Malta Country Guide – What to Do in MaltaFeatured, Malta — By Lost Girls on February 28, 2011 at 9:56 am
by Sophie Fraser
Special to Lost Girls World
With an impressive 122 miles of coastline and an average of 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, the tiny European nation of Malta is truly a sun worshiper’s paradise. However, this gem in the Mediterranean is far more than just a spot for catching rays: It’s an island seeped in history and culture with nine different UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you’re planning a visit, here’s how to make the most of your getaway:
1. Soak up the history and culture
Visit the only prehistoric underground temples in the world. The Hypogeum in Paola really are a marvel, offering three levels of winding halls, chambers and passages. In order to preserve this architectural masterpiece only 80 visitors are allowed to pass through its doors per day, so be sure to book your ticket in advance.
Take a boat trip on a Dghajsa (or luzza as they are more commonly known). For around $20, you can relax in style on the Mediterranean while taking in a several sights including three historical forts: St Elmo, Ricasoli and St Angela.
2. Head to the beach
Adrenaline junkies should go straight to Ghadira Bay, the island’s most popular beach. Ghadira offers an abundance of kiosks, cafes and water sports. Unleash your inner kid and rent a banana boat, or if you’re feeling more daring, a jet-ski.
Those seeking peace and tranquility need look no further than Selmun Bay. A visit here involves parking your car at the top of the cliff and clambering down the hill (so at least initially, this isn’t for the faint of heart). However, azure waters and soft white sand greet you at the end, and you may well find you have the beach to yourself.
3. Savor the cuisine
Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or prepared to splash out on a fantastic dinner, travelers are spoiled for choice of dining options in Malta. If money is no object, try at the Xara Palace (a delightful boutique hotel). I went for the scallop Mouselline for starters, followed by pan fried line caught John Dory and top it all off by ordering the Vahrona Bitter Chocolate Coulant. The food is delightful but the real allure of this restaurant is its 180° panoramic view.
For a less pricey, yet equally delightful Malta dining option try ‘Ta’Marija’ in Mosta, a traditional Maltese restaurant. Try the specials such as ‘Mizet Ta’ Antipasti Maltin’ – a selection of traditional appetizers such as bean pate or Maltese sausages. The menu is crammed full of traditional dishes; if you can’t decide between them go for the ‘Il Platt Ta’ Marija’ which offers a little bit of everything.
4. Take a day trip to Gozo
Gozo is easily accessible by the ferry, taking just 23 minutes from Cirkewwa. Life in Gozo takes on a more leisurely pace – spend your day wandering round the Citadel, visit the gagantija temples and the Azure Window. Need to cool down? Kick back and relax at one of the many bars and enjoy a ‘Kinnie’, a traditional drink made with oranges and aromatic herbs… if you’re after something a little stronger order a ‘limuncell’ – a Maltese take on the traditional Limoncello.
5. Enroll in a cooking course
If Malta’s array of Mediterranean Cuisine leaves you wanting more, enroll in a cooking course and you too can become a Maltese master chef. The recently established Taste Cooking School offers a number of different classes in English, ranging from Children’s Cookery Classes to “Gozitan Cuisine.”
If you’re off to Malta, don’t waste your time sitting by the hotel pool—get out and experience all this fascinating island has to offer.
Sophie Fraser is from London and loves to visit new and exciting places… one day she hopes to one day do a round-the-world trip.