During the Covid 19 period we had the opportunity to revel in old holiday memories on our sunny balcony. This also included our holiday on the beautiful island of Malta and its small neighbouring island Gozo, which until 2017 was especially known for its Azure Window, a rock gate on the west coast. We had the wonderful luck to see it until two weeks before the collapse. 🙌
Welcome to Malta 🏝
The small group of islands (consisting of Malta, Gozo, Comino and a few uninhabited islands) before the tip of Italy welcomed us with stony cliffs, beautiful sandy beaches, historic buildings and wild nature. 🌾 The easiest and fastest way to arrive is by plane. You normally don’t need a rental car, because the Maltese bus system is very well developed and the distances are quite short. 🚌
As we felt the need for some sunshine in the cold German winter, we spontaneously decided to fly to Malta. The flight time from Germany is relatively short (almost 3 hours) and therefore a very good choice if you feel like summer in winter. 😎 Malta is basically a year-round destination, as temperatures are mild and the sun shines 300 days a year. If, like us, you prefer to explore the cities and beaches without many tourists, then it is best to travel to Malta in spring (February – May) or autumn (October). In summer it can get very hot, perfect for a beach holiday. 🌤
Mdina, the old capital of Malta 🕍
Our hotel db San Antonio Hotel & Spa at St. Paul’s Bay was located only 100 meters from the Bugibba bus stop and was therefore a perfect starting point for excursions. 👍 So we decided to travel directly on the first day to Mdina or as it used to be called: Rabat.
The former capital of Malta is enthroned on a rocky plateau and surrounded by massive fortress walls. Hence its name, Mdina is Arabic and means “city surrounded by walls”. Inside the fortress walls we felt like in a time travel back to the Middle Ages. 🏰 The narrow streets are magical. Not for nothing some scenes of the series Game of Thrones (known as King’s Landing) were shot there. 🎥 You reach the fortress town over a bridge with a deep moat and a mighty gate.
Once inside, you will find many narrow streets. Cars are forbidden there, which is why the city is also called “City of Silence”. I recommend that you just let yourself drift and enjoy the time there.🚶
Tip: Want a snack? Right near the fortress is the Café Crystal Palace, which offers excellent pastizzi. 😍 Pastizzis are traditional Maltese puff pastry boats, usually filled with ricotta and pea porridge. At the Crystal Palace they are served fresh from the oven and are unbeatable in price (one costs only about 50 cents!). Since the café is also very well visited by locals, we took our Pastizzi to go.
Valetta, the charming capital and port of Malta 🛳
From Buggiba you can reach Valetta in about 45 minutes with line 31. The capital of Malta has a lot to offer and enchanted us especially with its beautiful historic townscape, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. The city was also named European Capital of Culture in 2018.
Right at the beginning you stand in the middle of the hilly city. The houses stand wall to wall and consist of yellow-brown limestone and wooden house fronts. It’s best to just stroll through the alleys. If you’re hungry, I recommend a Neapolitan pizza at MARGO’S, which has very fancy pizzas on the menu. 🍕 And for dessert there is an ice flower with macaron at Amorino – yummy!🍦
You have an especially great view over the harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. 🌊 From there you can see the Waterfront Valettas in all its glory. But you should also take a walk along the sea where you can also see the War Memorial (bell tower). At the Waterfront there is a nice promenade with small bars and restaurants that invite you to stay.
Golden Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world 🏖
The beautiful golden yellow sandy beach with clear blue sea is only 20 minutes drive from Bugibba. We arrived at the beach already at noon and enjoyed a beer in the bright sun in the beach bar. 🍺 Sand between our toes and the sound of the sea in our ears – that’s holiday for me! 😏
Until afternoon the beach was generally quite empty, but this was surely also due to the low season. Tristan cooled down in the sea (yeah, that was even possible in February, but in my opinion only for hardcore people 😂) and we walked along the beautiful bay until we reached Ghajn Tuffieha Bay – a gorgeous view! 💗 The bay was framed by green trees and stone coasts, the water was turquoise and if you look closely you can even see a bit of the next bay.
Boat trip to the Blue Grotto ⚓
From Buggiba you take the bus to Mdina and then on to Wied iz-Zurrieq. There the famous Maltese Luzzu boats (fishing boats) start into the Blue Grotto. We made another stop at the old stone temples Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, which are about 2km before the Blue Grotto. 🐚 The stone formations are located directly at the coast and you can see some of them without having to pay an entrance fee, because there is a small footpath along. 👣 For our taste this was completely sufficient. We preferred to have a look around and walk along the steep coast. This paid off, because we found a “little sister” of the Azure Windows. 😅
Arrived at the landing stage of the fishing boats, we sailed over the waves and enjoyed the blue sea at the grotto. The boat trip costs between 5 and 10 euros and takes about half an hour. Although the Blue Grotto is not an insider tip anymore, but an excursion is totally worthwhile. On the way to the jetty you still have the opportunity to make the acquaintance of an owl. That is worth a photo! 😃
On the way back you take the line 201 directly past the Dingli Cliffs. But unfortunately the bus only runs every hour, so we only saw them through the window.
By the way: during your trip to Malta you will always notice influences from Great Britain, as Malta once belonged to the English colony. For example, there is left-hand traffic, English is one of the official languages and in the cities there are the typical English telephone booths. 📞
St. Julian’s, party and entertainment by the sea 🎉
In the coastal town of St. Julian’s there are many language schools and therefore students from all over the world, which is why the town is known for its lively nightlife and shopping. 🛍 We visited the city primarily because of the Hard Rock Café, where Tristan buys a shirt every holiday. And what can I say? Somehow we ended up there and didn’t really get to see much of the rest of St. Julian’s. 🙈 Maybe next time we go.
Day trip to Gozo, Malta’s neighbouring island 🌼
Malta’s small neighbouring island Gozo can be reached after a short ferry ride from Malta’s west coast. The ferry runs several times a day every 25 minutes. The island is rather idyllic, quiet and is very suitable as a day trip.
The capital Victoria, which is named in honour of Queen Victoria, is the centre of the island. 👑 Along the Basilica San Gorg you reach the old citadel on a small hill. In the entrance area you will find a large square which is bordered on one side by the beautiful Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary. If you continue strolling, you will come to the old prison and the walls. There you have a great 360 degree view to the sea. As you can easily see on the photos, it was extremely windy during our day trip to Gozo. 💨😅
Another highlight of our Malta holiday was the Azure Window on Gozo, which was located in the bay of Dwejra. We are very happy that we could still see it, as it collapsed two weeks later due to the stormy weather – a real pity! 😢
Malta summary 🌴
Malta was one of our first holidays, which were incredibly exciting and relaxing at the same time. The island offers culture, nature, entertainment and bathing fun. And that almost the whole year! If you want to experience a lot for relatively little money and don’t want to miss the beach and sun, this is the right place for you! 👌