Wandering in one of the famous Malta Gardens – San Anton Palace
San Anton Palace is one of the famous Malta Gardens attractions of the country especially after some Game of Thrones scenes filmed in it secret Kings Garden and the outer part of the palace. San Anton Gardens is the main attraction of San Anton Palace which is the official residence of Malta’s President.
It is acknowledged as is one of the most beautiful gardens in Malta with a large variety of beautiful flowers and plants. Grand Master Antoine de Paule built this place to complement his summer residence. The garden has been open to the public since 1882.
History of San Anton Palace
According to the history, Grand Master De Paule was a kind-hearted man that’s why he was greatly loved by the Maltese people. The Maltese called him de Pawla and when he decided to build a new village just outside Vittoriosa, it was called Casal Pawla.
However, de Paul was not popular with the Knights as he was considered a very controversial Grand Master and some knights even worked against him.
He was in fact accused of bribery to become Grand Master. Many knights also criticized his friendship with a lady who occupied a villa in the vicinity of San Anton Palace.
As a member of a religious order, its members were bound with the vow of chastity, and this friendship was considered scandalous.
Others even maintained that during the rule of de Paul he followed the advice of his lady friend, and thus his leadership was influenced by this lady’s personal life.
Nowadays, San Anton Palace remains as the official resident of the President of Malta. But the gardens are open to public except the palace and some specific parts.
San Anton Palace contains two chapels, one dedicated to Our Lady of Pilar and another dedicated to St. Anthony. The Chapel of Our Lady of Pilar consists of a barrel-vaulted nave, with ribs dividing the ceiling into six bays.
The vault is decorated with the coats of arms of de Vilhena, and subsequent Grand Masters Manuel Pinto da Fonseca and Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc. The altar is set within a chancel separated from the nave by pilasters.
The second one is the Chapel of St. Anthony, larger than the Chapel of Our Lady of Pilar. Which is also known as the Russian Chapel, was built in the 19th century as a Protestant chapel.
Later converted to a Russian Orthodox chapel to accommodate Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. But now it has become a Roman Catholic.
Visiting the main attraction – Malta Gardens
Malta gardens has several walkways that could lead you through the green gardens where you will discover fountains, ponds with families of ducks.
There are also several plants and flowers such as roses, Bougainvillea, Norfolk, Araucarias as well as other trees from all over the world some of them are more than 300 years old.
San Anton Gardens is also the venue for the Annual Horticultural Show and the spacious central court functions as an open-air theatre for drama, dance and musical performances during the warmer summer months.
The chase to visit other magnificent endroits (places) in Malta hasn’t ended after our tour in Rabat Malta. We continued our journey by driving from Rabat to Attard. Attard is located alongside with Lija and Balzan but it can easily found between Valletta and Mdina.
As we get into San Anton Gardens first thing that caught my attention was those sparkling and lavishing flowers in the entrance and a huge clock display almost the same as I’ve seen in Geneva.
Advancing to the more profound part I can still see those blooming flowers keep on staring at me (haha) that’s true they watch me wherever I go.
Oh, by the way, I forget to tell you that the entrance of San Anton Garden is free. However, you have to read the instructions found at the entrance to know about the opening and closing schedules of the park.
As one of the famous Malta Gardens of the country. San Anton Gardens is pretty bulked up with fountains. One is decorated with a statue which was relocated from Argotti Gardens.
Walking till the middle walkway of the park, I saw a quite number of tourists taking photos of this fountain. It’s curious to see those little boys statues for me it looks like they are trying to help the bird to fly and perhaps they are carrying him.
Strolling in a middle way going to the palace we stumbled into a small pond where some ducks and swan are enjoying their day. It reminds me of Dory from the movie Finding Nemo singing “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming” (haha) these swans are so adorable!
Wandering in this place gives a very powerful but relaxing feeling. Observing and admiring the beauty of the different flowers, trees, and animals. It’s a perfect place for a family picnic and just spend time with your love ones.
Continuing to the left side of the park, I was totally surprised with this “turtles surprise” I never expected to see this massive amount turtles living in this place.
Maybe it’s one of the reason why Queen Elizabeth II stayed at this palace during her visit in Malta. The Queen also did some Royal visit way back 1954 and 1967. For sure she will come back again here on her next visit.
I have read that San Anton Palace has secret gardens. Apparently, there’s the President’s Secret Garden, one of the two private gardens that is occasionally open to the public.
If you have watch Game of Thrones Season 1, it was the scene where Ned is walking in a garden talking serious matters with Lord Baelish.
The actual garden is the secret garden found in the back of the palace.
How to reach San Anton Palace and Gardens
Via Bus: If you’re visiting Attard and San Anton Palace and Gardens you have to take Bus 54 from Valletta C3 to Attard. Get down at the 23rd Bus stop Strickland in Attard. It’s a 5 minutes walk to San Anton’s Palace. Estimated time would be more or less 20 minutes.
Via Car: 9 Km from Valletta you have to take Route 7 and it will take you 16 minutes to arrive to your destination.
Malta Gardens Schedule:
The gardens are open daily from 7:00am till 6:00pm June to September
And from 7.00am till 5.00pm October to May.
Entrance is FREE.
Malta Gardens – San Anton Palace