The Best Things To Do In Mdina, Malta’s Silent City

The silent city of Mdina is truly a gem and one not to miss if you’re visiting Malta. When my girlfriends and I were planning a holiday on the Mediterranean island, Valletta was of course on top of our list. But Mdina was a place I was keen on visiting because I’m a Game of Thrones fan. I’ll come back to that shortly.

It’s called the silent city because of the restriction on cars other those belonging to residents. In my opinion, this add to its appeal.A Mdina street

Picture yourself strolling along narrow cobblestone streets, surrounded by ancient buildings with a history spanning thousands of years. Mdina isn’t just a destination; it’s an exciting experience for every visitor. Whether you’re a history buff, a photography enthusiast or someone looking to soak in the charm of the past, Mdina has something special for you.

In this guide, I’ll delve into the best things to do in Mdina, from exploring Game of Thrones filming locations to trying local cuisine. I’ll also share tips on when to visit and how to make the most of your time in this enchanting city.

Game of Thrones Locations In The Silent City

Let’s start with the locations used in Game Of Thrones, which as I said earlier was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Mdina.

If you’re a Game of Thrones enthusiast, Mdina holds a special attraction as it served as a filming location for King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms.

Mdina Gate (King’s Landing Gate):

The Mdina Gate is the main entrance to the Silent City, It featured as one of the entrances to King’s Landing. Its grand arches and medieval architecture provided a fitting backdrop for scenes involving characters entering or leaving the Westeros city.Mdina Gate

Mesquita Square:

Mesquita Square is a picturesque, open area within Mdina surrounded by historic buildings. The square was transformed into a bustling market square in King’s Landing.

Vilhena Palace Courtyard:

The courtyard of Vilhena Palace, located within Mdina, served as the setting for several Game of Thrones scenes. The palace’s architecture and open space made it an ideal location for pivotal moments in the series.

St. Dominic’s Priory:

St. Dominic’s Priory in Mdina became the beautiful Red Keep Gardens for filming. With its old buildings and green plants, it was just right for scenes set in royal gardens.

.Gardens in the city

Mdina Dungeons:

The dark and atmospheric Mdina Dungeons were used as a filming location for scenes set in the dungeons of the Red Keep. The stone walls and low lighting added a sense of foreboding to these Game of Thrones moments.

Although these spots might’ve been changed up a little for filming, they’ve still got that cool medieval vibe and historical importance. When you visit Mdina, it’s like stepping into the shoes of your favourite characters and getting to experience the fantasy world right within the ancient walls of the Silent City.

A red doorway in Mdina

The Best Time to Visit The Silent City

The silent city is beautiful all year round but choosing the best time to visit involves considering factors like weather, crowds and local events. Here’s a breakdown to help you plan your visit to Malta’s Silent City:

A street in Mdina

Spring (April to June):

  • Weather: Spring brings mild temperatures ranging from 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F), creating pleasant conditions for exploring Mdina.
  • Crowds: This period generally sees fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months, allowing for a more relaxed experience. The city and surrounding landscapes come alive with blooming flowers.

Autumn (September to November):

  • Weather: Similar to spring, autumn offers comfortable temperatures ranging from 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F).
  • Crowds: Tourist numbers start to decrease after the peak summer season, providing a quieter atmosphere.

Summer (July to August):

  • Weather: Summer is the hottest period, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 35°C (77 to 95°F). Expect sunny days and warm evenings.
  • Crowds: Mdina can get quite busy during the summer, especially in July and August, as tourists flock to the island. It is advisable to visit popular sites early in the day to avoid crowds.
  • Events: Malta hosts various events and festivals during the summer, offering a vibrant atmosphere.

Winter (December to March):

  • Weather: Winter brings cooler temperatures ranging from 10 to 20°C (50 to 68°F). While it’s the coldest season, Malta experiences mild winters compared to many other European destinations.
  • Crowds: Tourist numbers are lower in winter, providing a quieter and more intimate experience. However, some attractions may have reduced operating hours.
  • Festivities: December is festive with Christmas decorations and events, adding a unique charm to Mdina.

A beautiful red door

Additional Tips On Visiting The Silent City

  • Weekdays vs. Weekends: Weekdays generally see fewer visitors compared to weekends, offering a more peaceful atmosphere.
  • Time of Day: Early mornings or late afternoons can be ideal for exploring Mdina. The lighting makes everything look golden and the temperatures are more comfortable.
  • Special Events: Check for any special events, festivals or cultural activities happening in Mdina during your planned visit.

Historic Architecture

The best time to visit Mdina really depends on your preferences. Spring and autumn offer a balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds, while summer provides a lively atmosphere with various events. Winter, although quieter, allows for a more intimate experience and a chance to enjoy the city without the hustle and bustle.

How to Make the Most of Your Visit To The Silent City

Mdina is a place best discovered on foot. You will find horse and carriage tours at the entrance but to really appreciate the architecture and to click those special photos, you’ll want the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Here’s some help on how to maximise your experience while exploring Malta’s Silent City:

Start at Mdina Gate:

Begin your exploration at Mdina Gate, the main entrance to the city. The grand arches and medieval architecture set the tone for the historical adventure that awaits.Mdina Gate

Wander Through the Streets:

Mdina’s charm lies in its narrow, winding streets. Lose yourself in the cobbled lanes, each revealing a piece of history through its architecture and atmosphere. Take your time to absorb the details and unique character of each street.

Visit the Cathedral of Saint Paul:

The Cathedral of Saint Paul is a highlight of Mdina, showcasing impressive Baroque architecture and housing artworks depicting the city’s rich history.

Climb to the cathedral’s rooftop for panoramic views of Mdina and the surrounding landscape.St Pauls Cathedral in the medieval walled hilltop City of Mdina

Walk the City Walls:

The city walls offer a different perspective of Mdina. The Bastion Square provides stunning views of the Maltese countryside and the Mediterranean Sea.

If you visit during the late afternoon, you’ll be enjoy the warm glow of the sunset over the silent city.

Visit the Mdina Experience:

The Mdina Experience is an audiovisual show that provides an immersive journey through the city’s history. It’s located at the Vilhena Palace.

Attend Local Events:

Check the local events calendar for any festivals, cultural events or performances happening in Mdina during your visit.

Engage with Locals:

Mdina’s small size allows for interactions with locals. Strike up conversations, ask for recommendations and learn more about the city’s living history.Sitting in a doorway in the Silent City

The Best Places To Eat And Drink In The Silent City

Mdina is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a culinary delight as well. As you explore the city, make sure to indulge in the local Maltese cuisine.

Here’s a guide to where you can eat and drink in Malta’s Silent City, providing a taste of both local and international flavors:

Fontanella Tea Garden:

Located in the heart of Mdina, Fontanella Tea Garden is renowned for its stunning views and delicious pastries. The terrace overlooks the island’s landscape.

Indulge in their famous chocolate cake while enjoying the panoramic scenery.Walking through the streets of the Silent City

Trattoria AD 1530:

Situated in a historic building, Trattoria AD 1530 offers an authentic Maltese dining experience. The restaurant’s ambiance reflects Mdina’s medieval charm.

Try local specialties such as rabbit stew or bragioli (beef olives) for a taste of traditional Maltese cuisine.

Bacchus Restaurant and Wine Bar:

Overlooking Mdina’s bastions, Bacchus Restaurant and Wine Bar provides a sophisticated dining experience. The terrace offers a peaceful ambiance for enjoying a variety of wines.

Grotto Tavern:

Located just outside the Mdina walls, Grotto Tavern is known for its unique setting in a natural cave. The restaurant offers a mix of Maltese and Mediterranean dishes.

Try their seafood dishes or opt for the Maltese platter to sample a variety of local flavours.Leaning against a doorway in the Silent City

Palazzo de Piro:

Housed in a grand medieval building, Palazzo de Piro combines history with contemporary dining. The restaurant’s terrace provides panoramic views of the island.

Coogi’s Restaurant:

Coogi’s Restaurant is a family-run establishment offering a cosy atmosphere and a menu that caters to various tastes. It’s situated on the outskirts of Mdina.

Sample their homemade pasta dishes or opt for one of their seafood specialties.

Diar Il-Bniet:

Diar Il-Bniet, located in a charming courtyard, focuses on farm-to-table dining. The restaurant emphasises fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux – de Mondion Restaurant:

ituated within the luxurious Xara Palace hotel, de Mondion Restaurant offers fine dining with a focus on Mediterranean and Maltese cuisine.

DeRobertis Caffe Pasticceria:

DeRobertis is a family-run pasticceria that serves a variety of pastries, cakes and snacks. It’s an ideal spot for a sweet treat or a quick coffee.A street in Mdina, the Silent City

Crystal Palace Tea Gardens:

A charming tea garden within Mdina, Crystal Palace offers a relaxed setting for afternoon tea. The outdoor terrace is surrounded by greenery.

So don’t miss out on Mdina, the Silent City, when planning your trip to Malta. Its charming streets, fascinating history and tasty food make it a place you won’t forget. Whether you love Game of Thrones or just want a break from busy cities, Mdina has it all.

While you’re here why not check out my travel guide on Taichung?