For three small islands in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta offers so much as a holiday destination.
From the serene tranquillity of Gozo and the unspoilt beaches of Comino to the historical capital of Valletta and the boisterous nightlife of St Julian’s – it is a country that packs a few surprises. Each part of this archipelago has its own identity creating the ideal environment for an intriguing getaway.
Where to start? We’ve picked out the parts of Malta you simply have to see.
There is no place better to start this tour of Malta than the capital Valletta. The origins of Valletta date back to 1566 when the city was built as a fortress on the Mount Sceberras peninsula. It has since blossomed into the cultural hub of the country with art galleries, museums and cathedrals populating its landscape.
The historical buildings have been impeccably preserved such has St John’s Co-Cathedral which was one of the first religious monuments commissioned by Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere in 1572. Valletta is also characterised by its beautiful gardens such as the Upper Barrakka Gardens and Hastings Gardens – the former providing amazing views over the Grand Harbour.
Both a European Art City and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valletta is the ideal long weekend destination.
As Valletta offers a cultural and historical adventure, the island of Gozo is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities. The most northern island of Malta is a serene landscape of rolling countryside, secluded coves and hidden restaurants. This is the picture postcard view of the islands.
Hop on the ferry from the Cirkewwa Terminal and in just 25 minutes you’ll be in this Mediterranean paradise. Leave the sounds of traffic behind and just drink in the serenity of Gozo. Shrouded in mythology, the island is believed to have been the Isle of Calypso in Homer’s Odyssey where the sea nymph held Odysseus in her thrall for seven years. Game of Thrones fans will also recognise Gozo as the backdrop for Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding, even if the famous Azure Window has since been washed away.
This is a place where you can properly unwind with only the sound of the ocean as your companion.
A short drive along Malta’s eastern coast from Valletta is the town of Sliema. While its roots are as a fishing village, Sliema was used as a holiday retreat for the Maltese aristocracy during the 19th century. That legacy still lives on today as the wealthier residents of Valletta migrate north during the summer months.
Named after the Maltese translation of the opening line of the Hail Mary prayer – Sliem Għalik Marija – with Sliem meaning peace or serenity, Sliema is a classy retreat lined with cool bars and restaurants. Spend the days splurging on a little retail therapy while in the evening you can take your pick of gourmet cuisine at the fashionable marina.
Offering some of the best views in Malta, Mellieha is a traditional beach holiday destination providing a departure from the rest of the island. Situated at the northern tip of Malta, you can wake up each morning to views of the neighbouring islands of Comino and Gozo.
There is a much more relaxed atmosphere here with a series of quiet beaches complimenting the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Mellieha is a sleepy town with a handful of restaurants and shops as well as hotels offering ocean views. It is also an excellent base if you want to explore the nearby islands as the ferry port is around 10 minutes away.
If there is one place in Malta where you can truly let your hair down it is St Julian’s. It is the undoubted king of the country’s nightlife with all the liveliest bars and nightclubs sat around its waterfront.
However, this is not just a place where you dance till dawn and then nurse a hangover the following day. St Julian’s Bay has some of the best restaurants in Malta, serving up a range of delicious Maltese dishes such as fenek (rabbit stew) and qarnit moqli (fried octopus). It can also boast a stretch of sandy shoreline (a rare commodity in Malta) just a 10-minute walk from Spinola Bay.
And once the sun sets, the party can begin.
Discover the beauty of Malta for yourself this summer with a holiday package from Sunmaster. Experience the nightlife of St Julian’s and the laidback vibes of Mellieha by using our deal finder to create your own adventure. Head to www.sunmaster.co.uk to start your search today.