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A Cheat's Guide to Malta

By HarryTuesday 25th July 2017

No matter how short your stay is in Malta, you still need to get under its skin and experience the island. With 300 sunny days a year here, expect beach days, al fresco dining, and golden tans. Follow our cheat’s guide to really immerse yourself in Malta.
Malta is a small island, only 316km2. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in incredible adventures. So, grab your camera and your sun cream and jump into the Maltese way of life.

Maltese Beaches

Anchor Bay

For those who love to dive and explore the underwater depths, Anchor Bay is an ideal spot to visit. Enclosed between two cliffs, this bay is home to several caves that have been submerged by the warm waters. Grab your snorkelling gear and try to spot an octopus, a psychedelic-coloured parrotfish or a scorpion fish.

Blue Lagoon

On the west side of Comino, one of the Maltese islands, sits a small sample of paradise. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular beaches in Malta, and for good reason. The azure water is crystal blue, shining like sapphires under the glowing sun. It’s great for snorkelling, paddling in the shallow waters or simply lounging on the beach with a summer read.

Get to the Blue Lagoon

Boat ferry: Around €10. You will be picked up at the north of Malta. It will take about 20-25 minutes, and the last pick up is between 5pm-7pm. Boat day trip: €25-€35. You will experience a tour of the bays around Comino, and food and drink will be provided. This is one of the most popular options, so make sure you book in advance.

Explore Malta

Even though Maltese beaches are incredibly famous, there are still plenty of cultural activities you can get involved in during your time in Malta.

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum

One of the best ways to become immersed in a new island, is to understand its history. And you don’t get much more historic than an ancient subterranean necropolis. Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is prehistoric burial site, that stretches back to 4000BC, but was first discovered in 1902. Because the burial ground is incredibly delicate, and has experienced damage from thousands of visitors, there are strict rules on how many visitors are now allowed. Only ten an hour, for a maximum of eight hours per day are permitted entry. This means that tours get booked up very quickly, so book your place at least two months in advance.

Wander Through Vittoriosa

Also known as Birgu, this is a tiny city, only 800m x 400m. It looks out onto the Grand Harbour, and is a (tiny) metropolis of historical interest. In 1530, it was the home of knights, and has been a strategic military area, used by Phoenicians and the British. Its military history means it’s rich in architecture, and interesting sights. But don’t forget to have a sit down with a glass of something lovely whilst looking out onto the glistening harbour.

What to eat in Malta

Maltese cuisine may not be world famous, but it’s still delicious. It’s perfect for those who love hearty meals, fresh fruit and filling pastry snacks. Made with local ingredients, which you can pick up for yourself at Maltese farmers markets in Ta' Qali.

Stuffat tal-fenek

This is the traditional Maltese dish, bursting with rich flavours and aromatic scents. Stuffat tal-fenek is a rabbit stew, slow cooked in a rich tomato and red wine sauce.

Pastizzi

All that lounging on a beach and wandering through ancient burial sites will make you feel a little peckish. When hunger strikes, grab the most popular Maltese snack, pastizzi, from a nearby food stall. Translated to ‘pea cake’, it’s a small pasty filled with mushed peas. Or, you can have a pastizzi tal-irkotta (cheese cake) which has a ricotta filling.

The Prickly Pear

The prickly pear is the fruit of the cactus plant of the same name, that grows abundantly throughout Malta. Available in shades of the rainbow, from greens to yellows, or warmer reds and purples, these fruits are incredibly popular. Their sweet melon-like taste notwithstanding, they also have medicinal purposes, such as curing stomach ache or insect bites. The Knights of St. John also used the prickly pears for moisturising purposes, so it really is a miracle fruit. The prickly pear is so important to Maltese culture, that it can be found on their coat of arms, along with a traditional fishing boat and golden sun.

The Maltese Basics

To really get to know this idyllic island, you’ll want to be able to get around easily. That means being able to chat a bit of Maltese and get to grips with the basics of the country, like the language and currency (Euro). Maltese is traditionally spoken here:
Hello: Bongu
Please: Jekk jogħġbok
Thank you: Grazzi
Goodbye: Addiju
I don't speak Maltese: Ma nitkellimx il-Malti
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