The minute we arrived in Malta I knew it would be a very different experience to our week in Gozo. While there are many similarities between the two islands, especially in the rural areas, Malta’s cities are noisy and busy.
We stayed in St Julians which is very close to the water and full of restaurants and bars with stunning views across the bay. The water front has a walkway that runs for about 2 km from St Julians to Sliema with a constant stream of people walking, jogging and cycling along its path. It is particularly popular at night when families and couples take their evening stroll before dinner. Down at the water’s edge, swimmers and sun-worshippers lie on the rocks, sometimes taking a dip to cool down. The weather has been sunny and warm, around 25-30 degrees but it feels much hotter.
Valletta is the tiny walled capital of Malta and a very short ferry ride from St Julians. It was established in the 1500s by the Knights of St John as a refuge for soldiers returning from the Crusades, and is famous for its large number of Baroque buildings including St John’s Co-Cathedral where Caravaggio’s stunning masterpiece, “The Beheading of Saint John” hangs. Valletta is easy to navigate and a must-see for anyone visiting Malta.
On our bus ride home from Valletta we passed the Grand Harbour Marina filled with yachts and with the most amazing view of the city. One day I hope to sail to Malta and spend at least one night in this beautiful marina.
A visit to Marsaxlokk, a gorgeous fishing village located on the south-east corner of the island was another highlight of our stay in Malta. The water is filled with so many of the yellow, green, blue and red fishing boats that symbolise Malta. We also visited medieval Mdina, the former inland capital of Malta and built in 8th century BC. After a very relaxing afternoon exploring the city we found the perfect spot to relax – in a bar overlooking the city walls with a magnificent view all the way to the coast.
It’s now time to farewell Malta after a stay that has left me with so many great memories. I will especially remember the rural areas – stone fences, wild garlic and fennel, prickly pears, market gardens, oleander trees, bougainvillea, tiny lizards scurrying about – and the views of the beautiful blue Mediterranean.