Secret Malta: A local’s guide to the most beautiful places in Malta

Secret Malta: A local’s guide to the most beautiful places in Malta

Malta is one of those countries that makes you fall in love with Europe, but how do you avoid all the crowds in Malta? Today, a Maltese local is here to tell you about the off the beaten path side to Malta that most tourists don’t see with some secret places in Malta that you won’t want to miss on your trip to Malta.  Keep reading for Lenise’s insider tips for the most beautiful places in Malta that you may not already know!  (more…)

4 days in Malta: A Malta itinerary on things to do in Malta without a car

4 days in Malta: A Malta itinerary on things to do in Malta without a car

If you’re planning to visit Malta, you might be wondering how many days to spend in Malta.  Although it’s easy to spend to one week in Malta, I considered four days to be the perfect amount of time in Malta to see the main sightseeing attractions in Malta. If you’re wondering what to do in Malta without the expense of a car, keep reading as you can do a surprising number of things in Malta during four days.  I wrote this guide as most of the guides that I found about Malta focused on having a car.  Malta is small, so my husband and I chose not to rent a car during my long weekend in Malta as I felt that we could see everything that I wanted to see with the bus after checking the schedule.

(more…)

Game of Thrones in Malta: Tour Review

Game of Thrones in Malta: Tour Review

I love Game of Thrones and when I found out that I was going to visit Malta, I knew that I needed to find the Game of Thrones locations around Malta. Since I had limited time, I chose to take the Game of Thrones tour with Malta Film tours after reading the glowing reviews. This is an independent review of the tour for my Game of Thrones lovers with some additional tips for finding GOT filming locations in Malta! No spoilers beyond season 1, I promise.
 
This is an independent review, which means that I paid for myself and it is 100% my opinion. As I don’t want to discourage people from going on the tour itself, so I will not be revealing the exact locations.
I’m bit obsessed with finding filming locations and whenever I’m watching a show/movie that is shot somewhere beautiful, I want to know where it was filmed. (That’s how I ended up in the Wadi Rum desert to retrace the steps of the Martian!) As a long-time Game of Thrones fan, I wondered where was Game of Thrones filmed?  Malta was my third country to visit on the look out for game of thrones set locations after finding Jon Snow’s love cave in Iceland and the Alhambra in Spain.
Note: This post uses affiliate links (not for the tour). Please read my disclosure for more information.

Malta as Game of Throne filming location

Malta was used the Game of Thrones season 1 filming locations. Filming was done as part of the pilot for Game of Thrones, so the producers were seeking a country with a diverse landscape and old cities that didn’t require that much work to dress up for the show. As a result, the Malta filming locations are so close to how they appear in the show. It makes visiting Malta a dream for Game of Thrones fans!

Assessment: 9.5/10

I usually prefer to do things myself and as a result, we went Game of Thrones location hunting on our own in Iceland. It worked out well, but in Malta, we didn’t have a car. I really loved this tour and it was worth every penny.  We chose the Game of Thrones Tour in Malta as Malta is quite small, so you can see a lot of locations within one day.  Similarly, Malcolm is the ultimate insider into the film industry as someone who works both in acting as well as in insurance (for filming), which meant that I learned so much about what happens behind the scenes for filming Game of Thrones (as well as other productions) in addition to seeing the location and laughing at his hilarious stories.  He did a great job bringing us to lesser known Game of Thrones shooting locations as well as showing the beauty of Malta, so if you’re even a slight fan, this is a great introduction to Malta as you will see a lot of Malta within one day.  My only complaint is not visiting the other Maltese filming locations for the Red Keep, the Sept of Baelor, Verdala Palace as well as the Azure Window (which doesn’t exist anymore).

The World of Westeros in Malta

Malta is such a beautiful country and it is easy to see why HBO chose this Mediterranean island to film Game of Thrones on. The tour includes quite a few filming locations that are part of the world of Westeros, including the Red Waste, Essos and King’s Landing.  This post will be a brief review as well as a photo essay of Malta’s beautiful architecture/nature.

San Anton Palace: King’s Landing Gardens & the Tower of the Hand

The Presidential gardens (where quite a few scenes from King’s Landing were filmed) is absolutely beautiful.  This is where Sansa and Tyrion had their famous chat in Season 1.  I loved listening to Malcolm’s hilarious story about chasing Arya around the gardens.  We were lucky enough to see the president of Malta passing as we toured the grounds of her palace.  A few extra stops relevant to Maltese history were added to the tour, which including visiting a small painted chapel. The grounds were also used for the filming locations for the hallways of the Red Keep and the stables of King’s Landing.

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

King’s Landing: When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

The iconic exchange between Ned Stark and Cersei Lannister was filmed in a church slightly outside of Mdina. As this church is lesser known, we had it to ourselves (unlike Mdina which was quite crowded!).  It was one of the most beautiful churches that both Jacob and I saw in Malta and one of the priests let our group into a historic room with painted wallpaper that is typically off-limits to the public.

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Cersei’s famous scene was filmed in the middle of this garden in the Centre! It wasn’t possible to walk to the famous fountain, but it was a beautiful courtyard to see!

Mdina: Little Finger’s Brothel & The Street of Steel

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Mdina is one of those cities that takes your breath away and it still lives/breathes history. It was used as Malta’s capital during medieval times, however the elite of Malta still live in this stunning city. Despite the many tourists, it is still has retained its charms. Be aware that if you go in summer or peak season, Mdina will be cramped. (I already thought it was quite busy!) In Game of Thrones, we see Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel ride through the gate into King’s Landing.

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta with travel photo inspiration!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Quite a few scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed here, including the fight scene between Jaime Lannister & Ned Stark’s men as well as Littlefinger’s brothel. (The fight scene was filmed in the same square.) You’ll also find the Street of Steel.

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Littlefinger’s Brothel in Malta

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta with travel photo inspiration!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Street of Steel, Mdina

Red Waste & Essos

This remote location on the NW side of Malta is where Khal Drogo infamously fell off his horse after being poisoned by a witch in the Red Waste. “A Khal who cannot ride is not a Khal.” ​ This stunning sea-side location on the Northwest side of the island is fairly difficult to access (compared to other locations), however absolutely beautiful to visit. It is also where Daenerys creates the funeral pyre for Khal Drogo…and most importantly, it is where her dragons hatch and she emerges naked out of the flames.

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

I had my own moment pretending to be the Queen of Dragons although I wish we had more time to hike down to the sea. There’s a mysterious staircase carved into the nearby rocks that leads down to the sea.  There was also a sword fight scene filmed nearby and you’ll spot this beautiful landscape as part of stock footage used as Daenerys looks out of her window in Pentos.

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Not included on the tour, but…
Sadly, the Azure window is gone. I was lucky enough to see it before it fell into the sea, however it had been the filming location for Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding. The Azure window as also reason that Game of Thrones stopped filming after season 1.  For filming, many locations were covered with sand. For the filming of the wedding, the contractor hired (and vetted) for filming used a less expensive sand, which ended up leaking into the sea.  The environment close to the Azure Window is protected under Maltese law. Unfortunately, the sand leak destroyed part of this unique environment, which put an immediate end to filming Game of Thrones in Malta for the foreseeable future.

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Included on the tour, but not in Game of Thrones: Popeye’s Village
This is not​ a Game of Thrones filming location, but the strange and stunning Popeye’s Village is a remnant from the filming of the 1980 live-action film of Popeye.  It is built intentionally to look ramshackle and it has been lovingly maintained (and kept ramshackle) over the years. (A lookout over the village is included on the tour.)

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

Tour logistics

The tour that I went on was only 8 people, however the tour can be quite a bit larger. Pick-up and drop-off anywhere in Malta is included, which makes it perfect for those staying in Malta without a car.   At the time, the tour cost 59 euros per person and there was a lunch break at a lovely restaurant in Malta overlooking the historic city of Mdina. (Lunch cost not included although it was very reasonable.) The tours are every Saturday (at time of publication).

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!

From lunch

What to bring

Yourself, your camera, a pair of sneakers (a fair amount of walking and some walking is on uneven terrain) and a knowledge of Game of Thrones. Season 1 is the main necessity, so even if you’re not a big fan, watch the first season beforehand. Optional: wear your game of thrones shirt.  Click for the men’s version.

Have you been so inspired by a film/movie that you visited a place?

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations! #GameofThrones #GOT #Malta #Europe

Love Game of Thrones? Read about the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and an independent review of the Game of Thrones tour in Malta where you tour the Game of Thrones shooting locations!