Malta’s history spans many centuries with studies claiming that people first arrived in Malta in 5900 BC. Proof of a rich, historical and cultural past come in the form of the Megalithic Temples, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which were built during three distinct periods approximately between 3600 BC and 700 BC. These prehistoric temples have been claimed as the oldest free-standing structures on Earth.
Despite Malta’s recent push to develop new buildings and modern structures, it’s still possible to live in a historical setting and feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The Silent City
Mdina, Malta’s old capital city, is known as The Silent City and it’s easy to see why. Preserved high on a hill, nestled within imposing bastions, the narrow and winding streets of the city are pedestrianised, with only residents’ vehicles allowed regular access. Mdina is probably one of the best-preserved cities with beautiful palazzos and quaint houses sitting alongside each other untouched by development. While it does get busy with visitors, especially tourists, living in Mdina is considered to be prestigious and holds a certain status. So much so that property tends to be passed down to family members, so when a property does become available on the market it’s quickly snapped up. Property prices in Mdina depend greatly on the type of building on sale; however, they do tend to be slightly inflated due to the location.
Next-Town Neighbours - Rabat
If you can’t afford Mdina but like the area, then you can hop over to the next town which is Rabat. Rabat was, back in the day, the suburbs of Mdina, but today it’s a town in its own right with a cluster of shops, beautiful houses, and wonderful views from its elevated position. Rabat is highly sought-after by locals who are searching for a quieter setting and foreigners who want a more traditional and localised way of life. While there are new buildings available, most people tend to opt for the older houses steeped in history, so traditional property in Rabat tends to be hard to come by, but worth the wait.
Valletta – The Capital City
A World Heritage Site, Valletta is Malta’s capital city with a grand reputation as it was the brainchild of Grandmaster La Valette, of the Knights of St John. It recently underwent considerable restoration in the run-up to its status as the 2018 European City of Culture. Valletta is a veritable hub of commercial activity during the day as it houses numerous businesses, the law courts, and government offices. However, leisure activities are also popular with several high street shops, cinemas, and plenty of restaurant and cafes available. Several public buildings have been restored and the City now boasts a new entrance with the beautifully-restored Triton Fountain which leads to the new Parliament building and the main thoroughfare of Republic Street. A new lease of life has been injected into the city, especially for post-business hours, with previously-forgotten areas of Valletta coming to life with new bars and eateries attracting both residents and outsiders to frequent the place. The main bus terminus is located just outside the city walls making it very easy to travel to and from the city. There is a current regeneration happening to the property market in Valletta with developers buying dilapidated buildings and renovating them to a very high standard, thus attracting a younger generation of residents. If living in a very different capital city is your thing, then searching for a property in Valletta will hit the mark.
The Three Cities: Birgu, Bormla & Isla
Or as they are otherwise known, Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea , these cities have been in existence since Phoenician times providing shelter to the people. Despite being the original home of the Knights of Saint John, for many years, this area of Malta was ignored and largely dilapidated, regarded as a poor neighbourhood that nobody wanted to live in. However, over the last decade or so, people have been buying the old, and often beautiful, houses and investing time and money to revamp them and thus elevate the status of the locality. To go along with these newly-restored properties, the three cities offer wonderful views of Valletta and the Grand Harbour, and a slightly quieter pace of life. Birgu also offers a yacht marina which is home to quite a few impressive super yachts. Property in this area is still affordable and can result in a great investment for the future.