July 03, 2016

Fun Travel Guide to Malta in the Summer

Sliema, Malta

Recently, I took a longer break from writing and I decided to focus on enjoying my vacation, but I am back online ready to share the first portion of my European travels. If it wasn't for my friends' wedding, it would probably take me a significant amount of time to discover the little gem of the Mediterranean region, the island of Malta. Only a week ago, I was still in the capital city of Valletta, wandering the limitless, narrow streets of the city and climbing multiple stairs which create the unique character of this place. Everybody travels and discovers new places according to their  unique needs  and preferences. Lately, I have decided to be spontaneous about it and instead of creating a list of must-sees and following the holy gospel of the guidebooks, I followed my instinct and decided, usually as I was walking down the street, what was the next thing I wanted to see. There is something liberating and exciting about discovering new places without a plan. If there is not enough time to see all the recommendations, at least we have a reason to go back.

Rocky Beach, Sliema

One of many cats in Barrakka Gardens, Valletta

Walking - Valletta

One of Many Beautiful Door Knobs in Valletta

Getting Ready to Watch EURO 2016, Valletta

British Influences in Valletta

When I was planning my trip to Malta, I decided to stay in Valetta, the capital city with a great harbor and tones of history locked in its beautiful architectural landscape. If you are not into spending multiple hours getting your perfect tan on the beach, doing nothing, Valetta is a perfect choice. The public transportation is cheap and even during the weekend you can get almost everywhere by bus, taxi or ferry. As I was in Malta only for 4 days and 2 of them were spent on the wedding celebration, I tried to grasp what I could to really feel that I took advantage of this spectacular place. The key to maximizing your tourist experience is to choose a perfectly located accommodation. In my experience, Airbnb almost never disappoints and this time my host convinced me that Maltese people are one of the most friendly and hospitable nations I ever met. Our apartment's interiors reflected the multicultural influences that formed Malta's character as a nation. It was very Mediterranean, with a lot of elements of Italian decor and at the same time very modern.

Our apartment was located near Upper Barrakka Gardens, which is a great spot to get a perfect view of the harbor and the island. Everywhere we walked, each tiny street was a mine of discovery when it comes to little shops, restaurants, bistros, cafes and bars. Only Sunday is really a rest day there, when 90% of the businesses are closed and the streets are deserted. One of the things I loved the most about Malta, was its exciting and delicious culinary offer. You can start with 1 EUR pizzettas sold in tiny bars on the street and continue to the little charming bistros with outdoor seating like D'Office to amazing seafood restaurants like Pepo Nero located in picturesque water front of Valletta. To my surprise,  only 5 min ferry trip, in Sliema, where the popular rocky beaches are located, I had one of the best sushi in my life. If you are into wine, Malta has a very refreshing offer of local wines. I fell in love with light and summery local white wines. My favorite morning spot was a  Viennese -style cafe near the St. John's Cathedral, serving perfect cappuccinos and croissants and plenty of locals reading daily papers. 

Donkey by Maltese Artist Kenneth Zammit Tabona

Walking in Valetta without a plan was a perfect activity. Every little shop front, intricate door knobs, wall murals, hallways, great number of historical churches, especially St. John's Cathedral with Caravaggio's paintings but also St.Paul's Shipwreck Church are a true testament of rich European heritage. If you want to escape the city vibe, you can take a ferry to the pearl of tiny Maltese islands, Gozo and enjoy the peace and quiet of this small island with sandy beaches. There is music on the streets, although the nightlife of Valetta is rather quiet, those who like summer night fun, should try Paceville. Weddings in Malta are really entertaining and usually continue until the sunrise! Oh Malta, I miss you already! Please share your Summer trips with me! To be continued...

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