The Most Beautiful Drive in Malta
Malta has had some serious money pumped into its infrastructure over recent years and that includes the roads. It used to be that narrow tracks and erratic drivers were the norm and though there are still some dangerous roads to be found, generally speaking, the island is a lot more welcoming for drivers now.
At just 27km long by 14km wide, Malta is easy to get around in just a weekend. If you really want only the highlights though, we've rounded up some of the most picturesque routes in the country.
Start in Valetta
If you're visiting Malta, then the chances are you'll be starting in Valetta anyway. This is the country's capital and it's got oodles of historical architecture to show for it. Renzo Piano, the architect behind the famous Shard, was the mastermind behind the recent refurbishment of Valetta's waterfront. You can drive right along it, but it's worth stopping the car and really taking the time for a proper stroll. Although we're all about driving, sometimes you need a little more time to properly appreciate things.
Take in The Three Villages
On your way out of Valetta, take the main road that cuts the island right in half. Look for signs for Balzan and follow them. This is the first of 'The Three Villages', three quiet little hamlets that each sit centrally on the island. With most of the development being around the coast, the human landscape here is quite different. After Balzan, head through Attard and Lija. Though the villages themselves are small and quaint, the drive will allow you to experience another side of Malta. Rolling, rocky countryside is the general scenery here, interspersed with churches, historical architecture and eventually the San Anton Palace, a beautiful site that's worth stopping for. Wind your windows down to enjoy the scent of wild herbs mixing with the salt of the sea.
Zip Along the Coast
The coast road has been extensively rebuilt, making it a multi-lane superhighway between the north and south of the island. Whilst much of the driving in Malta feels very rural and almost secret, this road is so shiny and new that it feels jarringly cosmopolitan. The views are straight out onto the ocean on one side and cliff face on the other. For a quick zip up the edge of the island it's a fun journey, but after half an hour you'll have seen enough ocean for most people!
A Drive to Gozo
Gozo is a neighbouring island just off the coast of Malta which is easy to visit in a single day. The drive to the Azure Window used to be high on most tourist's list of things to do in Malta but it collapsed back in 2017. There are plans for its reconstruction in the running but, currently, it remains just a pillar in the ocean. However, this should not put you off exploring the landscape around that area. The best road to view the window from was an old quarry track that circled around the cliffside facing the window. The gravel was loose and whether you drove on the left or right didn't matter (for those who want to know though, it's on the left), this track was so narrow that you had to breathe in to squeeze past a wandering goat. This track still exists, but with the window now deep in the ocean below, it serves as little more than an exercise in nerve-wracking driving.
Instead, you should head to the nearby harbour of Mgarr, where the coast road leads you right into this waterfront town, winding down the cliffside and almost down to the level of the sea. You're afforded sweeping views of the ocean from the low road and picturesque views of the town from up the mountain. If you have enough time to stay all day, then the town viewed from the mountain at night is truly breathtaking.