Malta is an amazing country and was it not for a wedding, I could have easily gone my entire life without setting foot on its islands.
Dividing vacation time between Manila and Malta almost seems like a mistake: a typo when booking, perhaps. One is a metropolitan city on a tropical island in South-East Asia and the other an ancient Mediterranean archipelago now popular among European tourists.
Regardless, it was the itinerary of the month.
A Bit of Maltese History
From Saint Paul’s shipwrecking to Cersei’s naked walk of shame, the small island of Malta has hosted many significant events.
Malta has been occupied by the Romans, Arabs, and a horde of others. The famous Maltese knights arrived in the sixteenth century and the stage was set for the Great Siege of Malta–a tale that quite frankly puts the Battle of Blackwater to shame.
Eventually, it was Napoleon who took Malta from the knights at the end of the eighteenth century. It took the French only two petite years to surrender, leaving the Islanders in the hands of the British Commonwealth and forever fated to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Malta also played a role in the Second World War. With so much historical bloodshed, the islands of Malta have offered an excellent setting for blockbusters such as Troy, Gladiator, and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Curiously, for all the testaments to Malta’s rich history, the most renowned monument appears to be King’s Landing.
Things to do in Malta
A: Visit historical sights
B: Go to the beach
At least, that was the debate for my partner and me as we only had three days on the island–one of which was fully occupied by the wedding.
Upon arrival at the airport, we met up with a few family members and were spirited to Qawra Point in St. Paul’s Bay.
We stayed at Seashells Resort (great place, very friendly and accommodating staff) and enjoyed the nearby Qawra Point Beach as well as a sunset swim in the infinity pool, followed by dinner, at Café Del Mar.
Also in St. Paul’s Bay: the National Aquarium. Which is where you go if you haven’t been able to find any fish in the ocean.
The following day was spent at the wedding venue. Popeye Village, named after the spinach eater and apparently the only film set still standing in Europe, is now functioning as a small amusement park. This charming film-set-turned-theme-park located along the beautiful cliffs of Anchor Bay becomes quite magical when the sun begins to set.
On the third and final day before departure, we decided to explore one of the other islands.
The largest island of Malta is (you guessed it) Malta. Next comes Gozo and in between the two lies the smallest of the three and home of the Blue Lagoon: Comino.
From Marfa in Mellieha, which lies in the north Malta, you can catch a ferry straight to the Blue Lagoon.
Getting Around the Main Island
1. Public Busses
They have routes and schedules but also, apparently, a mind of their own.
There is no Uber in Malta but you can use an app called eCabs to book taxis from your phone. Most trips ranged from €18 to €25.
3. Car Rentals
Cars can be rented at the airport for anywhere between €16 and €28 per day. Keep in mind that the Maltese don’t drive on the right side of the road.
The turquoise bay was awfully crowded when we arrived, so we trekked to another point on the island and found a quieter spot to enjoy the Mediterranean sun and sea.
We ended the day with dinner at Ocean Basket back in St. Paul’s Bay and for the first time in my five months of vegetarianism I felt sincerely envious as lavish platters of seafood were brought to the table.
That being said, I did enjoy their vegetable dishes and a plate of tasty vegetarian sushi.
We saw castles and fortresses all along the landscape but didn’t visit any of them. Among other interesting places which I didn’t get to see but heard good things about are the walled city of Mdina–which embodied King’s Landing–and the Dingli Cliffs. You can also find St. Paul’s Catacombs more or less in between those two locations.
Malta was entirely a delight, though I must say I was a little disappointed that they had knights in all the souvenir shops but Maltesers were nowhere to be found.
Here a few aerial views of almost the entire island on the way out:
And thus the end of this staccato account.