Where is Malta's best walking trail? It surely has to be the epic Victoria Lines Malta hiking route, which stretches from coast to coast, across the north of the main island.
As a walking trail today, it provides stunning views to both the north and south coast 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.
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Victoria Lines history
The 12km long Victoria Lines Malta trail 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.
Victoria Lines Malta - 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.
The closest bus stop to the Victoria Lines starting point in the west is Lellux - 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 planner on Google Maps to plan your journey to Kuncizzjoni.
We had a hard time pinpointing the exact starting point in Kuncizzjoni. To make it easier, stand with your back to the church and head towards the stone wall for a view north over the valley.
Then turn right and you should be able to follow the route from there.
Use this handy map of the starting area to help you find your way to the start point from the bus stop:
Beginning the Victoria Lines Malta route
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 its 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 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 scattered around which say 'private'. Locals tend to put these up everywhere to scare people off but the Victoria Lines route is a public right of way so, don't be shy and push on!
The path will take you down into the valley and then back up again towards the imposing fort when you rejoin the wall.
This first section is the least well maintained and can become quickly overgrown in the springtime. It's the hardest bit to navigate but will get easier from here on, we promise.
This map shows the first little section of the route up to Fort Bingemma:
Fort Bingemma is an ideal spot to stop and soak up the tranquillity and views from here.
The Bingemma Gap
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 a 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 its iconic Rotunda 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 to 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.
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 Malta 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 lose 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.
Victoria Lines Malta FAQs
Q: Where is the starting point of the Victoria Lines?
A: You need to navigate to the coastal village of Kuncizzjoni to begin a walk along the full length of the Victoria Lines. However, you can drop in and out at any point along the route.
Q: How long does it take to walk the Victoria Lines?
A: It's best to allow at least half a day if you want to walk the entire route. An hour or two is enough to do the main middle section.
Q: When is the best time to walk the Victoria Lines?
A: It makes a pleasant walk in the Maltese winter or spring. Once it reaches May it can be too hot in the day to enjoy this countryside walk.
Q: Is it easy to walk the Victoria Lines?
A: The middle section is the easiest bit to navigate. Other sections are overgrown or totally unsignposted. Use our map to help you.