In desperate need of a holiday, I booked a last-minute adventure to Malta. This is one of the smallest countries in Europe located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily, Italy. Malta consists of the main island (Malta) and then two smaller islands, Gozo and Comino.
When looking for a holiday, the only things I truly wanted was hot weather and a beach… Definitely got the hot weather, the beach was a bit hit and miss. I did no research into the island before I went but I stayed north of the island close to the Gozo ferry. The area I stayed was rather remote, there were bus services and a little beach a 15-minute walk away but there wasn’t a whole lot to do, but in the end, this didn’t affect the holiday at all.
Day 1: We arrived at the hotel late the previous night, so the first day was very chilled…I love the first day to be like this it gets you in the holiday mood! The day was spent lounging around the pool and exploring the local area. We had a rep come to the hotel who went through all the excursions the island had to offer, we booked a boat trip (which I will mention on day 5) and then took some more leaflets to look through. I spent an hour or so going through all the leaflets and scrolling trip advisor to plan the week ahead. In the evening we walked to the closest beach and had tea and cake (I know… how bloody English!) in a little beach cafe.
Day 2: We took the bus to Valletta, this is the capital of Malta. I would say the bus took about an hour from where we were staying to get into the city but it was incredibly cheap €3 return!! There are different forms of bus passes you can buy if you think you’ll be using public transport a lot, I think they’re really well priced, it may be worth looking into. While it is a nice city, for some reason it didn’t ~wow~ me, but maybe I was expecting too much? We walked around the entire city, seeing the harbour and exploring all the little streets. After lunch, we visited St. Johns Co-Cathedral, 100% must-see. Built between 1572-1577 every corner of this place was incredible decorated, defo one of the most incredible cathedrals I have ever seen! As a big movie/tv fan I went to some of the filming locations that were used in Valletta including Assassins Creed, Game of Thrones, and Murder of the Orient Express. They were just odd scenes but I still found it cool. I didn’t see as much as I had hoped too, I wish we had walked around some of the gardens especially the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Maybe another time ey!?
Day 3: We hired a car for a couple days! While public transport was easy and cheap, the convenience of a car was better for us. We started the day visiting the Popeye film set. Oh my gosshhh, I loved it! It was like stepping into a tiny Disneyland but by the sea. You could easily spend the entire day there. It was €15 entry for the day (adult winter price) which included popcorn, postcard, and a boat trip. There were different activities on all day, restaurants, bars, and the movie was playing in one of the houses! Due to lack of research, I didn’t realise it was an all-day kinda thing. I expected a little naff movie set that would only interest us for an hour or so but it was so much more than that! I would defo recommend going, even if you haven’t seen the film! We then headed to Mdina, this is the old capital and referred to as the Silent City. Any Game of Thrones fans will notice that the entrance to the city was in season one, as the entrance to Kings Landing (proper fangirl moment!!). I would highly recommend seeing this city, full of cute cobbled pathways, rich in history and breathtaking views from the wall. We went very late in the afternoon/evening, so many places were closed but from what I did see it was truly beautiful. Cars can’t enter the walled city, but there is enough parking around the outside. The bonus is you can wander around these beautiful pathways without traffic, which I loved!!
Day 4: Taking full advantage of having the car we took the ferry over to Gozo. Its an odd set up with the ferry, you don’t pay to get over there, you pay on the way back… we were super confused so there is a little heads up! As soon as you arrive in Gozo you notice how much greener and more picturesque it is compared to Malta. We arrived in Gozo around 8AM and headed straight to Victoria (aka Rabat) this is the capital. After a little coffee stop to wake me up we went to the Citadel. This medieval and fortified city used to be the place where Gozitans lived, protecting them from any threats. Again, this place was rich in history and the views over the city are incredible. It was a place to get lost and feel as though you’re standing in a movie set. Entrance into the Citadel is free but it costs to get into the museums and cathedral (I didn’t as we didn’t have enough time). Next, we visited the Ggantiji Temples, which were built between 3600 and 3200 B.C (before Stonehenge!). These temples are some of the oldest freestanding structures in the world, it was fascinating to look around. We bought a combined ticket that allowed us to also visit the Ta’ Kola Windmill which is just a short walk away from the temples. The Ta’ Kola Windmill is one of the few surviving windmills left on the Maltese Islands dating back to the Knights’ Period which now houses one of the biggest collections of tools. The combined ticket cost €9 per person (well worth it IMO). The final stop in Gozo was at the Azure Window in San Lawrenz. While the window no longer stands it is still a magical place to go swimming and snorkelling. After a day walking around in 35+ degree heat I couldn’t wait to jump in the sea and this truly was the perfect location. Game of Thrones fans… this is also where Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding was filmed!!
Day 5: Today was the day of the boat trip around Malta that we booked with the hotel rep. This was an all-day trip, which cost €50pp. This included: transport from the hotel to the boat port and back, full-day cruise around Gozo and Comino, lunch, unlimited drinks (beer, wine, water and soft drinks). During the cruise, you also stop off a couple of times for snorkelling opportunities and stop for an hour or so to visit the beach. We booked through Supreme Travel and they do special offers if you book multiple excursions so if you are into that it may be worth booking all at the same time to get a discount.
Day 6&7: After a jam-packed few days with what felt like non-stop walking, we decided to spend the last few days just relaxing. This meant lots of reading, swimming/snorkelling, sunbathing, and good quality time together before heading back to reality!
Malta, all in all, I liked it. I found it rich in history and it was my first time seeing walled cities which I loved. I don’t think there is an awful lot to do if you have children. However, for a rather spontaneous holiday, Malta was exactly what I needed!
Any holiday destinations you would recommend for a quick getaway I would love to hear!