Definitely Malta has its advantages, but let me admit, it’s not my favourite holiday destination. However, I don’t want to be negative – you’ll see my story below and understand, what went wrong. First of all, let’s start from the reasons why Malta is a great holiday place for you, my dear reader:
- If you are a diver – (and excuse me in advance, if I’m saying something stupid now – I’m not even a tiny bit of a diver 🙂 – Malta is a rocky island and the waters around it are deep. By the way, the biggest white shark was caught at Gozo! The ‘pre-African’ shelf is very rich of sea life, in fact, there is a possibility of encountering unexplored ordnance, especially in places like Filfla island, where fishing, because of this reason, was prohibited until 1990.
There are plenty of diving clubs offering their services to both beginners and advanced divers, the sea is crystal clear and the topography of the island is so various (you can dive wrecks, caves and tunnels, shallow reefs, drop offs and archways, which are unforgettable due to 20 – 40 meter visibility), that I’m sure there is a lot to explore!
- If you are learning English – who doesn’t know that there are plenty of English schools & camps where regardless of your age you can combine learning & being on a beautiful holiday island. Malta is not only full of native English expats, at the same time I couldn’t find a Maltese person not speaking English. Therefore you can immerse in English environment without getting the UK weather 🙂
- If you like been understood on holidays – Italy is great, but it’s so rare to find English-speaking Italians 🙂 This was my first holiday without a language barrier – each and every person I met spoke enough English to communicate. Perhaps, that’s why I had so many interesting conversations with the taxi drivers.
- If you are a history addict – and especially WW II – I was surprised to find out that the biggest quantity of bombs during World War II where thrown on Malta (over 6000!). This lead to two outcomes: 1) there is a huge quantity of museums dedicated to weapon & WW II; 2) most of the island is destroyed, so don’t expect to walk too much along romantic medieval streets. True, there are places untouched by WW II, like Mdina, but the majority is new construction.
Well, that’s it, I guess. Additionally, you may find yourself in Malta because of your cruise stop, or by coming here on a wedding (it is a popular wedding celebration spot).
So in case you happened to be in Malta and you want to know what to do, where to go, what to see and what not, please be my guest 🙂
See my experience below or go directly to What to do in Malta page for the broadest selection of activities.
I arrived to Malta almost midnight, so we skip the part of airport transportation – you can see it in How to get from the Luqa airport & Transport in Malta – my experience pages, and let’s start from the early morning next day.
6:30 am – taxi from my apartment to Marsaxlokk
Marsaxlokk is a fishermen village with an open market, which mainly sells great fish & seafood, and also other ‘useful’ household items ?
It’s not worth spending there more than 1-2 hours – but it’s important that you come early morning 7-8 am to 10-11, after 12 the stalls become emptier, and the market will actually close by 2 pm!
I arrived early morning when the market was just waking up, and it was great since I could catch the best photo moment – sunrise. Those beautiful fishing boats called in Maltese ‘luzzu’ are worth coming, and the bay looks really cute. Every ‘luzzu’ has two Osiris eyes on it – painted or carved, it was brought here by Phoenicians.
Tavsan Surat loved taking selfies in the port ⇓
As a breakfast spot we recommend the Duncan restaurant just at the church in the centre. They have pastizzi and serve tea in glass ? They open at 7-7:30 and that’s where I waited for the bright sunrise 🙂
After I walked around the village up and down, my taxi arrived and took me to Siggiewi.
9:00 am – taxi from Marsaxlokk to Malta Falconry Centre in Siggiewi
Yeesss! I was really looking forward to this experience. Imagine real falcons all around, you can keep them on your hand, feed or even fly!
The Malta Falconry Centre is more of a shelter, rather than a falconry centre where people would learn hunting with birds of prey. It’s a family run project, I can’t call it business, because their intentions don’t concern profit. Doreen – the owner, is like a mother to all their birds. In fact she’s feeding them in her kitchen from their first day of life, it’s not a surprise that these birds feel more like humans, not birds. However, we don’t forget about their instincts!
The centre has a rule – they only keep birds which are grown up been surrounded by humans. They buy birds from people who are not satisfied with their breeding, hunting, appearance characteristics, or find owners which are not taking care of their pets, then Doreen buys them out. The centre also sells birds (some of them enjoy their new life so much, that they give birth quite often!), but only to people from the island, whom they know and can keep an eye on the future of the sold birds.
Coming to a place like this and paying for admission or the experiences is more like a donation, supporting the great job the centre does by giving a second life to unwanted pets.
I booked a half-day experience which starts at 9:30 and finishes at 12:30. There is also a full-day experience which lasts until 14:30. During the experience you meet all the birds, hear about their ‘life stories’, than prepare them for the flight show which happens at 11:30. By preparing I mean mainly weighting – because birds fly only at a certain weight. Their weight influences their hunting need as well – birds hunt only if they get the ‘hunting weight’. So it happens the following way: the bird reached its flying weight, it flies, gets lighter and reaches the hunting weight.
That’s why in order to demonstrate birds flying during the show, it’s important to put them on the scale. And they never reach the hunting weight here in the centre – because we remember about their instincts. A bird with too low weight might fly away and look food on its own.
All these we did with the centre’s falconer – Warren. He is a passionate professional of falconry and regularly joins world falconry expos, competitions and even huntings, as one of the best falconers of Malta.
By the end I was so touched by the destiny of these birds, their instincts, behaviour, that I even adopted one 🙂 Of course, only on paper! In the centre you have a possibility to adopt a bird for a year – it costs 50 EUR, and the money goes for the bird’s maintenance. As a reward (but actually knowing they are fed is the biggest reward, isn’t it?) you will get a framed certificate hanging on the wall at the centre’s reception, stating that you adopted a bird for a year. As well you’ll get a certificate by email, together with photos and the story of life of your bird.
Taxi from Siggiewi to Mdina
Now it was time for sightseeing. Everyone in the web says ‘You should definitely visit Mdina’, so even I was hooked.
Mdina is a typical medieval town; you can find a looooot like this around Europe. Without even brainstorming I can instantly suggest Girona and Bologna, for similar colour range, and then many more. So that wasn’t too exciting for me… Of course walking along narrow warm terracotta coloured streets is great (especially for instagram), but there are no real experiences to join. I mean there are some museums to visit – some noble houses where you can see how does a Maltese luxury look like, besides that a couple of nice restaurants and that’s it.
Being optimistic I planned to spend 2h in Mdina and 1h in Rabat. However, 2 hours for both sites is the most, in my opinion.
So after walking around and taking all the possible photos, I went to a very recommended place. It comes out first if you search for Mdina, check tripadvisor or actually any other travel advisory.
‘When in Mdina you should definitely go to Fontanella tea garden. Their view is astonishing and cakes are just a masterpiece’. I’m literally quoting the reviews.
So we went.
Since many other people read those reviews there was a queue to the terrace with the ‘astonishing view’, yes, exactly, a queue to get a table. At first I also stood in that queue, than I came back to my senses and remembered that I’m never waiting for a table. Still since it was said that the cakes are a masterpiece I decided to get a table in their patio and enjoy the dessert. In the menu you’ll find two categories with cakes – one with normal cakes, the second – something like signature cakes. So of course I ordered from the second one. My strawberry Meringue cake was nothing but sugar. It didn’t have any special flavors to remember. It costed around 6,5 EUR I guess, but the portion was enormous.
Being not interested in the place anymore, I ate some parts of the cake and left very soon. I turned right and saw a ‘public’ observation deck just next to Fontanella offering exactly the same view. And the view actually is not too special, but is available and for free, and is exactly the one I would see from Fontanella.
And in case you want sweets & view, let me suggest another scenario. You go to Fior di latte for an ice-cream (it’s just near Fontanella and in front of the observation deck) and eat it under the pine tree at the above mentioned observation deck.
Out of local restaurants which caught my eye were:
- Coogi’s restaurant – a great terrace restaurant & tea garden on St Agatha esplanade, just going right from Fontanella. The street is quiet and the restaurant is known by locals mainly
- Other restaurants see in Where to eat in Malta
Before heading towards Rabat, I wanted to check out a park which was mentioned as a local spot, not very known by tourists. It’s called il-Foss, Mdina Ditch Gardens, and as you might guess the park is located in a ditch. It’s very stark, spacious and empty, not a shady park for lazy time spending on a bench.
However, if you want some peace & silence, that’s a great place to escape to. But beware that the park closes for the night, meaning they will really lock all the entrances, and there were some cases when people were locked in =)
Walk to Rabat
Now it was time for Rabat, my maps showed it’s around 30 min to go, so I said ‘why not’, after all I’ve spent enough on taxis that day. Exiting Mdina I saw a bus, it’s screen said ‘Rabat’, so happily I asked the driver if he goes there. He was a bit confused and said that Rabat is over there, showing me like if it is just behind the corner.
I decided to interpret it as the bus stop is on the other side of the street. So I asked some ladies if the bus from this stop goes to Rabat, and they said they don’t know, but Rabat is here…. So in fact, Rabat starts as soon as you exit Mdina and lasts probably for the next 30 min walking time (as mentioned by my maps).
Since I understood that Rabat is actually almost the same as Mdina – a bit less tourists, but the same architecture, I just walked across it and since I was ready to walk, I went for some 30 min till Dingli village, from which it’s only 20 min till the famous cliffs.
On my way in Rabat I noticed a very cozy looking place to eat & snack:
Chalk Café Bar – the have a great exterior, and I guess a matching interior, that’s how they made me stop for a shoot.
Besides that on your way from Rabat to Dingli you can enter the famous catacombs – St. Paul’s & St. Agatha’s. These are Christian burial catacombs from the 4th to 9th century AD. I didn’t go there, because: a) I don’t like burial catacombs; b) it was Sunday and they were closed 🙂
Walk to Dingli Cliffs
In 30 min I found myself in Dingli village. Unfortunately, there is nothing special to tell you about, I only found a nice church.
Although only now, when putting it all into words, I managed to find something out-of-the-box:
Diar il-Bniet – is a family run restaurant & estate with a field to fork concept. The estate is located in Dingli, and it’s called Diar il-Bniet, which means ‘House for the Girls’. Some people might scare you saying they still see the mysterious girls-ghosts walking around.
Today it’s an estate run by a family promoting their grandma’s recipes, the 600 acres of field is religiously ploughed, you’ll find only organic
production there and some of their olive trees date back to 12th century…
You can book a table in their restaurant, visit their shop or even join a cooking class & tour around the estate.
I wish I found them that day 🙁
So I’ve spent 20 min more on walking till the cliffs. The Dingli cliffs are the highest point on Malta island – 253m above sea.
Definitely you should admire the site’s natural beauty from the sea (which I didn’t manage to do). Just take an ‘around island’ boat trip from Valletta, or other larger ports.
Talking about the view from the top ?
? If you look down from the cliffs, you’ll see the fields where locals still work (the fields were the reason Dingli village appeared). So it’s very important not to throw stones just for fun from the height ✌
? The tiny island in front of the cliffs (you can also see it on the photo) made me very curious – Dingli is on the southern part of the island, so it’s not Gozo, as you might thought.
☝The name of the islet is Filfla – it used to be a training field for the British army.
Nowadays uninhabited, possibly was sacred to the ancient inhabitants of Malta – the neolithic temples Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra are built on the Maltese side precisely in front of Filfla.
?that is the island I would definitely visit if I had a boat and a ‘boat driving’ licence
? Although keep in mind that you must get a special permission to visit it, since the entrance is allowed only for those with scientific and educational intentions.
Blue Grotto Beach
I was really tired after this walking all around, my knee was also aching, so I called a taxi and decided to go to a place where I not only see the sea, but also have a chance to get wet!
Most of the nice beaches suitable for swimming are located on the north-west & north-east of the island, so just the opposite to where I was… And I really wanted to go towards Valletta – it was late afternoon, no willing for long trips and high cab rates 🙂 So the closest ‘swimmable’ place was the Blue Grotto and actually it’s a ‘must-see spot, so why not?
When I entered the taxi the driver said he can’t understand why people come here (to Dingli cliffs): nothing to do, just to look down. Partially, I agreed. So I said that now I’m going to Blue grotto, where I at least can swim. He ignored these words.
We arrived to a village and he said it’s here. I asked where is blue, where is grotto, he said it’s over there (again this ‘behind the corner’ saying!), and added ‘there is no beach there’. I left the cab in an angry mood, typed in google Blue Grotto and found out that it’s some 25 min away.
In fact the guy brought me to Żurrieq – a town next to the Blue grotto. So I was forced to walk again, but I don’t regret.
There are boats to the caves around Blue grotto – from April till October 9 am to 5 pm, from November till March – 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. These are the working hours of the kiosk selling tickets to Blue Grotto and the caves, prices are 8 and 4 EUR – adult & child. I heard the most impressive is to visit the caves in the morning!
It must be quite lively here when the boats are departing, but unfortunately and luckily I missed the boat times, so the place was almost empty.
So I reached the beach which I was told doesn’t exist.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
… but I rely on my research capabilities more than on a taxi driver who picked me up at Dingli and said ‘I’m Maltese, but I’ve never been here’ ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So once you get to the Blue Grotto (googlemaps will lead you precisely), just keep going down towards the kiosks selling tickets on boat trips to the caves. Go down till the very end and you’ll see this ‘swimming place’
Correct, this is not a type of beach you can sunbath, let you children play in the sand, take an umbrella….⠀
But it’s a great place to swim – the water is deep and there are stairs (I felt like in a swimming pool), and after the shallow beaches in Larnaka, and then rocky beaches in Malta, I really enjoyed a swim here. I met there only locals who confirmed they come to swim to this specific place all year round.
I also met something & someone special. There were 5 kittens and their mother (actually, just like Greece, Malta is full of good-looking street cats), living under a boat. I was sitting there and waiting for my taxi back to Valletta (finally!). A woman came with a pink transportation cage, I was suspicious, and also the people around were. She said she’s feeding them here, and then taking the babies at home for the night, and on the next day morning brings them back to freedom & port life : >
I found some nice restaurants in Valletta when preparing for my trip and decided to go to restaurant described as ‘small, cozy place with local cuisine’. Unfortunately, I couldn’t check out if it’s true…
There is a tiny problem of solo travelers, at least in my case. When travelling alone I never pack any fine-dining outfits or make-up, I go and spend my time as a simple, natural beauty 🙂
Besides that, restaurants are not very happy about dedicating a whole table to one single person (unless they know you well, and know you eat big & leave tips).
So after being unsuccessful here and checking out the other recommended places, I was so desperate and tired that I just wanted to order food ‘home’ – Time to Eat Malta (if you find yourself in a similar drama!)
At the moment when I was actually half-way to order, I spotted a terrace on my way (just in the middle of Merchant street). It’s called Anglo-Maltese League, and this time the rating (3.1) was very precise. Well, the waiter is very friendly, he gets 5, but the food is far from being even a tiny bit sophisticated, it’s just average home cooking. I ordered rabbit stew and some white wine, and then of course black tea to finish this long day.
The plan for this day was impressive. Just have a look to know how great that could be:
- Wake up at 4 am
- Taxi arrives at 4:45 and takes me to the northernmost part of the island, Cirkewwa port
- I take a ferry at 5:45 to Gozo island
- In Gozo I have breakfast and get a taxi to Ramla Bay – the most beautiful beach on the island (my personal opinion)
- I spend 3 morning hours laying on the red sand & swimming and then get a cab back to the port
- Boat to Comino islet at 11:30
- A 90 min segway tour on an island which has only 4 inhabitants, but lots of greenery, caves and the famous Blue Lagoon
- Boat to Cirkewwa, Malta
- Bus to Golden Bay & lunch somewhere there
- A 90 min horse riding tour on the sunset
- A ‘Malta at night tour’, departure at 18:40, to see the beauty of Maltese sites at night
- Arrival to Valleta at midnight
Oh, I was looking forward to this day soooo much!
But there are powers more influential than perfect planning. Mother Nature and weather, for example 🙂
Ramla Bay & Gozo
I knew it would rain that day, but some light summerish showers don’t hurt. When I woke up that morning I poked my nose into the open window to ‘smell the temperature’, and came to a conclusion that I don’t even need a jacket! But I took my pareo to use as a beach towel and wore the shortest shorts I have))
So in fact when I was going by cab to Ramla bay the driver asked if I have an umbrella. I answered that I hope to get one on the beach. He said, it will rain and perhaps he has one… So when we arrived (the weather was getting worse and worse), he gave me a rain umbrella from his trunk! We agreed for pick-up at 11:15
So well-equipped I went to the beach.
Black clouds and thunderstorms on the horizon – I decided to swim until I can, because obviously it’s coming here. I had a fast morning swim in this crystal clear water, this beach is just created for light swims – the water isn’t shallow, but at the same time, I can’t call it deep, since the entrance is gradual.
Calypso cave on my right, dark black night-coloured storm in front of me, still blue morning shiny sky above my head, and a closed mojito bar behind. Perhaps it was my best beach getaway ever. It took me a while to relax and feel comfortable one-to-one with the sea, and once I did, I never felt that peaceful. I actually wrapped myself up in my pareo and lied down on the sand. That’s how I’ve spent almost two hours before the storm arrived (and passed!).
I used the closed beach bar to hide away from the rain and sever wind. I changed back to my shorts, and covered myself with the pareo, after some half an hour sitting like that I heard a voice from the closed bar, then a door getting unlocked, and the owner appeared behind me. He greeted the romantic girl sitting in the rain on his plastic chaired terrace, and the girl politely asked when do they open (I actually didn’t mind getting a tea!). He said they won’t. I waited for a while, didn’t want to pick up & run, opened my umbrella and went towards Xaghra – the closest village, so I could at least have some tea & treats.
When was the last time you walked on a countryside road, surrounded by a cactus jungle from one side, and vineyards from the other? And almost forgot, with an umbrella in your hand.
So you are just in between Sicily and Africa, the only live creatures you meet on your way are a shepherd and his sheep, and a taxi driver gives you an umbrella for the rain.
Every time life embeds some of these cutest surprises into my well-planned schedule, and I love them <:
They become the most remembered moments of travel, but I know that life awards you with these only when you spend enough effort on planning, otherwise you just end up walking around Mdina with other nice tourists.
I arrived to Xaghra, had 3 cups of tea and called my driver to pick me up from there.
However, the surprises were not over …
No Comino. Segway in Malta
During my stay at Ramla bay Sam from Comino Segway called me saying that most probably we won’t be able to make it today, the sea is stormy and the waves get very high, so the boats to Comino won’t go. We agreed to talk again around 11, so I had some weak hopes, but not too much. At the end, it was cancelled, but I really appreciated that Sam even sent me a list of things to do to fulfil the time I allowed for Segway.
I started to search for things to do in the northern part of the island – I already asked the driver to bring me to Mgarr port for the ferry, so I will definitely leave, arriving at the northern part of Malta.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find too exciting things to do/see – visiting Popeye village was too boring for me, going sightseeing is not my style, and I really wanted to do Segway. So there were two companies I found Segway Malta in Mellieha and Malta Segway Fun Tour. The first said they don’t go today (weather + Monday), the second said they might. So when I arrived to Cirkewwa I got a confirmation call from the Fun Tour, and they advised me the bus which would bring me to Bugibba/Qawra, it’s #221.
The Malta Segway Fun Tour is run by a British expat couple, I’m happy I got the segway ride, but Bugibba is definitely not a place where you should go for any kind of tour. It is destroyed, and not by WW II, but because of untidy people, with all my respect to Brits, most of the residents are UK expats and they transformed the place into English breakfast restaurants & Sky sport bars. There are some Brits which I love with all my heart, but most of the times those relocated to southern countries lose the sense of order, cleanliness, discipline. You guys feel like being on year-round holidays, year after year.
So our segway stops were at rubbish dumps looking for chameleons, and then the gentleman on the segway introduced me to local flora – pomegranate, lemon, olive, castor trees… And by the way, they promise to take photos of you during the tour and send it to you by email. I still didn’t get them.
I would definitely recommend joining a segway tour in Comino, they are really customer friendly even before you actually start the tour, but I wouldn’t recommend you to do a tour with Malta Segway Fun Tour.
Golden Bay Horse Riding. Restaurants in Golden Bay
From Bugibba I took bus #223 to Golden Bay where I was about to have my horse riding evening (I called them in advance to reconfirm if it’s not going to be cancelled). You have to get off at Riviera stop and walk approx. 10 min to Golden Bay, where the big (and 16 y.o.) Radisson Blue stays and a restaurant overlooking the bay. Here I had my fast & light lunch (before horse riding!), the restaurant’s name is Apple’s Eye. The cuisine is not too special, but it’s not bad either, so I’m very happy they have that restaurant in the bay.
I arrived to the horse rancho, and was a bit upset with the conditions. The place is too small for the quantity of horses they have, and it’s not too well maintained. Since I was the first and had to wait for the group to come, I’ve spent my time enjoying the spider nets on the ceiling.
But I have to admit, that the tour is a great experience, especially taking into account that there are not too many things to do in Malta.
So horse riding on the sunset at Golden Bay Horse Riding
It felt like Malta is created for this way of commuting :)) those rocky hills are good only on a horse back ?
I’m convinced that this is the way one should see a very touristy place like Malta – on a horseback in silence, on an empty beach at Ramla, or among falcons…
Indeed it was a happy 90-minute tour and a decent part of this crazy day.
Before the horse riding started I booked a taxi back to Valletta. I gave up with the idea of the night tour (although I pre-payed it), because I already started to feel exhausted, and I wasn’t sure we would finish in time here with horses.
In fact, I was right – the tour finished at 7, not 6:30 as it would if we started at 5 pm sharp.
My taxi was about to come at 8 pm, so by that time I planned to have dinner at the above mentioned and visited restaurant. It was dark already, but everyone said that Malta is a very law-abiding country with almost zero crime.
However going back from the rancho to the bay, I just made a single step behind the corner and saw a group of English-speaking men, probably drunk, but definitely very aggressive, screaming god knows what to god knows whom. Thanks to the high greenery and my fast reaction they didn’t notice me; I turned back and with half-running steps took the longest route to the bay, along the roadway.
Then I was in peace in my restaurant, drinking tea and waiting for my food, when I saw the notification that my cab arrived. The call centre confirmed it’s almost here, so I took my risotto and cake as take-away and hoped to eat it in the very best conditions at ‘home’
Funny but the taxi driver had dinner exactly at the same place and exactly at the same time. He finished, left, parked at the entrance of Radisson and sent the notification. Not knowing this I took my take-away bag, stood at the entrance gate of Radisson for 15 min hoping to see him arriving. And only after calling the company we managed to connect and share our experiences 🙂
So the final disappointment of the day:
What most of us expect to have at home when coming back with a piece of chocolate cake? Me personally – TEA!
I booked a studio apartment in a house which had 4 floors, with various types of accommodation, and a kitchen on the ground floor. If you provide a kitchen to your guests, which has all the cooking utensils, salt, pepper, sugar, instant coffee etc., why don’t you have some tea bags? Especially in a country where a great part of residents and tourists are from the UK.
I was so desperate… that I couldn’t agree with this unfairness. It was 8:45 pm, and I knew that in my room (floor 3, stairs) I have a list of shops in the area. Running up, finding the list and checking if any is open. Gigi shop closes at 9 pm! I’m running out checking its location – should be behind the corner, but can’t find anything open. Asking a woman passing by the street and she says it’s already closed. But I didn’t give up!
I started to check petrol stations; they’re usually 24/7. Well, the closest open one was at Luqa…
One more hope left – pharmacies. I was ready to buy chamomile and brew it. But there was no open pharmacy at 9 pm in Valletta.
So I warmed up some water in a pot (the electric kettle didn’t work) and imagined I drink tea.
That’s how this glorious day finished.
This was the final day – in the evening I had to be in the airport. But still I had a lot of plans, why else would you book a night flight 😉
- Valletta sightseeing – I had to see the St. John’s Knights city
- The Three Cities across the Grand Harbour
- Ta’ Qali Crafts Village
- In the meantime – check out at 10, store my luggage at the office of my accommodation company by 5 pm
- From 5 to 6 pm – stay enjoying some tea at a nice terrace
Not bad as for a last day. But the weather got so much worse, that actually I couldn’t complete any of these.
I woke up early to see Valletta on the sunrise and take some photos. Partially I managed to do that and also to understand that Valletta is not worth seeing for a person like me. It’s so over constructed! Once you find a high observation spot you see that it’s full of stone. I don’t really like observing architecture, checking which are ancient buildings, which are built after WW II, going to history museums etc. There was a luxurious yacht entering the port – it was the Indian Express, that was something I liked.
I went to the famous Upper Barakka Gardens – that wasn’t something special besides the facts that you can see the saluting shooting at 12 and 4 pm, and that there is a lift taking you downstairs to the boats to The Three Cities.
Heavy rain started all of a sudden on my way to the Lower Barakka Gardens. Well, heavy can’t transmit all the essence of the awful weather that day. Luckily I was on the street where my apartment is located, and luckily it was before I checked out not after. So in two minutes getting a good natural wash – both me and my phone, I entered my apartment 45 min before check out and without having a clue about what to do next – where to go, how to go, or even to go or not.
What is the best place to stay all rainy day long with your laptop? There is no cafe being happy to have you all day long, and even I can’t drink that much of tea. Then my thoughts turned towards the freelance hubs & coworkings, which wasn’t a bad idea. I found 2 places but didn’t use them – Valletta Hub and Grand Central. I remembered the Maltese glassware I wanted to buy for home in Ta’ Qali and decided to go whatever it looks like outside. So I partially kept the old plan.
I dropped my luggage at the company’s office, got my boarding pass printed because my phone’s functionality went very bad after the shower rain, and I felt in danger. I bought an umbrella and my mood went up. I understood the functionality of the bus terminal and found the places to get the Ta’Qali bus and also the airport shuttle.
Ta’ Qali Crafts Village
To Ta’ Qali take either bus #56 (get off at Villagg stop) or #53 (this stops only at Qali 1 which is 10 min walk to the crafts village). The crafts village is a great place to go especially if you are by car and have checked in luggage to bring back home all the beautiful things purchased. You actually shouldn’t buy souvenirs or presents elsewhere; here you can get really authentic crafts!
Please do not misunderstand me – far not all the items are nice, some are created for tourists, some are unique for those who can respect the hand-made work of local artists.
I was sure it’s a whole market under a single roof, with little shops of craftsmen, one after another. It would make my life easier that rainy day. However, every company has a separate house, so it’s a real crafts village, just as the name says. I wish it didn’t rain, and then I would really go into each of the houses, be in mood to film the glass-blowing, pottery, ceramic, jewelery artists. But I only had patience to walk in the rain towards the Phoenician Glass house, I didn’t even go for visiting the famous Mdina Glass company – it was 10 more minutes of walking.
The glassware was great, and since they close their shop for reorganizing I spot some attractive discounts and bought three vases and three tiny candleholders, one of the vases even contains silver.
Then I had a smoothie in the Mediterranean Ceramics shop & café and decided that having two bags full of glassware in my hands means that I should go get my luggage and head towards the dry airport with lots of tea. After all, the weather was really encouraging me to get settled down.
So I hopped on the bus going back to Valletta, when there called a cab to pick me up from the luggage office and get me asap to the airport. The weather was so bad and my new umbrella got so broken that there was no way to walk around getting back to the terminal for the airport shuttle.
That’s how I ended up in the airport 7 hours before the departure 🙂
Restaurants, breakfast places in Valletta. Buying silver in Valletta
Oh, and by the way, during my ‘walk’ under the rain in Valletta I found some very good looking and not pompous restaurants:
- Café Volare – I would enjoy having here a breakfast. A simple café with fresh orange juice, coffee, pastries, ice-cream, salads and of course English breakfast))
- Several restaurants at Triq San Qwann and St. John square – sorry, my phone was already half-dead of humidity, I couldn’t mark the names under the rain, but you’ll definitely find them once there!
- Reno’s Cafe – pasta, salads, burgers, rolls, fish & chips etc
And by the way, the famous Caffe Cordina – I entered to have a breakfast, since everyone recommends it… But it’s just the same story as with Fontanella in Mdina – unfriendly, crowded, nothing special when it comes to food. I left after I saw the unpleasant atmosphere inside, understood that the waiters wouldn’t serve me fast enough and not finding anything appetizing in their menu and display case.
I also noted some shops on my way! If you want to buy silverware & jewellery go to Republika street, you’ll find at least three shops which are actually workshops. There you can see the craftsmen in the process of creation, and also get factory prices!
Enjoy Malta and tell me if you managed to do the things which I couldn’t!