In their position in the heart of the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands have plenty to offer the visiting nature-lover.
In place of the mountains, rivers and forests typically found in other countries, Malta and Gozo offer spectacular cliffs and rare rock formations overlooking glistening crystal blue sea, valleys abundant in greenery and flowers, and natural underwater caves ready to be explored by snorkelers and divers.
Here’s some of the natural wonders for nature-lovers to discover in Malta and Gozo.
Perhaps one of Malta’s most famous natural attractions, the Blue Grotto is a beautiful natural cave, named because of its surrounding turquoise blue clear waters which show off the abundant and colourful underwater flora. Accessible by boat form ‘Wied iz-Zurrieq’ south of the town of Qrendi, the view takes in some of Malta’s most stunning scenery, including the isle of Filfla and the spectacular cliffs nearby.
If breathtaking views are your kind of sightseeing, then a visit to Dingli Cliffs is a must. Stand on the cliff tops and you can enjoy an unobstructed sea panorama that looks out beyond the isle of Filfla. A boat cruise looking up at the cliffs from sea level affords a view no less magnificent – this time of the massive cliffs themselves. Either way, make sure to visit around sunset for the ideal Instagram-worthy opportunity.
This shallow inland lagoon created by the collapse of two limestone caves is one of Dwejra’s most beautiful natural sites. A long cave tunnel in the cliff links the lagoon to the sea, making it a popular spot for visitors to enjoy the view of nearby Fungus Rock, as well as fishing, swimming and diving.
Also in Dwejra, and a stone’s throw away from the Inland Sea, is Fungus Rock. Known in Maltese as ‘Il-Gebla Tal-General’ or ‘General’s Rock’, this small 60-metre-high limestone islet sits at the entrance to the lagoon. The rock’s unique name harks back to a tuber that grew on the island that was thought to have medicinal properties. The Knights of St John were big fans!
Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project
The Pembroke Heritage Trail, which traces the coastline, covers around 2.5 kilometres of garigue habitat, and it is known to be home to some of the most species-rich spots anywhere in the Maltese islands. This typically-Mediterranean habitat boasts a wide variety of wild flora and fauna that have adapted to the local climate. Whilst rambling along this Natura 2000 site, visitors can also enjoy the uninterrupted sea views along the trail.
Overlooking the unique red sandy beach of Ramla Bay is Calypso’s Cave, a rocky cave nestled into the adjoining cliff face. As well as affording spectacular views out to sea, the cave itself has a legend attached to it, in that it is said to be the very cave Homer refers to in ‘The Odyssey’. In the classic myth, the beautiful nymph Calypso enchanted Odysseus with her singing and kept him as a ‘prisoner of love’ in the cave, which in turn inspired the name of this magnificent landmark.
For more great outdoor ideas, check out 5 Great Country Walks in Malta!