After only spending a week exploring the beautiful Malta, I fell for its charm; quaint winding little streets, stunning architecture, crystal clear ocean, tasty local cuisine and a laidback vibe – what’s not to love?
It’s possibly the best impulse, last minute holiday we’ve ever had so I thought it was worth writing about. We flew out mid-July and it was very hot but bearable. The kind of heat you can comfortably sunbathe in for a bit until you feel the need to plunge in the sea (which, by the way is the perfect temperature to cool you down a treat).
We made the decision to stay in Sliema – purely as after a bit of research it felt like the ideal base to check out the island. We stayed at the Plevna Hotel – it’s not the place to choose if you want a bit of fancy but it’s clean, central and a 5 minute walk from the sea. If you’re after something basic but with all the amenities you need (and lovely staff) – I highly recommend.
Getting around is super easy – the buses are extremely reliable and go all around the island. A 2hr ticket costs €2.20, a day ticket €2.60 and 7 day tickets are available at just €12.00.
When time is not on your side, here are some must-do’s on the island:
ST PETERS POOL via MARSAXLOKK
A gorgeous natural pool near Marsaxlokk at the tip of Delimara Point. We caught the number 27 bus from Valetta to Marsaxlokk which took around 30 minutes. It’s a fine-looking fishing village with colourful boats, a Parish Church and tasty fish restaurants.
We stopped here for a quick iced coffee and to grab some drinks and some snacks. There are no shops/eateries at the destination so it’s worth bringing plenty of water to keep you hydrated and perhaps a little picnic.
Taxi drivers will inform you that the walk to St Peters Pool is MILES and too far by foot… but in reality it is a twenty minute stroll/hike up a steep hill so if this doesn’t sound like your thing, hop in a cab. You will miss the incredible views on the way up mind!
After trekking up the dusty track, you’ll be blessed with a spectacular view of the cove. Perch up to edge of the rocks with your towels where you’ll grab some shade, set up camp and spend a day snorkelling, swimming, sunbathing and chilling.
We were lucky as the conditions were spot on– perfect for jumping! I can be a bit of a chicken with heights/jumping into a giant pool of mystery (mind the pun) but after watching local kids half my size dive off the cliff , I decided I was up to the deed! Cue a massive adrenaline rush and the need to do it over and over. Child at heart, what can I say…
MDINA, ‘The Silent City’
Mdina, ‘The Silent City’ and old captial is an absolute must on your to-do list. Its history traces back more than 4000 years and according to the tradition, it was the place the Apostle St.Paul is said to have lived after being shipwrecked. Very interesting!
Despite visiting in the middle of the Maltese half term, it wasn’t at all crowded and at times we had entire little streets to ourselves (perfect for snapping away at the camera).
We marveled at the stillness of the streets and the incredible baroque and medieval architecture – as many guide books say, Mdina has such a timeless atmosphere, it’s impossible not to fall for its charm. Check it out and see for yourself!
Just a short walk away from Mdina is Rabat –a lovely little town with a number of museums to choose from. We decided to visit the complex underneath St Pauls Church – the ticket price includes St Paul’s Grotto, Catacombs, World War II Shelters and the Wignacourt Museum.
It certainly did not disappoint! St Pauls Catacombs are the largest late Roman underground cemetery in Malta . They are a complex of interconnected, underground Roman cemeteries which, according to records were using up to 4th century AD. A bit spooky right?
Deeper underground is the entrance to the bomb shelters that were used during the war. We ventured throughout the tunnels for what seemed like forever… they go on and on, twisting and turning, getting narrower. At one point we has wondered so far that we began to loose our bearings and my boyfriend Daryl started getting a little bit claustrophobic (I don’t blame him, even I was a bit worried we were stuck in a maze!). It was all part of the fun and we thoroughly enjoyed learning about the islands unique history.
If you’re slightly curious about diving, Malta is an amazing place to give it a shot. The visibility is great (my pictures don’t do it justice) and depending on the time of year you visit, you can see all sorts of underwater creatures, from turtles and dolphins to squid and eels.
After a bit of debating over the cost…we decided to go for our Advanced Open Water PADI. Having previously only been allowed to dive to depths of 18 meters, with an AOW we would be able to dive to 30 meters and we wouldn’t be restricted with our dive site choices. We choice Go Dive as our dive school – a great choice. A bunch of super friendly, professional, fun people! Here are some GoPro shots of the amazing wreck dive.
If you‘re anything like me and spend a lot of time thinking about the next delicious meal to scoff, you’ll hopefully love these suggestions. We found a lovely little traditional family run Maltese restaurant, Il-Merill tucked away down a quiet street in Sliema, away from the hustle and bustle of the seafront.
They serve up the most delicious Maltese and Continental cuisine. I had a gigantic seafood platter, that was to put it simply, HEAVENLY. Daryl chose their specialty – rabbit (something I wouldn’t eat but he said it was divine). Great cosy atmosphere too.
I’m also a huge fan of Japanese food – fortunately there are tons of Asian restaurants on the island so we were a little spoilt for choice. We headed to Cafe Sakura for some mouth-watering sushi and noodles – they also do a mean Long Island Ice Tea (we took advantage of Happy Hour!).
I could go on and on about this vibrant, history, beautiful island. I would love to go back – next time to explore Gozo!