2. Malta: Mdina, Dingli Cliffs and San Anton Botanical Gardens
You start by visiting the ancient Medieval city of Mdina, renowned for its opulent palaces and fortifications, medieval and baroque architecture, and ancient heritage. This majestic city is unquestionably one of the island's most evocative destinations.
Serving as the island's capital city from antiquity till the medieval period, Mdina is truly an enchanting city! A stroll through its narrow streets, which have not changed much in the last 1000 years, is a must for anyone visiting the Maltese islands. It is undoubtedly one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled/fortified city. Explore this historic city with an experienced local guide and delve into the rich past of the city as you explore its medieval streets. Take a journey back in time admiring the magnificent palazzos and churches in the city’s unique mix of medieval and baroque styles, as well as the spectacular panoramas from the high bastion walls.
Leaving Mdina through the ‘Greeks Gate’ you proceed to Dingli Cliffs, located off the village of Dingli on Malta’s western coast, at around 253 metres above sea-level. These cliffs represent the highest point of the Maltese islands. The cliffs propose a majestic sight; the views overlooking the terraced fields underneath and the panorama of the vast open seas with the uninhabited small island of Filfla on its backdrop, are truly breath-taking! Given their impressive height the cliffs can be considered as natural forts, since no attacker can approach the island from the west. Perched on the edge, marking the highest point on the Maltese islands, is a gorgeous tiny chapel built in 1646, dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene.
The tour ends with a visit to the San Anton Botanical Gardens, located in the village of Attard. These beautiful gardens were built in the early 17th century by Grand Master Antoine de Paule to complement his summer residence; San Anton Palace, which is located at the perimeter of the gardens and which today serves as the residence of the Maltese President.
Open to the public since 1882 the gardens have several pathways surrounded by fountains and ponds which are inhabited by families of ducks, swans, peacocks, peahens and turtles and encompass a large variety of trees and flowers from around the world, including a variety of palm trees, cypress, jacarandas, araucarias and other exotic plants, some of them over three centuries old.
During the whole tour knowledgeable and experienced guides will be providing you with riveting information and enhance your experience through narration and engaging storytelling.