Malta & Gozo
Luxury holidays to Malta are perfect for discovering the wonderful sights and sounds of Maltese life. There are few places in the world which offer as much variety per square mile as Malta. This diminutive and sunny island nation, just fifteen miles by nine, located in the very middle of the Mediterranean, wears its many delights on its sleeve. An elegant and aristocratic capital city, carved from a creamy, golden limestone, sits proudly above the glorious grand harbour of Valletta.
Malta's bustling streetscape is populated with delightful baroque churches and regularly invaded during the summer months by exuberant local festivals, or fiestas, known as festas. Luxury Malta holidays are a fantastic immersion into the Maltese culture designed to experience the island at its fullest.
The island's earliest archaeological sites and beautifully preserved megalithic temples are the oldest free-standing buildings in the world - pre-dating the Egyptian pyramids - whilst imposing medieval fortress towns have dominated the landscape since the times of The Knights of St John. Sandy beaches may be few and far between but the surrounding waters are renowned for their sparkling clarity and stunning shades of blue.
Luxury Malta holidays are fantastic for incorporating all that Malta has to offer. Both Malta and Gozo boast archaic archaeological sites famed for their embedment in Maltese mythology. The food too is an attraction of the island from homely traditional Mediterranean dishes to more modern dishes influenced by the neighbouring Sicilians.
Malta holidays are not fully experienced without tasting traditional Maltese cooking. The dishes originally started out as rustic, peasant dishes dependent on seasonal local produce and the freshest offerings of the fisherman’s catch. Dishes were baked communally in the village oven after the baker had delivered the crusty hobza bread. Nowadays Sicilian influences are evident in the ubiquitous pasta and pizza dishes offered.
More traditional dishes include, hobza, delicious sourdough bread, aljotta, a nourishing fish broth made with rice, tomato and garlic and pastizza, flaky pastry stuffed with ricotta or mushy peas. Timpana goes head to head with fenek in the vote for the islanders’ favourite dish. The former is a baked macaroni pie, stuffed with cheese, egg, minced beef, tomato, onions and garlic. The latter is rabbit, whether stewed, roasted, fried or baked in a pie. Traditional sweets include dates, almonds, hazelnuts, honey, treacle and light pastry.
A wide selection of beers, spirits and liqueurs are available including wines from the local winehouses of Marsovin and Delicata. Amongst the huge number of restaurants on the island, English, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Lebanese and Thai cuisine are all widely available.
Malta offers a wealth of superb architecture from many different centuries. The Neolithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, which pre-date Stonehenge by more than 1000 years, are at their most thrillingly evocative when viewed at sunrise or sunset.
The capital city of Valletta, an UNESCO named World Heritage Site, is an architectural treasure trove offering stunning vistas of the grand harbour and neighbouring waterfront cities which offer a wealth of things to do in Malta. As elegant and charming as it is compact and bijou, Valletta is a photographer's paradise with every ornate forged-iron balcony, dated shop-front, or clatteringly charismatic aged bright orange bus, pleading to have its photogenic potential exploited. Inland is the medieval walled city of Mdina, offering stunning views of Malta's interior.
Amongst the island's 359 Catholic churches are a number of masterpieces. The magnificently rich interior of St John's Co Cathedral, the restrained Baroque façade of St Paul's or the sheer breathtaking scale of the Mosta Dome, commonly believed to be the scene of a Second World War miracle.
Located in the north east of the island is the popular and modern, tourist destination of Qawra. Although Qawra has no beach, guests can be found swimming off from the rocks and there are a number of watersport activities to partake in and enjoy.
Bugibba is situated adjacent to Qawra and although a small town it boasts a number of restaurants, bars, clubs and a casino. With a great range of watersports and a number of diving centres, it is a great place for those looking for things to do in Malta.
More natural splendours are to be found in the azure waters of the Blue Grotto, to the south of Malta and don't forget that the Maltese islands offer some of the best scuba diving in Europe, and thus it is one of the most popular things to do in Malta by far. Warm waters, excellent visibility, interesting dive sites and a large number of dive schools, all play their part in making the islands a favourite destination for divers of all abilities.
The Maltese are well-known for their generosity of spirit and welcoming hospitality and this is particularly noticeable from June to September, the main season for the local village festivals - or festas. Festas are a very important part of the national way of life. Every villager takes a deep-seated personal pride in presenting their village and church in the best possible light. Fireworks, brass-bands and fairy lights are the order of the (five) days, and amidst the hamburgers and fries it's a great time to sample some authentic Maltese delicacies, savoury snacks and sweets. February and March witness the colourful Carnival celebrations preceding Lent and the four day Mediterranean Food Festival is usually held in the middle of March.
Twin Centre Holidays
Why not make the most of both of these charming Mediterranean islands and enjoy a twin centre holiday to Malta and Gozo. Explore the many delights of Malta before unwinding, relaxing and enjoying total peace and quiet of idyllic Gozo.
The island of Gozo is even smaller than Malta - just nine miles by five - and a world apart. The relaxed quality of life enjoyed by their neighbours on Malta is regarded as positively frenetic by the Gozitans. For a totally relaxing getaway, the rural pace of life offered by this tiny island makes it difficult to better.
Delightfully translated as ‘joy’ in Castilian, Gozo, is easily reached by a 25 minute ferry ride from Malta. This tiny island boasts a stunning seascape and delightful rural interior although the real beauty lies in the timeless villages where the locals, although treasuring their peace and tranquillity, are known for their friendliness and helpfulness to visitors.
Victoria, also known as Rabat, is the geographic and economic capital and both here and across the island there are delightful local traditions and customs and numerous restaurants serving local and international cuisine.