Every year as soon as the summer is over I need to think about my next trip.
It’s a constant desire to travel, a deep need for new discoveries. It’s the time I make decisions for the year ahead. Isn’t that the same for you?
And so while having a dinner with friends and talking about short weekend destinations, the idea came out: let’s discover Malta at the end of October and have some Halloween fun.
Even if not the classic destination for a weekend break this island is still an interesting place less than two hours flight from Rome that can surprise you even when you least expect it.
There is probably no visit to Malta without a day trip to Gozo and Comino. Not in this case, considering the only three days available and the autumn period.
You’ll probably need to rent a car. Play it safe. Right-hand drive tested us from the start and each ride was more like an extreme carousel ride.
Saint Julian was a good compromise considering its location and the countless Halloween parties, so that even though we hadn’t planned exactly what to do, it was easy to get in and out of the many bars and clubs on St.George’s Road among people in mask, music and drinks.
The area of the small port of Saint Julian is so nice and has many spots where you can spend pleasant evenings enjoying good wine, and typical dishes.
I started with a visit to “La Valletta” and the remarkable impact with the “City Gate”, the access road to the historic city centre revisited by Renzo Piano and among the recent redevelopment works of the city. Also fascinating is the Parliament Building.
From the top of Upper Barrakka Gardens you can enjoy a lovely panoramic view of the Grand Harbour and the Three cities in the background.
I only visited Vittoriosa, in the evening, before having dinner in Valletta.
The afternoon rain of the early days of November helped the visit to St. John’s Cathedral, a gem of the town. Of great interest is Caravaggio’s fresco “The Beheading of St. John the Baptist” located in the oratory of the cathedral.
I can say that I spent most of the visit to the cathedral to admire this amazing masterpiece.
Walking through the narrow streets of the city without having a precise destination is a very relaxing experience and when it’s time for a good aperitif, I suggest to taste the typical Maltese sandwich “ftira” in one of the many bakeries in town. Among the best recommended by the Maltese are “Nenu – The Artisan Baker” and the “Museum café”.
Given the short distances and zero traffic we drove to the north of the island in search of a place to chill out for a few hours and get the last tan of the year. So we found ourselves in Ghajn Tuffieha, behind the village of Mankata. Clayey slopes, red sand and crystal clear water: a truly remarkable bay. Even if you are not equipped, you can climb the clayey top and enjoy the view of the bay from above.
We didn’t know, moreover, about the presence of Singita, the famous beach front bar of the Roman coast that opened here too. The perfect mix for what turned out to be a long day at sea: beach, diving, good wine, spaghetti with clams, good music in the background. Fun, eat, repeat until sunset. At the end of the day, it was hard to believe we were just a month away from Christmas.
On the way back, stop in Mdina.
The illuminations that light up the streets of this city surrounded by historic buildings will not leave you indifferent. In nearby Rabat, you can try the classic Pastizzi in a typical bar, “Is-Serkin”, considered by many to be the best Pastizzi shop in Malta.
On Sunday morning we visited two fishing villages in the south of the island: Marsaskala , Marsaxlokk Bay and St. Peter’s Pool.
Picturesque is the fish market of Marsaxlokkk as well as the typical Maltese houses and the colourful boats called Luzzi.
For lunch time, going up Triq Iz-Zejtun street, you will find a small “Codenine” bar where you can taste similar fish tapas with Maltese beer. Don’t count on outstanding service and warm welcome: it is just a small town bar with residents and fishermen who relax after a week of work. But I wouldn’t miss it on the way home.
GOOD THINGS TO KNOW
AX The Palace – roof top restaurant
High Street, Sliema, Malta
Singita Miracle Beach
ghajn tuffieha bay, L-Imġarr MGR 9041, Malta
Nenu – The Artisan Bakery
143 St Domnic Street, Valletta
Is-Serkin – Pastizzi
Triq San Pawl, Ir-Rabat, Malta