The Islet of Filfla

Blink and you’ll miss it!

Filfla is a minuscule islet some 5 kilometres away from the island of Malta’s coast. Today this islet is a natural reserve. With a circumference of only 800 metres, this little island's history is somewhat intriguing.

filfla island of malta

In 1856, it was hit by a very strong earthquake and it is said that half of the islet perished under sea. This included a chapel that was built in a cave, where mass used to be held for fishermen that happened to be fishing in the area.

Up until 1971, the islet was used as a target practice by the British Royal Navy.

Surrounded by 60 metres high cliffs, it is nowadays prohibited to lay foot on the island.

The island’s eco system is quite distinct from that of the Mediterranean island of Malta, its sister island Gozo and the fascinating Comino. This is believed to be mainly due to the islet’s remoteness.

The tiny island hosts a variety of insects, lizards and fauna. Moreover, various species of birds ranging from gulls to petrels breed on the islet. It is also home to an endemic type of black wall lizard that is said to have two tails and door snail.

This tiny uninhabited islet is the most southerly point of the Maltese Archipelago. Next to Filfla, is an even tinier islet called Filfoletta.

Researchers believe that the name derived from filfel, the Arabic word for peppercorn.

Fishing is strictly prohibited within a nautical mile around the island. This is due to the possibility of coming across unexploded ordnance.

The Ministry for the Environment is the only official entity that can give permission to visitors to lay foot on the islet.

Permission is usually only given for educational or scientific purposes.

This tiny islet is clearly visible from Hagar Qim, Mnajdra temples and Wied iz-Zurrieq.

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