Malta (part 3) – Things to Do in Malta

This is a series of blog entries from SkySurf.Travel’s first travel hiree, Romanna.

Hello! Do you remember me?
Yes, it’s me – Romanna who went on an Adventure of a Lifetime with SkySurf.Travel.

Romanna - SkySurf.Travel adventurer
Romanna – SkySurf.Travel adventurer

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.

Blue Lagoon, Comino island - the most famous place in Malta
Blue Lagoon, Comino island – the most famous place 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.

Budget tip:
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.

Blue Lagoon in the morning
Blue Lagoon in the morning

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.

Comino island landscape
Comino island landscape

Comino island landscape
Comino island landscape

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.

Blue Lagoon in the afternoon - crowded by thousands of tourists
Blue Lagoon in the afternoon – crowded by thousands of tourists

Budget tip:
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.

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.

Dwerja, Gozo island. There used to be an Azure Window before the 2017 collapse
Dwerja, Gozo island. There used to be an Azure Window before the 2017 collapse

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.

Ghasri Valle, Gozo island
Ghasri Valle, Gozo island

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.

Xwejni Salt Pans
Xwejni Salt Pans

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.

Xwejni Salt Pans
Xwejni Salt Pans

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 view from the top
Ramla beach view from the top

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.

Calypso Cave
Calypso Cave

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.

St.George's Bazilika
St.George’s Bazilika

St.George's Bazilika
St.George’s Bazilika

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!

Romanna

Romanna’s trip to eight cities (five islands) in Europe cost a total of $815 (flights only).  To build your own cheap multicity itinerary, visitSkySurf.Travel.

View more photos of Romanna’s European SkySurf.Travel adventure on Instagram

To read more of Romanna’s SkySurf.Travel adventure blogs, click here.

Life on Malta – Romanna’s Trip to Malta (Part 2)

This is a series of blog entries from SkySurf.Travel’s first travel hiree, Romanna.

Life on Malta

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.

Valletta, Malta
Valletta, Malta

Valletta

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.

the main entrance to Valetta city, Malta
the main entrance to Valetta city, Malta

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.

straight streets of Valetta city, Malta
straight streets of Valetta city, Malta
straight streets of Valetta city, Malta
straight streets of Valetta city, Malta

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!

Upper Barrakka Gardens, Malta
Upper Barrakka Gardens, Malta

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!

panoramic view of the Grand Harbour, Malta
panoramic view of the Grand Harbour, Malta

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.

Pastitserii - local street food place, Malta
Pastitserii – local street food place, Malta

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.

traditional Maltese pastry, Malta
traditional Maltese pastry, Malta

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.

Horse carriage in Valetta, Malta
Horse carriage in Valetta, Malta

Horse carriage in Valetta, Malta
Horse carriage in Valetta, Malta

Having walked enough, I advise you to go down to the embankment and find a small boat resembling a Venetian gondola.

Boat ride from Valetta to Birgu, Malta
Boat ride from Valetta to Birgu, Malta

Boat ride from Valetta to Birgu, Malta
Boat ride from Valetta to Birgu, Malta

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.

Birgu streets, Malta
Birgu streets, Malta

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.

Mdina street, Malta
Mdina street, Malta

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.

Maltese baked sweets
Maltese baked sweets

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!

Eat like a local - try rabbit ravioli, snails, and horse meat - Malta
Eat like a local – try rabbit ravioli, snails, and horse meat – Malta

Eat like a local - try rabbit ravioli, snails, and horse meat - Malta
Eat like a local – try rabbit ravioli, snails, and horse meat – Malta

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.

Luzzu boats in a Marsaxlokk bay, Malta
Luzzu boats in a Marsaxlokk bay, Malta

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.

fish market - Malta
fish market – Malta

If you want ready meals – there are dozens of restaurants along the promenade, where chefs prepare fish from the market.

Fun time!
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 €.

Popeye Village, Malta
Popeye Village, Malta

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.

Party time in Paceville, Malta
Party time in Paceville, Malta

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.

Here it is – life in Malta!

Romanna’s trip to eight cities (five islands) in Europe cost a total of $815 (flights only).  To build your own cheap multicity itinerary, visit SkySurf.Travel.

View more photos of Romanna’s European SkySurf.Travel adventure on Instagram

To read more of Romanna’s SkySurf.Travel adventure blogs, click here.