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  • Malta – anyone been for a holiday there ?
  • Premier Icon hels
    Full Member

    What is good to do – or likewise avoid ?

    Any recommendations for places the locals eat ?

    I like a bit of trampling about old churches etc, hill walking, not remotely interested in clubbing or eating bacon and eggs every morning.

    Premier Icon craigxxl
    Free Member

    Only been the once and didn’t enjoy it.

    Premier Icon hels
    Full Member

    Thanks craigxxl – can you expand on your answer – what didn’t you enjoy ? Ta.

    Premier Icon craigxxl
    Free Member

    Lack of beaches and dirty is what I remember of Malta

    Premier Icon jonah tonto
    Free Member

    ive been thinking of going mainly to visit ‘The Hypogeum’ which predates stonehenge etc. there is a huge amount of other ancient stuff, temples etc there which im into. malta has a rich history if your into that kind of thing.
    here is a link

    Premier Icon hels
    Full Member

    Cheers – I am a history person not a beach person so that all sounds good !

    Premier Icon unknown
    Free Member

    I’ve been twice and love the place. Try and stay outside the main resorts and you avoid the brits abroad but it’s so small it’s easy to get around. Gozo is a great option if you like quiet. You can’t move for old churches but there’s plenty more to see, Mdina, hypogeium, Neolithic temples etc. There are some nice small beaches if you seek them out, any guide book will list them. Not much in the way of hill walking as such but plenty of walks to do.

    Premier Icon on and on
    Full Member

    I went last year for a week. Just my wife and I and we both found it pretty dull and dirty.
    Not much to do or see unless you go to Valletta – quite a nice way to spend a day but that’s about it.

    My biggest issue with the place was it’s total lack of personality. It has been invaded so many times over the years it doesn’t really have its own style or cuisine as such.

    If you want some winter sun it’s ok but ultimately a bit dull and sole less unless you like history and war.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Full Member

    Yes the prehistoric sites are really fascinating, worth reading up on 1st, loads to see there, the mediaeval stuff is a bit touristy.
    The buses are great.
    If you want a bit more of a pleasant stay, visit gozo in the south. Malta has too many cars and lots of options if you did want basin and eggs every day though!

    Premier Icon Watty
    Full Member

    Much better out of season in my experience, we used to go at Easter. Lots of museums have re-opened since my last visit: Lascaris War Rooms and the Military museum and Fort St. Elmo for example. I think the place just oozes history. The Caravaggio in St. John’s co-cathedral is a must-see.

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Full Member

    Don’t think of it as a beach holiday even though Golden Sands is nice with reasonable snorkeling.
    Valetta is lovely and the food is superb.
    Some of the island is a tip.
    We are looking at having a villa in gozo in September.
    I like the place that’s mainly because of the food. I’m tired of nearly starving to death in the rest of Europe.
    Check out skyline Web cams.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Free Member

    Any recommendations for places the locals eat ?

    I tell you what’s odd. Everywhere serves rabbit. I spent 3 days riding there. Didn’t see a single rabbit, alive or dead. I strongly suspect that all the rabbit must come from some gigantic, hellish rabbit farm.

    It didn’t really float my boat, as a place. To be fair though, if you want to do a serious look at some churches and whatnot (my dad’s sort of holiday) then there are loads, and they are clearly pretty fine. It’s not generally picturesque, it’s pretty hopeless for riding your bike and it does seem to be covered in an even layer of dog-eggs. “Handy for Libya” was my overall verdict.


    Premier Icon ernie67
    Full Member

    I went years ago & quite enjoyed it . You’d probably like the big church that has/had the 3rd biggest domed roof in the world .
    From memory it was the place of the miracle of Malta where a bomb came through the roof during the war , packed congregation but never went off ( obviously ).

    Premier Icon BigButSlimmerBloke
    Free Member

    Much better out of season in my experience,

    also the big hotels are incredibly cheap.
    the co-cathedral in Valetta is worth a visit for some way over the top stuff and a massive Caravaggio. Also, the Mosta dome, one of the world’s largest unsupported domes, hit by a couple of bombs during the war with around 1000 people inside. 1 bounced off the dome and rolled down the street, the other crashed through the dome, landed in front of the altar and didn’t explode. It’s pretty impressive without that story.
    On the Grand harbour side of Valetta there’s a show called Malta Story (IIRC) which gives a history of the island,. i wouldn’t make it top priority, but it does give an interesting background to the architecture you’ll be seeing, especially if you back it up with a cruise of the harbour (boats available form the Sliema side).
    To see what happened to Malta during the war, you might want to see if you can find a copy or clip of a film called Malta Story, black and white starring Alec Guiness. it was filmed in Malta just after the end of the war and you can see the devastation that Malta and Valetta in particular suffered.
    We took a cruise from Mellieha round by the Blue and Crystal lagoons. I’d recommend if you’re going out of season, avoid if if it’s in season.
    You’ve maybe never heard of Malta’s great culinary traditions – there’s a reason for that. Food generally was ok
    Never been myself, but a day trip to Gozo usually gets recommended by people I know who’ve been

    Premier Icon Paul@RTW
    Free Member

    Places to avoid?…er, yeah….Malta!

    Sorry, not very helpful. I’ll echo a few opinions above. We found the place dirty, noisy, built up and busy. We went on a trip to Gozo hoping for this ‘amazing’ island we’d been told about…it was a bit nicer but not worth the trip in my opinion.

    We found some hill walking but again, it felt like a stretch and we had to do a fair few miles on the busy roads to link one track to another or one place of interest to another. The West side of the island seemed a little quieter with little villages, some vegetation and trails but there really are better places to go if that’s what you are after.

    History though, yeah, there seemed a lot of old buildings with war stories and other sites with some ruins or something supposedly significant had happened. Not my thing though, can you tell?

    Premier Icon BigButSlimmerBloke
    Free Member

    sole less

    oh yeah, it did strike me as a bit odd that on an island you don’t see much fish on the menus.

    Medina – worth a visit to switch off and wander about – very Game of Thrones

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Free Member

    Have asked a friend who lives there. FWIW he absolutely loves it, got a company transfer (mobile phone co) from his native Dublin, took his boat and now gets to sail/swin/snorkel in warm and clear Med waters

    EDIT: Suggested itinery on the way 🙂

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I didn’t like it.
    Very crowded and polluted little island. For somewhere so small, everyone drives everywhere. Really badly.

    Some of the architecture and the historic sites are lovely but as above it’s been invaded so many times that no one culture really had a chance to make much of the place.

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    If you like your history it is fantastic. It is however noisy, grubby and overcrowded.

    The bus service is amazing and it is well worth getting a guide book and planning what you want to see before you go.

    We stayed on the St Julian’s Bay side of Sliema (albeit 12 years ago) which was OK, with plenty of places to eat at night.

    If you want a relaxing time I’d give it a miss though.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Free Member

    OP, a direct copy from my friend, itinery he put together for his sister. She had onky a few days ashore before they took off for a cruise on his boat.

    If they have interest in prehistoric sites, the Hypogeum is well worth visiting. It was not open when my sister was here so it’s not included below. It will be closed again from early April. Best to book very early as it gets booked out well in advance. Details here and bookings here

    Monday – South
    Marsaxlokk stroll early. (This is a typical fishing village down South. Big market on Sunday mornings can be quite touristy, but during the week it’s nice.)
    St Peters Pool. (Beautiful swimming spot near Marsaxlokk. Difficult to get to unless you have your own car. I’m sure directions are available online)
    Birgu lunch & stroll. (Birgu is one of the “three cities”, the first settlement of the knights. Really nice to walk around the village, and grand harbour marina which is alongside the town. Lots of nice restaurants on the grand harbour marina waterfront. Fort St Angelo at the end of the peninsula may be open at the time and offers stunning harbour views.)
    Drive to Valletta in evening for whiskey sours (Possibly not everybody’s taste, but myself and my sister love whiskey sours! The best in Malta can be found at “Streat” on Straight Street, Valletta. It’s worth visiting Valletta in the evening after dark to sample the atmosphere after the tourists have left.)
    Dinner Ambrosia or Rubino in Valletta. (Two of the nicer restaurants in the city. Booking recommended.)

    Tuesday – West
    Hagar Qim temples (Prehistoric temples.)
    Ghar Lapsi swim (Beautiful swimming spot. Very un-touristy. Near Hagar Qim on the West coast.)
    Dingli Cliffs stroll (Excellent walks along the cliffs of the West coast.)
    Spin round the harbours on boat late afternoon. (When you’re here I’ll take you round on my own boat. Your pals can get harbour tours from the Sliema Ferries waterfront.)
    Dinner in Ali Baba. (Lebanese/Moroccan restaurant in Gzira. Don’t even look at the menu. Just ask them to feed you.)

    Wednesday –
    SUP Trek ( fabulous way to see some of the coast and do something different and un-touristy. A three or four hour tour will certainly work up an appetite. Tell Henry that Barry sent you.)
    Golden Bay walk/swim. (sandy beach on the north west of the island. Standard sandy beach, but after the SUP trek you’ll appreciate some relaxing.)
    Wander around Mdina late. (the original capital city. Well worth visiting in the evening after the tourists have left. Excellent Arabian food at “Sharma”.)

    Thursday –
    St Johns Co-Cathedral early (0930 open). (The cathedral tour in Valletta is worth doing. Queues grow throughout the day. Best to do it early.)
    Wander around city.
    Lascaris War Rooms. (The WW2 war rooms. Restored to exactly how they were during the war. The entire allied forces in Southern Europe and Africa were controlled from here.)
    Manoel Theatre. (In Valletta. Oldest working theatre in Europe. Have a look online and see if there are any good shows on during their visit.)
    Dinner in Dar Il Bneit. (Maltese food restaurant in Dingli. Very remote in the countryside. All food home grown/produced. Need to book in advance.)

    Gululu in St Julians is also very good for Maltese food.
    A day in Gozo is great if you have your own car. Alternatively go on the ferry as a foot passenger and rent quad bikes in Mgarr on the other side. These guys run free group walks in different places about once a week mostly for locals. Can be nice to hike with lots of different people. Also some excellent hikes here: . If you want a longer hike then you can walk the entire Victoria Lines from one side of the island to the other. It takes pretty much a whole day. I’m sure there are directions and advice online.

    Premier Icon hels
    Full Member

    Thanks guys – that’s awesome !

    Premier Icon stevious
    Full Member

    We had our honeymoon on Gozo and enjoyed the relaxed pace there. The food seemed a bit less ‘Gammon n eggs’ there with lots of fresh fish to choose from. We had a great time sea kayaking and diving around the island too.

    We both found Malta itself to be too crowded for us and that was in October.

    Premier Icon feartie
    Free Member

    I was there in September for 2 weeks a few years ago. First impressions weren’t great – for the most part I wouldn’t say it’s a pretty place. Everything is brown and dusty, very dry, generally just scrubland, very few beaches.

    It really grew on me though. We stayed in Mellieha in the north of the island which was good for getting over to Gozo (we went over twice). Nice little town with a lovely church square and a few restaurants – away from the tourist mayhem further south (I thought Sliema and St Julians were horrible). It also has some interesting tunnels, used during the war.

    Mdina was lovely. Spent acouple of hours wandering around the little streets of Vittoriosa (other side of the harbour from Valletta) – that was also lovely. More history than you can shake a stick at – we certainly didn’t feel short of things to go and see.

    The buses are great – we used them to get all over the island. No need for a car, as long as you’re not in a huge rush. I don’t remember anything particularly stand out about the food.

    In summary, I enjoyed it and I’m glad we went, but I’m not sure I’d go back again.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Full Member

    Been the last two years, but primarily to go diving and echo a lot of what is said above – it’s very built up and in some places (e.g. Paceville) a bit scummy.

    The extra bits above look pretty good though, so I might persuade the wife to allow me to go diving again if some of that is also included.

    If you’re into your diving or fancy trying it, it’s one of the best spots in the Med for a quick dip.

    Buses have changed – Arriva have taken over and messed with the fare structure. Still cheap but you can’t go around the whole island for €2 anymore.

    We found some of the Italian food to be quite good.

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