Malta Stories and Tips

Towns to Visit

Qawra Seafront Photo, Malta, Europe

There are so many fascinating places to visit in Malta, that just one week wasn't enough to cover them all. However these are the places that we did visit and I believe that all of them should feature on any prospective visitor's list:

-Qawra and Bugibba-

I've coupled these together as it's very hard to tell where one starts and the other ends. Located on the south side of the island, around 20 minutes drive from the airport, these are purpose-built towns directed solely for tourism. They were only built around 20 years ago; however they already have the well used look of the island in general.

We stayed here at the Sunflower Hotel (review to follow) and enjoyed the laid back, Mediterranean feel of the area. The central focal point is Bugibba Square which is home to a number of restaurants, bars and shops as well as being the setting for various events. Whilst we were there, we saw the annual Raw Bikers of Malta Rock Concert, which was fantastic! Despite my lack of interest in both bikes and rock music, the party feel of the place was infectious and welcoming.

There is a sea front, with lovely views of St Paul's Islands and the sea, however this isn't the place to come if you want to lie on the beach all day. There is a man-made beach, although it isn't nearly as good as the real thing. Most people use the lidos, which are spread across the front. The lidos all have their own bars, restaurants, swimming pools, toilets etc and cost only a few Euros for daily entrance. They also have access to the sea via steps across the rocky edges.

Also in this resort is a casino (you'll need photographic ID to get membership, which is free), a bus station which connects you to most of the rest of the island and various shops, restaurants and museums - definitely plenty to keep you entertained for a week, although I'd urge you to travel a bit.

-Valetta-

This is Malta's capital and was built after the Great Siege to create an impregnable fortress against another assault. It was in fact, Europe's first planned city. It is much the same now as it was when it was built and you get a real sense of what the city has been through by just wandering around.

We went on a public holiday, which meant that the streets were very quiet, except for the steady stream of tourists that are to be expected in a place like this. To be honest, we didn't actually go in anywhere, but I had a fabulous day wandering around the maze of streets (that are often very steep) and looking at the impressive Fort St Elmo (which is designed in a star shape to give the best advantages points and minimise the threat of a surprise attack) and the equally impressive grand harbour (home to thousands of yachts.)

If you like to do things, there are plenty of museums, all of which are described in any guide book and plenty of shops for those who love to part with money!

-Mosta-

Mosta is in the centre of Malta and is a residential area that is quite compact. Its crowning glory is the Mosta Rotunda, which is an impressive and imposing building that stands above and beyond the sea of rooftops. Built over 27 years, this parish church is home to Europe's fourth largest dome. The main draw though, is the replica of the 200kg bomb that fell through the roof of the dome during a service in 1942. Fortunately it didn't explode and the replica can now be found in the church's sacristy (conveniently located right next to a gift stall!).

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