MALTA

Malta.

Population: over 400,000

Two years after adding it into our wanderlist, we finally turned our dream of visiting this small European country into a reality. After an almost 8-hr flight from Dubai (with a connecting flight in Istanbul), we giddily set foot in Malta; ready to explore and take on new adventures. Our 10-day stay was barely enough to scratch the surface, but was more than enough to fall in love with its friendly locals, rich culture and history and clear, Mediterranean water.

Narrowing down our full packed vacation into a post is a tedious task. I’m afraid my limited vocabulary and exhausted brain cells would not be able to do a thorough guide (but hey, there are a lot of them on the web, anyway). So, let me just summarize our wonderful experience through photographs (with a few added facts) and hope that they will somehow help you decide to add this beautiful country on your lists too 🙂

Valleta and the Three Cities

Valleta, the capital of Malta, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was also declared as the European Capital of Culture 2018. Bar and restaurants, shops, cafès and historical buildings line its main streets. The main bus terminus is also located here, making it a great base for exploring other vicinities – one of which are the fortified old cities of Malta, known as the Three Cities.

Where to Stay in Valleta

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View while cruising from Valleta Harbour to the Three Cities of Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa

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Fort Saint Angelo in Vittoriosa (Did you know? This location was used in Season 1 of Game of Thrones)

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The quaint, quiet streets of Mellieha                            The fascinating, busy streets of Valleta

Mellieha

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Overlooking Anchor Bay inside Popeye Village
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An installation inside Popeye Village
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In Malta, there is no shortage of blue hues

Mdina and Rabat

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Welcome to King’s Landing! Yup, this was used in Game of Thrones Season 1!

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Getting lost: (L) In the maze-like alleys of Rabat & (R) In the rich history of St. Paul’s Catacombs

 St. Peter’s Pool

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How to get here

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Blue Grotto

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There was nothing more rewarding than a refreshing dip in the cool, crystal clear waters of Malta. Pictured here, Wied Iz Zurrieq. Located near the Blue Grotto.

Gozo

Malta’s sister island, Gozo, can be reached via a 20-minute ferry from Cirkewwa. Day tour offers are aplenty at the pier and in all major parts of Malta as well. You can also opt to stay in Gozo for more than a day just like we did.

Where to stay in Gozo

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Probably the best boutique hotel in Gozo – Quaint Hotel sitting right smack at Xewkija Rotunda and with a perfect view of St. John the Baptist Church. Waking up to church bells ringing made us feel like we were home.
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Inside the Cittadela – a medieval fortress built to protect the Gozoitans from foreign conquerors
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The main highlight of our trip – the iconic Azure Window!
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The Blue Hole. Swimming here gave me an unforgettable feeling I would cherish for a lifetime. Returning someday and definitely going scuba diving 🙂
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On board the City Sightseeing Tour bus – the best way to explore Gozo on a limited time and budget.
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The golden sand of Ramla Bay

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The salt pans in Gozo are abundant, creating a unique attraction.
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How to get to Wied Il-Ghasri
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Gozoitans are one of the friendliest people on earth! On our way to Wied il-Ghasri, we met Mario, who kindly gave us a ride going there. He also took us fishing with him after and taught Chat how to fish like a Gozoitan 🙂

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Comino

Malta’s smaller sister island, with its clear and turquoise water, reminded me of my homeland’s Calaguas Island – only a little more crowded and with an array of carts offering a variety of food and drinks to make your day more island life-ish. To get here, there are a lot of tour packages offered in Malta and in Gozo. You can choose whichever kind of sea transport that’ll suit your liking. We chose the JetXtreme which was an exhilarating experience! There are also public ferries going here for a cheaper rate with the last one leaving at 4pm. There are no accommodations in Comino.

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Additional info:

  • Make sure to pack your most comfortable pair of shoes for all the walking, climbing and chasing buses you’ll surely do.
  • Most of the beaches we visited in Malta have open showers. Almost all are free to use with some seeking for donations of any amount.
  • Don’t miss the firing of the canons every afternoon in Upper Barakka Gardens, Valleta.
  • If you’re getting around Malta via public buses, purchase the Tallinja Card – the most famous for short-time visitors is the Explore – which gives you unlimited rides for 7 days. Alternatively, you can pay €2 (summer months) or €1.50 (winter) for each ride which has a 2-hour interval before a ticket expires.
  • The Tallinja Card can also be used in Gozo, but take note of the bus timings as there is a longer interval time between buses in the island. Also, to get from north to south, you have to connect trips mostly to and from the main terminus in the capital, Victoria.
  • If visiting Gozo for a limited time, I suggest availing of the City Sightseeing tour bus to see most of the famous landmarks. Purchase a ticket the day before you plan to go and late in the afternoon as they tend to give huge discounts at this time.
  • The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English. Italian is also widely spoken.
  • Philippine-passport holders need to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Malta.
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Malta, a diminutive country with over 300 churches is truly a dream come true.

*All photos were #ShotonIphone6s

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