2023 is the year of the big travel revival. The Mediterranean Archipelago, comprised of Malta, Gozo and Comino, packs a punch in the number of experiences travellers can have and is brimming with reasons why. From a Michelin gastronomy scene to 300 days of sunshine, culture and heritage dating back 7,000 years and sporting activities galore, Malta has rounded up 16 reasons why the destination should be on every travel bucket list in 2023.
1. Not Just One but Three Michelin Star Restaurants to Experience
The pandemic has led to travellers being unable to sample and taste the delights of Malta’s three Michelin star restaurants – Noni, Under Grain and De Mondion. In February 2020, these three outstanding restaurants were the first in the Archipelago’s history to be awarded Michelin star status, cementing Malta’s place on the world’s gastronomy scene. For travellers who love fine dining, 2023 will be the ideal time to visit as Malta will finally have its time in the spotlight to celebrate the achievements of its outstanding chefs. Michelin will return to the Archipelago in 2023 to announce whether more restaurants are going to be awarded a coveted star.
2. A Vegan and Vegetarian Holiday Dream
When travellers visit Malta there are a wide variety of restaurants, dishes and chefs that focus on serving the very best of vegan and vegetarian cuisine. From a tailored Gozo Picnic experience to vegan pasta and desserts at Pash & Jimmy’s Café, or Valletta’s healthy café – No. 43 – an eclectic hangout at Gugar where you will find a library and art gallery for emerging artists alongside delicious snacks – the Maltese islands demonstrate vegan and vegetarian food never has to lack creativity or flavour.
3. A Revival of Traditional Farming
Young Maltese farmers are reinventing Malta’s farm to table concept by reviving old techniques, traditional vegetables, and the repopulation of the native black bee. Blending the old ways with modern methods, a group of upcoming farmers are working with local restaurants to place Maltese ingredients back on the menu. From Jorge the amateur beekeeper to a neighbourhood shop concept, The Veg Box, started by Emanuela and Lucas, and community-supported farming launched by Cane and Cassandra just a year ago, diners can today taste home-grown ingredients at the island’s three Michelin star restaurants of Noni, De Mondion and Undergrain, as well as Verbena, Townhouse No.3 Bahia, Madiliena Lodge, Briju, to name but just a few.
4. New Wine Trail – Bring A Spare Suitcase Because You Cannot Buy Maltese Wine in the UK
The newly released Wine Trail, created to inspire wine enthusiasts, maps out the ultimate wine tasting break, highlighting where you can find all of Malta and Gozo’s vineyards. The newest vineyard to open is Ta’Betta, a family-run business offering tours and private wine tastings starting from €75 per person.
5. Have A Multi-Generational or Intimate Group Trip
The travel trends for 2023 all point towards the rise in multi-generational trips as families and friends are looking to come together to make up for the time missed in 2020. Malta has a wide variety of villa and apartment options from farmhouses in Gozo to city-centre living in Valletta. Here are a few of the providers that sell villas in the Archipelago: James Villas, Tui Villas, and Oliver’s Travels.
6. Marsaxlokk’s Tal-Maghluq Area to Be Regenerated In €5 Million Project
The Marsaxlokk area is a big draw for tourists, with over 1.2 million visiting the quaint fishing village in 2019. The project, overseen by the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation, aims to improve both the infrastructure and aesthetic of the area. From new pedestrian areas to improvements in Marsaxlokk Square and modern facilities along the harbour’s edge, travellers will be able to wander the beautified streets of the fishing village by the end of 2023.
7. Stay in A Maltese Aristocrat Family Home, Museum and Now B&B
Valletta is brimming with beautiful boutique hotels housed in restored palazzos. The latest is Casa Rocca Piccola Valletta’s most beautiful family-owned living museums and now an exclusive B&B. The 16th Century palace recently opened its doors to the public, allowing visitors to explore the stunning interiors, spread across 50 rooms, learn about the unique customs and traditions of Maltese nobility, plus spend the night in one of the palace’s spectacular bedrooms on a B&B basis.
8. Explore Malta’s Golden Age from Three Cities to Valletta And Fort St. Angelo
History buffs can explore the legacy of the Knights of St John throughout Malta. The Knights 250-year rule began in the Three Cities and Fort St Angelo, before they built the fortified city of Valletta after the Great Siege of 1565. Visitors to the islands can learn about the valiant battles that took place, explore the architectural feats including Baroque palaces and churches the Knights built throughout their reign, as well as an abundance of rich cultural gems including artistic masterpieces and sculptures.
9. Three Cities – The Alternative City Break
Whether you are wanting a solo city break, a trip with friends or a romantic getaway, Malta’s Three Cities, made up of Birgu, Senglea and Bormla, have something for everyone. Located across Malta’s Grand Harbour, the three fortified cities offer a wealth of history and culture, and an insight into authentic Maltese life. Undergoing something of a renaissance, the Three Cities pose a fantastic alternative city break to Valletta, Malta’s capital city and former European Capital of Culture, and are arguably the epicentre of Maltese history. Enjoying Malta’s year-round sun, visitors can wander along the beautiful streets, soaking up the relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere and exploring the many churches, cafes, and piazzas. A recommended place to stay is the boutique Cugo Gran Malta, with prices starting from €144 per room per night.
10. See Why Malta Tops IGLTA’s Rainbow Index – Named Host of EuroPride 2023
Malta will host EuroPride in 2023, which is Europe’s biggest gay pride event. The Archipelago has retained the number one place on the IGLA- Europe Rainbow Index for five years running. Malta blends traditional and historical culture with a contemporary and welcoming mindset which is celebrated in style each September during Malta Pride. Malta is proud of its inclusivity with parliament approving in 2015 the Gender Identity Act, legalised same-sex marriage in 2017 and introduced gender-neutral passports in 2018.
11. Have an Overseas Wedding
Malta boasts 365 churches, making it the ideal destination for a religious wedding, as the stunning baroque architecture provides a beautiful setting for the special day. Those opting for a non-religious wedding have an expansive choice of beautiful hotels, rustic farmhouses, beaches, or historical sites to choose from. Celebrate in true Maltese fashion with a large reception for guests, and couples can sail away into the sunset on a traditional Dgħajsa boat in Valletta’s Grand Harbour.
12. A New Route from Wizz Air
Wizz Air announced a new base earlier this year at Gatwick Airport, with a new route to Malta. Travellers can also take advantage of the budget airline’s Flex service as an add-on to their fare, which will allow flights to be cancelled up to three hours before departure, with 100 per cent of the fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit. For more information visit: https://wizzair.com/en-gb/flights/malta
13. Europe’s Best Diving Destination
Repeatedly voted Europe’s number one diving destination and the second-best diving site in the world, Malta has placed 12 additional historical wreck sites on its diving map. Providing a clear blue sea which boasts an abundance of reefs, stunning caverns and caves, trails around the Archipelago are designed for both beginner and advanced divers, making it an absolute must for divers worldwide. Diving enthusiasts can arrange to visit wreck sites by appointment with The Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit (UCHU), exploring incredible locations that range from a 2,700-year-old Phoenician shipwreck to WWI battleships and dozens of aircraft crash sites. For more information on booking a diving trip to Malta visit PADI Travel.
14. Cycle Around Malta
Cycling along the craggy edge of Malta West coast offers visitors the opportunity to experience the sites of the picturesque Blue Grotto and stunning Dingli Cliffs, Malta’s highest point, before admiring the majesty of the rich baroque architecture built by the Order of the Knights of St. John. Cyclists can also explore Gozo, stopping to take in the island’s stunning 360-degree views from the top of the Citadel fortification in Victoria before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples – the oldest free-standing temples in the world. For more information on renting bikes in Malta visit: Be Green Malta.
15. MC Adventures in Malta
Adrenaline junkies can have their fix of adventure in Malta with MC Adventures, Malta’s leading extreme sports provider. The Maltese islands are an adventure lover’s playground, offering an expansive range of extreme activities including abseiling, freefalling and ziplining to name but a few. For the ultimate adrenaline-packed holiday, visit: https://mcadventure.com.mt/your-first-step-to-a-great-adventure.html
16. Watersport Experiences – Sailing, Kayaking, Paddle Boarding
For those wanting to explore the waters, but are not ready for the full diving experience, Malta offers year-round warm waters and excellent visibility for snorkelling at the Blue Lagoon. Visitors wanting to swim further out to sea can charter a sailing boat and take in the breath-taking views of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea before taking a dip. For a tranquil morning or afternoon on the water, visitors can go kayaking and paddle boarding to explore the coastline of the Archipelago which boasts varied topography, natural beauty and calm waters. Adrenaline junkies can also try flyboarding off Malta’s shores. Those who are brave enough to tackle the sport are lifted into the air over the water as they try to hold their balance to walk on water quite literally.