>Malta is a tiny diamond that sparkles in the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea just below Sicily and off the coast of Tunisia. It is rich in history from WWII to medieval castles to archeological sites that date as far back as 4000 B.C. and a paradise for divers with clear waters and sunken ships scattered around the coastline. It’s warm climate, sunny beaches, and active nightlife make it an idea place for a holiday getaway.
Getting There and Around
Many discount airlines such as RyanAir service Luqa International airport which makes it a cheap getaway for those coming from Europe and the U.K. (or booking a connecting flight from there.) Local bus transportation on the island is extremely inexpensive (starting from .50 euro cents) and fairly reliable. Local taxi’s are private and negotiable (I was able to negotiate unmetored taxi drivers to service anywhere on the island for as low as 10 euros each way.) Once you find a good driver, take his card!
For a Mediterranean location, it is far cheaper than the northern European hotspots along the French, Spanish and Italian coasts and stays quite warm even in winter because of its proximity to Africa. It is packed not only with history but a rich culture and warm friendly people.
Valletta is the capitol and situated between two harbors, and is one of the most spectacular ports I have seen. The main bus station is serviced here and will take you to just about anywhere else on the island.
- Take a stroll through the markets in the morning and on weekends for some great bargain shopping, then head through Old Town for a “pastizi” (a pea or cheese stuffed pastry) you can get at one of the many bakeries and street vendors.
- Be sure to check out the “Malta Experience” which will give you a great history of the country during the seige and after.
- Head to the Upper Barracca gardens for spectacular sunsets and views of the 3 cities, as well as the cannons of the saluting battery which still fire every day at noon. (Wine festivals and other events are held here during the summer months.)
- Sun-bathe or snorkel at one of the many beautiful and different beaches around the island from Sliema to St Julians to Paradise Bay up in the northwest corner of the island.
- For a quiet moment, head to the central part of the island to the “silent city” of Mdina, a beautiful fortified city dating as far back as 4000 B.C. Walk through the narrow streets, visit the old torture chambers, or stop and see how the beautiful Mdina glass is made.
- Take a short ferry ride to the sister islands of Gozo and Comino where you will find the Blue Grotto, Xlendi Bay, The Azur window (great for scuba diving) the ruins of Hagar Qim, vineyards, and the unique Red sand beaches near Masalforn.
Malta is full with as much nightlife as it is history. Paceville, St Julian and Bugiba all stay active until nearly dawn. For bar hopping, the most concentrated area is Paceville where you will find a stretch of discos and clubs as well as a movie theater.
For more information more information about the exciting things that Malta has to offer check out the following books: