Your plane has just touched down in Malta and you’re ready to begin your holiday on this gorgeous Mediterranean archipelago. The country may be small, but the number of tempting attractions is large – how’s a tourist to know what to tour first? If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of your options, this route guide could help set you straight. From hikes to history, I’ve compiled a list of things to do and see that you will conveniently pass by as you are transported from Malta Airport to Mellieha.
Most of the drivers at Shuttle Direct are locals who may have some insider knowledge about the area, so there’s a chance you could strike up a conversation and get the inside scoop on spots only Malta natives know about. Now, snag a window seat, get out your binoculars and pay attention – if you don’t, ideas for your first Maltese excursion could literally pass you by!
1. De Rohan Arch
Those on the transfer from Malta Airport to Mellieha will be lucky enough to drive right past De Rohan Arch (or New Gateway). About 15 minutes into the journey you will reach the commemorative archway located in the city of Żebbuġ. As the route from the airport takes you directly past the arch, there’s a high chance that you will be able to see it out of your window as you pass by. However, for a proper look, it’s a good idea to come back at a later time.
De Rohan Arch, designed by mason Giuseppe Xerri, was built to memorialise Żebbuġ’s then-recent distinction from village to city. Although the locality was granted this coveted status in 1777, the arch was not fully constructed until 1798. Today it is considered a national monument.
Recommended Visit Time: Depending on your interest in architecture, a visit to De Rohan Arch could take ten minutes (I’m just here to snap a quick photo) to an hour and ten minutes (I wrote my thesis on neoclassical Maltese arches from the 1790s and am determined to examine every niche, pediment and pilaster!).
2. Falka Gap
The next landmark you will drive by on your journey from Malta Airport to Mellieha is Falka Gap, a mountain pass that falls between flat terrain to the northeast and hills to the southwest. It is most notably a part of the Victoria Lines Malta walking route. This walk is fairly easy to do should you follow the recommended directions (buying a walking guide is incredibly helpful). This path doesn’t have many hills and valleys, just beautiful landscapes, fields and a house or limestone quarry here and there. The surrounding areas are densely populated, so should you want to get back to civilisation in a jiffy, you won’t have far to go! Pack a picnic lunch, put on your hiking boots and explore the Maltese countryside.
Recommended Visit Time: Allot yourself at least half a day, although many choose to spend the entire day here. The Victoria Lines Malta walk is estimated to take between six and eight hours, depending on your athletic ability and any detours you may take (there are lots of sights to see and visit along the way). Modified walks (such the walk from Falka Gap to Targa Gap) will generally take less time.
3. Skorba Temples
With the Falka Gap receding in the rear view mirror, keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of these megalithic remains. The Skorba temples are the next sight you will pass as you travel from Malta Airport to Mellieha. The temples themselves date back to around 3600 BC, although charcoal found in the area was determined to be from 4850 BC. Excavation only began in the early 1960s, but archaeologists and historians alike have already gleaned many important insights into Neolithic Maltese culture from the site. They were built alongside a village which had been inhabited before the temples were constructed; pottery was also found at the site. Although the north wall is in the best state, the Skorba temples are now just ruins. However, visiting these ancient remains is still worthwhile for history buffs and those who want to transport themselves back in time as they are transported to their hotel.
Recommended Visit Time: Give yourself enough time to spend an hour or two here – it’s easy to get lost in history this old and you don’t want to have to rush through it to get to the next item on your itinerary.
4. Għajn Tuffieħa Roman Baths
The last thing to look for on the final leg of the drive from Malta Airport to Mellieha are the Għajn Tuffieħa Roman Baths. Discovered by chance by archaeologists in 1929, these baths are believed to date from somewhere between the end of the first and the beginning of the second century AD. The baths contain a sauna, a place where visitors could take a cold bath afterwards, a swimming pool, communal toilets and ruins that may once have been a small hotel for guests to stay overnight. As it is still in the process of being excavated, the baths may not be open for the public. However, there have been organised tours of the ruins in the past, so keep your eye peeled for ways to explore the Għajn Tuffieħa baths.
Recommended Visit Time: Tours of the baths typically last around two hours.
From Malta Airport to Mellieha
It seems almost impossible that a trip from Malta Airport to Mellieha can pass by so many amazing sites – after all, it is only half an hour long. However, I think a short drive gives you the best of both worlds. You’re able to get to your accommodation in the blink of an eye, while still getting a quick glimpse of possible activities for another day – and you know that it won’t be too difficult to return to any places that catch your attention!
About Shuttle Direct
No matter where your journey takes you, Shuttle Direct is known for their professional and reliable transfers from airports all around Europe and North Africa. Take the stress out of your travel – consider booking a private or shared shuttle next time you go on holiday.
NB.This route guide has been compiled as an aid to visiting the region. Your airport transfer service from Malta Airport to Mellieha does not include stops to these destinations.