Malta – home to no fewer than nine Unesco world heritage sites – also boasts some beautiful beaches. These came into their own in Troy, a film that generated nearly half a billion dollars. The all-star cast depicted the sacking of Troy by using the infamous Trojan horse and the Maltese beaches set the scene for an epic battle in the guise of ancient Greece and the West Turkey, from which Brad Pitt emerges victorious.
A lot of the beach scenes were filmed in Comino; well known for its Blue Lagoon, the island sports a sheltered bay of shimmering, clear water and is easily accessible through the several boat trips from Malta or Gozo. However there’s more to see beyond the lagoon – Comino is steeped in caves, creeks and grottos which lend themselves well to scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming and even climbing. There’s even sunken treasures to be seen as you swim, as these caves were popular with pirates in the Middle Ages.
Diving is a major industry in Malta, with 35,000 divers turning up every year. The group of Maltese islands can offer aeroplane wrecks, not to mention an abundance of marine life such as the large grouper fish, colourful parrot fish and octopus.
The Golden Bay beach a few kilometres west of Cirkewwa, was where Petersen was granted permission from the Malta Film Commission to shoot for three weeks. This was the site of huge battle sequences and shots of Achilles’ ships arriving at Troy. The Rivera beach, which is next to Golden Bay, was host to a scene where Odysseus lands on Ithaca to meet Achilles, olive trees were even brought down from Italy to make it look more Greek.
Malta has everything, from craggy bays to sandy beaches along its miles of gorgeous, unspoiled coastlines – but it wasn’t until 1963 that feature films, TV dramas, adverts and music videos suddenly started pouring in. Since then, Malta has played host to some top blockbuster films.
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