Malta for me is a fairytale island, my second home. Although years passed since I had been living there I always get nostalgic whenever I think of this tiny, truly Mediterranean family of islands. Especially during summer time! So I thought of writing up a list of what I would do if a magic carpet would take me there for a perfect holiday.
1. This is how the day would start – However I am not the early riser type, there are those moments, which make up for the suffering of waking up at dawn. Such as arriving early at Riviera [bay] and enjoying that there is no one on the beach, except you! Then it is time for a coffee and the next chapter of your holiday read, followed by some yoga on the shore or a refreshing swim. Going early to the beach has its practical sides too: you get to enjoy perfect tranquility, yet escape the big heat and the too strong UV light. And after lunch you can enjoy your well-deserved siesta.
2. Stroll around Valletta – It is hard to get enough of the tiny capital’s shabby chic streets. The sand coloured limestone palaces, the typical colourful Maltese balconies and the aged facades take you to a different era almost unnoticeably. After walking leisurely around the narrow lanes and wild shopping streets I have a break at Sicilia Bar, where they serve beautiful coffee and delicious spaghetti alle vongole. For dessert I head to the Upper Baracca Gardens, from where – no matter how many times I have seen it before – I get amazed by the magnificent view of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities.
3. Though for many years I was too scared to put my head under water, when I started snorkeling a totally new world opened up for me. It was a bit like being in a National Geographic documentary: the exciting world of colourful fish, sea urchins, star fish, octopuses and jelly fish revealed itself. Since then whenever I am on the islands I never miss an opportunity to grab my goggles. And may be one day I get the courage to do some diving as well – Malta would be a perfect destination for that too, with its famous ship wrecks, deep sea trenches and caves.
4. The blue of the sea – just sitting on the sandy beaches or limestone rocks by the sea gives a special recharge for the body and soul. I know it might sound like that I have a soft spot for Malta (OK, I do!), but I have never seen the sea so deep blue, infinite and beautiful as here.
5. Those, who say that when it is hot you do not feel like eating, never been really drained by the sun and the sea. That is when you enjoy some tapa-like Maltese lunch the most: octopus in garlic or tuna, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, lettuce, artichokes, broad beans and gbejniet (traditional Maltese cheese), and of course ftira (traditional Maltese bread) with olive oil. Ftiras also can be found in any bar or café.
6. Malta is buzzing so much during summer, that you get the feeling that it never sleeps. The ongoing celebration of Carpe Diem comes in many forms: festivals, concerts, boat parties and village festas are constantly on the agenda. Some of my favourites are the Jazz Festival and the Delicata Wine Festival. The latter one is organised during the first half of August and it offers great quality local wine and amazing night views of the Grand Harbour.
7. Mdina, the Silent City, is one of my favourite night/dawn places to visit. Since you get to avoid the noisy crowd discovering the labyrinth-like streets of this fortress city, the old capital of Malta. On the other hand you find fresh air (it is one of the highest point of the country), amazing views of the island and also the famous non-stop pastizzi (Maltese cheese/pea cakes) shop near the Rabat car park, where you can get some traditional snack after an all night long party.
8. I can hardly imagine anything more relaxing then a BBQ or a picnic near the beach. Everything is set for the perfect chill out time: good company, delicious bites, and breathtaking location. If we get to see a beautiful sunset or watch some shooting stars (the peak time for meteor showers is around the 10-11 August) then that is totally romantic.
+1 If you travel as far as Malta, then a trip to Gozo is a must do, which deserves a post on its own!
Have you ever been to Malta? Or wish to go? Looking forward to hear your opinion J