Where is Malta’s best walking trail? It surely has to be the epic Victoria Lines hiking route, which stretches from coast to coast, across the north of the main island.
When our desire to get out in the fresh air and explore our new home on foot had become overwhelming in early 2017, we attempted as much of the 12km long Victoria Lines trail as we could manage.
The route itself runs along the top of a natural geographical barrier in Malta known as the Great Fault. This natural ridge across the island has been used as a defensive barrier for hundreds of years.
The name Victoria Lines comes from the completion of a line of forts and defences along the route by the British in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The line was built to protect the towns and harbours to the south from any invasions to the north across the wide open lowlands.
As a walking trail today, it provides stunning view to both the north and south from the numerous vantage points high above the valleys on either side.
Here’s what you need to know before embarking on this superb Maltese walking trail…
Victoria Lines Starting Point
You can start at any point along the route but transport wise it’s best to start from the west end of the trail and walk back towards the busier side of the island.
We had a hard time pinpointing the exact starting point in Kuncizzjoni but for some detailed pointers check out this page.
The closest bus stop to the Victoria Lines start point is Lellux, Rabat which is served only by the 109 bus. Coming from the direction of Valletta you’ll need to change to the 109 bus route near Rabat.
Use the nifty public transport route finder on Google Maps to plan your journey to Kuncizzjoni.
The Victoria Lines Route
However, once you get going it soon becomes clear where the route goes as you’ll see the mighty wall heading uphill and towards the east. For the most part you can just simply follow the original wall and enjoy the views back towards Golden Bay and beyond.
On a clear, sunny day you’ll be able to see Malta’s sister island of Gozo with it’s white chalk cliffs shining brightly in the distance. It’s a fantastic site so make sure you stop after an hour or so for a quick break to take it all in.
The first major landmark you’ll reach is the Fort Bingemma, just one of the many old forts connected by the large stone walls. To get here from the start point in Kuncizzjoni you’ll have to ignore the signs that say private. Locals tend to put these up everywhere so don’t be shy and push on.
It’s a good idea to have a look at the detailed directions here to find your way up to the fort. This first section is the least well maintained and can become quickly overgrown in the springtime. Fort Bingemma is a great spot to stop and soak up the tranquility and views from here.
The walking route now becomes easier to navigate and more obvious as you head on towards the Bingemma Gap. Simply follow the wall for the most part, swerving around a few houses built into the wall when you need to.
After the gap you’ll soon reach the famous Dwejra Lines section. The start of this stretch is known by the locals as the ‘Great Wall of Malta’ and it’s easy to see why. As you cross the bridge like wall here make sure you investigate the nearby caves carved deep into the imposing rock face.
The walk beyond takes you along a high ridge which offers stunning views right across the north of the island. There’s an old gun placement at the start of this section which makes a great lunch spot!
Then you’ll soon be dropping back down towards the City of Mosta with it’s iconic rotund cathedral dome. Here the route will cross a main road for the first time and the traffic noise can come as a shock after so long in the peaceful Maltese wilderness.
This can make a good spot to end the walk. Just turn right into Constitution St when you hit the Gharusa Bus Stop. This road will take you into the centre of Mosta for a well earned drink, snack or bus home.
If you want to carry on the trail, just cross over the road into Triq Misraħ Għonoq and you’ll soon pick up a well maintained section of the wall.
At the end of this section is mighty Fort Mosta. Even today, this is a mighty and imposing structure which makes it very difficult to carry on the walk.
Our suggestion here would be to call it a day. We had a really tough climb around the outside walls of the fort, along a narrow ledge at times, not really recommended.
If you’re going to attempt this final section and beyond it to the end of the Victoria Lines proper then take a look at this handy page. Otherwise go and have a well earned rest!
If you’d like a detailed map or guide book for the Victoria Lines then check out the books available on Amazon.
Best Time to Walk the Victoria Lines
Unless you really love heat exhaustion we would suggest you don’t attempt the walk between late May and late October. The sun is incredibly strong in Malta and would be pretty unbearable, especially on the exposed stretches, even with a cooling breeze.
Then as the heat cools towards the end of the year the countryside is still pretty dry and dusty until the winter rains come. So, although much more bearable, the views in autumn and winter just won’t be as good as they are in the Maltese springtime.
We walked the Victoria Lines in early April. At this time of year the Maltese countryside is still mostly lush and green with lots of flowers coming into full bloom. Between January and April is the optimal time to enjoy this epic walking trail we’d say.
Preparing for the Victoria Lines Hike
Today some sections of the original fortifications survive and a few have been restored but be prepared for some tricky or overgrown sections along the way. It’s not suitable for prams or wheelchairs unfortunately and can get pretty rugged underfoot in places so wear good trainers or walking boots.
Of course pack plenty of water and some snacks or sandwiches. Most of the route isn’t near a shop or cafe and you’ll certainly work up a thirst.
Good suncream and a hat is always a must. We’re not your parents but the sun can burn you pretty quickly in Malta, especially in the wind when you don’t notice the heat as much!
Also, don’t forget your camera. Some of the views to the north and south of the island are stunning from the high sections. Malta is a pretty flat island so you’ll get a truly unique perspective from this hike.
Finally, don’t forget your smartphone with good old Google maps or similar. Pin as many of the above locations in the app as you can before you set off. It’s easy to loose the trail in places, so this was a big help for us. Using the terrain or satellite view also helps you locate the natural ridge of the walking trail.
For more ideas, check out our essential travel gear. We don’t go anywhere without most of them!
Enjoyed this post? Check out our Malta Guide to Travelling and Living on the Island
Have you attempted the epic Victoria Lines waling route? Are you planning on hiking it? Questions about this walking trail? Let us know in the comments below…