Malta can best be described as a hidden paradise tucked in the heart of the Mediterranean. This amazing island is blessed with amazing views of the surrounding waters, the impressive yachts and temples from yesteryears. The island lays claim to a rich history and this is evident in the 17th century buildings that adorn the island and the historic forts in this walled city. The view from the Grand Harbour in Valleta, the capital city creates a warm feeling in one’s heart that makes one expectant of the wonders that are to come. Malta is rich in history, culture and cuisine, its dazzling beaches and the fact that English is one of the languages of the Island, the other being Maltese, adds to its appeal. Malta is the definition of an exquisite blend of good old European history and ultimate luxury. It is an absolute pleasure to explore and these are some suggestions to help make your luxury trip to Malta one to remember.
1. Stay at Corinthia St George’s Bay
The Corinthia St George’s Bayis a grand hotel that has two floors of executive rooms and suites, and a nice executive club lounge that serves breakfast and drinks in the evening. The rooms are large, exquisitely furnished and equipped with state of the art facilities to make your stay as luxurious as possible. The hotel boasts of an excellent concierge service and the languages spoken at the hotel include English, German, French, Russian, Italian Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese and Danish. Complimentary wifi can be found throughout the hotel and the hotel also offers a currency exchange service which makes visitors enjoy their stay more. One of the other facilities offered by this wonderful hotel is the well-equipped Apollo Day Spa. The spa is open to guests for an entrance fee and it gives you the opportunity to relax and let go of the accumulated stress in a serene atmosphere. The attentive and well-trained members of staff are always available to guide you through making the best choice from the available options of beauty treatments and relaxing therapies. The hotel also has a really good gym and seven pools which are available to guests.
2. Have an amazing foodie experience at Caviar and Bull
Located in St Julian’s Caviar & Bull is one of the best places to enjoy an amazing food experience with a great view of St George’s Bay. The signature dishes are Mediterranean cuisines and include the Wagyu beef taco (contains mango chutney, béarnaise nitro icecream, Amarone impregnated shallots Amaretto caviar with a smoked oak note) as well as the main local dish of Rabbit Confit with is actually wrapped in turnip cannelloni glassed with game jus, cognac flavored rabbit liver, and Merlot impregnated shallots. The restaurant boasts of meals that are prepared with love, and with diverse ingredients to create unforgettable dishes and dinner experience. In addition, the Caviar & Bull also serves the house special which is a smoked salmon with aromatic herbs, truffle, honey caviar,, black seeds and parmigiano foam. This restaurant is your best bet if you are looking for a place to enjoy a fantastic meal while soaking in the amazing scenery.
3. Enjoy the privacy of Gozo Island
Gozo is known as the perfect place to go from a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city life. It provides a serene haven with a characteristic charm reinforced by the spectacular coastline and the rugged landscape. The major spots to visit on the island are the Azure Window, the Cittadella and the Ġgantija temples which date as far back as 3600 BC.
The Azure window was formed from the collapse of two limestone sea caves and it is a choice location for swimming, scuba diving, and boating among other things. It is a popular tourist destination and has been featured in many films such as the Clash of the Tiitans, the Count of Monte Cristo and the Game of Thrones.
The Ġgantija Temples in Xagħra, Gozo, are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it consists of two stone temples which date back to 3200 BC. The temples are one of the best preserved monuments in the world and they stand as a representation of the archaeological history of Malta which outdates the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge!
The Cittadella is a part of Gozo Island that has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and it boasts of a medieval castle, fortresses, and walls that date back to the 17th century.
4. Visit Mdina “the silent city” and Rabat
Mdina is a beautiful city and history has it that the Apostle Paul lived here in 60 A.D. It is one of the most amazing old walled cities still standing and it also retains a timeless atmosphere that adds to its appeal as a tourist destination. It boasts of immense religious and cultural treasures as well interesting baroque architecture. Neighbouring Rabat is said to have been the home of St. Paul’s Grotto and it also has archeological sites that point to the important role this city played in the Roman history. You can also visit St. Paul’s catacombs in Mdina which are really ancient cemeteries that are the largest Roman cemeteries in Malta and are also the earliest evidence of Christianity in this region.
5. Enjoy the landscape of Dingli Cliffs and the Blue Grotto
The highest point on the Malta Island is the Dingli cliff which can literally be described as the place where the sea and the sky meet! The view of the Mediterranean Sea from the top of the cliff is breathtaking and extends as far as the eyes can see. On calm summer evenings, the view of the sunset and the boat-dotted waterfront is second to none.
The Blue Grotto is the collective name given to the sea taverns that can be found on the coast of Malta. The name ‘Blue Grotto’ is as a result of a unique phenomenon that is usually observed in the early hours of the day, from morning till noon; the rays of the sun hit the walls of the caverns causing a reflection in the waters below, thus giving the caverns a blue color because of the phosphorescent colours of the sea flora. The Blue Grotto is a popular destination for scuba diving, cave exploration, rock climbing and snorkeling.
6. Visit the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples
Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and they are located on the southern coast of Malta. The temples date as far back as 2500BC and they have been preserved as outstanding examples of the buildings that show an important aspect of human evolution. The surrounding landscape and spectacular scenery make this place a must-visit.
7. Have a luxury tea time at Palazzo Parisio
Palazzo Parisio is an 18th century delight that houses many artifacts and many other wonders that are just waiting to be explored. The palace serves as home to the history of Malta’s royalty and retains evidence of their opulent lifestyle as well as their many treasures. In addition, the Palazzo Parisio is a great place to find the magnificent baroque-styled walled gardens which are carefully tended to and provide the perfect getaway from the noisy environment. The gardens are open to the public all year round and they serve as a source of inspiration for the meditating minds.
8. Enjoy Valleta – one of the jewels among the Mediterranean cities
The Valleta is a beautiful city and it takes about three days to explore. The major places to visit are the Grandmaster’s Palace, St. John’s Co-Cathedral and several small streets. St. John’s Co-Cathedral was finished in 1577 and it is one of the standing examples of Baroque architecture in Europe and it remains one of the best cathedrals in the world. The Grandmaster’s Palace was built between the 16th and 18th century and it has housed several nobility over the years and it is the current Office of the President of Malta. Some parts of the building also serves as museum to showcase the history of Malta.
In order to enjoy your visit to Malta, the best months to visit are April and June, or September and November.
Olivier Templar-James is Chief Editor at Luxury Travelers Guide.