This charming southern European country is the perfect destination for a vacation for anyone looking for adventure, great weather and beaches, sites that fascinate and cities that are compact enough to explore safely on foot. Mingling with the locals in the quaint and colourful villages provides a wonderful opportunity to discover their unique culture and lifestyle. Here’s just a sample of what you might do on your Malta Freestyle Vacation.
Day 1 Arrival in Valletta
Arrive at your centrally located hotel, unpack and enjoy the balance of the day at your leisure, getting used to the time change and perhaps taking a stroll around the city discovering the sites, restaurants, cafes and shops.
Day 2 Valletta
Full day city tour of Valetta, the country’s capital. Take a cruise around the two natural harbours on either side of Valletta and learn the history of the city and other places of interest….the historical forts, battlements and creeks (which can only be admired from the sea harbours), view the skyline and the bastions of Valletta. Then visit the Upper Barakka Gardens, with its magnificent views of the Grand Harbour, and the fortified peninsulas of Senglea and Vittoriosa. Explore the Grand Master's Palace, today the official residence of the President of Malta and the seat of parliament. Visit the Armoury, housed in the former stables of the Grand Masters. The armoury is the largest collection in the world of its kind. Return to the hotel late afternoon with time to relax before dinner.
Day 3 Valletta and Prehistoric Malta
Begin the day with St. John's Co-Cathedral, the architectural gem of Malta, constructed in the 1570’s for the Knights of St. John. It is a masterpiece of Maltese baroque, with its rich interior decoration and paintings by the celebrated artist Mattia Preti (1613-1699). Visit the Cathedral's Museum and Oratory and view the masterpiece, 'The Beheading of St. John the Baptist' by Caravaggio. 'The Beheading of St. John the Baptist' is the largest painting ever created by the artist and the only one he ever signed. Next, explore the National Museum of Archaeology, housed in an original Auberge, the residence of the division of Knights from Provence. Here we will get an overview of the prehistoric cultures, the first known inhabitants of the Maltese islands. Continue to south coast to Hagar Qim Temple on the south coast. The temple dates to the Ggantija phase (3600-3200 BCE) and is spectacularly located on a hill overlooking the islet of Fifla. The prehistoric temples on the Maltese islands are the oldest surviving freestanding structures in the world; dating to the 4th and 3rd millennium BCE, they are 500-1,000 years earlier than the oldest pyramid built at Giza! We drive to the picturesque village of Marsaxlokk set on a harbour of colourful traditional fishing boats. The boats are brightly painted in blue, yellow and red, with a vigilant eye on the bow to ward off evil, a tradition believed to date back to Phoenician times. Because most of the fishing boats of the island moor here, the Bay of Marsaxlokk has some of the finest seafood restaurants on the island. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 Gozo
This morning, head to the north-western tip of Malta to catch the 30 minute ferry ride to the island of Gozo, 5km from the coast of Malta; Gozo is about 1/3rd the size of Malta, 14 km long and 7km at its widest point. Gozo has its own distinctive characteristics and identity -- the Gozitans are proud of their traditions, lifestyle and dialects -- distinct from those of the main island. The island is more fertile, and economic activity is still based on farming and fishing; it is known for its magnificent landscapes, traditional villages and unspoiled coves. On Gozo, explore the prehistoric temples of Ggantija, one of the oldest and the largest temple complexes of the Maltese archipelago. Next, there’s time in the capital of the island, Victoria, inhabited since Neolithic times. The city encompasses both the imposing citadel, Il Kastell, perched on a high vantage point and dominating the landscape in all directions, and Rabat, the suburb outside the walls. Brief visits of the Archaeological Museum and the Folklore Museum with exhibits dedicated to traditions and culture of rural Gozo are fascinating. Wander the streets and colourful markets outside the walls. Lastly today, a visit to Dwejra for a leisurely boat trip to see the inland sea, a lagoon surrounded by cliffs which joins the sea via a 100m long tunnel through the headland of Dwejra Point. See the fantastic geological phenomena of the Blue Hole, and enjoy the panoramas of Dwejra Bay and Fungus Rock. Head back to Valletta via the ferry, for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 Mosta, Mdina, Rabat, Dingli Cliffs
Today is dedicated to the fascinating cities of the interior: Mosta, Rabat and Mdina. The day is filled with many surprises, fabulous architecture, the Ta' Qali Crafts Village, where you will have time to explore the various workshops where traditional Maltese handicrafts are made; the ancient walled city of Mdina, former capital of the island. It will be great fun to enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes outside the city walls. Exiting the walls of the city, cross the moat to the suburb of Rabat. Stop first at the remains of the Domus Romana, a Roman townhouse with colonnaded courtyard and beautifully preserved mosaics. It is one of dozens of Roman villas which dotted the countryside around Mdina. Today’s exploring ends with a drive to the south coast of the island for spectacular views at the Dingli Cliffs before returning to the hotel. Day
6 Valletta – Home
Enjoy a free day to relax and take in the magnificent sites of your time in lovely Malta before heading back to Canada or perhaps an extension to your vacation to another fascinating destination in Europe.
Contact Jen Craig today to book your adventure to Malta!