Newest Review: ... neither offer much of a choice in getting there later than 7.30am. We chose Malta for our wedding as you can't get married in Spain and... more
Wish I was there!
Member Name: lak11
Date: 25/02/10, updated on 08/06/13 (294 review reads)
Advantages: Sunny, hot, friendly and full of character-beautifully lit at night.
Disadvantages: A bit smelly and not that many beaches, although numerous small bays.
Malta is a lovely, very friendly island in the Mediterranean sea. The weather is always clement. Even in winter it's mild here. Malta is an ideal place to visit all year round, due to it's temperate climate, but is especially enjoyable during the Spring, summer and Autumn.
I have visited this island four times over some years, first as far back as 1975 then in the 1980's, and twice in the last decade. So I have been there as a young teen, one of a newly married couple with the company of another couple, and also twice as a family, taking my youngest two children. I have been self catering three times and catered for once.
The island has changed quite a bit since my first visit, and maybe grown a little too popular. Also, I hear that it has been hit by the recession and some of the quaint little shops have closed.
This country is a great place to take a young family as the Maltese love children and make them welcome in bars and restaurants. It is usual to see Maltese children eating out in restaurants quite late into the evening.
It takes just over three hours to fly here from London. I find the Maltese quite like the British as they have strong ties with us, especially from the second world war when they were awarded the George Cross for their great courage when the island was under seige. If you're into history there's plenty here, going back long before World War 11.
I wouldn't say the food is wonderful but it is varied and influenced by British, Italian and local food. Local food can be a rabbit stew or squid (not for me!) and a vast variety of sea food with swordfish being very popular.
If you want a lively holiday with bars showing international football and karaoke then B'gibba is probably for you. Bear in mind that although it is on the sea front there isn't a beach but many areas where you can access the sea by steps and sunbathe upon flat rocks. It isn't far to get to one of the many small bays and coves around the island as it is so small. I believe about 30 miles across.
Sliema is lively but I didn't really like staying here as it's very built up. If you are missing British shops though you might like to visit. Although it isn't my favourite part of the island it is popular with tourists.
St Julien's is more select but very busy of an evening. This area is mostly popular with young couples and singles, although not by any means comparable with Aiya Napa or Ibiza. Everything is quite small. If you want lots of clubs and riotous times then Malta would be best avoided.
Millieha Bay is ideal for a family as it has a long sandy beach and enough shops and bars for a stroll in the evening. There are some nice hotels here.
Paradise Bay is beautiful. I stayed for two weeks in the Paradise Bay Hotel and had a bay view room, and the view was spectacular. Blue sparkling sea and the occasional sighting of a cruise ship going into port. From this area you can catch the ferry for Gozo (Malta's smaller sister island) or go on a trip to Comino with it's clear waters. It does get crowded in the summer and it's best to go weekdays as the Maltese are out in force on the weekends enjoying their country.
The thing I like best about Malta is that there is a lot to see and do on such a small island and it's so easy to get about. You can go on 30 minute speedboat trips or half or full day cruises. The buses are fun and cheap and you can easily manage without hiring a car.
I find the Maltese language hard to understand as it has been influenced by many invaders of the island. It sometimes seems a little IItalian but it has strong Arabic influences too. It is hard to read and quite different to English. This isn't a problem as most Maltese are fluent in English, as well as other languages.
You can visit Mosta Dome which has it's own story to tell of a bomb dropping on it's dome and bouncing. I won't go into details as if you visit the island you will be told about this often.
And M'dina the silent city is worth a visit too.
Valetta the capital has great charm. It has many shops and much of the shopping area is pedestrianised.Restaurants and bars can be found in abundance. Horse and carriages can be hired to take you around Valetta for a guided tour, but please haggle as the prices start very expensive but they are very competitive. Valetta is beautiful at night and in the amazing fortified harbour you can see the many cruise ships.
My children swam with dolphins in the Marine Park at Sliema. You can book this over the internet before you go, as it does get booked up. You can request to be collected from your hotel and returned later by mini bus or taxi.
During the summer many Festas are held in Malta (Fiestas, saint's days ) and the fireworks are spectacular.The first time I took my children here, as our plane was landing in Luqa airport we could see an explosion of fireworks. What a welcome party!
Malta truly comes alive at night. I have never seen so many lights. Churches, hotels, bars are decorated with colourful lights. It's beautiful and when the fireworks start things get even better.
Well I could go on and on so l'll try to sum up. This island is not to everyone's taste and I can see why. It's landscape is arid and not noted for sandy beaches, although they can be found. Indeed, you wouldn't call the beaches wonderful BUT the sea certainly is.
You should deduct a star from the hotel ratings. There are some super hotels but generally the standard is not too high.
Malta is varied though and you can go to a bay for watersports or one such as G'uintafea (It's not spelt quite like that!) for large waves or go to Armiier where you can walk a good distance out on smooth sand.
Also, it's only fair to warn you of the smells that can come up as the island's drainage isn't the most modern. But I love it for it's character, it's friendliness, the outstanding views over the med and the blue skies and sunshine.
This review may be posted onto Ciao by AnneLorraine1
Summary: A lovely, friendly Mediterranean island