Musing upon Malta

Luxury travel means different things to different people, but can normally be boiled down to two main factors: hedonism and exclusivity. People perceive luxury to be an indulgence, something that they would not ordinarily do, but which brings them great delight. To some this may be sipping cocktails on a speedboat in Sydney Harbour, to others it might simply be buying the more expensive ice cream for dinner as a treat. To me, it is isolation and beauty, a place where I am free to marvel at the spectacle of our planet in peace.

Malta is no secret (few places on Earth are), but this did not stop me from confusing it with all the locations beginning with ‘M’ along the Costa del Sol, before asking ‘Where’s that?’ A consultation with Google Maps showed me it is a tiny archipelago which sits between Sicily and Tunisia, barely visible amid the vast Mediterranean Sea. The main island boasts more history than you can shake a guidebook at, with no fewer than nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a capital city, Valletta, which is overflowing with architectural splendour.

Understandably, many people return from Malta with photographs of churches, palaces and forts, or stories about the nightlife in Paceville, where Malta’s greatest concentration of hotels and bars can be found. Fewer talk about Gozo, the second largest island in the archipelago, recognisable by its rural, scenic landscape and tranquil demeanour, as well as the startling Azure Window. Fewer still mention Comino, the smallest of Malta’s islands, which only eight people call home, and where I hoped I could find my own slice of luxury…

Gazing into the shimmering cyan of Comino’s Blue Lagoon, I let my mind ponder how the water could be such a colour, and yet so transparent. I was dangling my feet in the same body of liquid which washes upon the shores of Northern Africa; isn’t that an amazing concept? Depending on your luck, you may have to share the lagoon with a swarm of other tourists, or you might be quite alone. On this occasion, I found myself sifting the fine sand of the seabed between my toes in relative solitude, a few other figures scattered around the water’s perimeter. The sun’s heat was just strong enough to feel its replenishing presence, while the gentle lapping motion of the waves made the lagoon’s only sound.

A short walk away, I stood gaping at St. Mary’s Tower, a stout stone block standing in isolation on a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. How on earth did someone manage to build this in 1618, before machines, engines and industrialisation? The tower looks like it has always been there, like it was formed at the same time as the cliff on which it stands, unwavering in a steady, cool breeze. Turning to face the expansive sapphire sea, I became acutely aware of my isolation, and the temptation to sit down with a book was too great to resist. Would anybody notice, I wondered, if I dozed here and missed my flight home? Indeed, I had found luxury.

Kirk Shackleton is a content writer for MyMaltaInfo.com, your local travel guide to Malta.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Thanks for this article. Malta has been tops on my list for awhile and most people look at me and say “what, where?”

  2. Kirk Shackleton says:

    Thanks for reading the article. I’m glad it was useful to you. You should definitely go to Malta. It a wonderful experience

  3. Aurora says:

    Never visited Malta but have only heard good things. That water sounds spectacular.

  4. Kay McMahon says:

    I spent most of the summer on Gozo. Wonderful place! What really intrigued me was all the culinary herbs – rosemary, rocket, etc – just there for the taking by the roadside.

  5. irene says:

    sounds wonderful, my parents have raved about malta and gozo and i must admit i had not heard of Comino, will need to make a trip some day. thanks for the heads up.

  6. Aurora says:

    Kay that sounds lovely, what a wonderful way to spend your summer.

  7. Kirk Shackleton says:

    The local food is something you guys should all try when you go to Malta. Their food is amazing!

  8. Kay McMahon says:

    What did you like about the food, Kirk. I must admit to being less than impressed by a lot of it.

    We were treated to lunch at the Kempinski – that was great, but a lot of the other restaurants we went to were a bit of a disappointment.

    The Cafe Jubilee is great, though, I’d definitely recommend that.

  9. Kirk Shackleton says:

    Kay, I just loved the taste of their food. I particularly liked Ftira bread, Ġbejniet, Pastizzi, Lampuki (Malta’s favourite dish). I have a bit of a sweet tooth therefore I loved pretty much all the Maltese deserts. If you ever visit again, check out the following restaurants:
    Ta’Kris
    Ta’Kella
    La Mere

  10. Emily M says:

    My mother in law keeps on recommending Malta to me she loved it. She said the architecture and history was just so interesting. She said the hotel they stayed in was beautiful and it sounds like they spent a lot of time having high tea and watching people go by. Must find out which hotel it was!

  11. Kylie Martin says:

    One of my closet friends is Maltese and keeps telling me I must go, its not far from me either, so would be a low cost (flights) option.

  12. Kirk Shackleton says:

    Kylie, you should definitely go especially if you are very close and the flight doesn’t cost too much.

  13. Vanessa says:

    I love both Malta and Gozo island – it’s so beautiful.

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