Malta. It’s always been a pretty special place for me, because it was one of the first locations that I visited abroad. A dozen or so years ago, me and my mom, one of our first flights, thrill of emotion, 2 weeks of vacation, travel agency, hotel in a pretty popular Bugibba resort. We are most excited by the possibility to explore the island on old Leyland buses (too bad they don’t exist anymore!) and to get to the small island’s most far-away corners. For two weeks we are exploring most of interesting places – on our own, with no facultative trips. Valetta, Sliema, Marsaxlokk, Gozo, Popeye Village, Mdina. Have I been planing to go back to Malta? Not really, because I’d seen it all!:) But then it turned out that we’ve been there twice with Maks in the recent years – the first time it was Gozo with our friends, and now – at the invitation of a portal specializing in searching flights and other things called KAYAK. This time we went to Malta again! 🙂
Coming back to places from the past made me really happy. Maks was extremely happy, taking advantage of the beach’s, the sea’s and the pools’ charm. He was happy to explore that place with us and although we didn’t spend much time there, we came back full of energy of the sun. This is what Malta does the best – it makes you go home with a huge smile on your face!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO ON THE ISLAND? WHAT TO TRY? WHAT TO SEE?
WITH this LIST YOU WILL BE READY FOR MALTA AND GOZO!!! 🙂
(the list is in a random order;))
1) SILENT CITY – MDINA
No doubt, this is one of my favorite places on Malta. It’s Malta’s old capitol, beautifully located at the hill so you can see it from far away. While you’re in town, you get a view at its surroundings. Small streets, bright, stone houses characteristic for southern towns make it perfect for walking, getting some rest from the heat and sunbathing. It’s called Silent City, even though there is a lot of tourists in April – I guess it gets quiet and melancholic in the evenings, when everybody goes to their hotels and there are only cats and a few residents walking around Mdina. Luckily, we managed to find a few nice streets during the day. When it comes spots characteristic for Mdina – you need to see the cathedral and the gates leading to the city.
MIND YOU! Remember that if you go to Mdina during siesta, most restaurants will be closed and it may be difficult to eat anything! 🙂
2) FISH AND SEAFOOD IN MARSAXLOKK
I have been dreaming of going back to Marsaxlokk for a very long time. In the past, I memorized colorful boats lazily waiting in a small harbor. When we went to Malta with Maks in 2013, we didn’t make it here, but this time I knew we had to! We got there in the evening…
It was pretty empty, lazy and the way we like it – authentically, locally. No tourists, no plastic souvenirs and people trying to get you to eat in their restaurants. There was a scent of fish and fried squids, tables put around the harbor, sunset and peace, though. The only thing that seemed out of place was Costa Coffee right next to an old church 😉 Oh well – the world keeps on moving and it’s not like it ruined our best evening on Malta. Go to Terrone for great fish and seafood snacks!! 🙂
3) THE OLD WORLD POPEYE
Popeye Village is another one of my memories from way back. I remember the heat and us trying to get here by old bus, and then exploring this movie city. In 1980 the movie Popeye Village was made here. The village was founded in 1979 and you can still explore houses from those times, watch pictures, the movie and go back in time and space. Popeye Village is right next to the bay with cyan water so when the weather allows, you can bathe there while on a break from sightseeing.
Parents, watch out! It used to not be there, but in recent years they obviously built a water playground for children – shallow pool and slides. I think I don’t need to add that Maks didn’t want to leave. Grab some towels and swimsuits, just in case.
4) SUNBATHING IN GOLDEN BAY OR IN MELIEHA BAY
If you’re looking for sand beaches, you will not find them on Malta. The coast is rocky and covered in stones in most places. Local boys jump headfirst into the water from them.
But if you’re planning on laying in the sand and building sand castles, go to the beach in Melieha Bay or in Golden Bay. Sand, warm water, happy children. I’m warning you: it gets crowded! While on Gozo, choose Ramla Bay with an amazing, orange-red sand. There are always more local people than tourists.
5) PEDAL BOATS OR A BOAT CRUISE
The best way to watch bays and the rocky coast of Malta? Boat, cruise or… pedal boat! You can rent one in Golden Bay and go to a nearby, less crowded and less popular beach. Maks approves! 🙂
6) VALLETTA FOR A WALK
Valetta, Malta’s capitol, is a must see. We’re starting from the walk on Triq Ir-Repubblika (Republic Street), which is the old town’s main street leading from the Town’s Gate to Fort St. Elmo.
Republic Street is full of life, tourists, brasseries, ice-cream parlors, souvenir shops. You should turn into these side streets, more empty and more climatic ones. It’s nice to sit down at one of the squares, for instance at Republic Square, and bask in the sun, blue sky and Maltese, peaceful lifestyle.
7) SLIEMA, BLUE BALCONIES, BLUE WINDOW FRAMES
Sliema is an amazing boardwalk along the bay, but it’s also one of Malta’s most “luxurious” towns – with a lot of expensive stores and restaurants. It used to be a small summer resort for nearby Valetta’s residents, and then more villas and residencies were built here. They say that having an address is Sliema ennobles and southern Malta’s residents call Sliema residents tal pepe, which means snobs. While walking around Sliema, we get to St. Julian’s, which is right nearby.
8) AMORINO ICE CREAM AT REPUBLIC STREET
You will find Amorino ice cream in a lot of Europe’s and world’s countries. If you haven’t tried them, Valetta is a great place to finally do it! 🙂
If you have, I don’t have to convince you to do it again – you will be coming back to them as soon as you see that familiar sign in the street! 🙂 You have to try the chocolate, pistachio and coconut ones. And you need to eat them in an ice cream coan – that’s when they look like a rose!
9) LUNCH AT GUZE BISTRO (Triq San Gwann, Valetta)
Small, unobtrusive restaurant hidden at one of Valetta’s side streets in the 16th century building. This is where you will find great seafood pasta, delicate octopus, chrispy squids. The last day on Malta – I wish we had discovered that place earlier because I would have come back! Now you have the chance! 🙂
10) TRY KINNIE!
Kinnie is definitely one of the most popular Malta’s beverage. Its taste is pretty specific – orange with a herbaly taste, so they say you can love it or hate it. To be honest, I’m not a fan, but once you’re on Malta, you have to try it – Malta’s residents have been drinking it since the 50’s!
11) SEE WHAT HELWA TAT-TORK TASTES LIKE
It tastes pretty much like our halvah 🙂 You can get it both in stores and in restaurants as a dessert. Cooled in a refrigerator it tastes fabulous, even during a pretty hot day.
12) SEE AZURE WINDOW IN GOZO AND BLUE GROTTO IN MALTA
Azzure Window in Dwejra Point is one of must see spots on Gozo. The view on amazing stone bridge is breathtaking. When it comes to oddities, it served as scenery for a few movies, such as Game of Thrones. on Malta they have sea caves, Blue Grotto, where you can swim on boat. We didn’t have time this time but we have a reason to come back 🙂
13) TRY GOZO’S LOCAL CUISINE
Gozo’s and Malta’s cuisines are pretty similar, but considering the fact that Gozo is less touristy, less popular, and this is where it’s easier to find authentic tastes and family restaurants. Both on Malta and Gozo you will find plenty of pasta, fish and seafood. While on Gozo, you have to try treats made out of rabbit (fenek), like furnaretti dumplings. Another great offer for meat eaters is bragioli, kind of like our meat chops. Fish soup aljotta is another classic – dence and fullfilling.
And we ate the best tuna ever! 🙂
on Malta and Gozo you have to try local cheeses. They’re usually small and round – delicate, perfect to eat with tomatoes and fruit jam, or the harder once, strongly seasoned with pepper and herbs. Some of them have a strong smell, but if you love cheese, you know that the worse it smells, the better it tastes 🙂
15) MALTA’S NATIONAL SHRINE – TA PINU IN GOZO
For those planning to stay on Gozo a little bit longer – go to Ta Pinu, so called Malta’s National Shrine. It’s impressive, especially in this flat, sunburnt place.
While planning your trip, visit KAYAK. It’s good not just for booking your flights, hotels and cars, but you will also find a cool options called TRIPS, which can be used like a personal travel planner. You can add your trip, make notes (what to take or that you need a visa), give it a name, add your flights, choose your hotel and your car. You couldn’t plan itbetter! It’s very useful, especially when it comes to long and complicated trips 🙂
You can read all about our stay on Malta, our blogging and other cool places on KAYAK’s blog. Now what? Who wants to go to Malta and Gozo this summer? What else should you see/do/eat there?:)