A crossroads and mix of cultures in the middle of the Mediterranean
Are you visiting Malta? Crossroads, mix of cultures, the center of the Mediterranean. For this reason it is worth visiting it and discover what it offers over the blue sea and the favorable climate in every season. Yes, because of places with a paradisiacal sea in the mare nostrum there are so many, actually even more comfortable than the Maltese beaches that, let's face it, are stormed in July and August. Yet Malta is worth discovering. I'll tell you how.
The circuits of tourist circuits should not be avoided, but addressed with criteria. The hop on & hop off buses are interesting, as they avoid the grueling bus network that is overflowing in the summer months.
Malta is a small island, but also very small. Tourist buses make you break down the distances and visit more sites of interest in a single day. The irreplaceable alternative for me is the rental of the car, which however implies a certain courage, both for driving and for traffic and roads and for very high traffic. I said: it is not such a small island, as well as churches in a few kilometers, diving trails, over 365 churches, natural wonders, Saracen towers, megalithic temples, palaces of the great masters, paintings by Caravaggio, patron saints, casinos, catacombs and Victorian mansions, to name a few.
What to see beyond the UNESCO heritage and capital of culture 2018 Valletta? Surely Vittoriosa, Marsaxlokk but also Mdina, a jewel: day or evening, but at sunset. A small but special gem in Mdina? The Fontanella coffee shop, full at all hours, where you can taste the chocolate cake. I've been recommending it for 20 years, I've been eating it for 30 years, and it's always a must.
Then there are places outside the tourist tours that are worth seeing, because authentic Malta is there. A place above all: Lija, a miniature Mdina, without tourists and souvenir shops. It is always the island of Gozo, although it is always popular as a day trip, it remains a secluded and genuine place. It would be worth spending more than a day to breathe the authenticity of the Maltese archipelago.
Over the years I have learned to my knowledge of the trip to Malta and what is missing because my pearl of the Mediterranean is considered appreciated on all fronts. An aspect not to be underestimated for not finding nasty surprises after booking your advantageous flight + hotel flight? The conformation of the island.
It is not possible to find the sandy beach-waterfront-restaurants-hotel-piazzetta formula with historical monuments. If there is a walk, the coast is rocky, if there is a sandy beach around it, there is nothing at all. If there are restaurants around the hotel the hotel features. If you want the typical "houses of character" look for them in authentic villages but they host at most a bar and the cultural / political / social center of the village. Sliema or Qawra: once you understand this scheme, it is a real vacation.
The best tip? Trying to get to know someone who can show you Malta from its best side: the sea. A boat trip wins over everything else, and if it is topped with a packed lunch consisting of the mythical hobz biz zeit (Maltese bread with tuna, tomato, beans, olive, capers and another a second of various currents of thought), a cold Cisk (local beer) or of iced Kinnie (inimitable carbonated drink) you will breathe the true air of Malta