Mdina used to be the capital of Malta many many moons ago. It was then moved to Birgu (Vittoriosa), one of the Three Cities opposite Valletta, leaving Mdina rather quiet. This could explain its nickname, “The Silent City”.
It seems to me like they have tried to keep things as quiet as possible since then. They don’t allow many cars through the gates, certainly not tourist cars, just some of the locals’. Most people get dropped off from buses or park their cars just outside the city gates between Mdina and neighbouring Rabat. You then walk through the gates and meander through the delightfully quiet streets.
Visiting Mdina is like stepping back in time or stepping straight into a scene of Game of Thrones (they filmed some of the scenes there). It’s a medieval town with fortified walls surrounding it. There aren’t any big chains restaurants or shops, just holes-in-the-walls kind of places. Outside the main street, all you can see are winding narrow lanes and golden walls. It gives the town an air of mystery, not knowing what’s around the corner. I heard it’s even more haunting and beautiful at night. I would have loved to seen that,
Again here, I would advise to ditch the map, which only takes you through the main streets anyway. Oh and make sure to stop by the charming Fontanella tea gardens for lunch.