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Malta Holidays

A Mediterranean time capsule

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Win-win: spectacular scenery and culture

Self-cure your malaise in Malta. The Mediterranean archipelago, occupied throughout the centuries for its strategic location, is now a popular holiday spot – thanks to its comfy year-round climate, gorgeous coastlines and cheerful harbours. The European paradise is ideal for a quick break. However, you can easily linger longer if you desire more than a mini ‘Malteser’ of a holiday.

You will naturally lapse into a slower pace of life as you watch colourful boats bob on cerulean waters and wander through picturesque limestone cityscapes in Valletta, Mdina and the historical Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua. Although Malta only established independence in 1964, its grand buildings belie a rich heritage with influences from the Phoenicians through to the French, during Napoleon’s reign, and the British.

Since the land is sparsely vegetated, the best views lie seaward. Clamour up a cliff in Ta’Cenc to drink in the scenery – or climb the stairs of a 17th Century watchtower, built by the Knights of Malta. Feel the salt breeze tousle your hair from Mellieha Beach, and deep dive to explore the dramatic subaquatic Bottleneck and Cathedral Cave. Re-emerge only to relish the fruits of the sea – gilthead seabream and bluefin tuna. Other local flavours include carob, fig and olive. Planning the perfect package couldn’t be easier with our direct flights to Malta.


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Best hotels in Malta for all types of traveller

Jetsetters should hunker down in trendy St Julian’s. Hilton Malta St Julian’s boasts five pools and a gym – and it comes with glamorous marina views. Alternatively, the all-inclusive db San Antonio Hotel and Spa entertains with a selection of pools and a Moroccan-themed spa oasis in St Paul’s Bay.

Bring the family to AX ODYCY, where you can whizz down the water slide overlooking the ocean and savour family meals with zero hassle at the seven on-site restaurants. Or go slow at the luxurious Grand Hotel Excelsior – the only beach resort in Valletta. Its spa houses an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, hydrotherapy bath, steam room and sauna. Meanwhile, The Phoenicia Malta exudes glamorous vibes with gargantuan glossy marble slabs and ornate décor, as well as the pristinely manicured gardens.


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Make the most of your Malta holiday

Alas, The Azure Window may have collapsed back into the sea – but Malta still offers plenty to see. The petite island triad of Malta, Gozo and Comino beckons you to discover their myriad cultural and natural treasures.

What are the best things to do in Malta?

1. Embark on a capital experience in Valletta – join the Valletta and Malta Experience tour to witness a traditional cannon firing ceremony, which is how the city used to welcome foreign vessels into the harbour. Admire panoramic views of the Grand Harbour from Barrakka Gardens – and climb a bit higher to glimpse the Three Cities: Cospicua, Senglosa and Vittoriosa.

2. Play ‘coast guard’ atop Malta’s watchtowers. Constructed by the Knights of Malta during the 17th century, a series of watch towers presides along the coast. Historically, fire signals spread from lookout-to-lookout, warning of potential threats. Today, you can follow in the knights’ footsteps up the historical towers. A handful open to the public on specific days or by appointment.

3. Come to Comino for its lagoons and hop on a ferry from Malta to the island of Comino. Most day trippers race to the Blue Lagoon, famed for its unbelievably clear waters and tranquil setting. If it’s too busy with banana boats and the like, walk 20 minutes to Crystal Lagoon. It’s sheltered by cliffs – and classified as a bird sanctuary, so you can add cliff diving and bird watching to your list of beach activities.

4. Dive alongside wrecks, reefs and caves and peruse underwater treasures at great depth during memorable dive trips. If history takes your interest, scuba dive at shipwreck sites, like the 'Le Polynesien' passenger line, which was sunk by a German U-Boat in WWI. There are sunken plane wrecks, too, including the Bristol Blenheim WWll bomber. With just a snorkel, you can also swim around sea caves and over coral reefs.

5. Take a day trip to Gozo for a little bit of greenery. The island’s sloping hills and countryside contrast with the typical landscape of Malta. Book a tour to get escorted around Gozo’s highlights: Citadel in Victoria, the famous Inland Sea in Dwejra and the rocky cliffs in Xlendi Bay. Most days of the week, the tour will stop at the Ggantijja Temples, deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Either way, you’ll be given independent free time to indulge in whatever strikes your fancy.

Where are the best places to visit in Malta?

Begin or end your trip with a visit to Marsaxlokk, a harbour village not far from the airport. Stop by the market on Sundays for fresh fish. If you arrive before sunrise, you may spot the last few fishing boats returning to the bay. Book a guided tour if you prefer to visit Marsaxlokk later in the day, after an outing to the Blue Grotto.

Although Valletta is the current capital, the former capital Mdina lies on a lofty plateau, much further inland. Its blend of Baroque and medieval architecture remains on full display. Once admitted within its towering walls through impressive entrance gates, you can leisurely stroll the alleys, which will eventually lead you to Archbishop Square, surrounded by imposing palaces.

Malta will absolutely spoil you with its selection of stunning coastlines, but head north-east to Golden Bay – one of the island’s few sandy beaches, flanked by weathered cliffs. If you’ve energy to spare, round off the day at the bars and restaurants of St Julian’s.

Families can make their way north to Popeye Village at Anchor Bay, the former film location of the eighties Popeye TV show. Even if the kids don’t appreciate it, indulge for your own childhood nostalgia.

Which holiday type in Malta is right for me?

For those looking for a family-friendly, all-inclusive you should check out the db Seabank Resort and Spa in Mellieha, with family rooms and plenty of child-friendly facilities: a splash pool for toddlers, kids’ pool with a pirate ship, playhouse gymnasium, arcade and bowling alley. There’s also a dedicated kids’ club area and daily activities with the animation team.

Live it up in the lap of luxury at the InterContinental Malta, indulging in soothing spa treatments and lounging on the private beach. The six on-site restaurants will satisfy your thirst to explore far-flung cuisines – and should you wish to (physically) venture out, you’re perfectly situated in popular St George’s Bay.

AX The Victoria Hotel in Sliema is another option for a touch of opulence. Although named for its Victorian style, there’s a contemporary air. (The pillowcases featuring pugs in crimson regalia speak to this aesthetic.) Spend summer days in the spectacular rooftop pool, gazing over Sliema, or head down one floor to the indoor pool – it’s accompanied by a sauna and steam room.

Sail off the beaten waterway to lodge in the luxurious Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz on Gozo. Traipse the tropical gardens before retreating to the hammam and steam bath in the award-winning spa and Ayurveda Centre. While children are busy making friends at the kids’ club, you can splash in the five pools and gear up for a squash or tennis match. Then, satiate your appetite with fresh seafood, Italian fare and grilled dishes at the hotel’s four restaurants.


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