On an adventure through my hard drive recently, I stumbled across these photos from a trip I took after I finished my undergraduate degree in 2013. At the beginning of the holiday, I spent a few weeks in Malta with family, and as luck would have it a few uni friends were over there at the same time- visiting their respective families (who knew that so many people had Maltese relatives?) (you probably did) (we are everywhere).
Suffice to say it was an amazing experience- I ate and drank way too much (pastizzi and Kinnie forever and ever). Fortunately, we spent so much time swimming and walking and dancing, so the damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been. If you don’t know much about Maltese people, they are just about the most hospitable, kind and chatty souls you will come across (to generalise… but what a happy generalisation). My family (particularly my aunties, my cousin Lara and her friends) completely spoilt us- taking us to wine festivals, beaches, restaurants, parties and museums.
If you are planning on a Euro trip soon, do not pass go- head directly for Malta.
I’ve been to Malta twice now, and having been #blessed with tour guides on both visits, I’d definitely like to steer you in a few directions.
Stay in Sliema, I like to think of Sliema as the Bondi of Malta. Sure, you could stay in Valletta, the capital city, or you could probably find some lovely Maltese people leasing out a room or house in the more traditional villages of Mosta or Mgarr (which is where I stayed- as a young girl my Nunna carried water from a well up the hill to her family’s house- she carried it on her head. I unfortunately missed out on this ‘great at balance’ gene). But if you aren’t visiting family, I would recommend hunting around on Trip Advisor or House Trip to find an apartment to stay in. Sliema is really accessible, you have plenty to do and see right on your doorstep. And anywhere else you want to go you can easily travel to by bus or boat, because it’s Malta. And it’s tiny.
Swim at Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and take a trip out to the Blue Lagoon, off the island of Comino. The water is clear and aqua and it is just too good to be true. No lie, just the sweltering, glistening truth.
Visit Gozo, (oh- important: Malta has three islands: the main island of Malta, a smaller Gozo and a teeny Comino), Xlendi Bay is beautiful and has so many good eateries. My favourite was the Boat House Restaurant. And I also ate some amazing gelato from an unmarked van… so be on the look out for that too. Gozo also has some of the oldest temples in the world, the Ġgantija temples- older than the pyramids!
Party at Paceville (pronounced par- chi- ville) if you want the clubbing experience but remember the drinking age in Malta is 17, so it is pretty much like partying with high schoolers. Also remember that Europeans go out a lot later than Australians (in my experience). My Aussie friend Steph and I ended up ‘sleep standing’ at a uni party we went to. We had spent all day in the sun (minus a siesta), and didn’t realise that the party would start at two am. Rookies. If you look around St Paul’s Bay, you will find bars with some fun cocktails and shisha, as well as a more tertiary aged crowd.
Go to a festa! It would be such a waste to go to Malta and not experience any of the traditional culture. I know I am biased- but I do believe this is objective travel advice. If you want to relax by the beach, or just party- stay home and save your pennies. But attending a festa complete with fireworks and Nunnas dancing and children running around late into the night- well that is a memory sure to stay with you until you turn old and
I would recommend going anytime from the end of May- September (if you can handle the heat), as that is the time when the village festas take place. This is when each village celebrates their patron saint, and the result is a feast, music, fireworks and dancing! There are also a bunch of wine, beer, music and cultural festivals on over summer- have a look at visitmalta to book your trip so that it lines up with some of these events.
Basically, I’m a big fan of this little island and its inhabitants and I just know you will be too.
Amy worked in copywriting and company branding until she saw the light and began teaching high school students the joys of grammar and essay writing. She currently resides on the South Coast of NSW and enjoys running away from home on a semi regular basis. She believes story telling and caramel popcorn continually make the world a grander place. In days gone by she blogged for literatico and she loves all the pretty things on Instagram.