A Hidden Gem – Malta

Malta has a rich history and very friendly locals making it one of the best places to visit in the world. Here’s a list of must visit places in Malta.

Malta has a rich history and very friendly locals making it one of the best places to visit in the world. There are a good number of restaurants throughout the island and dining out is generally cheaper than it is in the UK. Malta is a small country with a large population and you get a very diverse experience with the country in terms of fully built up tourism resorts to heavily crowded marketplaces to quiet and scenic places with little to no habitat to see. People often visit Malta to encapsulate the experience of lovely countryside and nice little villages and historic towns. For a place of its size, there are numerous scenic beaches and beautiful landscapes in the country of sightseers and walkers. The heritage of Malta is very rich and there are a plethora of historic sites that tourists can ramble at. The Maltese public transport service is very refined and being the small island that Malta is, it is pretty cheap to get around it. If you really love silence, Malta has that to offer as well. There are sister Islands around it with very little population and the aura over there is very quiet and laid back. Malta appeals to all types of tourists, the elite class that prefers resort tourism and the type that is there to cool off in a less touristy and independent manner.

The History of Malta

Remains of the population in Malta suggest that it dated back to the Neolithic times, over 8000 years ago. Signs of the earliest inhabitants can be found on the island to date. There are large structures of Neolithic temples that are still present on the South Island of Malta and in Gozo. 

The buildings are estimated to have been built even before the Pyramids of Giza were formed in Egypt. They are known to be the most historic free-standing monuments in the world. It was invaded by the Arabs in the Middle Ages, during the Byzantine-Arab war. The regime introduced new methods of irrigation, fruits, and cotton to the land. The Arabs introduced the Siculo-Arabic language from Sicily and that evolved to form the current day Maltese. In 1091 the Normans seized the Island of Malta and the native Christians welcomed the reign upon themselves. They quickly embraced Roman Catholicism as their religion. 

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From 1530 to1798, Malta was under the rule of the order of the knights. They were also known as the Knights of Malta. That modern-day capital of Malta (Valetta was built during this period). In 1798, Napoleon conquered the Island and the Knights were not ready to face the strength by which the French had entered. Napoleon himself initiated a primary and secondary education system. Slavery was abolished and all the Turkish slaves were set free. A civil code was set for the public to act upon and the old system of the university was replaced with a new and more scientific one.

Malta was then under the rule of the British for 160 years after the demise of Napoleon and was bombed heavily in 1942 by the Germans in an attempt to take it over as it was of high strategic importance. The Maltese showed immense bravery and valor in battle and were awarded the George cross as an emblem to their devotion by King George VI. The Cross is still part of the Maltese flag and they are very proud of it. They gained independence in 1964 and have been a sovereign state since then. In 2003, they joined the European Union and became a popular tourist spot around the globe.

The Maltese Cuisine

Maltese cuisine is the result of the long relationship of the islanders with the many civilizations that occupied the Island over the course of its history. The cuisine is defined as an electric mix of Mediterranean cooking. 

The traditional food is rustic and based on seasons. You will find something called Bigilla, on the counters of several shops. It is a dish consisting of a thick plate of beans and garlic. The must-try snacks of Malta are ‘hobz biz-zejt’ (and olive dipped bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes, with a filling of tuna, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and capers) and pastizzi (ricotta or mushy peas filled in a flakey parcel of a pastry).

There is a wide variety of fish in the Maltese waters and a trip to the Marsaxlokk fish market would certainly be intriguing. There are a plethora of fish-based soups and dishes depending upon the season in Malta. Even exotic fish such as octopus and squids are used to make some ravishing stews and pasta sauces.

The favorite desserts of Maltese include kannoli, Sicilian-style, semi-freddo, and Helwa tat-Tork. The Vineyards of Malta, even though are not as renowned as many other countries, sure hold their own against international competitors winning several accolades in France, Italy, and further afield. The varieties that stand out are Gellewza and Ghirghentina, which produce immaculate wines of vivid body and flavor. The main wineries also conduct wine tastings and guided tours of the facilities. Depending on the season, tours cover the entire process of production, ranging from fermentation to the aging process. They also have wine history museums and opportunities to taste and even buy vintage wines. 

The Beaches of Malta

Malta being an island and surrounded by the huge ocean is home to some picturesque beaches, stunning coves, and clearest waters in the Mediterranean. If someone visits Malta, going to many beaches is a must. A few of the most recommended beaches are listed below;

The Golden Bay Beach

The name, Golden bay is based on the broad golden and sandy view of the beach at the edge of Mellieħa, there is a lot of space for couples to walk and children to play. There are many inlets and coves on the beach and this is one of the reasons why the beach is immensely popular amongst the Maltese residents and people. During the peak season in the summer, the beach can get extremely busy and there are several lifeguards who patrol the beach putting up indications and cones to indicate where it is safe to swim and where it is not. 

Melliha Bay

Melliha Bay is one of the best experiences that someone can have in Malta. It is a perfect beach for young adults and children. The beach slopes ever so gently into the sea so the water stays shallow for very far out. Unlike the Ghajn Tuffieha, there are several restaurants and cafeterias near the beach. The shallow water allows for several watersport activities to take place such as water skiing, banana boating, and sea kayaking. As the sea is sandy and shallow, the water stays warm for a way into the autumn months, making it a great vacation for season travelers. 

Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

This beach faces the Golden Bay beach and is a relatively smaller beach which is much more protected. This beach is much lesser visited than the Golden Bay. There is a flight of a hundred stairs that need to be descended to get to the beach. Unlike the Golden Bay, the sand on this beach is of a reddish tint, which is complemented by a picturesque scene all around surrounded by cliffs. There are not many restaurants or places of rest near the Ghajn Tuffieha, but it is perfect if you are looking for a less crowded option and enjoy the experience of a splendid beach. 

Dahlet Qorrot

If you want a perfect beach for snorkeling, the Dahlet Qorrot is a small and rocky beach that is known widely for its snorkeling potential. There are not many amenities, but there is a small snack bar and it is a very peaceful spot to chill out and watch the waves in winter. For people who spend most of their time in the water at the beach, the Dahlet Qorrot is an amazing option as the water here is very soothing and makes for an amazing entertainment source.

Dwejra Bay

This beach is on one of the most famous geological locations and there is a stunning view of the Azure Window as soon as one steps foot on the beach. The Dwejra Bay is located in Gozo, which is a sister Island to Malta. The Bay is a beautiful and small beach where, due to erosion, there are small pools of water. The coolest part about the bay is the presence of underwater caves making the place perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving as well. However, the swimmers keep to the smaller pools as the high winds can create heavy waves around the azure that can cause deep injuries. 

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Zarish Suhail

About The Author: Zarish is a young writer who loves to highlight the importance of travel by sharing her thoughts and experiences in a positive, vibrant way. Other than writing about travel destinations around the world, she is a chess enthusiast, pet lover, sketch artist, and feels deeply about promoting global access to health-care professionally.

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