Day 2 - M'dina and Rabat
We started the day off very late because jet lag + going out = sleeping til 1. But luckily we found a walking tour available on Airbnb experiences that started at 3pm. So we took a cab to M'dina using bolt; it was 20 euros to get there from St. Julian's. We ate pastries and coffee at the nearby kiosk outside the city gates and it was not good. I'm so glad we got pastizzia on the boat the previous day, because they were delicious and this kiosk was not. I would suggest trying to wake up a bit earlier than us and picking a restaurant in M'dina for breakfast or lunch--there are lots of cute places.
Recommendation: Skip it.
Cab to M'dina
Walking Tour of M'dina and Rabat
Like I said, we booked our tour through airbnb experiences--it was around $15 USD per person and it was a 2.5 hour tour. By the end we were very tired, but we got a robust tour of M'dina and Rabat and I really loved these two cities. Some quick fun facts: The arabic words Medina and Rabat mean "city" and "outskirts," respectively. M'dina was established in 218 AD and developed by the romans; they called the city Melite which means island of honey because of all the bees and the yellow stonework. Game of Thrones seasons 1 and 2 were filmed here before they moved over to Dubrovnik. All the doorways in the two cities were required to have a little alcove before the street so that you could stand in any doorway if there were arrows flying from enemies. St. Paul was shipwrecked here in Malta and was bitten by a snake--all thought he would surely die but he suffered no ill effects; and the Maltese still celebrate St. Paul and his shipwreck to this day. So many more interesting historical facts--I truly loved walking around the beautiful walled city.
Recommendation: Go for it! I'm SO glad we decided to go to M'dina--I love learning about ancient cities, they are so inspiring to me and M'dina was one of the most unique!
Our tour ended at the time where a lot of restaurants are closed between lunch and dinner, so we found one place that was open, the Mdina Experience Medieval Tavern. The inside was a bit cheesy but we sat in the courtyard (where Ned Stark was arrested by Jaime Lannister) and it was a wonderful spot to grab some wine and have a snack. We got the bruschetta and it was delicious.
Recommendation: Eh, if you have time. Only because there are so many other beautiful restaurants here, we were just too tired to walk a lot. Haha.
Snacks at Mdina Experience Medieval Tavern
Self Guided Tour of
After our snack, we returned to the hostel to rest and freshen up for dinner. I had really wanted to find a tour of Valletta, but the timing didn't work out on our short stay (and long sleeps) so we decided to do a little self-guided walking tour before dinner. It was lovely! I've never done something like this before--there are many self-guided walking tours online you can follow and it was a great way to see more of Valletta that we would have if we were just wandering. The highlight is of course, the beautiful Saluting Battery where you can see and hear the cannons go off a twice a day. We missed the cannons, but I think that would have been really fun. The view was spectacular--it was very peaceful and lovely to walk around.
Recommendation: Go for it! Although I prefer a free walking tour, I'll settle for self guided if I have to.
Dinner at Taste
During the middle of our self-guided tour we stumbled upon this adorable street busy with restaurants and stopped for dinner. We started off inside because they were too crowded and busy for outside seating (get a reservation), but after one drink they were able to move us to the charming street. We had espresso martinis and they were delicious, the pasta was simple and yummy and the wine was fantastic.
Recommendation: Go for it! This was a great experience, but the food isn't going to blow your mind--it's simple and good.
We had an early flight the next morning, so we got some good night sleep and then we were off! I would LOVE to return to Malta--there is so much to do on this small island--I would particularly like to stay on Gozo. Gozo is the small island to the north and everyone kept raving about how much they loved it. So something to keep in mind if you are planning a trip to Malta that is longer than ours... I would definitely consider staying in Gozo!