A large sinkhole is not a place many would put at the top of a list of things to see in Malta, but if you’re in that breathtaking country and are looking for a very off-the-beaten-path spot to visit (or you just have a thing for sinkholes), look no further.
Il-Maqluba, which means “the upside down” in Maltese, is a 165-foot-wide, 50-foot-deep sinkhole in Qrendi, a very quaint, quiet town located near the Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim Temples. This fascinating geological feature, located on the south side of the village, was formed in 1343 from either an earthquake or a powerful storm. Legends soon sprung up about its creation, including that a good woman tried to warn the inhabitants of the hamlet that their bad ways must stop, lest God order the earth to swallow them up.
The site is conserved under the Natura 2000 EU network, and is home to rare native species of fungi and plants, including the Maltese Salt Tree. While you’re there, take some time to see the town, too. Qrendi is a typical friendly, small Maltese village and is well worth some time exploring in addition to seeing the temples and other nearby sites.
Know Before You Go
Il-Maqluba is across the street from the Maqluba bus stop, toward St. Matthew's Chapel. The entrance is to the left of the church, by a white handrail and some faded placards. Parking is generally not an issue. Steps and rocks to the viewing area can be very treacherous. Use the handrails and wear proper shoes.