Mdina, the Silent city, is the ancient capital of Malta. This city, is a wonderfully picturesque place, full of history and impressive architecture with cute narrow streets and amazing spots for sightseeing.

We really enjoyed our time in this wonderful place. Read our travel guide on our top picks and why should you consider visiting Mdina whilst in Malta.


Nestled in the heart of Malta, Mdina (Pronnounced in Maltese: L-Imdina [lɪmˈdiːnɐ]; Italian: Medina) is a captivating walled city steeped in history and charm. Known as the ‘Silent City’, its narrow streets and golden sandstone buildings transport us back in time.

The reason why Mdina is known as the Silent City is because there are no cars or loud events allowed, which makes it an almost exclusively pedestrian city, contributing to a very peaceful and serene atmosphere.

Mdina’s history dates back over 4,000 years, with strong ties to the Phoenicians, Romans, and medieval knights.

Its strategic location on a hilltop provided a natural defense, making it a crucial stronghold throughout the centuries. This rich history is evident in the city’s architecture, with its towering bastions, grand gates, and religious monuments.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mdina is its dual nature. By day, it welcomes a steady flow of tourists eager to explore its treasures, yet by night, it returns to a peaceful, almost mystical state.

We found that exploring Mdina after sunset offered a unique perspective, with the city’s soft lighting casting a warm glow on the golden stone.

Mdina’s compact size makes it easy to explore in a day, but its hidden gems and captivating stories might encourage you to stay longer. The city’s intimate atmosphere invites leisurely exploration, allowing us to pause at historic landmarks, sip coffee at quaint cafés, and simply soak in the ambience.

Travel to and Around Mdina

Reaching Mdina is straightforward from most parts of Malta as it’s easily accessible via their bus network.

Tourists can buy a Talinja Card for tourists called Flex Card. The Flex Card comes in different options depending on your stay and appetite for exploring the island, you can learn more about the different options here.

We took a bus from Valletta (Sliema), which offers a scenic 40 minute journey along the island’s winding roads. Once we arrived, it’s best to explore on foot—the city’s small size and pedestrian-friendly streets invite leisurely strolls.

The city itself is not large and can be walked end to end within 10 minutes from any corner. You can also enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city.

Alternatively, if you would like to explore Mdina and other parts of Malta, getting a Malta Hop-on Hop-off Bus might be a good option.

Where to Stay in Mdina?

While Mdina is primarily a day-trip destination, there are some charming accommodations nearby. We actually stood in Sliema which is close by to Valletta. If you prefer more options, the neighbouring town of Rabat has several guesthouses and B&Bs.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, we would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as or Agoda to get the best rates. Use the widget below to find the best accommodation in Mdina for your specific dates.

If you want to see where we stood in Sliema, read our review article here about 115 The Strand Hotel.

Best Time to Visit Mdina

Mdina is delightful year-round, but the best times to visit are spring and autumn. The weather is mild, and the crowds are manageable. We suggest avoiding the height of summer, when temperatures soar and tourists flock to the city, making it more challenging to enjoy its tranquility.

We went during April and found the temperatures to be great for experiencing this amazing city in shorts and t-shirt.

Things to do in Mdina

When visiting Mdina, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Start your exploration at the majestic Mdina Gate, the city’s grand entrance, where you’ll feel the weight of history as you pass through. From there, stroll along the narrow streets to Howard Gardens, a tranquil spot for a leisurely walk or a picnic.

Be sure to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, an impressive Baroque masterpiece, and the nearby Mdina Cathedral Museum, which houses an array of religious art and artifacts. Don’t miss the Carmelite Priory, where you can take a guided tour and learn about the city’s religious heritage.

If you prefer to explore the city with a local guide, this Mdina and Rabat guided city walking tour is very affordable.

For a unique experience, explore Mdina at night when the streets are quiet and softly lit, creating an almost mystical atmosphere. This is a great time to take photos and enjoy the city’s ambiance without the crowds.

Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, as the streets are cobbled and can be uneven in places. Also, plan your visit early in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid peak tourist times, allowing you to enjoy the city’s serenity to the fullest.

1. Have a Stroll at Howard Gardens

Howard Gardens is a peaceful escape just outside Mdina’s walls. It’s perfect for a leisurely walk or a picnic. We enjoyed the lush greenery and relaxed atmosphere, a pleasant contrast to the bustling city.

2. Pass Through the Mdina Gate

The grand entrance to Mdina, known as the Mdina Gate, is an iconic sight. We marveled at its impressive architecture and thought about the countless people who had passed through it over the centuries.

3. Take a Moment at Carmelite Priory

The Carmelite Priory offers a glimpse into religious life in Mdina. We enjoyed to learn about the Carmelite order’s history, enjoying the calm and contemplative atmosphere of the priory’s cloisters.

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4. Pay your Respects at St. Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is a stunning Baroque masterpiece at the heart of Mdina. We were captivated by its intricate details and vibrant frescoes. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in architecture or religious history.

Together with the St. John’s Cathedral, they are both Cathedral’s of Malta hence you might find why St. John’s is a Co-Cathedral.

Normally in these place you would find a square filled with restaurants and cafes overlooking the cathedral but we didn’t find anything, which makes the experience a bit too transactional in our eyes. It’s a shame as the architecture and square both deserve to be admired over a nice hot cappuccino.

5. Learn about the Cathedral at Mdina Cathedral Museum

Opposite the Cathedral you will find the Mdina Cathedral Museum which houses an impressive collection of religious art and artefacts.

We enjoyed exploring the exhibits, fascinated by the stories behind each piece and the craftsmanship on display.

6. Enjoy the View at Bastion Square

Bastion Square, also known as the Bastion Terrace, is a beautiful spot within Mdina that offers breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere. Located on the edge of the fortified city, this open area provides a sweeping panorama of the surrounding Maltese countryside, stretching out towards the coastline.

As we stood at the edge of the square, we could see the patchwork of fields, quaint villages, and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

7. Admire the Colourful Doors

Across Malta, you see the amazing colourful double doors.

Mdina is no exception and you can see some amazing doors across the city, just keep an eye on these as you wander around the city.

Top Restaurants in Mdina

Mdina has a few delightful restaurants that offer a taste of Maltese cuisine. Overall, you won’t be overwhelmed in terms of choice but the different venues available here are good.

Most locations in Mdina itself serve Italian inspired dishes alongside Maltese classics such as rabbit stew or seafood. Read below our recommendations for what to eat when in Mdina.

1. Enjoy a lunch with a View at Coogi’s Restaurant & Tea Garden

Coogi’s features 2 restaurants. A pizzeria which is a closed garden nearby the Carmelite Priory, and the other which is right by the Bastion Square. We went to the latter as it offers very good views of the Island whilst sitting an enjoying a refreshing glass of Aperol spritz.

Having said this, the seats with the view are fairly limited, most of the dining seats are in the interior garden, so make sure to ask your waiter if you want a seat at the terrace with the view.

The restaurant offers primarily Italian inspired dishes, mostly from the north of Italy but you can also get a few Maltese dishes. Hristina had the Maltese pasta and rabbit but we must say the rabbit was simply lost in the sauce and pasta, you might even think there wasn’t any to begin with.

I had the chef special braised beef with roast veggies which was simply divine. A decent portion of beef accompanied by roast veggies. Just what you need after a morning of exploring Mdina.

Overall, we do suggest you come here, and even if it’s not for the food, at least order some nibbles and enjoy the view.

2. Have a Coffee with a View at Fontanella Tea Garden

Fontanella Tea Garden is an excellent place to have a cake and a coffee as you want to relax and sit down for a little break. The venue features seating inside their garden but the real views are upstairs on the wall ramparts and in the covered terraces.

The food is good, not great but the views are simply to die for. In the far you can even see Valletta and most of the northern part of Malta.

We went there twice and first time we shared their cake and ice cream sundae, which was very decadent and a generous portion. The cake was a bit dry but not bad, however, the ice cream portion was more than generous. Something to be shared for sure!

Second time, we tried some antipasti such as their bruschetta and ftira sandwich which is a traditional tuna sandwich. Again nothing to write home about but when enjoyed alongside the view, it makes it a memorable meal.

3. Cool down with an Ice Cream at Fior di Latte

Fior di Latte is an excellent gelateria and one that we recommend you try. It’s right in the Bastion Square but I have also seen a pop up stand right at the Mdina Gates.

I tried their chocolate and Fior di Latte signature ice cream and Hristina had the pistachio and hazelnut ice creams. All ice creams were good but both of us agreed that their Fior di Latte signature ice cream was the best! To be enjoyed with the view overlooking Malta from Bastion Square!

Final Thoughts

Mdina left a lasting impression on us. Its blend of history, culture, and serenity is truly unique. As we left the city, we couldn’t help but think about the stories hidden in its ancient walls.

We highly recommend adding Mdina to your Malta itinerary—it’s a place that will stay with you long after you’ve left.

Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:

  • Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.

  • Transport – consider for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.

  • Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide, Klook or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.

  • Travel money – we have Starling Bank accounts (UK residents only) with 0% fees on FX and a good Mastercard exchange rate. Revolut is another good option.

  • Internet abroad – with Airalo or Nomad you can access a wide range of eSIMs (digital SIM cards) available for different countries and regions.

  • Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.

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