The English winter weather was at its height mid-February and we were feeling the chill. We did what a sensible travelgeek would normally do; casually browse the internet in hopes of finding a great deal to make me feel warmer inside. Bearing in mind that we had several trips already booked in the next couple of months, so there was an element of the half-hearted, ‘just checking’ approach to this search. And just like that, we were going to Malta in June for £70 each. After a couple of weeks, I saw my parents feel the exact winter chill. And just like that, they were coming too. Days later, my parents’ friends also booked the same ticket and it was going to be a group outing. We booked a place in the sleepy town of Marsaskala and all we had to do, was wait.
Our flight was straight after our work with my parents picking us up on the way to the airport. We hit rush hour traffic and the possibility of not making the flight was starting to get real. We passed airport security with our flight already boarding. Not being phased, we had time to grab a quick bite while we got on the plane last. We arrived just before midnight and we were approached by someone who had a minibus to which the price asked wasn’t bad considering there were 6 of us. We got to our Airbnb and after a few introductions, we were off to bed.
‘the least European country in Europe I have visited’
The morning brought us fine sunshine and temperatures just shy of 30 degrees. It was a glorious day, and what better way to start the day than a cup of coffee with a side of a beautiful view of the Marsaskala harbour.
After breakfast we headed straight out, taking advantage of Malta’s excellent public transport. A 3-day pass got us covered for the duration of the trip. Our first destination was St. Peters Pool, a rocky cove with clear blue waters. After a couple of wrong turns and uphill treks in the scorching heat, we finally got to see turquoise waters.
It was the hottest part of the day and it was refreshing to take a dip in the cool sea. It was a popular time of the day as there were a lot of tourists around, making it hard to find a spot to put our stuff down. The water was deep and I can’t swim so it wasn’t long until we moved on to the next spot. On our way to our quick stop in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, we saw magnificent views of the rocky cliffs and the bluest of waters.
We headed for Malta’s famous Blue Grotto by bus and we hopped on a fairly cheap 20-minute boat ride for around 8 Euros each, which took us into the caves. The waters within the sea caverns were almost luminescent blue, which is a result of the suns reflection in the waters. There were also shades of red, green and orange under the clear waters. It also gave us perfect views of the jagged cliffs.
After an eventful day, we headed back for a meal in Marsaskala and have a relaxing night strolling around town. Tried Kinnie for the first time, it wasn’t great. Sorry, Malta!
The next day, we took the bus to Valletta. We took almost all day just strolled around the historic city. It was a Sunday so there was a more relaxed vibe within the city. A lot of shops were shut and we almost had the entire city to ourselves, it was a weird experience considering that it was the capital city of a European country.
The city is stacked with history. From the Knights Templar to British Colonialism, Valletta is a melting pot of all influences, shaped by the many foreign conquerors. Malta is truly a unique and rustic place, perhaps the least European country in Europe I have visited.
We couldn’t do much else in Valletta as most places were shut and we were wary of the reduced buses due to it being a Sunday. So we headed back to Marsaskala and go for a late afternoon swim in the nearby St Thomas Bay beach.
A few beers during the night took us to the next morning, to which we had to pack and leave for our flight in the afternoon. Like most weekend trips, we were left with much more to see and do. We were unable to visit the blue waters of Comino and Gozo, and other significant sites.
Sure, Malta does not have the world’s best beaches. In fact, they aren’t great due to the island’s geology, the water was one of the cleanest, however, and the people some of the friendliest in Southern Europe. With temperate climate year round and lots of fascinating places to see, this rocky gem in the Southern Mediterranean is well worth a visit.