fort st.angelo, malta castle

5 Stunning Castles In Malta

  • Mar 13, 2021

The islands' architectural history spans millennia...

Malta’s unique history is reflected in its architecture. The islands’ architectural history spans millennia, resulting in one of the world’s most architecturally-diverse archipelagos. 

If you enjoy castle-hunting, here are 5 stunning castles that you can visit while you’re in Malta. 

Fort St Angelo – Vittoriosa

Fort St Angelo (also known as “The Castle by the Sea”) dates back to the medieval period. The Knights of St John repurposed it as a full-blown fort to defend Malta against possible invaders – with the Great Siege of 1565 being a prime example of how useful Fort St Angelo was for both the Maltese and the Knights. In the 1800s and 1900s, the Fort was used as a station for British troops. It proved so vital for their Mediterranean operations that it was referred to as a “stone ship”. Thankfully, the Fort is still in a spectacular shape and is now open for visitors. 

Zammitello Palace – Mgarr

Zammitello Palace, or Castello Zammitello, is a bonafide palace on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Mgarr. The 19th-century castle was built using the Tower of London as a blueprint. Despite its fantastical splendour, the Palace hides a dark past, as its last resident – Count Francis Sant Cassia – was murdered just outside the premises in October 1988. Nowadays, Castello Zammitello is a prime wedding venue. 

Tal-Virtu Castle – Rabat

Sadly, this Game of Thrones-worthy castle in Rabat is a privately-owned building. However, this doesn’t mean that visitors can’t enjoy the scenic views that this castle offers. Since Tal-Virtu Castle is situated at the top of Tal-Virtu plateau, visitors can enjoy a double dose of beauty by marveling at the picture-perfect castle itself while enjoying the spectacular countryside views. 

Castello Dei Baroni – Wardija

This beautifully-restored castle in Wardija is a fitting testament to Malta’s rich history. The castle dates back to 1783 and the Knights of St John’s period in Malta. Visitors have the opportunity to experience a historical artefact, as authentic furniture pieces adorn the castle’s spacious halls and rooms, while the bedroom and Supreme Council chamber have been carefully restored and re-imagined in the architectural style of that historical period. Nowadays, the medieval reception hall serves as the perfect backdrop for weddings, gala dinners and diplomatic meetings. 

Verdala Palace – Buskett Gardens, Siggiewi

The Verdala Palace is primarily known as the President of Malta’s official summer residence. However, this stunning palace is more than just that. The area initially hosted a 16-century hunting lodge, built during Grand Master La Vallette’s reign, to complement the woodland facsimile constructed by the Knights for game hunting. In 1586, de Verdalle extended the lodge and transformed it into a proper palace, with further embellishments in the 1600s and 1700s. 

Verdala Palace took centre stage in the French blockade of 1798-1800, as it served as a military prison for French officers. Unfortunately, the British period saw the Palace falling into disrepair: the British converted it to a silk factory, and subsequently, a storage space for valuable art pieces during WWII. Fortunately, Governor Sir Frederick Ponsonby and Governor Sir William Reid recognised the Palace’s historical and artistic importance and sought to restore it to its former glory. In the past couple of decades, the Palace hosted dignitaries and royals from all across the globe.