Malta Holiday Ideas
What to see… What to do… Where to go…
Don’t forget that the bus station is just a 3 minute walk away. Visit this link for more bus route information: http://www.arriva.com.mt/routeplanspage?l=1
Valletta – Malta
Valletta, The Fortress City, Citta’ Umilissima, “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen” is Malta’s capital city: a living, working city, the administrative and commercial heart of the Islands. Valletta is named after its founder, the respected Grand Master of the Order of St John, Jean Parisot de la Valette. The magnificent fortress city grew on the arid rock of Mount Sceberras peninsula, which rises steeply from two deep harbours, Marsamxett and Grand Harbour. Started in 1566, Valletta was completed, with its impressive bastions, forts and cathedral, in the astonishingly short time of 15 years.
Valletta has many titles, all recalling its rich historical past. It is the “modern” city built by the Knights of St John; a masterpiece of the Baroque; a European Art City and a World Heritage City. Ruled successively by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Order of the Knights of St John, it is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
The city is busy by day, yet retains a timeless atmosphere. The grid of narrow streets boasts some of Europe’s finest art works, churches and palaces.
Hosting a vast cultural programme, walking around Valletta you’ll come across an intriguing historical site around every corner: votive statues, niches, fountains and coats of arms high up on parapets. Narrow side streets are full of tiny quaint shops and cafés, while Valletta’s main streets are lined with larger international branded shops for fashion, music, jewellery and much more.
The Three Cities – Malta
The Three Cities offer an intriguing insight into Malta and its history. Left largely unvisited, these cities are a slice of authentic life as well as a glimpse into Malta’s maritime fortunes.
The Three Cities can rightly claim to be the cradle of Maltese history, as Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua have provided a home and fortress to almost every people who settled on the Islands.
Their harbour inlets have been in use since Phoenician times: the docks always providing a living for local people, but also leaving them vulnerable when Malta’s rulers were at war. As the first home to the Knights of St. John, the Cities’ palaces, churches, forts and bastions are far older than Valletta’s.
The local communities here celebrate holy days and festas as nowhere else on the Islands. The most spectacular events are the Easter processions when statues of the “Risen Christ” are carried at a run throughout crowded streets.
Valletta & Three Cities Cruise – Malta
This is a personal favourite. Catch the bus that takes you to Sliema Ferries. Here you will get a variety of Boats offering this wonderful cruise that will give you a peek inside Valletta Harbour and its very beautiful surroundings.
Valletta – Sliema ferry service – Malta
You may also cross from Sliema to Valletta (or vice versa) by Ferry. Its quick, pleasant and only costs €0.93 per adult with Captain Morgan.
Mdina, also known as The Silent City – Malta
Mdina was home then, as now, to Malta’s noble families; some are descendants of the Norman, Sicilian and Spanish overlords who made Mdina their home from the 12th century onwards. Impressive palaces line its narrow, shady streets.
Here you can appreciate the quiet streets of Mdina together with the beautiful architecture decorating this maze of labyrinths. Whilst there, visit Mdina Cathedral & ‘Fontanella Tea Garden’ situated at the edge of this old capital, for a lovely home made cake!!!
The history of Mdina traces back more than 4000 years. According to tradition it was here that in 60 AD that the Apostle St. Paul is said to have lived after being shipwrecked on the Islands. Furthermore it is said that St. Paul resided inside the grotto know as Fuori le Mura (outside the city walls) now known as St. Pauls Grotto in Rabat. Lamp lit by night and referred to as “the silent city”, Mdina is fascinating to visit for its timeless atmosphere as well as its cultural and religious treasures.
Mdina has had different names and titles depending on its rulers and its role but its medieval name describe it best – ‘Citta’ Notabile’: the noble city.
It was home then, as now, to Malta’s noble families; some are descendants of the Norman, Sicilian and Spanish overlords who made Mdina their home from the 12th century onwards. Impressive palaces line its narrow, shady streets.
Mdina is one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and Baroque architecture.
Mdina Cathedral – Malta
The Cathedral also know as St Paul’s Cathedral is the architectural crown of the elegant, walled city of Mdina. A late 17th century masterpiece of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa’, it lies on the site of a much earlier Norman church that was destroyed by the violent earthquake of 1693. According to tradition, the earlier church had been built on the site of the house of Publius, the Roman’s chief man on the Islands, who was converted to Christianity by St Paul in A.D. 60. The Cathedral’s imposing facade greets you abruptly as you emerge from Mdina’s narrow streets. The building is topped by a magnificent dome, possibly one of Gafa’s greatest achievements. the dome has though had a chequered history: a succession of painters have tried to embellish its interior. Today’s dome interior dates from the 1950s. In the Mdina cathedral, you find works by the Calabrian artist and Knight, Mattia Preti. The pavement of marble-inlaid tombstones carries the coats of arms and inscriptions of the bishops of Mdina and other members of the Cathedral chapter. In the choir behind the main altar is Preti’s monumental depiction of The Conversion of St Paul. It was part of the original Norman church, and survived the earthquake.
Rabat (just outside Mdina) – Malta
This large provincial township was part of the Roman city of Melita, with the sites and archaeological relics found testifying to the town’s importance during the Roman period.
For many centuries, religious orders have established themselves within the precincts of Rabat and Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians still flourish here in their spacious convents and monasteries, catering for the religious needs of parishioners in their churches.
The town is a commercial centre and acts as a market to its large agricultural hinterland. It is also well established on the tourist map due to its archaeological and historical sites: The Roman House (Villa), Catacombs, St. Paul’s Grotto and the fine churches and monasteries.
This is our sister island. It’s greener, cleaner and a beauty!!! We highly recommend that you visit the island. The Gozo Ferry Service is offered by www.gozochannel.com You may also get an organised tour from one of the many tourist shops around Falcon Court.
Gozo, meaning “joy” in Castilian, is the second largest Island of the Maltese archipelago, with a population of approximately 30,000.
Though separated from mainland Malta by a 5km stretch of sea, Gozo is distinctly different from Malta. The Island is a third the size of Malta, more rural and simple, its culture and way of life rooted in fishing, as well as in primitive pastoral and agricultural activity.
Exuding a relaxed pace of life, Gozo is the ideal secluded safe haven and at just 25 minutes or so by ferry from Malta, the hop can easily be made for even the shortest stay.
Visit Comino by getting one of several Ferries from Bugibba Jetty and spend the day enjoying the Blue Lagoon. Although Comino is a small island, it is also very rich in history and some might be interested in having a wonder around. As Comino is mostly appreciated when there are least visitors possible, try to avoid going to Comino on weekends & public holidays. Ferry Service from Bugibba Jetty to Comino does not operate through the Low Season. However, all year round & cheaper shuttle service operates from Marfa Bay, Mellieha through www.unitedcominoferries.com
Between Malta and Gozo lies Comino, a paradise for snorkellers, divers, windsurfers and walkers. Only 3.5 km2, Comino is car-free and apart from one hotel, is inhabited by 4 people.
The Island’s main attraction is the Blue Lagoon, a sheltered inlet of shimmering aquamarine water over white sand and a popular day trip by cruise tour or sailboat.
Comino is worth a visit and is ideal for walkers and photographers in winter. Without urban areas or cars, the scent of the wild thyme and other herbs can be picked up on.
Comino was inhabited in the Roman period, but did not have much significance until the Knights arrived. It then had a dual role: hunting grounds and a staging post in the defence of the Islands against the Ottoman Turks.
The Island had proved a useful base for pirates operating in the central Mediterranean and though stark and barren today, it was home to wild boar and hares when the Knights arrived in 1530. The Grand Masters went to great lengths to ensure that their game on Comino was protected: anyone found breaking the embargo on hunting could expect to serve three years as a galley slave.
After WWII, Comino remained a backwater until its fortunes revived with tourism in the mid-1960s.
Beaches & Bays – Malta
Malta has beaches for everyone, from windsurfers to sunbathers. Choose from golden sand, red sand, rocks, blue lagoons and even inland seas. Some beaches and rocky shores are off the beaten track, but worth seeking out for their seclusion. Do not miss a boat trip to Comino’s Blue Lagoon for the ultimate in azure water. On larger beaches, you will find cafes or snack bars open during the summer season. With Malta’s climate, beach life lasts well into October. Enjoy water sports and activities like windsurfing, jet and water skiing, parakiting and fun rides. You can hire equipment from beach cafes or shops nearby.
The main coastal resorts and larger sandy beaches are in northern part of Malta. Malta’s most popular beaches are Mellieha Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay. For smaller, quieter beaches, try those at the tip of Malta, overlooking Gozo – Paradise Bay and Armier. In Gozo, the most beautiful beach is Ramla I-Hamra, a large beach of unusual red sand nestling by countryside. Gozo and Comino offer plenty of out-of-the-way rocky inlets with clear waters and perfect snorkelling.
Playmobil Funpark – Malta
This is the second largest factory worldwide producing this international and loveable toy brand and the only production plant where one can actually see the toys being made. After a guided tour of most of the production areas, you can enjoy the Playmobil Funpark and refreshments at its cafeteria. Visit www.playmobilmalta.com for more details.
Splash and Fun Waterpark – Malta
The Splash & Fun Park at White Rocks has a large swimming pool and deck for adults to enjoy by the sea. The other pool is equipped with chutes and slides as well as a dinosaur park to keep the children happy.
Other facilities such as a Snack bar and ample parking space are available for those spending the day at the Splash and fun park. Visit www.splashandfun.com.mt for more details.
Meditteraneo Marine Park – Malta
Experience the magic of the sea and its enchanting creatures at close quarters as you interact with dolphins, sea lions and more at the Mediterraneo Marine Park at any time of the year.
Ever dreamt of swimming with dolphins? Being kissed by sea lions? Or maybe holding parrots and petting snakes or iguanas? The Mediterraneo Marine Park makes dreams come true for holiday-makers and locals alike by introducing this concept of close interaction with the lovable residents at this complex.
A hive of colourful activity, the place is run to a high standard of professionalism and offers an ideal day out for families and groups, with various entertainment options, a special area for the children and a well-equipped restaurant/cafeteria. Visitors can choose between viewing a number of Shows, an Interactive tour or even a once-in-a-lifetime swim with the resident dolphins. Visit www.mediterraneo.com.mt for more details.
Popeye Village (also known as Sweethaven Village) – Malta
The film set of the 1980 musical production “Popeye”, also known as ‘POPEYE VILLAGE’, was constructed in Anchor Bay during the last 7 months of 1979. Today the “village” has grown into a family attraction featuring a number of colorful fun activities for all young at heart. Here you will meet famous cartoon characters to greet and entertain your kids. Grownups can be part of a filming experience with the animation crew, and enjoy a number of attractions such as boat rides, water trampolines, sun bathing decks, beach lido, food outlets, winery offering free wine tasting, mini golf and Santa’s toy town. There is also Malta’s largest jump around and a fun park with numerous rides for kids. Visit www.popeyemalta.com for more details.
Casinos – Malta
Malta has got four Casinos.
Oracle Casino www.oraclecasino.com 5 min. walk from Falcon Court
Casino di Venezia www.casinodivenezia.com.mt
Portomaso Casino www.portomasocasino.com Dragonara Casino www.dragonara.com
Everyone has to have an evening’s flutter once in a while. And there is no better time than on holiday. Malta has several excellent casinos. Choose from an elegant colonial-style villa, an ultra modern hotel complex, or a restored 17th century, harbour-side palace. All provide great entertainment whether you’re new to the tables or have tried your luck before. And when it comes to dining out, you’ll find the casinos offer a superb choice of cuisines from international fare to Mediterranean specialities at their excellent restaurants. As well as bars and open-air venues for a chat and a sociable drink or cocktail.
Cinemas – Malta
Empire Cinema Complex, Bugibba www.empirecinema.com.mt is just 10 minutes walk from Falcon Court
Eden Cinemas, St. Julians www.edencinemas.com.mt
Embassy Cinema Complex, Valletta www.embassycomplex.com.mt
Fortifications and Towers – Malta
Whilst going around Malta, make sure not to miss our prestigious Watch Towers. They are nice, old and served their purpose in earlier days to watch out for the enemy. Many are those locals who think that these should start being used once more to combat illegal immigrants entering our country.
*Wignacourt Tower – about 15 minutes walk from Falcon Court
*De Redin Coastal Towers
Fort Saint Angelo
Fort Saint Elmo
Fort Saint Lucian
Notre Dame Gate
Old Saluting Battery
Saint Agatha’s Tower (Red Tower)
The Victoria Lines
Valletta and Floriana Fortifications
*personal favourite towers
Source: Visit Malta