Malta Makes It On Bloomberg’s List of Top Travel Destinations in 2024

Once again, the charm and allure of Malta have captured the attention of the global stage, earning our Mediterranean gem a spot on Bloomberg’s list of must-visit destinations for 2024.

In an article titled “Where to Go in 2024,” Bloomberg dedicated a special section to Malta, highlighting its unique offerings as an ideal travel destination.

Among a diverse array of locations globally, including cities and states of much larger scale, Malta stood out alongside Busan in South Korea, Boston, Las Vegas, Montecito, and Aspen in the United States, Argentina, Hong Kong, Halifax in Canada, Bergen in Norway, Quito in Ecuador, Transylvania in Romania, San Sebastian in Spain, Belfast in the UK, Lima in Peru, Morocco, and the enchanting island of Palau.

Bloomberg anticipates 2024 as a record-setting year for travel, with a positive outlook on overcoming pandemic fears, economic challenges, and geopolitical conflicts. The International Air Transport Association projects that 4.7 billion people will take to the skies this year, generating a staggering $964 billion from air travel alone.

For those planning their travels, Bloomberg recommends choosing Malta for a vacation in 2024. The article highlights the opportunity to explore filming locations of blockbuster movies like Gladiator and Troy, as well as the iconic settings of the Game of Thrones series. Beyond cinematic landscapes, visitors can immerse themselves in Malta’s rich historical tapestry and bask in the beauty of the surrounding seas.

On the cultural front, Bloomberg acknowledges Malta’s International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS) as Europe’s most significant museum. With a government investment of thirteen million euros, MICAS provides a platform for both local and international contemporary art exhibitions. Notably, the museum offers breathtaking views of the Port of Marsamxett.

The article also encourages travelers to mark their calendars for March to May, as Malta hosts the Maltabiennali.art, themed “White Sea and Olive Groves.” Additionally, October presents an enticing opportunity to experience Notte Bianca, when museums and historical sites open their doors to the public free of charge.

Article credits: https://maltadaily.mt/malta-makes-it-on-bloombergs-list-of-top-travel-destinations-in-2024/
16 reasons to visit Malta in 2023

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.

Visit https://www.tabetta.com/ or https://www.maltauk.com/winery-trail/ for more information.

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 VillasTui 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.

CNN Travel – A world in three islands on the Mediterranean

In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea lies a small country made up of three inhabited islands and irresistible allure. A cookie-like tan is the dominant color here, thanks to its centuries-old buildings; the water is the bluest of blue, the cuisine is a feast, ancient traditions are still celebrated, and the people are proud but extremely friendly. Welcome to Malta.

Across its three inhabited islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino – you’ll find every sun-soaked aspect of the perfect vacation. There’ll be marveling at prehistoric temples, strolling around spectacular old towns, cooling off in the clear waters of beautiful beaches, and partying the nights away at endless beach bars and clubs. From the capital Valletta to bucolic Gozo, here’s where to get your fill.

Valletta
Malta itself is the biggest island in the Maltese archipelago, and many visitors see no need to leave it. No wonder – the 95-square-mile (246-square-kilometer) island ticks all the boxes for history, culture, beaches and even nightlife.

Start at Valletta, the Maltese capital since 1571. It’s a city intrinsically linked with the Knights of Malta – a powerful military Catholic order thought to date back to the 11th century (still in existence today, it’s currently headquartered in Rome). Founded upon the orders of Jean de Valette, a grand master who was the Knights’ leader during the victorious Great Siege of 1565 when the Ottoman Empire failed to capture the island after nearly four months of battle, Valletta is an epic-looking city fortress.

Baroque palaces swagger beside quaint restaurant terraces, and lively coffee shops with knockout views occupy the stairs leading from the port to the Old Town. Red telephone booths – a reminder of 150 years of British rule from 1814 to 1964 – stand under Valletta’s trademark carved wooden balconies, painted all colors of the rainbow.

What to see? There are fantastic views of the Grand Harbour and its forts from Upper Barrakka Gardens. St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a mesmerizing monument to the wealth of Knights of Malta with two works by Caravaggio inside: a pensive “St. Jerome” and the “Beheading of St. John the Baptist,” his largest work of art. The National War Museum in Fort St. Elmo recounts Malta’s military history.

Culture here isn’t just ancient, though. The Floriana Granaries – once a storage space for grain, and now Malta’s largest public square – makes for a magical outdoor venue that regularly hosts festivals and concerts of world-famous artists.

To try some local specialties, head to the cozy Cafe Jubilee, which serves mouthwatering stuffat tal-fenek (slow-cooked rabbit, a Maltese favorite), superb ravioli with traditional Gozo cheese, and imqaret: date-filled pastry, often served with ice cream.

Three Cities
Squaring off against Valletta on two peninsulas straddling the Grand Harbour are the so-called Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, neighboring fortified towns. It was here that, in 1565, the Great Siege of Malta was won, leading to the founding of Valletta – and in fact all three have two names, both pre- and post-siege.

Start with Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu, its pre-siege name), a small fortified town with some of the prettiest streets and churches on the island. Get lost among the winding pathways of the historic core with its colored doors and balconies, and statuettes of the Virgin Mary gracing the facades, windows, and street corners.

Proceed to equally gorgeous Cospicua (AKA Bormia) to admire the docks – overhauled by the Brits in the 19th century – and city gates. Finally, cross the harbor to Senglea (l’Isla) for a coffee overlooking the water and Valletta on the other side. DATE Art Café is an ideal choice.

When you leave Senglea, take the traditional dgħajsa boat – a shared wooden water taxi – back to Valletta.

Marsaxlokk
The colorful boats are swaying lazily on gentle waves but the main street is far from calm. It’s Sunday and Marsaxlokk’s fish market is in full swing, gathering the restaurateurs, locals, and tourists from all over the island to buy the fresh catch brought by the local fishermen. This has always been a quiet fishing village on Malta’s southern coast.

Come here for its pretty waterfront (perfect for sunset walks), and a wide array of seafood restaurants whose terraces perch beside the water. As well as Sunday’s fish market, there’s an all-week market for souvenirs and local produce.

You’re here to eat seafood, of course. Choose between klamari mimlija (stuffed squid), grilled lampuki (mahi-mahi), and stuffat tal-qarnit, a delicious octopus stew. Afterwards, have a rest on the rocks – flat and made for sunbathing – at nearby St. Peter’s Pool, a cove with crystal-clear waters.

Blue Grotto
As you’d expect, Malta has natural sights aplenty. Perhaps the most famous is the Blue Grotto, on the island’s southern coast. From a viewpoint above you’ll get panoramic views of this spectacular system of sea caverns with their almost unreal blue waters. Boat trips – leaving from a nearby pier – take you inside.

While the grotto is one of the most popular (and touristy) spots on Malta, the translucent waters – allowing views of up to 16 feet down – make up for the crowds. The boat is also the best way to admire the majestic white cliffs of the surrounding coastline.

Ħaġar Qim
If you’re interested in archaeology and ancient history, you need to make a beeline for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ħaġar Qim, a megalithic temple complex with sweeping views over the sea – just a few minutes’ drive from the Blue Grotto. Dating back as far as 3,600 BCE, it’s several thousand years older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge, and one of the oldest religious buildings on the planet. The main temple – which you can walk through, as they did all those years ago – is surrounded by three other megalithic structures. A five minute walk away is another temple, that of Mnajdra – another of the seven temples protected under that UNESCO listing.

Marsaskala
So you want to see the real Malta, but you’re also partial to resort towns. The solution: Marsaskala, towards the southeastern tip of Malta island. Its harbor is among the most scenic on the island, the seafront promenade is ideal for contemplative walks or scenic runs, and the center is dotted with pubs, bars, restaurants and takeaways.

The real beauty of Marsaskala, however, is that it’s more affordable and less glamorous than the better known resort towns of St. Julian’s or Sliema. Just south of the town is the beautiful St. Thomas Bay, where you can have a swim. It’s extremely family-friendly, with a children’s playground, picnic tables and shower. It even caters for both sand and rocky beach lovers, with limestone rocks on one part, and a sandy beach the other.

Mdina
Time stands still in Mdina. The medieval capital of Malta, it wears its former status with grace, mesmerizing with a kaleidoscope of palazzos, shaded little squares, elegant fortifications and bougainvillea-covered facades. Today, its strategic position in the center of the island is less crucial for defense possibilities – it’s more about those photogenic 360-degree views.

Today Mdina resembles an open-air museum rather than a full city – only 300 people live inside the ancient walls. But it’s one of Malta’s most evocative places, and an essential stop to get a history fix.

See the fantastic baroque interior of St Paul’s Cathedral, get to Bastion Square for the observation tower on top of a bastion on the city walls – it offers fantastic views of the island. Don’t miss the 18th-century Palazzo Vilhena, home to Malta’s National Museum of Natural History.

Just outside the city walls is a small bar named Crystal Palace serving pastizz, a classic Maltese street snack in the shape of savory pastry with various fillings. Try the ones with ricotta cheese or mushy peas. Or, better, try both.

The Romans also left their mark in Malta and Mdina bears signs of their presence. St. Paul’s and St. Agata’s catacombs give Rome’s catacombs a run for their money. Meanwhile, Domvs Romana is a museum on the site of an ancient villa, displaying items from the home, including mosaics.

Sliema
Once a popular residence for wealthy Maltese and the British, who built many Victorian and Art Nouveau villas here, today Sliema – just north of Valletta – is the commercial heart of Malta with international offices, shopping malls, never-ending restaurants and bars, and high residential complexes. For the Maltese, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place with controversy surrounding its rapid development. For tourists, it’s a good place to base yourselves if you want to be close to everything but hyper-connected.

The promenade is home to beach bars, plenty of spots to take a dip, and knockout views of Valletta, while “party boats” leave nightly from the harbor.

You may have heard about Malta as an island of wild nightlife. Well, that’s Paceville, located in St Julian’s, the next harbor town after Sliema, heading north from Valletta. Less glamorous than Ibiza or Mykonos, it’s a loud and rowdy party area, reaching its bombastic crescendo in the triangle formed by Paceville Piazza, Santa Rita, and St. George’s Road. There’s lots of booze, screaming crowds, noisy pumping music, and late-night snacks and hookah bars. Be prepared to stand in long lines at nightclub entrances – and be prepared to find not much space inside.

Mellieħa Bay and St. Paul’s Bay
If exploring from the comfort of a resort is something you’re looking forward to, then Mellieħa Bay and St. Paul’s Bay fit the bill. At the northern tip of Malta, closer to Comino than to Valletta, they both have a wide selection of hotels big and small, affordable and upscale, with swimming pools and without.

Għadira Bay in Mellieħa is a long and shallow sandy beach that’s perfect for families. Mellieħa village, located above the bay, has a more remote, more local feel to it thanks to its hilltop location.

Over in St. Paul’s Bay, Bugibba is a classic seaside resort town with fast food chains, a kaleidoscope of bars and restaurants, a promenade and even an aquarium. Qawra Point Beach on the northeastern tip of Bugibba, allows you to take a plunge with views of Malta’s rocky northern coast.

Before being a filming location for “Game of Thrones,” “Troy,” “Assassin’s Creed” and the most recent “Jurassic World Dominion,” Malta stood as a background to the 1980 Robin Williams-led musical “Popeye.” While the movie itself didn’t fare that well, either at the box office or with critics, its set remained near Mellieħa and was turned into an entertaining family theme park.

Gozo and Victoria
The second-biggest island of the Maltese archipelago, laidback Gozo fills in the blanks that Malta left. Getting there is straightforward – regular ferries go from Ċirkewwa on Malta’s northern tip to Gozo where life is slower, nature is wilder, and the atmosphere is more relaxing.

Victoria, the capital, gives Mdina and the Three Cities a run for their money. Start your visit with the magnificent, high-up Cittadella – an ancient walled city with a well-preserved historic core and mindblowing views of the island. Descend to charming Victoria – it’s buzzing with life, with restaurant terraces spilling out onto shaded piazzas and traditional Maltese buff-colored streets. Choose a cafe, order gelato, and forget about the hassle of city life. Gozo is great for that.

It’s even better for going diving, with several world-class locations around the island. The Blue Hole, on the west coast, is a 50-foot deep tube-like rock formation filled by the sea, with an archway and cave at its bottom – pass under the arch and you’ll be in the open sea. It’s a truly mesmerizing dive.

Dwejra Bay, where it’s located, is part of an epic coastline dominated by high cliffs, with the stunning Fungus Rock rising up from the sea. The scenery may ring a bell for “Game of Thrones” fans. Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s Dothraki wedding was filmed here, in front of the Azure Window – a fragile limestone arch straddling the sea. Sadly, the arch collapsed in 2017. Now, you can only see the remains of it by diving.

Ġgantija
Imagine a building that is 5,500 years old. In the quiet Ix-Xagħra village in the heart of Gozo you’ll find Ġgantija, a spellbinding complex of two prehistoric megalithic temples, and another site given World Heritage Status by UNESCO. Believed to be important ceremonial sites for Neolithic people, they sprawl over a whopping 77,000 square feet. There’s also an interactive museum to give you more information about their usage and ancient appearance.

Despite the passing of all the centuries, it’s still a calm, meditative place. Archaeologists have spent decades researching them, and have yet to discover exactly how they were used. Animal remains found on site point towards sacrifices, while the abundance of exaggeratedly voluptuous feminine figurines suggests a fertility cult.

Comino
If Malta is the urban island and Gozo its lowkey sibling, Comino is the wild cousin. The population is a modest two people, there are no cars, and no signs of globalization – just the untouched Mediterranean. Most visitors come for the Blue Lagoon – a shimmering, shallow bay whose water is an almost unreal azure color.

But while other visitors go straight back to the main islands, you should stay on Comino. Just a mile away is the 17th-century St. Mary’s Tower, one of the defensive structures erected by the Knights of Malta to signal the enemy’s approach with cannon fire – the Comino Channel was a strategic waterway between Malta and Gozo.

For beaches, you need Santa Marija Bay and San Niklaw Bay, both within a mile of both Blue Lagoon and St. Mary’s Tower. Thoroughly rested, hike up Ġebel Comino, the highest point on the island – although at around 275 feet, it’s not exactly high, it has beautiful views of all the islands. For snorkeling, try Cominotto, a tiny island right next to Comino.

Article credits: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/malta-gozo-comino-sights/index.html
Malta wins Lonely Planet’s top destination to unwind award

Global travel authority Lonely Planet has unveiled its top destinations to visit next year with the release of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023, and Malta has been awarded the “Top Destination to Unwind” Award, alongside destinations such as Halkidiki in Greece and Jordan, The Malta Tourism Authority said.

Lonely Planet said that Malta has been ‘much-loved by European visitors for decades,’ adding that it ‘is attracting more visitors from around the world, beckoned by its prehistoric temples, fantastic scuba diving and buzzy Valletta, its beautiful capital,'” the MTA added.

Lonely Planet’s annual marquee moment celebrates their expert predictions for where to go in the year ahead, the MTA said. “Showcasing 30 incredible destinations around this globe, Best in Travel 2023 is Lonely Planet’s 18th annual collection of the world’s hottest destinations and the must-have travel experiences for the year ahead. Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 recommends 30 must-visit locations around food, journeying, connection, learning and unwinding. It offers a comprehensive set of itineraries aimed at helping travellers to explore the world – while following along with some seriously knowledgeable locally based experts along the way.”

The award was presented to Clayton Bartolo, Minister for Tourism; Gavin Gulia and Carlo Micallef, Chairman and CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority, during last week’s World Travel Market in London.

“Malta’s profile in the tourism world is rapidly gaining the strong reputation it truly deserves. In the past months, the Malta Tourism Authority has been a proactive catalyst in making sure that the splendour of the Maltese Islands is shared and outreached around the globe,” outlined Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo.

“Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more. The nominations are then whittled down by our panel of travel experts to just 30 destinations. Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and its ongoing commitment to sustainability, community and diversity,” the MTA said.

Article credits: https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-11-16/local-news/Malta-wins-Lonely-Planet-s-top-destination-to-unwind-award-6736247525
10 hidden gems in Malta

From finding secret beaches on which to enjoy Malta’s stunningly clear waters to knowing the best places to find a cup of coffee with a view or tuck into a late-night pastizzi-fest, this guide has got you covered when it comes to discovering hidden Malta.

1. Valletta
The capital of Malta is, of course, a popular place to begin your visit to the islands. But for the authentic Maltese experience, stray from the busy thoroughfares and get lost in the winding, pretty backstreets of Valletta. Here family-run cafes, tiny restaurants and kitsch little shops are dotted around, just begging to be explored.

2. Ghasri Valley
Malta has no shortage of beautiful coastal spots for a swim, but the Ghasri Valley on Gozo is a must-visit. Here crystal clear, turquoise waters gently run through a steep-sided winding valley to create a secluded, natural s-shaped swimming pool complete with a tiny pebble beach. It’s also a great place for snorkelers and divers, as the creek hides several impressive underwater caves.

3. The Secret Passage at St Gregory’s Church
Malta has its own secret tunnel to rival Paris’ spooky catacombs; the thick stone walls of St Gregory’s Church in Zejtun have a hidden passageway inside, filled with human bones. With the skeletons believed to date back to the 1600s, the passageway was hidden for centuries before being re-discovered in the 1960s. Watch out for holidays and events when the church is open for visitors.

4. Fontanella Tea Garden
When visiting the city of Mdina, there’s only one place to stop for refreshments. The Fontanella Tea Garden is situated up high on the city’s stone bastions, meaning these al-fresco coffees come with the best views across Malta. Oh, and it’s also famous on the island for its delicious selection of home-made cakes – yes, please.

5. Il-Hofra L-Kbira
If you’re looking for a private slice of coastline, Il-Hofra L-Kbira will not disappoint. From the parking lot on the cliffs above, the beach is almost completely hidden below. Shallow warm waters and a flat, rocky beach with a little cave area providing some shade await visitors who find it. It’s not far from the super popular St Peter’s Pool in Marsaxlokk, so you could enjoy its hidden beauty after visiting the touristy site.

6. Crystal Palace Pastizzis
Pastizzi, a soft filo-pastry filled with mushy peas or soft ricotta, is Malta’s go-to snack. You’ll find them on sale pretty much everywhere, from bars to street food vendors, but Crystal Palace Tea and Coffee Bar has become a bit of a pastizzi icon. On the outskirts of Rabat, this cafe is open pretty much 24/7, so you can get your fix any time of the day or night!

7. Mnajdra Temple Complex
Malta has a long and rich history so the country boasts some incredible Roman ruins and beautiful crumbling architectural sites from different periods of its past, many of which get very busy with visitors. One hidden gem amongst these sites is the Mnajdra Temple Complex, near the village of Qrendi, where one of the three beautiful neolithic temples was built and designed around the movements of the sun. If you can, plan your visit during an equinox or solstice when special events are held.

8. The Jesus Tree
Yep, this is literally a tree that looks a bit like Jesus on the cross. Local legend says that the tree changed shape after being struck by lightning and locals now place flowers and gifts in homage at its feet. After being uprooted during a storm, it unfortunately lost its “head” and roots but the trunk was afterwards secured into a concrete base, so its holy shape can still be admired. If you’re after a quirky afternoon activity, set off to find the tree just outside of Mdina.

9. Seafood in Marsaskala
It’s no surprise that the seafood in Malta is famous for making travellers’ mouths water – with a huge array of Mediterranean fish and shellfish caught offshore each day, dishes here could hardly get any fresher! A great place to sample local dishes is in the small, relaxed fishing village of Marsaskala. Tuck into a swordfish steak or try traditional spaghetti with octopus sauce, before wandering along the promenade to spy the colourful fishermen’s houses and the boats that bob in the harbor.

10. Coral Lagoon
This perfectly-circular sea cave with an open roof is B.E.A.utiful. Either swim or kayak through what looks like a small cave from the sea next to Little Armier Bay and you’ll find yourself in a little round lagoon, harboring bright blue, clear waters. It’s worth getting there early before the tourists arrive – this highly Instagrammable hideaway isn’t going to stay a secret for much longer!

Article credits: https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/language/10-hidden-gems-in-malta/
Holiday Inn set to land in Malta in 2024

Holiday Inn is set to launch at the heart of St Julian’s, adding to Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Eden Leisure Group’s growing list of hotels in Malta.

IHG and Eden Leisure Group are targeting an opening date at the start of 2024, after a management agreement between the two companies was signed in 2019, Eden Leisure Group CEO Simon De Cesare confirmed.

Plans for the 168-room hotel were “put on hold for a little while during the COVID-19 pandemic,” yet after building permits were granted in January, Eden Leisure Group has been “demolishing and excavating since,” Mr De Cesare said.

While Malta already has a high amount of bed stock, so much so that Mr De Cesare would “in most instances” advise against new hotels, this is Eden Leisure Group’s third hotel under IHG’s management, with the two companies already having the three-star limited-service Holiday Inn Express hotel, as well as the five-star luxury Intercontinental Malta hotel.

“This four-star Holiday Inn hotel would allow us significant flexibility and synergy between our brands and our management,” he added.

“The proximity of the properties and the economics of scale will be immeasurable,” Mr De Cesare continued.

Given the wide array of hotels in Malta available for visitors to choose from, establishing a key target market is a must, and while Holiday Inn is “traditionally a family hotel,” through the “synergies mentioned, it will also cater to the corporate market”, he concluded.

IHG Hotels and Resorts is one of the world’s leading hotel companies, with over 6,028 hotels from several brands currently under its control in more than 100 different countries.

Eden Leisure Group has been the “forefront of hospitality and entertainment in Malta” since the country’s early days of tourism more than 50 years ago, and now operates several entertainment and leisure venues, including the Eden Cinemas and the Eden Superbowl.

Mr De Cesare was named CEO of the company in 2018, using his vast experience in the entertainment industry to help Eden Leisure Group progress even more.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/holiday-inn-set-to-land-in-malta-in-2024
9 beautiful beaches in Malta – Lonely Planet

The beaches in Malta tend to be dramatic, rocky and sea-sculpted, with fewer soft and sandy curves of Mediterranean coastline than you might expect. Despite this, the Maltese make the most of every swimming spot, and on these compact islands, water sports abound, and you’re never far from the sea.

With crystalline waters, historic wrecks, and interesting underwater formations, Malta is also Europe’s best diving destination, but even snorkeling from the island nation’s coastline offers a remarkable insight into an underwater world.

Whether you’re keen on splashing around in the waves, spending an afternoon relaxing on the sand, or enjoying a leisurely lunch of local seafood, here are the beaches to head to in Malta, and its smaller sister islands of Gozo and Comino.

View the Lonely Planet top 9 beaches in Malta here.

The best beaches in Gozo and their pros & cons

It’s no secret that Gozo offers some of the best beaches to visit. Unlike main island Malta, where beaches can get crowded pretty quickly in summer, beaches in Gozo rarely get too busy at this time of the year.

If you’re considering staying in Gozo or planning a day trip to Malta’s sister island, here are a few personal suggestions for the best beaches around. Quiet, few man-built structures and clean.

Ramla l-Hamra
Ramla l-Hamra is the largest and most popular (sandy) beach in Gozo, and for good reason. With an almost red-coloured sand, and surrounded by mostly undeveloped countryside it’s an obvious favourite for both locals and tourists alike. It’s clean, there’s plenty of space for sunbathers and its shallow waters and easy access makes for a very family-friendly beach.

If you plan to visit Gozo, this beach should be at the top of your list.

San Blas Bay

San Blas Bay is a beautiful little beach on the North coast of Gozo, which isn’t particularly difficult to reach but which discourages people who aren’t in very good shape to head down there. It’s not necessarily getting there that requires being in shape physically, it’s the steep hill climb that forms the biggest challenge.

Pluck up some courage and make your way down, it’s well worth it. Clean, clear waters, secluded and only blemished by the small structure of a kiosk selling some drinks and snacks. Public transport (buses 304 – quickest – or 302) will take you to the top of the hill at San Blas, at the limits of the nearby village of Nadur. You’ll need a 15 min walk down to the beach.

11 local beaches awarded Blue Flag for 2021

11 beaches in Malta and Gozo have been awarded the Blue Flag for 2021. This year the International Jury took into consideration the COVID-19 restrictions imposed on beaches all over the world and noted that the beaches in Malta and Gozo followed these restrictions in a good manner, keeping in mind the safety of beach users in mind.

The Blue Flag Beaches in Malta and Gozo are:

Malta’s Top Hidden Beaches

The Maltese Islands are home to some beautiful beaches such as Golden Bay, Ramla Bay in Gozo, Mellieha and Paradise Bay to mention a few, however it’s also home to some fascinating hidden gems, and what better time to explore them than now? If you’re not lucky enough to own a boat (or be friends with someone who does), be prepared to go for an adventurous trek – but it will be worth it! Just remember to pack food and water because none of these beauties will have a snack bar.

Here’s a list of our favourite secret beaches:

Fomm Ir-Riħ
Unless you can access it by boat, getting to this beautiful beach is an adventure in and of itself – featuring a fifteen-minute trek through Malta’s wildlife. Practically untouched by man, this is one of Malta’s few beaches which is covered in pebbles. Featuring steep cliffs on either side – it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Fomm Ir-Riħ is found towards the limits of Mġarr.

Slug’s Bay
We all know the popular beaches of Għadira Bay and Armier Bay – but nestled in between these two iconic beaches lays one of Malta’s hidden gems: Slug’s Bay. This small bay accommodates ten people, at the very most so it can get very crowded – but the views are absolutely stunning, and well worth it!

Il-Majjistral
Did you know that Malta has a vast expanse of open land, known as the Majjistral Nature Park? A short trek down the steep cliffs brings you to an expanse of gorgeous, untouched sea – the perfect site to spend a day sunbathing or snorkeling. For the less adventurous – it is highly advised to visit the beach at Il-Majjistral by boat, as the 45-minute trek can be quite exhausting!

Mġarr Ix-Xini
Found in our sister island of Gozo, this small beach is the perfect get away from more populous beaches like Ramla bay.

Wied L-Għasri
Another hidden gem in our sister island – you can’t get here by boat, and you’ll have to walk a fair bit AND climb a lot of stairs – but this valley, found just off the Gozitan town of Għasri is most definitely worth the hassle!

Coral Lagoon
Have you ever wanted to jump into open waters and swim out through a cave? You can do just that at Coral Lagoon – found just off Little Armier bay. You may not be able to get here on your boats though – the passageway is very narrow and can only be accessed by kayak. Coral Lagoon is a short, 30-minute kayak ride away from Little Armier – ensuring you get your cardio fix AND get to swim in one of Malta’s most hidden gems.

Mġiebaħ
If you’re looking for a nice sandy beach to hang out with your four-legged friend, Mġiebaħ is definitely one of the beaches you should visit. Drive up to Selmun palace, take a left and follow the winding road and you’re there.

Santa Maria & St. Nicholas – Comino
Comino is synonymous with the Blue Lagoon, but there are other, less crowded beaches on the island too! A short walk along Comino’s main road will take you to either Santa Maria bay or the bay of St. Nicholas – both gorgeous. Both worth visiting.

Qarraba Bay, Mġarr
Have you ever taken a walk through the clay slopes near Għajn Tuffieħa? Once you reach the plateau, you’ll notice another sandy beach paralleling the more accessible Għajn Tuffieħa, that looks impossible to get to – but it isn’t! It’s the lesser visited Qarraba Bay – which can be reached either by hiking down through the wilderness behind the plateau, by climbing down the clay slopes – or by visiting with your boat.

However you choose to visit this idyllic beach, be prepared for an afternoon of peace and quiet since very few people try to get there!

 

 

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