Guest post by Catherine Trueman
For many years Malta has been working its way up the top travel destination rankings, and this tiny European country is quickly making its way to the top of many travel bucket lists worldwide! Malta is a great place to enjoy a short break if you’re looking for a sunny, scenic place where you can really kick back & relax.
Malta is a good all-rounder with enough to keep culture vultures and shopaholics happy, and, as one of the sunniest spots in the Mediterranean it will certainly keep a sun-worshipper occupied. I was lucky enough to visit the island in the height of summer and stayed at an all-inclusive resort in the North of the island at Mellieha Bay, close to the more established resort of St. Paul’s Bay. Traditional Maltese food is a blend of Italian and Northern African delicacies. I sampled foods including pastizzi, a Ricotta cheese filled pastry, Rabbit stew and caramalised almond desserts. Although, with the full-board offer, I was treated to a range of international dishes and which I’m sure is a reoccurring theme in the built-up resorts of Sliema and Bugibba.
For a couple of days during my getaway I sought escapism from the hotel and decided to do some sightseeing! I purchased the City Sightseeing bus tour, which is something I would recommend for first-timer visitors as a great value method of transport and a fantastic opportunity to truly appreciate the Maltese Islands. The Hop-On Hop-Off buses stop at over 30 historic points of interest so offer tourists plenty of things to do along the route. Boasting over 7000 years of history Malta is brimming with historic tales; stories of war and religion.
The bus tour is a mix of picturesque coastal bays and traditional inland delights. Be sure to stop off at the medieval town of Mdina before discovering the northern countryside. The architecture can be best described as eclectic. With honey-coloured stone streets and highly decorative mosaic floors reminiscent of many Roman sites, temples dating back to 3000 BC and modern areas with a noticeable British influence. You will find British department stores in Sliema and chic designer boutiques Valetta – these may make for a cooling indoor break from the summer heat. As it pushed 40°C on my holiday, I cherished the breeze from the open top bus and snapped away at the numerous photo opportunities. Who doesn’t love a panoramic view? My ticket included a ferry over to the sister island of Gozo, which is smaller, greener and more rural than its neighbour. The ferry takes 20 minutes and offers a haven for those wishing for complete relaxation. If you have a little extra time to spend in Gozo it would be worth hiring a car and spending a day touring.
Maltese culture seemed laidback yet friendly. The country benefits from excellent weather and increasingly popular water-sports which are beginning to reel in younger couples and families. The distinct heritage will appeal to history buffs and for those who love a good foodie-getaway Malta comes up trumps for its culinary specialities…It’s fair to say that Malta is a good all-rounder. Discover with pleasure!