Are you thinking about where to go for your next summer vacation?
Well ruminate this…think of a cool breeze hitting your face, after a warm (or rather, scorching) day out and about, the sunset in front of you as your toes dig deep into the sand
Getting ready for a big night out, partying at the coolest clubs after a light, sumptuous dinner.
Sounds great doesn’t it?
Malta, the teeny weeny island located in the middle of the Mediterranean, has all this and much more to offer. Whether you’re looking to visit for a week, longer or just have enough time to get a taster if you’re stopping off in an excursion from your cruise.
Why Should You Visit Malta This Summer?
Malta is such a small island, but you won’t believe how richly packed it is with tradition, culture, history, gorgeous scenery, shopping and most importantly, life! There is a certain zest for life, a certain buzz in the air; palpable as you walk through the bustling streets.
There are so many events going on during the summer months, from activities at the beach side (sandy or rocky, take your pick) to the wild nightlife and the traditional Maltese religious feasts which are a treat if you’ve never experienced them before.
There is space for everyone in Malta and the other islands of Gozo and Comino!
Rather than following all those guides, turning a vacation into a ticking-boxes exercise of spots and highlights seen, take the time to simply walk around and explore the islands for what they have to offer.
Meet and get to know the locals, find the spots hidden from sight…Malta offers the difference to make your stay unforgettable!
Things to know before visiting the beautiful island of Malta:
Renting a car will make the experience more personal, but if you’re not in a rush there are various bus routes, hop-on hop-off or taxi services to get you where you need to be.
Maltese drive on the left-side of the road and right-side of the car.
Tickets for bus trips may be bought from the bus driver.
Maltese and English are the official languages, yet you will also find people who will be able to speak fluent Italian, French or German.
Many places accept (if not prefer) cash to cards.
The ferry is the best way to travel between Sliema & Valletta, Malta & Gozo.
It is good to note that in some localities the shops still close in the afternoons – the infamous siesta
The best time to visit would be during the Spring and Autumn periods to beat the heat and accommodation would be more reasonable
Things to see and do in Malta:
Malta is rich in history and there are plenty of interesting sites all over the island that allow for foreigners to tap into Malta’s unique cultural and historical background.
From megalithic temples to fortification and so much left by the Knights during their stay on the island. Not to mention the various museums too, most of which can be found in the wonderful Capital City of Valletta – a city steeped in history and culture.
Here some places of interest worth visiting on the island depending on the area, city or village:
National Museum of Archeology
The Palace Armoury and Fort St. Elmo
St. John’s Co-Cathedral (which homes Caravaggio’s ‘The Beheading of St. John the Baptist)
The Inquisitor’s Palace, Tarxien Temples, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
Rabat & Mdina
St. Paul’s Catacombs
National Museum of Natural History
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Making your trip fun in Malta is easy. There are various outdoor activities you can involve yourself in.
During the summer months, though hikes and tracks are popular the heat does restrict one. However, there’s loads more to do!
At the beach you can just relax and work on your tan, and if you’re looking to spice up your dip into the ocean you can also go scuba diving and snorkeling. You can also take a yacht trip around the archipelago, or a session of stand-up-paddling (SUP).
There are various companies that offer 3-day excursions on a sailing boat which will take you around the three islands, and stop at Comino for a swim in its cyan waters.
Golden Sands, Riviera and Mellieha are the most popular sandy beaches in Malta. One can enjoy a pleasant walk from Golden Bay to Ghajn Tuffieha and to the next beach called Gnejna, which is lovely and secluded.
And if you prefer the rockier side of things, then there is Sliema, Valletta and Bugibba, and various spots throughout Gozo. Dwejra and Ramla l-Hamra are two examples of very beautiful beaches you can find in Gozo.
Comino (which has become a nature reserve) and its Blue Lagoon are idyllic spots to spend the day swimming in the crystal waters, exploring the coves and inlets.
Take the time to unwind and relax
If you want a quiet stay, hop round cafes and spend your time reading, enjoying watching people walk by or boats sailing in and out of the harbour, you can take your pick of perfectly situated old-style to contemporary eateries.
If you’re a fan of walking off the beaten track then there is always the walk through Buskett and further on along the Dingli Cliffs. The Victoria Line trail is also very popular.
You can do something different and visit a couple of vineyards for the day. Wine and cheese tasting along with great company is surely an enjoyable outing!
Mdina (known as the ‘Silent City’, where many of the streets are pedestrianized and there is a breathtaking view of the north-east part of the island) and the Three Cities (Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa) are very quiet spots to retreat to from the hustle and bustle.
Alternatively, you can hop to our sister island of Gozo and check out Ta’ Pinu and the capital Vittoriosa.
Walk through the busy streets of Sliema along the front towards Balluta Bay and St.Julian’s area, and stop for a break at one of the many restaurants.
Enjoy the nightlife
Summer in Malta is all about fun, feasts, and festivals. From newly established bars and restaurants in the main spots of Valletta, Sliema, and St. Paul’s Bay/Bugibba to the clubs and amazing restaurants of St. Julian’s.
The religious feasts which can be truly appreciated from late afternoon to night. Look in at the various stalls of traditional and not-so-traditions bites to eat. But most of all, get to enjoy the colourful fireworks as the grand finale of the night.
Music festivals, such as Isle of MTV and the Jazz Festival – are very much looked forward to by the Maltese and tourists alike. Just as are the wine festivals organised in different spots by the two main vineyards on the island.
A quick escape for those cruise excursions – Valletta
Once you emerge at the Valletta waterfront you can easily walk up to the capital city, Valletta. It could be a brisk 5 minute walk, or take the longer route and see more of the coastline from where you will be able to see Sliema on the other side, or grab the lift situated close by which leaves you at the Upper Barrakka Garden – the Lower Barrakka is also worth walking through.
A visit to St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a must, even if you don’t manage to go to the museum as well. On the way down to it, you will pass the main spots, such as the Parliament, Castille, and the outdoor theatre.
Have a snack at Cafe Cordina for a unique experience to try some traditional sweets – almond pastini – and savouries – pastizzi.
Though probably the most important areas, where you can truly feel at one with the inhabitants of Valletta, are the side-streets. They still have a unique quality to them, something there that you can’t quite put your finger on.
If you want to go further afield you can grab the water-taxi to the Three Cities, or the ferry from the other side of Valletta towards Sliema.
No matter how long you intend to stay you will always experience Malta’s rugged charm.
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