Malta & Gozo
A thousand years before the Great Pyramid at Giza was constructed, people on the tiny island of Malta were moving stones weighing up to 50 tonnes. At 5500 years old, the megalithic temples of Malta and Gozo are among the oldest ritual structures in the world - decorated with some of the most extraordinary art to be found anywhere in the Mediterranean.
Led by an archaeologist specialising in Maltese history and archaeology, we explore the many ages of Malta: from those ancient temples through Roman rule and into the Medieval period. We also spend a day in Valletta, a World Heritage Site, built by the crusading Knights Hospitaller, having defeated the Ottoman Turks in the great siege of 1565.
- Extraordinary prehistoric culture whose stone monuments predate the Great Pyramid at Giza by over 1000 years
- A strategic gem, coveted by empires throughout the ages – from the Romans to the British
- Special access to the dolmens and megalithic gallery grave at Ta’ Cenc
- Historic Churches
- Cultural Excursion
- Special Access
- Just One Hotel
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Valletta.
We begin at the two conjoined temples of Ta’ Ħaġrat and Mġarr, built during the 4th millennium BC. We continue to Skorba, an excavated settlement site which has made a significant contribution to the understanding of early Maltese prehistory. We spend the afternoon at the ancient capital of Malta, Mdina, a walled city with winding streets. We move on to Buskett to view the enigmatic ‘cart ruts’ cut into the hilllside, features that occur on both Malta and Gozo, worn into the bedrock.
We enjoy a day exploring Valletta on foot. Founded by the Knights Hospitaller, following the Great Siege of 1565, this is a Unesco World Heritage Site occupying a commanding position over two harbours. We begin with the exceptional array of artefacts from Malta’s unique prehistoric periods in the Archaeological Museum, from man’s first arrival on the island, up to the end of the Bronze Age. We also visit St John’s Co-Cathedral and, if not booked for a state function, the Grand Master’s Palace with façades of some of the many Auberges of the Knights.
By boat to the island of Gozo where we visit Ggantija, a prehistoric temple constructed of massive stone, and Xaghra, the stone circle and funerary complex.
We have special access to Ta’ Cenc prehistoric temple with dolmens and passage graves.
This afternoon we travel to Victoria Citadel, the 17th century fortress of Gozo. We also visit the Archaeology Museum.
Back on Malta we visit the magnificent Hagar Qim and Mnajdra - part of a cluster of temple sites evocatively located on a hillside by the sea. We continue to Tarxien, the most elaborate of all the Maltese Megalithic temples which has undergone extensive excavation and restoration. We travel on to the Ghar Dalam cave, which consists of a water-worn tunnel accessible by humans for about 80m, in which large quantities of Pleistocene faunal remains were found, together with evidence for the earliest known human activity on the island.
We take a Harbour cruise in the morning to view the port of Valletta from the sea. Afloat, one can imagine the assembled might of the Ottoman Turkish armada, estimated to contain up to 45,000 men. The siege, which lasted for 4 months in the summer of 1565, was a turning point, which undermined the perceived invincibility of the Ottoman army. As Queen Elizabeth wrote, “If the Turks should prevail against the isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom.” We return to shore for free time this afternoon - a chance for souvenir shopping and a final stroll in the old town.
Transfer to the airport for flight home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
6 nights located at the entrance to Valetta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 5 star hotel offers views of Marsamxett harbour and Manoel Island. It is set within landscaped gardens, with it’s own private beach and it perfectly situated to explore the old town
For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.