Qqrendi, a small village in the southwest of Malta, is the place where you can find two “must see” temples: Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra. Unfortunately, it’s rather far away from Valetta and the buses don’t go often. If you get up early, you might be able to also visit Mdina (the old capital of Malta) and Ta’ Qali shopping village (the souvenir shopping place) in one go. Just remember: everything closes at 5pm!

Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples

These two sites are my “must see” temple choice. I prefer them over Tarxien temples. I think they’re better preserved, overall. I also like their location: it’s a beautiful spot away from traffic, and there are not as many tourists because they’re not as quick to get to as Tarxien. You may also appreciate the small exhibition which includes a cinema screening a movie about the evolution of Malta’s temples.

Most importantly, Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples are both covered by two enormous tents designed to protect the stones from the environmental influence. You will love the shade provided by them. Malta has relatively high temperatures (to the tune of 30*C in October), very few trees, and all the temples found until now lack roofs. If you want to spend more time in a temple, sit, rest, meditate a bit – the Qrendi temples are your best bet. There’s even a couple of benches in front of Mnajdra temple.

You will find some out-of-place elements in the temples. Some of the stones are held together by what looks like cement; others are supported by small metal scaffoldings. They’re in bad shape due to their age (they’ve been excavated in 1840s) and also, sadly, Mnajdra was vandalised in 2001.

Route by bus
Valetta – Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra (Hagar bus stop)
Time by bus
1 hour
Note
my guidebook mentions Misqa water tanks are next to these temples but I don’t know if you can access them at all; the bus passing Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra can also take you to Mdina afterwards (from which you can go to Ta’ Qali and later back to Valetta).

Mdina

Mdina is the old capital of Malta. I haven’t actually seen much of it because I changed my trip plans at the last minute. Nonetheless, I think it’s worth seeing if you’re interested in Malta’s history and you have time to spare. It’s got the remains of a Roman town house, a Natural History Museum, a cathedral and (Christian) catacombs.
Route by bus
Valetta – Mdina (Rabat bus stop)
Time by bus
1 hour
Note
You can also go to Mdina after visiting Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra but it’s a long drive (about 45 mins by bus).

Ta’ Qali crafts village

Ta’ Qali isn’t worth seeing. It’s worth shopping at. It’s a group of stores located in hangars on an abandoned World War 2 airfield. The actual village is nearby, as is the Ta’ Qali National Park (which looks interesting, but again – I didn’t get to see it).

If you want temple models, Goddess figurine replicas, knight models, fancy glass, or jewellery, you can find them all at the crafts village. Any souvenirs that you find sold next to a temple, you’ll find in this place, too – and they’ll probably be cheaper, in better shape and with more choices available. If you have time to visit Ta’ Qali, buy them here, it beats carrying heavy bags during the long trips to temples.

Make sure to visit the Heritage Homes of Malta shop. They’re the ones selling temple models and figurines. (And by the way, the owner is an exceedingly nice and polite gentleman who is a pleasure to talk to.) You can check out their catalogue online before you go.

Route by bus
Mdina – Ta’ Qali (Rabat – Snajja bus stop; just tell the driver you want to go to Ta’ Qali)
Time by bus
10 minutes

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