Poppy’s Travel Diary – Malta – With over 7,000 years of rich and fascinating history, the three-island archipelago consisting of Malta, Gozo and Comino can trace its history back to the dawn of civilization and could be the ultimate holiday destination for any history buff!
Home to ruins linked to the Romans, Moors, and Knights of Saint John (all of whom once ruled the island) and to some of the oldest freestanding megalithic temples in the world, it is remarkable Malta remains so very under the radar.
Apart from its rich history, Malta is a Mediterranean island known for its pleasant, sunny climate. Surrounded by a beautiful ocean, with an abundance of outdoor activities to indulge in, ranging from walking and cycling to diving, kayaking, and surfing.
With any excuse for a celebration, you will find that there is a noteworthy festival for nearly every occasion and season in Malta – from the Malta Fireworks Festival to the Malta International Arts Festival. As a British traveller, the official language on the island is English, meaning there is no language barrier to be concerned about.
Fireworks –The Maltese are very proud of their fireworks and have turned their pyrotechnical displays into a work of art. Personally, I do like the odd firework display however from June to September every village in Malta holds a Festa, a daytime religious commemoration of the parish patron saint, followed by celebrations into the evening with marching bands, food, beer, and lots of fireworks, so be prepared for noise and loud bangs! Couple with The Saluting Battery cannon fire, every day at noon and 4 pm, if you are jumpy, this may not be the destination for you.
Where to Stay
Corinthia Palace Malta – A hotel of style and beauty located in the centre of the island, so very easy to get to the capital city of Valletta as well as Mdina. It offers a selection of restaurants, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and amenities to allow you to escape the everyday.
For those who find acceleration the best form of release, the fitness centre is a whirring hub of activity.
For those looking for pampering and relaxation, The Athenaeum Spa is a sanctuary, a haven and a blissful retreat.
Where to Eat
For most travellers, food is a critical part of the experience and Malta will not disappoint in this category. The nation’s cuisine represents the many civilisations that have occupied the islands over the centuries. The result is something of an eclectic Mediterranean style. Traditional Maltese food is known for such dishes as fish pie and beef olives.
Corinthia Palace Malta was not only a super place to stay but their award-winning culinary team promise a gastronomic adventure too. Located on the upper floors of Villa Corinthia, you will find Bahia – One of Malta’s Michelin-starred restaurants.
Bahia is named after a prestigious navel orange that has been the pride of the people from Attard, Balzan and Lija.
The restaurant brings its innovative dining experiences and respect for an array of high-quality ingredients.
Rickshaw – flavours from the east. From Japanese dumplings and aromatic glazed duck to clay-pot dishes and heart of palm salad. This restaurant will take you on a journey of Asian-inspired taste sensations to delight the senses.
Afternoon Tea – Experience Corinthia Palace Malta’s renowned afternoon tea with a Maltese twist and indulge in a decadent selection of dainty sandwiches and pastries. Their signature experience is an occasion to be savoured for an unforgettable afternoon…
Caviar & Bull, St Georges Bay, Malta offers a journey into the world of food where tastes and flavours come together to create amazing dishes. Every dish is made from locally sourced ingredients and gives attention to detail which ensures every plate stands out for its taste, flavour, and originality. The conductor of this opera is Marvin Gauci, one of the major exponents of the local food industry.
I did enjoy the most outstanding cocktail in this establishment, made from prickly pear, this comes highly recommended.
Where to Visit
There are so many wonderful places to visit, however depending on your timescale here is a selection:
The capital of Malta, Valletta, is inextricably linked to the history of the military and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem. Built after the Great Siege of 1565 and named after Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, this fortified city has hundreds of monuments, all within a relatively small space, making it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
St John’s Co-cathedral & Museum, Valetta – a must-destination a true masterpiece of Baroque art.
Step through the doors of St John’s Co-cathedral and prepare to be captivated! Situated in the heart of stunning Valletta, this majestic cathedral is not only an architectural masterpiece but a cornucopia of artistic delights as well!
Built-in the 1570s as the church for the Knights of St John, this magnificent cathedral is not only Malta’s most visited church but also its most lavish.
From its impressive barrel-vaulted ceiling and frescos, the work of artist Mattia Preti, to its ornate gilded arches, the building is a hive of Baroque activity. And with its marble floor dotted with tombs, there is certainly plenty to see.
The ‘silent city’ of Mdina. Is a stunning location.
With narrow, cobbled streets shrouded in an air of mystery, Mdina will snatch you away from the present and transport you back in time. Malta’s old Capital Mdina has been known under a range of different names based on its rulers and its role over a span of 4,000 years since it was founded.
You will discover an astonishing mix of baroque and medieval architecture in its ever-winding streets, wonderfully adorned and preserved churches, majestic palaces, and fortified walls that turn this silent city into an outdoor museum.
Cathedral Museum – Mdina.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul commonly known as St Paul’s Cathedral or the Mdina Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral. It is a treasure trove of spectacular holy artefacts and is located in Malta’s glorious old Capital.
The cathedral was founded in the 12th century, and according to tradition it stands on the site where Roman governor Publius met St. Paul following his shipwreck on Malta.
The original cathedral was severely damaged in the 1693 Sicily earthquake, so it was dismantled and rebuilt in the Baroque style to a design of the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafà between 1696 and 1705.
San Anton Palace Garden – Having this location on the doorstep of the hotel, made it my go-to sanctuary.
San Anton Gardens was laid out by Grand Master Antoine de Paule as grounds for his summer residence, San Anton Palace.
From 1802 until 1964, San Anton Palace was the official residence of the British Governor, after which it remained a state building and is now the residence of the Maltese President.
The garden is probably the best known of the Islands’ gardens and a botanical delight with mature trees, old stone urns, fountains, ponds, and formal flower beds. It holds a wide variety of wildlife including the black swan and turtles, plants, and flowers.