malta’s former capital city of Mdina.
- Read also the guide to the actual capital of Malta: La Valletta
Why visit Mdina?
Mdina is named as The Silent City for good reason. In a small country where construction development is taking place at an alarmingly fast race, Mdina is perhaps the one and only place where you can lie still without listening to the peace-disturbing sounds of modernisation. That does not mean that you will be rid of people.
Mdina is a very touristic place and once you’re there you’ll completely understand why. However, tour guides and those visiting the silent city always respect its number one rule – to stay silent. So definitely, Mdina always takes prominence on the list of any itinerary for your holiday in Malta. It’s enjoyable in summer and winter alike, most of its roads are left for pedestrian and you can walk to all of the attractions this beautiful spot has to offer.
If there is one thing which Mdina is very famous for is its incredible history. In fact, historians date this city’s history to over 4000 years back. There is a bit of a local legend which suggests that after the shipwreck, Saint Paul resided inside one of the grottos just outside Mdina in the next adjacent town called Rabat.
Besides being known as the Silent City, in its origin, Mina was also known as Citta’ Notabile (the noble city). In the beginning of the 12th century, Mdina housed some of the most-noble families on the island including those of Sicilian, Spanish and Norman descent. This is why as you walk in Mdina you will see facades of beautifully decorated Palazzos. But that is not all. The walled city of Mdina still hosts a monastery for the Carmelite community.
The city was also very active during the Roman’s period in Malta and relics retrieved from the area which was known as Melita give testimony to this. Visitors flock the Silent City because of the medieval and Baroque architecture. In fact Mdina still remains one of the best examples of wall-cities in Europe.
Where is Mdina located?
The fortifications of Mdina sit on top of one of Malta’s highest peaks. That is why the city offers some stunning views from the very centre of Malta to the very points which touch the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea.
Its location was strategic in the past and it still is for today’s tourism industry. It’s a few hundred metres away from the small town of Rabat which means that you can find all the necessary convenience stores literally a short walk away.
Being uniquely set at a higher altitude, Mdina is located at one of the coolest (if not the coldest) points on the island. A little breeze up here in winter will make you quite chilly, but for a hot country like Malta, a nice cold breeze is a welcomed guest.
How do you get to Mdina
From the Airport
From St. Julian’s
Things to do in Mdina
The beauty of a small place like Mdina means that you can cover most of the attraction in one or two days. This, however, does not mean that the things to do are relatively short. On the contrary, there’s so much to do and visit.
What to do in Mdina:
- Visit the amazing St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Walk through the city’s main gate built in baroque style in 1724
- Climb up the bastions and enjoy the views
- Visit Palazzo Falson Museum of fine arts and antiquities
- Explore the National Museum of Natural History
- Visit Palazzo De Piro
- Simply walk through the ancient narrow streets and admire the architecture
- Visit the Cathedral Museum
- Visit the Knights of Malta Experience (a must if you want to know more about the knights’ presence in Malta)
- Check out the realistic figures at the Mdina Dungeons
As part of your full experience of Mdina, you should check out any Game of Thrones tours in the area. If you’re a fan of the show then you have the chance to visit Little Finger’s brothel and the street where Jaime Lannister and Ned Stark had their iconic sword fight.
Where to eat and drink in Mdina
Some old buildings in the Silent City have now been transformed into some amazing-looking restaurants and cafe’s which are definitely worth visiting.
- Fontanella – Probably the most popular cafe in the central area of Malta. Known for the amazing cakes and it’s perfect for lunch as it’s an ideal place to enjoy the views.
- Don Mesquita – A great place to enjoy an authentic Maltese platter.
- Palazzo De Piro – For the ultimate meal with a view.
- Bacchus Restaurant – They have an extensive menu featuring dishes from all across the Mediterranean.
- De Mondion restaurant – For that unique fine-dining experience offering exquisite cuisine and fantastic surrounding views.