We’ve been living in Malta for over one and a half years now and we still get surprised by the number of secret spots this island holds. This spring, we decided to start a quest to find all the best-hidden gems of Malta and it is surprisingly hard to find information about those places online. The best way to find them is actually searching on social media – and that’s how we discovered The Church of St. Paul the Hermit and the Valley of Honey.
Located in the city of Mosta, Wied il-Ghasel, or Valley of Honey in English is by far the most beautiful valley we have visited in this country. We are used to saying that Malta has little to no greenery but this place simply glows during winter and springtime!
How to get there
The access down to the trail that leads to The Church of St. Paul the Hermit, despite being easily accessible, is not that straightforward. We had to Google it and go about quite a few explanations that felt mostly like a riddle, so to make everyone’s life easier we’ve pinned the access on this map:
Once you get to it you’ll quickly notice the stairs going down: that’s the access to the trail. You’ll go to your right and under the bridge to get to the chapel, but we do recommend exploring both sides of the valley if you have the time. The trail is well-marked and extremely easy to follow.
Since the wind doesn’t blow inside of the valley, it can get really hot there, so we would avoid visiting during summer. Besides, the greenery won’t look green at all during this time of the year.
The Church of St. Paul the Hermit
Situated in a natural cave, The Church of St. Paul the Hermit is definitely one of the most unique places in Malta. It was built in 1656 on the site of an older one of unknown date and restored in the early 20th century.
It was closed when we visited, but you can still get a sneak peek inside through the windows. The Church does open to the public during The feast of St Paul the Hermit, which is celebrated annually in January.
The paintings inside of the church are replicas, the original ones were transferred to the Mosta Parish Church in 1972 for safe custody.
Behind the main altarpiece, you can see a painting that shows St Paul the First Hermit of Egypt, and Saint Anthony the Abbot in prayer while the side altar painting shows Our Lady of Graces.
Legend has it that a saintly man named Korradu lived in this cave. Korradu used to reprimand the local shepherds for their libertine lives, who one day decided to get rid of him by throwing stones at the saintly man. Korradu then fled, but they followed him to the seashore, where he – just like Alladin – spread his mantle on the water, stepped on it, and was carried away to Gozo.
Local shepherds, amazed and repentant of their wicked deed, decided to build a church in this cave and dedicate it to St. Paul the Hermit, a symbol of what Korradu had also been – a hermit. It is believed that Korradu lived the rest of his life in the precincts of the church of the Virgin Mary at Qala, where he is also said to be buried.