Location & History
Malta is the largest island of a tiny archipelago country about the size of Wales in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy, opposite Tunisia in North Africa.
The Romans arrived around 2,000 years ago, but today Malta remains very British, despite independence since 1964 from 150-years of London rule. They still drive on the left, red telephone boxes, and everyone speaks English. However, the country is stuffed with EU cash, banks everywhere and up-to-date slick.
A church for every day of the year, cobbled streets, stone steps, domes, old shuttered-windows, outdoor seafood, pasta and pizza everywhere. The people are friendly and helpful, and views of Valletta Harbour are almost as good as Venice.
The Grand Harbour ferry from Sliema to Valletta, then walking the allyways there. St Paul’s 300-year-old Cathedral. Take a ferry to Gozo Island to see Azure Window. Eat at the Sunday fish market at Marsaxlokk – go early and leave early to avoid the rush.
Make time to relax eating seafood outside with a few drinks, and If you think you’re seen everything, there’s even daily ferries to Sicily.
Oliver Reed’s Last Order
Don’t miss a few beers on Valletta at The Pub where Oliver Reed died taking a break filming Gladiators – after a 4-hour drinking session immortalized on t-shirts. Apparently the whole round came to £270.
I’m sure Ollie would approve of a selfie on his final bench!
Get out on the sea as often as you can – many craft from Sliema. The new buses are cheap, but island roads are slow and don’t rely on the timetable. If you’re staying more than a few days, get an Oyster-style electronic ticket. Car hire is easy, but parking’s a problem.
A little rain and only 20c was usual this early in the year, but still some sun. I hear in the summer it’s hotter than hell, but I guess the best time is spring or late season when beaching and swimming is good.
Full board and drinks at Blue Sea St George’s Park, St Julian’s: 4-nights for just £57.01. Ryanair return: £45.98. All booked through the excellent website: LowCost Holidays. Note: peak season prices will be much more. Beer and wine from €2 and simple happy hour cocktails at €6.
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