Operators and tourist board experts reveal their insider tips and hidden gems. Karl Cushing reports
Tourists continue to flock to Malta in record numbers, with 147,000 visiting for a break in June alone. And us Brits can’t seem to get enough of it, making up nearly one-third of the market (32%).
To find out what all the fuss is about, we asked experts – locals, and those who’ve been visiting the island for years – to find out what, in their eyes, makes Malta so special.
UK director, Malta Tourism Authority
Mellieha Bay. It has a wonderful sandy beach from which you can walk straight into the sea so it’s great for families with small children.
One of the many al-fresco seafood restaurants such as those in Spinola Bay, St Julian’s – one of the prettiest fishing villages in the Mediterranean.
Best way to spend a day...
A perfect day out for me in Malta is chartering a sailing boat for my family and friends and exploring the islands and their hidden coves by sea, stopping off on the islands of Gozo or Comino and snorkelling or diving in the clear blue waters. Then, in the evening, dining at one of the island’s many al-fresco seafood restaurants is a firm favourite.
Night owls looking to experience Malta under the stars should head to the Bedouin Bar (summer only) at the Westin Dragonara Resort; BJs Live Music Club in Paceville, Malta’s only live jazz venue; Gianpula and Numero Uno, Malta’s largest open-air hot spots; or La Grotta in Xlendi, Gozo, one of the most beautiful open air clubs in the Mediterranean. For the best views, head to the contemporary and stylish Twenty Two, situated on the top floor of the highest building in Malta (the Portomaso Tower in St Julian’s), which features panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Hire some bikes and explore the island of Gozo. This is a great activity for the whole family to do together. For couples, consider a private tour of Palazzo Falson in the silent city of Mdina, or a visit to Palazzo Paraiso in Naxxar – its beautiful gardens are both historic and romantic.
Chairman and managing director, Prestige Holidays
There is a lovely beach on Gozo called Ramla Bay. It’s often deserted and has fine gold sand – the perfect spot to switch off and relax.
Any of the fish restaurants down in Marsaskala for freshly prepared, locally caught seafood.
Strolling around the narrow winding streets of historic Valletta, which offer a great respite from the heat of the day in the summer months.
Favourite spot for watching the sunset...
Dingli Cliffs, in the north of Malta. It offers great views over the sea. Take a bottle of wine and watch the sun go down.
A day trip to Gozo to do some scuba diving, or simply to enjoy the slower pace of life and explore some of the villages where time seems to have stood still.
National sales manager, Belleair Holidays
Golden Bay in Mellieha. It’s a beautiful beach, soft and sandy, and it’s in a great location in the north of the island, below the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa hotel. There are plenty of watersports available, and it’s also a great place for people-watching too.
Peppinos, set in the picturesque Spinola Bay, St Julian’s. It’s family-run and they serve great fish and pasta dishes. Plus, there are fantastic views from the top floor.
A visit to Valletta. There’s so much to do and afterwards you can relax in a bar on one of the squares with a glass of wine and watch the world go by.
Best spot for watching the sunset...
It has to be Gozo. The five-star Ta’ Cenc Hotel & Spa has incredible views and is so beautifully quiet. The outside hotel bar, facing the horizon, is very special.
Again, a visit to the beautiful island of Gozo is a must. It takes only around 20 minutes on the ferry and it’s so very different from Malta.
TOP SALES TIPS
“Malta has so much to offer but another great selling tool is that it’s just 60 miles from Sicily. A great option is to sell a twin-centre with Malta so that clients can experience two beautiful countries in one holiday. Malta’s capital Valletta also makes a great city break. It’s home to the Phoenicia, the oldest hotel in Malta and an ideal location to stay. It’s my favourite hotel.”
“Aside from the year-round sunshine, one of the best things is the people, who are kind and courteous. The standard of service in the hotels is also excellent.”
“Malta is under three hours from the UK, and easily accessible from regional airports across the UK.”
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