Culture & History – Rabat & Mdina with kids


A day out in the summer heat of Malta is a challenge unless it is the beach. We of little big explorers love to go to the beach but normally we like to go on weekdays as Maltese beaches tend to get really packed on Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, we try to do culture days, it’s very hard as many activities are done outside and it gets too hot at times. Still, this particular day out with the family was one that can be done in winter as well as summer as there are many indoor places or at least shaded areas.

A man made pond found in the grounds of the catacombs. We thought we saw something move but couldn’t see any fish…

Rabat and Mdina are two favourite places with tourists and Maltese alike. Mdina is my 2nd favourite “city”. It’s not really a city how we know cities today. This used to be the capital city of Malta before the Knights of Malta built Valletta. Now, it’s a place that speaks to you with it’s car less streets and silent buildings that come alive only by the people that come visit and the horse driven carriages that distract the ghosts that have found peace here.

Yes, your kids will run freely here and if you do have the extra cash take your kids on the “karozzin” as kids love these things. Don’t be tricked to visit some theatrical experience as although good and appreciative I think kids would prefer an ice-cream from the many little coffee/cake shops that are around. You will find the best view from here, half of Malta is below your feet! In the large square infront of the Cathedral get your cameras ready as this place is where different types of architecture meet together, plus there are two canons for the kids to climb on!

Mdina and Rabat have many museums to visit but with our kids we tend to skip them as they tend to be too tedious for us. The Cathedral museum is the building behind Jamie (my son on the cannon) and at the main entrance of the “city” is the National Museum of National History. One Museum which is relatively new is the Wignacourt Museum in Rabat. I will probably go to see this as I have not yet visited it myself, keep checking my page.

A place that is fun and creepy (and may be appealing to the older kids) is the Mdina Dungeons, this is an underground exhibition of waxed human sized replicas of what used to be the torcher ways in Medieval Malta. I think my kids are a bit too young but soon Jamie (now 9) will want to go and why not!


Just outside Mdina are the ditches and the playgrounds, this is a place the kids can let out some steam! Make sure it’s not too hot as the play-ground does not have any shade and the actual equipment can burn. In fact in summer we like to visit the ditch as it is more shaeded and has some interesting areas of play.


Whoever comes to visit Malta and can’t get in touch with us or can’t meet up with us (we love to meet new explorers to our country) try to find this tree, and take a photo with it – send it to us and we’ll see how many people get to find this wonder of nature! A clue – it’s just outside an entrance of Mdina.

The town just outside Mdina was the suburb and is now full of architecture and history. It is a very busy town and unlike Mdina traffic and parking is an issue. Yet, if you do have a car don’t give up there is a great car attendant in the ditch that helps you find that spot.

Once your car is resting, take the little train tour which is cheap enough (when we went they were some €5 for adults and €3 for kids) and gives you some information about the history of this area, it even takes you to a neighbouring village, Mtarfa where I was born!

After the train ride go visit the St. Paul’s catacombs – they are a natural cool space and a nice walk through. We spent at least 2 hours here, the boys imagined a zombie attach while in the catacombs and although not the exact history of the place they still understood that they were stepping on tombs.


It’s amazing how many tombs there are in the same place! The only dissapointment with the place is that although it has been recently upgraded the outside decor lacks a lot of greenary and shade. Still, my kids made the most of it!

The Roman Villa is an interesting place but not worth going at the moment as there are some upgrading works in progress and although there are some unique pieces it is not worth the money, it only lasted 30 stretched minutes when I went with my kids.

If you are in Malta during the Christmas season Rabat is decorated with a Christmas village for a week. There would be many Christmas stalls and festive foods but there is also a walk through pageant done in the St. Francis Convent gardens which if I were you I wouldn’t miss it!

There is always something going to see, even for us locals in Rabat. The other time we went there was a vintage van next to a vintage vegetable stall just outside St. Paul’s Church. Oh yes, and then there are the churches, you can’t forget the churches!

A place I have not mentioned which is very close to Rabat is Buskett – a woodland area which is actually walking distance. It is a place we like to go as a picnic spot or a break after school, it’s a place where kids can play and be one with nature while the adults can get away from everyday noise.

Going back in time in Mdina


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