I can’t believe having visited my family in Malta so many times over the years, I have never written a blog post with tips. Following a twitter HolidayChat with Ice Lolly Holiday I was asked for suggestions, so here goes:
1. Avoid driving! Whilst the Maltese drive on the same side of the road as the UK, the drivers haven’t got the same attitude to the Highway Code. The public transport isn’t great, but you can pretty much get a bus over the island if you’re prepared to wait. I previously wrote about the best way to travel, this still stands.
2. Eat Maltese food, but if you want the tastiest choices, go before 12pm.
These are my favourites:
Imqaret – best ones from the gates of Valetta – date filled sweet pastry
Pastizzi – best ones from outside Mosta Rotunda – ricotta or pea stuffed flaky pastry
Tuna Ftira – I’ve never had a bad one, although they are slightly different in Gozo – a massive tuna sandwich, but that does not do it justice
3. Visit during a feast. Ok well Malta has festas pretty much all year round, but it is worth checking to see what’s on when you go, Festas often have lots of fireworks that would make you think they’ll never end! Malta is a catholic country and still pride themselves on celebrating traditions.
4. The Maltese learn English from an early age, and whilst I would always suggest learning basic words when travelling abroad, the Maltese will not hold it against you for not trying. That being said, my grandparents would be disappointed if I didn’t offer help (as with my Faro tips, complete with dodgy pronunciation):
Please – jekk jogħġbok (yeck yorsh bock)
Thank you – grazzi (grat see)
I don’t understand – jien ma nifhimx (yen mah nif him sshh)
5. There are plenty of places to visit and this post would go on forever if I listed all the places I love, but here are a few must see places
Valetta (get a 5 minute ferry from St Julian’s) – be sure to visit Upper Barrakka Gardens at 12pm or 4pm to see The Saluting Battery (cannon goes kaboom).
From Valetta you can get a bus to most places on the island.
Marsaxlokk is a fishing village at the south of the island, filled with colourful boats, fresh fish and on a Sunday morning markets full of things to see and buy.
Mosta Rotunda, famous for its unexploded WWII bomb, which came through the roof and miraculously killed no one. The bomb is still there today.
Gozo is an island which is north of Malta, and whilst it is Maltese, it has its differences. Gozo used to be famous for the Azure Window rock formation, which sadly fell into the sea earlier this year, but there are still plenty of places to wander around.
Mdina is actually my favourite place in Malta. The walled city, often called silent city, as not many cars can drive inside it, has small walkways and shops as well as museums squeezed into its protective shell. I can’t explain the feeling I get when I drive past on the way to my parents, but I suppose the best description would be beautifully safe.
Part of me wanted to send this off to my family to cross check, but I have visited so much, I’m starting to consider it a second home…much to my Dad’s despair! Have you been? Where was your favourite place?