Southern Malta

Filfla is the smallest of Malta's archipelago of five islands. It's 5km off the south coast of Malta, and was separated from the mainland as the result of the geological Maghlaq Fault. Its name probably comes from the Arabic filfel, which means chilli or pepper, and it was possibly so-named because of its shape. It suffered the ignominy of being used for target practice by the British armed forces until it was declared a nature reserve in 1970.

The islet supports important breeding colonies of seabirds, including an estimated 5000 to 8000 pairs of storm petrels, as well as two species of lizard and snail not found elsewhere. It's also off-limits due to unexploded shells lying in the surrounding waters.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southern Malta attractions

1. Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra

3.27 MILES

The megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim (adge-ar eem; 'standing stones') and Mnajdra (mm-nigh-dra) are the best preserved and most evocative of Malta's…

2. Blue Grotto

3.51 MILES

This huge natural arch is in the sea cliffs 400m to the east of the seaside hamlet of Wied iż-Żurrieq. Thirty-minute boat trips also take in seven caves,…

3. Parish Church of St Catherine

4.65 MILES

The Parish Church of St Catherine was built in the 1630s and houses a fine altarpiece of St Catherine – painted by Mattia Preti in 1675, when the artist…

4. Chapel of St Mary Magdalene

4.66 MILES

In a lonely location overlooking the Dingli Cliffs, this chapel was built in 1646, but there has a been a church here since the 15th century.

5. Buskett Gardens

4.79 MILES

Malta's only extensive woodland area, Buskett Gardens' name comes from the Italian boschetto, meaning 'little wood'. The gardens were planted by the…

6. Chapel of the Annunciation

4.89 MILES

On a minor road between Żurrieq and Mqabba is the Chapel of the Annunciation, in the deserted medieval settlement of Ħal Millieri. This tiny church, set…

7. The Cliffs

4.91 MILES

Beyond being an excellent restaurant, The Cliffs also acts as a local nature centre supporting the ecology, history and culture of the area. There's the…

8. Verdala Palace

5.16 MILES

Verdala Palace was built in 1586 as a summer residence for Grand Master Hugues Loubeux de Verdalle. It was designed by Gerolamo Cassar as a hunting…