I think you either love Malta or hate it, and if you’re looking for a rowdy fun-filled beach holiday, then you’ll hate it. I on the other hand, love it. There’s loads of history, culture, arts, pavement cafes, patisseries and beautiful villages and harbours that you can spend hours walking around and of course, the weather’s always lovely. Malta’s situated just below Sicily in the Mediterranean and has a very English feel and a very Moorish feel about it too.
I had wanted to go here for a long time as my grandad was Maltese so obviously I wanted to find out a bit about my Maltese heritage. The island’s really small, and getting around is very easy as the proliferation of local buses is huge, and they go everywhere on the island and it’s really cheap, I think about 2€ for a daily ticket.
I stayed in one of the main areas near the capital Valletta, called Sliema, which is one of the main towns and has a lovely paved walkway that winds its way round the coastline. You can walk from St. Julians, another beautiful little town, right round to Valletta and beyond, and it’s only a couple of miles. Valletta owes its World Heritage Site status to the Knights of Malta who built the city, and most of its beautiful baroque architecture remains to this day.
One of my favourite places and a huge tourist attraction is a tiny fishing village in the south of the island called Marsaxlokk. It’s still a working fishing village and you can watch the sailors and fishermen pulling up with their catch, and also sitting at the side of the harbour mending their nets. These brightly coloured fishing boats specific to Malta, called Luzzus, are a photographer’s dream, and they all have painted eyes on the front, an old custom from Phoenecian times, called the eyes of Osiris. The luzzu is one of the symbols of Malta.
A short bus ride away from Valetta is another one of my favourite places, the Silent City of Mdina, the old capital. It’s a tiny fortified city with huge stone walls rising up around it and is so quiet and peaceful, all you can hear are the birds singing.
There are no cars inside the walls as the streets are so narrow and it’s home to only 400 people. There are only a few shops, a couple of museums, a cathedral and some lovely cafes and restaurants with outside seating in little courtyards inside the walls.
There’s a main square in the middle of the Mdina where they used to have markets, and this is where St. Paul’s Cathedral sits. It looks quite unimposing from the outside but inside, there’s the most amazingly beautiful interior with painted ceilings and walls that you cannot possibly describe but you have to see for yourself.