If you love music festivals, then you may think you’re in the know when it comes to the latest and greatest festivals around the globe. However, there are thousands of festivals that are still relatively under the radar in Europe – just waiting to be discovered. Broaden your horizons and step out of your comfort zone with a trip to one of these amazing music festivals in Europe you’ve never heard.
Masked Ball, UK
The UK is a little touch-and-go when it comes to festivals, purely because the weather is so unpredictable. Their most famous festival, Glastonbury, is almost always guaranteed to be a rain and mud extravaganza. But this doesn’t take away from the fantastic headliners lighting up the stage. The Masked Ball takes place in an idyllic area of the country, Cornwall. This chic, edgy, dance-orientated festival has been running since 2009 but is still fairly unknown in the grand scheme of things. The party is non-stop for 3 days thanks to their 24-hour music and alcohol license. It takes place bi-annually, in spring and in autumn where there’s a special Halloween edition.
Cappadox festival is fantastic for those who like something a little out of the ordinary. Set in the sun-drenched, fairytale-esque mountains of Cappadocia, the festival combines music, food, and art. You’re just as likely to see a street artist painting a wall as you are a group of girls testing out their festival glitter ideas on a stall. It’s predominantly jazz, but it also incorporates Turkish folk, experimental rock and DJ’s to provide a wide mix for all music tastes. The festival is now in its fourth year, and well worth a visit if you like the idea of going to a festival in a unique setting.
You may not be able to pronounce it, but it doesn’t mean that Ypsigrock festival isn’t one for the books. Heading to a festival in the beautiful Sicily is a safe bet if you fancy a hot holiday combined with a festival experience. Set in a medieval castle hidden among Sicilian mountains and Mediterranean sea, this is a truly special place to visit. While you may not be entirely familiar with the headliners, it’s almost beside the point when you’re swaying to the music underneath the sun. It also gives you the chance to discover new music that you may not have previously heard of. If you’re an avid festival goer, then you may wish to camp in the neighbouring national park.
Flow Festival, Finland
Finland may be more associated with its hard Finnish rock scene, but Flow Festival is helping to slowly drift away from that stereotype. The country is huge on sustainability so it’s no surprise that the festival is committed to being as eco-friendly as possible. All of the festival’s electricity is made with waste and residue renewables! This vegan-loving, hippy festival is a millennial’s dream with its beautiful music, creative arts aspect, and amazing culinary delights.
If you’re into the Chemical Brothers, Jamie Cullum, and Glass Animals, then the Pohoda festival in Slovakia is a great choice for you. The festival has been running for two decades but is still pretty under-the-radar. For only €99, you can bag yourself a ticket for the whole weekend. This easy-going festival is all about a laidback feel, giving the 30,000 visitors a relaxed, chilled vibe across the three days.
The article has been contributed by our guest writer, Natalie.
Unexpectedly I fell in love with a hot Sicilian island. From the first days of my stay, I immediately understood that I need to return here. At least because it is impossible to see even one-third of everything in one week.
The whole island is made up of nine provinces. Each has its characteristics, local traditions, and dishes. I decided not to waste time on long journeys and to explore the east coast of the island.
Can you imagine the city which rose from ashes? This city was twice destroyed – by an earthquake and by lava flows after the eruption of the volcano. Catania was rebuilt, which allowed creating a town with a unique Baroque style architecture, which was popular in the 1690s.
The easiest way to get to Catania is by train. From the train station, you can easily reach the center by foot and explore the city. Of course, you can use public transportation. There is one metro line that runs through the railway station — the cost of one ticket for 90 minutes is 0.90 euros. Moreover, there is a well-developed bus system. There are more than 50 routes in Catania! You can view the schedule at http://www.amt.ct.it/?page_id=48. A single fare costs 1 euro, and an unlimited daily pass costs 2.5 euros.
I advise you to come to the city center early in the morning and immediately move towards the Pescheria market. Just in a few hours, locals, cooks and, of course, tourists will dismantle the entire catch, so I advise you to hurry! Behind the square, Piazza Duomo is the market, which is not difficult to find – go to the smell of the fish and the cries of merchants.
The name itself is derived from the Italian word “pesce” (fish).
Dozens of stalls selling fish and seafood – octopus, lobster, shrimp and the most popular swordfish in Sicily.
Walk a little farther, and there you can find all sorts of fruits, meat, spices, and sweets. Eyes scatter from such diversity, the main thing – do not go there hungry.
After the market, you can return to the main square of Duomo where you can find the cathedral. Interestingly, Giovanni Battista Vaccarini Duomo was building a facade of the cathedral over 30 years so that we could see it as it is today – you may spend 20 minutes looking at this fantastic building.
Do not rush to look into a map and follow the tourist route. Just walk through the streets of Catania – you will see all the main places by yourself! Sicily has its unique cuisine that you can not try in other regions of Italy. It is also cheaper than on the mainland. Do not miss the opportunity to try the most famous local street food is arancini. It is a deep fried rice ball with different fillings – meat, tomatoes, spinach, and even all together! The cost is 2.5 euros, and it can be a great snack in a long walk.
If you want to try something more exquisite, visit some local restaurants. Choose one without a permanent menu. They prepare only a few dishes a day from fresh produce brought from local markets this morning. Tomatoes, eggplants, and mozzarella often are the main ingredients. Oh, if you knew how the Sicilian mozzarella buffalo is melting in your mouth – I have no words to describe this taste!
And do not forget to try the local wine from the vineyards of Etna. Interestingly, the Etna highland wine zone was the first in Sicily in the DOC category (Denominazione di Origine Controllata). Even if you are not a wine expert, you should try at least one glass of this unique drink.
Fera O’ Luni – another market, no as popular among tourists as Pescheria. A lot of things are sold here, but the main thing is the fruit and vegetable department.
To my surprise, the prices in this market are the cheapest I have ever seen. For example, I bought a kilogram of apricots, kg of strawberries and a kg of cherries for only 5 euros – could you imagine! Unnecessary to tell you about how juicy and fragrant they were.
In the evenings, people go to the center of the city, meet with friends over a glass of wine or beer, and share the events of the last days.
I will be honest; I did not feel comfortable in the evening in Catania. Several local people warned which streets I should not enter in the evening, and generally, it’s better not to walk alone during the dark time.
If you ask a Sicilian what the beauty is the answer will be: “it is when one can see greenery and the sea. But if there are mountains nearby – a real paradise!”.
That is why every year when the season begins, all the locals come to Taormina.
It seemed to me that there were too many people in the city, but in July and August, there are just thousands of tourists! If you arrive by train, you can get to the city by bus, or on foot. The walk will take about 40 minutes, but they will pass unnoticed – there are stunning views! Coming closer you can see the beach and the thin sand bar that leads to Isola Bella. The tiny island is open to visiting. The entrance fee is 5 euros. Just look at the coast and the number of people here!
Just a 5 minutes walk from the Isola Bella there is a cable car, which takes you to the center of Taormina. The cost of travel in one direction is 3 euros.
On the main street Corso Umberto, there are dozens of tourist places, pastry, and coffee shops. At every step, you can see tiny nooks that go down and up from the main street. You will be offered to try cannoli in every pastry. I advise you to go to the best one – La Pignolata Guinness Cannoli. Here they are the most delicious, believe me!
I was allowed to go into the kitchen and gaze the cooking process. Every morning they bake waffles and knead the creams. Traditionally, cannoli is filled with ricotta cream, but there are more variations. In this pastry shop, you can try a select pistachio paste. They call it green Nutella, and there is something similar between them! Pistachio paste smeared on a tuba, and then fill it with cream and sprinkled with chopped pistachio. Impossible to forget that taste!
I advise you to walk from Taormina to Castelmola, which is a small town on the top of a mountain. You can get there by bus, or you can go on foot. I hope you are not afraid of a small trekking walk, because the views of the sea, Taormina and the mountains from here are incredible!
Another city that I managed to visit – the birthplace of the great Greek mathematician Archimedes. Syracuse city is divided into two parts – the main part and the historical center, which is located on the island called Ortigia.
Walking the streets, you can almost always see the sea, where in the morning you can meet fishermen. As in Catania, in the center of the city, there is the old atmospheric market of Syracuse. Here you can buy fish and meat, and local delicacies. Sellers are calling loudly to the counters, someone is offering to drink oysters, someone is preparing a special sandwich “panino” in front of dozens of cameras, and someone is grilling seafood caught several hours ago in the Ionian Sea.
Of course, Sicily is not only the cities but also the unique nature. But that’s another story… See you soon!
An active volcano, lemons, and mafia – what are your associations with Sicily?
Romanna’s second SkySurf.Travel destination, Sicily, is the largest island of Italy and the Mediterranean. A land with an incredible history, African winds, citrus orchards, absence of rules, and incredible natural phenomena.
Ancient Greek myths were born right here! Being on the island, it seems, you begin to believe in them. When one of the giants rebelled against the gods of Olympus, Athena threw him into the sea and crushed him down with a triangular stone. When observing lava erupting from the volcano, the giant Enceladus is trying to escape, as so it’s believed, and the smoke from the volcano mouth is his heavy breathing. This legend is how the ancient inhabitants of the island explained the eruption of Etna volcano.
The same triangular stone from the myth explains the advent of the ancient name of Sicily – Trinacria. That is how Homer mentioned Sicily in Odyssey, and the word itself means “triangular.” It was the ancient Greeks who created the myths about the gorgons that inhabited the island. Among them, the most terrible was Medusa Gorgon, a monster that took on a feminine appearance with snakes instead of hair. She lured men, and then those who gazed upon her face turned to stone. Medusa’s head is the main symbol of Sicily now, and legend has it she protects the island from enemies with her eyes. In addition to the Gorgon head, there are three more legs on the emblem, which symbolize the shape of the island and the three final points – Cape Lilibéo in the west, Cape Peloro in the east and Cape Passero in the south. In those days, unique stories were created, explaining any natural phenomena fascinatingly.
Let’s get back to real life. Sicily used to be a part of Great Greece, which was inhabited by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Catalans, and Spaniards – imagine the mix of cultures, traditions, and customs.
Today, it is a unique Italian region, which attracts with its culture, history, year-round sun and three seas – the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Ionian. There’s about 1,000 km of coastline where anyone can find a suited place – cliffs, sandy and stone beaches. Unlike continental Italy, Sicily has many more sunny days, which is quite logical, since it lies in the Mediterranean, subtropical climate. There is a long and hot summer and a fast, very mild winter.
You can get to Sicily by sea or by air. There are three airports on the island, and many tourists come here every day. Let me remind you that I flew from Malta; the cost of the flight was $41. Getting around the island is pretty simple. In cities, there are buses and taxis, and for longer distances, you can ride the train or buses. It is essential to say the train routes are along the coast, so if you need to move inland, you should choose a bus – this will reduce the travel time. I flew to Catania and decided to explore the east coast, so I always traveled by train. The fare depends on the distance. The minimum price I paid was 2.5 euro – to get from the small town of Acireale, where I lived, to Catania.
The most expensive trip cost 8.5 euro when I went to Milazzo. The road took about two hours, and I even needed to make a transfer in Messina. The actual travel cost can be viewed online on the railway company’s website – www.trenitalia.com, they also have a handy mobile application where you can get acquainted with the routes, train schedules, ticket prices, and even purchase them. You can also buy tickets at the train stations just before departure. Do not forget to activate the ticket in a particular machine before you board the train!
When life gives you lemons – make limoncello! It is the main Sicilian principle. Locals enjoy life, never hurry, finish their work much earlier than the set time, and live in the moment.
For example, it’s quite reasonable to stop the car right in the middle of the road and talk to a friend. This stopping not only happens on empty roads but even during busy traffic! No wonder why they say – “if you can drive a car in Sicily, you can be a driver anywhere!” Pedestrian crossings are just a tourist trap. It’s rare when cars stop at them. People cross the road where they want to, and it does not surprise anyone. It is ok when cars drive despite the red light! Often the streets have no place for pedestrians. All you have to do is walk along the side of the road and hope for the attentiveness of the drivers.
Nevertheless, I have never seen more dangerous situations. Somehow they get along in this chaos and look quite happy. With all this, people are insanely friendly. When asking for the way, do not be surprised if they will escort you so that you do not get lost. And when you go uphill, the cars stop one by one to offer you a ride to let you down.
Speaking about hospitality, I want to tell you about the place where I lived. After a successful experience at Couchsurfing in Malta, I decided to continue using the platform and confirmed my arrivals. So, in Sicily, I planned to stay at three different hosts. I started the search a month ahead, and by the time of my arrival, I have confirmed the first five nights in two different places. Moreover, I posted an open request to find a place to sleep for the last two days. To my surprise, having only one review, I received more than 20 offers from people who were ready to host me at their places in different cities. I planned to travel around the island, so I considered not only Catania. I tried to be careful, so I checked the pages of hosts and paid attention to information about them, and what kind of reviews they have. Despite this, life situations can be different, and plans may change. So my second host wrote to me the day before coming that he could not accept me. The first host saved me from panic, saying that I could stay at his place as much as I needed. He is a German soldier who works in Sicily. He lives in a spacious house, and therefore quite often hosts travelers. Because of the specifics of his work, we did not spend very much time together. He was very kind to me and even organized a fantastic experience, but that is another story 🙂
I can say for sure – Couchsurfing changes the perception of travel; it gives new acquaintances invaluable experiences, which is merely impossible to get in a hotel, or renting apartments.
I’m looking forward to telling you more about my adventures along the east coast of Sicily.
Follow this SkySurf.Travel blog for upcoming new stories about my adventure!
Hello! Do you remember me?
Yes, it’s me – Romanna who went on an Adventure of a Lifetime with SkySurf.Travel.
The first week has come to an end, and I have to admit that this is the last article about Malta. At the same time, it is essential to say that I left the most exciting parts for the end! So I am not a fan of big parties, not into unique gourmets, and I am not good at architecture styles. But there is one breathtaking thing that I love the most – nature. Cliffs, azure water, incredible sunsets, hard-to-reach canyons, exotic plants, and wild animals all inspire me. I love places where there aren’t many tourists around when you can be alone enjoying the sound of the wind, inhaling the sea breeze, and listening to the birds singing and enjoying life.
About these places, I have left for this final part:
The most beautiful points in Malta.
Comino Island, Blue Lagoon.
Oh, it seems to be the most famous place in Malta, which seduces all tourists to come and swim in the crystal clear water.
Across the island, hundreds of companies offer day trips to the Blue Lagoon and even combine a visit with the island of Gozo. These day trips include yachts, speed boats, drinks, canoeing, and a lot of additional entertainment. The cost of such excursions range from € 30 to € 65 – and this is just what I have come across; I am sure there are more expensive ones. I advise you to go on your own to get to the port at the end of the island! The name of the stop is Cirkewwa. Then you need to go to the sign Comino Ferry and buy a ticket for € 14 round trip! I advise you to take a picture of the schedule. The boat arrives every hour and the last one leaves around 5 pm.
To visit the Blue Lagoon, choose a weekday to improve your impression because on weekends there is an enormous amount of people. Of course, it is better to come early in the morning, while everyone is sleeping. The first boat leaves at 9:30 am.
Even by the first boat, you will not be the first visitor to the island. The below photo is what it looked like when I arrived.
I advise you not to linger on the beach and explore the island while the sun is still not very hard. And so, we pass the beach area and move along a narrow path. The stony landscape complements the unusual plants of various colors. It looks peculiar; I wanted to take a shot of each bush. I hope you are not afraid of lizards – they run under your feet every 2 minutes.
Right above the cliff, you can watch the yachts, which anchor in the bay, and a group of young guys on the rocks, who, with applause, are jumping into the water with a scream. Want to join?
Coming back, you can already see hundreds of people sunbathing on the sand and stones. Oddly enough, most of them come to Comino and do not even go further, but stay here.
Bring light snacks and water with you. There are several stalls on the island where you can buy some fruits, hot dogs, sandwiches and cocktails, but you need to understand that their prices are several times higher than from the store.
Gozo Island is a small island, almost half the size of Malta. You can come here for two or three days if you want to relax and escape from the crowd, but you can see the most exciting things, even in one day!
How to get there:
It is the same as with the Blue Lagoon; you need to come to the Cirkewwa station, go to the port building and wait for the ferry. There is no need to pay for the ride to Gozo – you only need to buy a ticket on the return trip for 5 €. Every half hour big ferries run between the islands, transporting people and even cars.
There are buses on the island, and they work the same way as in Malta. If you have a travel card, then you will not have to pay extra. The only drawback is that the transportation system is not so well developed, and not all points of interest are reachable. For convenience, I chose a moped. I arrived on the island with a new friend, and we decided that this would be the most comfortable and fastest option — the cost of the moped rent per day is 30 €. We also paid 5 € for gasoline and did not need to look for a gas station on the way back.
The first stop of our route is the Dwerja. Azure Window – the main attraction of the island used to be here. Nevertheless, a few years ago, the stone arch collapsed, and now we can only look at its photos. In just a few steps, you can see the Blue Hole – a place that attracts divers from around the world. Every day dozens of divers are immersed in here.
Another place divers are interested in as well as lovers of sunbathing – Ghasri Valley. Here is a water maze between the rocks, which attracts visitors to the island with its views.
Right on the seashore in Xwejni, you can see Salt Pans, which were used by people from ancient times to mine salt. More than 350 years ago, dimples were made in the rocks by people, poured into them was seawater, and it evaporated under the influence of the sun.
You will not believe it, but some people support this centuries-old tradition. Of course, now only a few people are engaged in this, who have preserved the knowledge of their generations.
Ramla Beach is the most popular beach on the island of Gozo. Of course, I do not encourage you to spend the whole day sunbathing. Climb the mountain nearby – there is a fantastic view from the top.
You can also find Tal-Mixta Cave – a cave that Homer described in the Odyssey. In his poem, Homer claimed that the beautiful nymph Calypso kept him with love charms.
I advise you to finish the day in the capital – Vittoria. This city was named after the English Queen in 1887 when they celebrated her anniversary. The city itself is tranquil and has many places of interest, such as the Citadel.
In the city center, behind Pjazza Indipenza, you can find a cozy square with St.George’s Bazilika, where you can find some cafes and restaurants. Here you may have dinner, take a look inside the Basilica and, of course, walk along the ancient streets.
Of course, these are fabulous places not only in Comino and Gozo but also on the island of Malta itself.
In the south-east of the island is located Blue Grotto – a breathtaking place. A massive arch of more than 30 m rises above the sea with water of a vibrant turquoise color; on a windy day, when the waves with great force break on the stones, it is merely impossible to keep your eyes off this site!
Malta has left incredible memories and emotions. I hope I manage to convey to you the feeling of this tranquility and delight – this place won me over!
I hope these articles inspired you on a new journey and opened another incredible direction worth visiting.
See you soon!
A tiny island in the Mediterranean annually attracts thousands of tourists. Some come to sunbathe on the beaches with the crystal-clear water, some study the English language, and some choose this direction for full and sleepless weekends.
Let’s figure out what makes Malta so attractive.
The city from which it all begins. The capital of the island is noisy and touristic, but this does not make it less attractive. Valetta is the only city entirely planned before construction. You will understand everything as soon as you cross the bridge.
Despite the hot weather, in Valetta, it is always cool. The layout of the narrow streets allows you to be in the shadow of buildings, which can be very pleasant during the hot days.
The main Republic street is pedestrian, and it leads from the main entrance right to the city’s seafront. Do not be afraid to step aside. It’s just impossible to get lost here – most of the streets are entirely straight, and it seems as if you are immediately looking from one end of the city to the other.
At the first crossroads, turn right; you will get to the Upper Barrakka Gardens. There is a cool shade from the trees, fountains, and thousands of flowers. It seems as if you will fall into an oasis!
Here you can sit on the bench and relax, have a cup of coffee, and eat the most delicious ice cream. Come farther and take a look at a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour! Immediately you can see 11 cannons, which in the past, defended Valetta from enemy attacks. At the time of Queen Victoria, the fortifications of the city were built by the Knights of St. John. Now, the weapon performs a decorative role, and only one cannon still works. Of course, for entertainment – you can hear a cannon shot every day at noon and 4 pm!
Are you hungry?
Do not rush to take a table on one of the main streets; these places are created specifically for tourists. If you move a bit away from the center, you can find more cozy streets that are less crowded with people. Here you can also find local street food – Pastitserii.
The most prominent national food is pastizzi — Puff pastry pies with various fillings. The most popular ones are with cheese and peas, but also cooked with spinach, meat and even chocolate! Of course, this is quite a fatty food, but very tasty and cheap – the average price is 0.4-0.8 € for one piece.
Other pies such as kassatats are sold here, and are several times larger in size and can easily replace your full meal!
Coming to the outskirts of the city you can see a lot of horses that ride tourists in carriages along the outer streets – they are forbidden to go inside the city.
Having walked enough, I advise you to go down to the embankment and find a small boat resembling a Venetian gondola.
In just 10 minutes, you will arrive in another city. During this time, you will see Valletta from a completely different angle, and enjoy the views of the harbor. The fare is 2 €.
You will land in a place called three cities – this is where you can see Birgu, Bormla, and Isla at the same time. I recommend going to Birgu immediately. Even on the weekends, this city is nearly deserted. What is surprising, because it is so beautiful and cozy, the natural yellow color of buildings is perceived uniquely. It adds some feeling of warmth to the old capital.
Tiny streets, colorful, well-groomed balconies, linen, that hang right above your head. Here, the tradition of morning purchases are preserved right from the terrace – local farmers bring fresh produce in the morning, and residents pull down the bag on a rope with money. Offline shopping without leaving home!
Speaking of deserted cities, I want to advise you to come to the ancient city of Mdina. It is also called the city of silence. It looks uninhabited but well maintained. Oddly enough, about 300 people still live here. In Mdina, it’s impossible to get lost, and you don’t need a map here – just a few streets and alleys that can be walked around in an hour or two.
It is enough to cross the road, and you will end up in Rabat — a residential city in which you can observe the standard measured life of the Maltese.
Do not miss the opportunity to try local sweets. On the main street, there is a small pastry shop just two blocks away. You can find traditional cannoli, honey rings, and fig rolls. Show a slight interest, and the seller already offers you to try something from freshly baked pastries.
If you want to eat something more substantial, pay attention to the people who sit in the place of interest. Do not go where it is full of tourists – choose a place where locals eat. Speaking of traditional Maltese food, they usually offer the rabbit. There are many farms on the island that grow rabbits specifically for cooking. Considering that Malta was a British colony, and not a French one, it is difficult to understand where the locals got a love for snails. Nevertheless, they cook them incredibly tasty!
Another dish that will surprise you is horse meat. Suddenly soft meat that does not have a specific taste, and if this is your first time, you can easily confuse it with beef. Pay attention to the portion!
Do you want seafood?
Go to the Marsaxlokk! For a visit, choose a Sunday — it is this day that the fishing village comes to life, and local fishermen sell their catch in the market. Here, in the bay, you can see hundreds of brightly painted boats – Luzzu. These fishing boats have one feature – the eyes of Osiris. The tradition to draw eyes on a boat came from the Phoenicians. They believed that this would save the boat from danger in the open sea. Interestingly, the boats in the bay have eyes covered with a piece of cloth.
Walk through the bustling market on the waterfront. Here, you can catch mussels, squids, octopuses, shrimps, lampuka, and tuna in the Mediterranean. On the market, there are often more tourists with cameras than buyers. In addition to fish and seafood, you can buy spices, national drinks, snacks, and sweets.
If you want ready meals – there are dozens of restaurants along the promenade, where chefs prepare fish from the market.
Go to Mellieha – the Maltese Disneyland. Forty years ago a musical about a legendary sailor and spinach lover – Popeye, was filmed on this spot. As for scenery, they built a whole village with bright houses. In the summer you can combine a visit to the village with a dip and water attractions. It will be especially attractive to children. Animators work in the park, every corner is a photo zone, and there are some performances every hour.
Entrance fee is 14 €.
But if you are not particularly interested in walking through the sham village, just come to see it and take a few shots against the background of the bay. So, just before the entrance, turn left and walk along the cliff. It offers an incredible view of the village and the bay itself.
If you are interested in more active nightlife, you should head to St. Julians. Here, life boils without stopping and a break to sleep. The central place of the city is Paceville. Streets of this district come alive in the evenings, and it becomes especially loud there every Friday and Saturday.
People come here not only from all over the island but also from other countries. Dozens of clubs for every taste – pop, techno, Latin; everyone will find here a lovely place to enjoy dancing until the morning.
Do not forget to take your ID with you – at the entrance to the bar or club, you may be asked to confirm your age.
If you think Malta is just one island – you’re in for a surprise! It’s an archipelago. The main island is very small, about 30 km long and 15 km wide. In just a week, you can easily see the most interesting places without a personal car. There are two additional islands worth visiting – Comino island with its popular Blue Lagoon and Gozo island.
Traveling around Malta is very easy – the island has a well-developed transportation system of buses that ride according to a schedule to all cities and attractions. All routes of the island are closely intertwined in Valletta – the heart of Malta. Near the main entrance to the city is a huge Triton fountain – you can not miss it.
Nearby is the main bus station on the island. From this spot, you may go everywhere! All bus stops are equipped with special schedules and routed maps. Moreover, buses have free Wi-Fi, which makes it very convenient if you do not want to buy a local SIM card. Despite the fact that it’s hot in the streets, I always advise you to take warm clothes with you – often the air conditioner works at full capacity inside buses and there is a significant temperature drop.
There is no other transportation on the island – only taxis, rental cars or scooters. There are also small boats that run along the harbor and ferries for longer journey cruises.
* Budget tip – the cost of a bus ticket is 2 euros, night bus costs 3 euros. The ticket is valid for two hours, which allows you to make a transfer if necessary without having to pay extra. If you are not going to spend all your time at the apartment, or hotel – buy a travel card for a week. The cost of the card is 21 euros and it allows you to travel unlimited for 7 days on the day and night buses, and can be used for buses on the Gozo island! You can buy a travel card at the airport, or you can find one of the many points of sale on the site https://www.publictransport.com.mt/en/timetables
You can also see all the routes and schedules visiting the above link.
It’s especially good to come to Malta during the spring or autumn – when it’s not so hot, and not the high season, which means fewer tourists. The winter on the island is rather mild and rainy – on average 10-15 ° C, and the summer is dry and insanely hot. In August, the temperature rises to 35 °C, which is not very comfortable if you like active rest. In addition, it affects prices. The cost of hotels and apartments is much lower in the low season, and you have a better chance of finding a pleasant place for a reasonable amount of money.
* Budget tip – use Couchsurfing to find a place to live. This is a great way to get to know the country in which you are going to travel. It allows you to get deeper into the culture and find new friends! Plus, housing is usually the biggest expense while traveling, so it allows you to save some money.
I found a wonderful host. He is a professional handball player from Ukraine who moved to Malta 7 years ago to play for the national team. This was my first Couchsurfing experience. To be honest, I was worried. In advance, I created a profile, filled out information about myself and began to explore the possibilities of the community. It is important to familiarize yourself with the basic rules and carefully study the page and reviews of the person. Reviews are the key to trust.
You can see who else was hosted by the host, read the impressions of people, and see if you will be comfortable with this person. Couchsurfing is not free accommodation. It is a way to make friends with people from all over the world, learn their customs, and have fun. This is a special kind of relationship based on trust, because a person opens the door of his or her house for you, although that person sees you for the first time. The main goal of the platform is to unite people of all nationalities while traveling. From the first day, I realized that this was the best decision. While I was there, the host took another traveler from the US. We quickly found a common ground and the next day we went to study Maltese together. This made the trip unforgettable because it is much more interesting to discover a new country in the company of a new friend!
A special feature of Malta is bilingualism. This is one of the few countries where English has practically supplanted the local language. It is important to say that Malta used to be a British colony. And even after it became independent in 1964, British people still often choose this area for their holiday.
The English language, a comfortable climate, and relatively low prices in comparison with most European countries contributed to the creation of dozens of English language schools. This is a paradise for students – every year thousands of young people come to study language in Malta from all around the world.
At the same time, you can hear on the streets Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Ukrainian and other languages - some people come only for a few weeks, and some people spend more than a year here. This multiculturalism fills the island with life. Malta has its own mode – a time for study and work, a time for rest, and a time for loud parties.
While walking around Malta you quickly get used to the yellow color – all houses on the island are built of sandstone – the most affordable building material.
However, everyone wants to be different and makes his or her home special. Here are some fun facts about the Maltese houses:
Multi-colored balconies. Red, blue, white, green – it seems you can collect all the colors of the rainbow here! Interestingly, even if the balcony is quite old, it still has a special charm. You will not see such balconies anywhere else!
Each house has its own name, which hangs next to the entrance door. In Malta, numbering is rarely used; most often they just name their home! Columbus, Jupiter, Julian – what a fantasy!
Original doors. On the whole island, you will not find two identical doors – do not even try it! There are different shapes, colors, and most importantly, door handles! There are so many kinds of them – some are ordinary and some are in the form of faces, hands, fish, angels, or national symbols. It is simply impossible to pass by and not be able to stare at every door.
Each house has a distinctive feature – its own balcony, its own name, and its own special doors. So every walk around the city stretches for a long time because you want to see everything!
In the next article, I will talk about the main cities of Malta – where to go, what to pay attention to, and what not to miss while traveling around the island.