Today I’ve asked fellow blogger, Kellie to tell you about why she recommends Malta as a holiday destination! Malta is somewhere I visited when I was much much younger so I’m afraid I have no actual recollection of our family holiday there but from Kellie’s description (and amazing photos) I now really want to go back…
Over to you Kellie.
I’m Kellie from Prize Warriors, a competitions and lifestyle blog. I blog about my comping successes, how they’ve improved my life and how others can follow in my footsteps.
For me, one of the best things about comping is that it enables me to enjoy more of my great love, travel. When I take a trip, no matter where or when you can guarantee that I’ve either won it, won money that’s helped to pay for it, or at the very least, won something to take with me that will help make my holiday great!.
Malta was a place that my husband and I visited about 8 years ago when we were going through our phase of “we better do this now before we have kids, or we’ll never be able to do it again”. Thank goodness we were wrong, and actually, I think we’ve been on more trips in my son’s 5 short years than in the 7 years that came before him. Nevertheless, it gave us the opportunity to fall in love with Malta and we promised to return one day.
Skip forward to April 2019 and I’m desperately scrambling to book a last minute half term getaway, after a rough start to the year left me feeling a holiday was essential. During the process of planning yet another trip to Manchester (we do love Manchester) followed by a few days at Gulliver’s Land, I realised that I had theoretically spent over £500. That’s when the very late night conversation of “I bet we could go abroad for that amount” occurred. The rest is history.
My Top 5 Reasons to Visit Malta
It’s Easy to Navigate
Malta is a tiny country and this alone makes it easy to get around. I’m mobility impaired and neither my husband or I can drive, yet we found the island very easy to navigate, even with a 5-year-old in tow.
Whilst Malta is a hugely overpopulated place, with way too many cars on the road, their public transport system is reliable, convenient and simple to follow. You can get to almost anywhere on the island or on the nearby island of Gozo by bus. They cost just €1.50 – €2.00 for any journey that ends within 2 hours, this includes connecting journeys. You can also buy the very convenient Tallinja cards, which either have a preloaded number of trips on them or are unlimited for 7 days. I would highly recommend one of these if you are planning on using the buses, as they save both time and money.
If buses aren’t your thing, and to be honest, on a hot day, the crowded single storey buses do become a bit less appealing, I strongly advise you to download the e-cabs app. E-cabs is Malta’s answer to Uber, in fact, we actually preferred it. The cars are readily available, but can also be booked in advance on their simple, user-friendly app and the prices are very reasonable. The drivers were super polite and professional, smartly dressed and insisted on helping with luggage etc.
If boat trips are your thing, they are available in abundance. You can even pop over to Sicily within an hour. Tickets can be purchased from numerous shops in most towns around Malta, however, I would advise avoiding street sellers that approach you about boat tours and stick to those in registered locations.
Malta is getting there in terms of its disabled provisions. It’s not as accessible as the UK, but much of this is down to the lack of space, which owes to the tiny footpaths in many places. Also, as many of the buildings are incredibly old, they are understandably difficult to adapt for access. Having said that, you can see that effort has been made and most attractions are accessible to both the mobility impaired and wheelchair users. I would not recommend the use of a mobility scooter in Malta and if possible, suggest that scooter users transfer to a powered chair, as it will be smaller and lighter.
Malta is located in the Mediterranean, between Sicily and Africa. As is to be expected, this location makes for an unbelievably beautiful landscape. It’s an Instagramable paradise, so make sure your batteries are fully charged.
If you want to see the pure blue ocean, then I can’t recall having seen such a remarkable example on a short haul holiday (Malta is just over 3 hours flight from the UK). Given the size of the island, pretty much everywhere we visited was on the coast, there’s very little ‘inland’ area. Each location having seemingly clearer, bluer sea than the last. Whilst there are very few sandy beaches, the coastline is pretty and has a rugged, yet tropical appearance. Definitely include a visit to the Blue Grotto and Anchor Bay for particularly fine examples of breathtaking blueness.
In addition to the stunning natural landscape, Malta also has some spectacular architecture. The churches, in particular, are unbelievably ornate and very well maintained. I would highly recommend a visit to Mosta Rotunda, Our lady of Mount Carmel in Valletta and the well hidden, but worth finding, Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck in Valletta. We are not a religious family by any means, but were fascinated by the beauty of these buildings.
The Rich History
Malta has a fascinating and very visible history, dating back further than the majority of Europe. In fact, the megalithic temples of Malta are the oldest remaining freestanding structures created by humans. You can visit many of these temples (some are by appointment only) as well as learn about them in the countries’ many museums. All museums are well priced and exhibits are all in both English and Maltese.
My absolute must see for Malta is the silent city of Mdina. If you only have one day in Malta, then this is where you need to spend it. This tiny and fascinating ancient walled city, which surprisingly houses around 300 residents, is the shining star of Malta. There are museums, churches and tiny narrow cobblestone streets with the most adorable buildings, and tiny shops. At the far end of the city, you can look over the wall for an amazing panoramic view of Malta. You truly feel as if you have been transported into the past in Mdina, other than the free wifi signs, which really made me chuckle!
Don’t miss the nearby Rabat, where you can visit the amazing St Paul’s Catacombs (unfortunately this is not suitable for disabled travellers, so I was unable to go this time, but I can highly recommend from having seen it on my previous trip).
Due to its location, Malta has a lovely climate and very little rain. April is perfectly pleasant if you’re looking for some sun earlier on in the year, with temperatures on our stay in mid-April ranging between 20℃ and 27℃. This is an ideal time of year for younger children or those that find intense heat uncomfortable.
Due to its largely coastal location, there is often quite a strong breeze, which can be welcome and refreshing but do beware of unexpected sunburn as a result of this and ensure that you are well protected. It is worth noting that many of the coastal attractions, particularly boat rides are cancelled on a regular basis due to the windy nature of the country. There is usually some form of consolation gesture offered for such cancellations. For example at the Popeye Village, instead of the usual boat ride, they gave guests a free professionally taken souvenir photograph to take home.
It’s a great location for families
Despite our initial worries that the island might not be ideal for young children, we were pleasantly surprised by how much our son loved Malta. There are some great attractions for kids including the Popeye Village, Playmobil Land and Malta National Aquarium.
A hidden gem in terms of family attractions is Esplora in Kalkara. This is hands down, the best science museum that I’ve ever been to. Every exhibition is interactive and designed to be fun for children. I would suggest that it would entertain those aged between 3 and 12 years. It’s very reasonably priced and you can easily spend an entire day there. As it’s been built recently, it’s very well adapted to disabled visitors.
There are 3 floors full of exhibitions, free interactive science classes (we attended one about balloons suited to younger kids) and a large outdoor play area. From the play area, you can see straight across the water to Valetta. You can sit and relax in the sunshine to take in this magnificent view, whilst your kids play on the water tables or in the underground tunnels. I really can’t recommend this place enough.
The other thing worth noting is that Malta is generally a very child-friendly place. The locals are welcoming and accommodating to the needs of kids. I lost track of the times my son was made a fuss of or given little treats whilst we were out and about.
Malta is a place for everyone. Individuals, couples and families alike will be able to find something that they enjoy. The vast majority of Maltese people speak excellent English, and all signage is in both Maltese and English. So if language barriers make you a reluctant traveller, then this is an excellent way to enjoy the Mediterranean. If I get my way, that certainly won’t have been our last trip!
Thanks so much for reading today, I’d love to hear what you think so please do leave a comment to let me know or even just to say hello. If you’d like to find out a bit more about me then have a read all about me here. You can also find me over on Instagram, Facebook or on one of my two other blogs – the diary of a frugal family and meal planning made easy.