Top 6 attractions for a rainy day
When I say that I live in Malta, people tend to think that we get beautiful weather all year around. Well, it's kind of true as the Maltese climate is very mild with over 300 days of sunshine a year. However we also get rainy days. The month of February was actually quite a wet month I would say. Cannot wait for the spring to come to be honest. But if it's the weekend and it's raining, what can you do if you don't want to sit at home?
During the last year that I've been working on this blog, I've visited couple of museums, palaces and indoor attractions, so I thought I could put a list together to give you couple of tips for the next rainy day. :) Here is the top 6 attractions, 5 + 1 bonus in Gozo, where you can hide from the Mediterranean rain, but still get the satisfaction of doing something.
The Xarolla Windmill is the only windmill on the Maltese Islands that is still fully functioning until today! The Xarolla Windmill, Zurrieq's most prominent landmark, was built under the admission of Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena in 1724 and restores in 1994 to its former glory. Visitors can see how the miller and his family used to live by visiting their private rooms, such as kitchen, living/dinning as well as their bedroom.
The standard opening hours are on Saturday & Sunday from 8 am - 12 pm and weekly by appointment. The entrance fee is only 3 Euro. Private tours can be also organised via local council.
If you would like to read more about this attraction, click here to see the original photo blog.
Wignacourt Museum is a museum in Rabat, that is housed in an 18-century Baroque building. It formerly served as a residence of the Chaplains of the Knights of St John. The museum is named after Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt who ruled over the Maltese Islands between 1601 - 1622.
The building was fully completed in 1749 and it consists of three levels: the underground level is comprised of a labyrinth of Punic, Roman and Christian Hypogea as well as a complex of World War II shelters.
On the ground floor level one can find a number of rooms used as offices and minor collections on one side with a spacious garden with a cafe on the other. This used to serve as the refectory of the Chaplains of the Order in the past.
And the first floor is the main exhibition space. It has an impressive picture gallery with works by Mattia Preti, Antoine Favray, Francesco Zahra and other Maltese as well as European Artists.
The adult admission is only €5 and the opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 9:30 - 17:00. If you would like to know more, here is the full article about the Wignacourt Museum in Rabat.
The Casa Bernard is named after it's original owner. Mr Bernard was a doctor and he was given the house to live in in 1720. He worked in the Santo Spirito Hospital, which was a hospital of the Knights. It was just around the corner from the palazzo. It is worth mentioning that the Santo Spirito Hospital in Rabat is the oldest documented hospital in Malta.
The current owners Georges & Josette Margi bought the palazzo 24 years ago in 1994. It took them approx. 4,5 years to restore and install water and electricity. After some time Josette’s husband Georges suggested to open to the public in 2001. It was Josette herself who gave me the tour around their palazzo and here is a full photo blog about my visit to Casa Bernard back in August.
The museum is basically Mr Galea's private collection and it has been opened to public since 2005. He started collecting cars approx. 47 years ago. It is the only car museum in Malta with about 90 cars (ranging from a 1955 Jaguar C Type to a 1972 Fiat 500F), 45 bikes and scooters that also offers unique collections of old radios, jukeboxes, cameras, car players, fashion and so much more. There is something for everybody.
The Classic Cars Museum spreads over 3.000 square metres. All the exhibited pieces have been restored to its former glory, looking like they just rolled out off the production line. Walking through the museum really feels like stepping back in time.
The museum has a vast collection of classic cars as well as antiques and memorabilia from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Fine samples of the Wurlitzer Jukebox, extensive collection of small car models, some great examples of ladies fashion of those days and so much more! If you would like to know more about this attraction, click here.
Grandmaster's Palace was one of the first building in the new city of Valletta to which the Knights of St. John have officially moved after Birgu in March 1571. This building stands in the heart of the World Heritage City of Valletta. It was formally known as the Grandmaster's Palace from 1530 - 1796 and later as the Governor's Palace during the British occupation in the 1800 - 1964.
If you would like to visit the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta you can buy tickets to see the State Rooms, the Palace Armoury or both as I did. But if you are really interested in the history and wanna learn as much as you can, you will need to dedicate a minimum of 2 hours for the visit.
And what can you look forward to? A unique Tapestry Room with spectacular tapestries that were a gift by Grand Master Roman Perellos y Roccaful for the embellishment of the Chamber shortly after his election in 1697. The Main Dining Room with the magnificent full length portrait painting of Her Royal Highness Elisabeth II. and the portraits of the Maltese Heads of State. The Grand Chancellor Hall with the cycle of the 1565 Great Siege fresco paintings by the Italian artist Matteo Perez de Alesio and so much more! Read the full blog here.
And if you happen to be in Gozo on a cold, windy and rainy winter day, visit the Xerri's Grotto in Xaghra! There is a constant temperature of 19°C so you get a change to warm up! And what's so special about this Grotto? The Grotto was discovered by Mr. Anthony Xerri from Gozo, in 1923. He was digging for a well to find water, exactly where the stairs are nowadays. And he met with the Grotto. Everything that you will see was dug by hand by Mr. Xerri himself who had some help from his sons.
Some of the stalagmites that you will see during the tour took thousands of years to grow. When walking through the Grotto you will find yourself 7 meters below the ground. The pathway is 17 metres long and the tour takes approximately 15 minutes. The entrance fee is €2,50. For those who would like to learn more, here is my photo blog about the Xerri's Grotto.
So these are my six suggestions for (not only) a rainy day in Malta. What's your favourite? Where are you going to go next? Let me know! :)