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/
Mdina Cathedral Museum catering for eclectic tastes

The Mdina Cathedral Museum stands out as an institution that is continuously evolving. It is housed in a magnificent baroque building on the right hand side of the cathedral, in Archbishop’s Square. This imposing edifice was built by Bishop Alpheran de Bussan, with the first stone being laid in 1733. This building was to serve as the seminary for the diocese of Malta.

In the 16th century, the council of Trent had instituted seminaries to provide for the training of candidates to priesthood. Twelve years after the last session of the council, Mgr. Dusina, Apostolic Visitor to Malta had decreed the erection of a seminary. Various attempts were made by the bishops of Malta to have such a purpose built building but it was only in 1703 that Bishop Cocco Palmieri welcomes the first seminarians to a building in Mdina.

In 1723 Bishop Mancini (1722-1727) , transferred the Seminary to Valletta. Bishop Fra Paolo Alpheran de Bussan and Grandmaster Manoel De Vilhena funded the building of the current building.  The building’s design is attributed to the architects Giovanni Barbara or Andrea Belli, although Barbara was dead when construction began, leaving Belli as the more likely candidate. The Mdina Seminary was inaugurated on the 20th May, 1742.

The Times of Malta talked to its curator, Mgr Edgar Vella and exhibition coordinator, Joseph P. Borg about its ethos and the recent bequest of the collection of John Bugeja Caruana. You may learn all about it in the article on The Times of Malta.

Read the full article here: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/mdina-cathedral-museum-catering-eclectic-tastes.983126
2023 Hosts Global Forum Destination Has Been Announced

Hosts Global, together with Hosts Global Affiliate Colours of Malta, announced they will be heading to Malta in 2023 for the next Hosts Global Forum. Steeped in over 7,000 years of history, and having played host to the Romans, Phoenicians and the Knights of St John, Malta will also play host to the 9th annual Hosts Global Forum in this idyllic archipelago.

Marina Terrace Spa Rooms

Take in stunning views of the Portomaso Yacht Marina whilst relaxing in your own private hot tub located on the spacious terrace furnished with sunbeds and dining area. The room features a large king-sized Hilton Serenity bed and an elegant bathroom with walk-in shower or bathtub. Watch a movie on the 43-inch LCD TV or catch up with work at the desk with WiFi access.

Special touches include a fully stocked minibar, a welcome amenity, complimentary bathroom amenities and tea and coffee making facilities.

The Terrace Spa Suits will be completed in the coming weeks!

 

Phoenicia Malta recalls Queen Elizabeth II’s dances in its Grand Ballroom

The Phoenicia Malta Ambassador Neville Juan Cardona featured on BBC World News on Monday morning, discussing the late Queen Elizabeth II’s visits to the hotel during her time on the island.

Mr Cardona spoke to BBC reporter Lucy Williamson about the Valletta hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where Prince Philip and the then-Princess Elizabeth “danced away many moons ago”.

He showed Ms Williamson the guestbook from the Queen’s stay at the hotel, featuring a number of photographs, during a time when “her signature simply read, Elizabeth”.

Queen Elizabeth II spent two years living in Malta while Prince Philip served as a Royal Navy Officer, a time that she described as some of “the happiest days” of her life. Just two years later she returned to London and prepared to become Queen, yet Ms Williamson remarked that while she will be remembered as “Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Head of the Commonwealth, and Queen, to Malta, she’s simply Elizabeth”.

Following her death on Thursday, The Phoenicia Malta recalled the Queen’s fondness for Malta, which “has long been known”, also expressing its condolences with The Royal Family and everyone around the world mourning her loss.

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World organisation, The Phoenicia Malta is an iconic 136-bedroom hotel located on Valletta’s doorstep that has “long been regarded as a national treasure”.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/phoenicia-malta-recalls-queen-elizabeth-ii-s-dances-in-its-grand-ballroom

 

Malta Marriott recognised for ‘excellence in service delivery’ by Marriott International

Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa has been recognised by parent company Marriott International for its customer service delivery through a distinction for its Intent to Recommend score for July 2022.

Marriott International was full of praise towards the Malta-based hotel for the achievement, a sign of a “truly outstanding performance”.  It also thanked Malta Marriott for the service it provides to customers, with a priority on making them feel “safe, secure, and welcomed”.

“Lasting memories are created through great customer service, and we have a team that cares about that as much as you do,” Malta Marriott said.

“We are proud of our associates for their dedication to delivering hospitality and creating experiences that will last a lifetime,” the hotel added.

The hotel launched in January 2020 after an investment of €30 million for extensive refurbishment, and he has since become known for the “joyful experience” it offers its guests every time they visit.

Similar to other hotels, Malta Marriott was forced to halt its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdown restrictions just a few months after its launch, before it reopened at the start of September of that same year.

 

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/malta-marriott-hotel-spa-recognised-for-excellence-in-service-delivery-by-marriott-international
7 feasts in one day, all dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady

The Maltese summer festa season hits its peak on 15th August with the feast of Santa Marija or, to give it its official title, the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, which is celebrated in no fewer than seven towns: Mqabba, Qrendi, Mosta, Attard, Gudja, Ghaxaq, and Victoria in Gozo.

It’s not just a religious feast but also a public holiday marking the mid-point of our long hot summer, when most businesses shut up shop to give employees a breather as the thermometer continues to sizzle.

For festa enthusiasts, Santa Marija is the queen of the season, and the usual competition between the parishes goes up a notch or three as towns vie with each other to produce the biggest, most colourful celebration punctuated by the loudest and most creative fireworks.

In some towns, celebrations start two weeks prior to the big day, and culminate in spectacular fireworks displays on the 14th and 15th of August. One of the best pyrotechnic shows to watch will be the one produced by the St Mary’s Fireworks Factory of Mqabba, which is renowned for its ingenious displays. Get there early on the evening of 14th August to grab a good viewing post, as it will get very crowded. Not to be outdone by its neighbour, Qrendi’s Santa Marija celebrations are drawn out over four weeks from 30th July to 22nd August.

The famous Mosta dome, or Rotunda as the locals refer to it, glows bright as it becomes the focal point for all Santa Marija celebrations, with High Mass celebrated by the Archbishop on 15th August at 9:15am. The mechanised ground fireworks display is held outside the church on the eve starting at 11:30pm, while the procession with the titular statue starts at 6:45pm on 15th August, with the brass band playing the Ave Maria.

The elegant residential town of Attard is also en fête. Make sure to take a peek inside the parish church, which was built between 1613 and 1624 on designs by architect and sculptor Tommaso Dingli and is regarded as the finest Renaissance church on the island. A concert by the brass band La Stella Levantina will be held on the eve at 8pm in the parish square, followed by fireworks at 11:15pm. The procession with the titular statue starts at about 6:45pm on 15th August and finishes at around 10:30pm.

Another church built by Tommaso Dingli is that of the parish of Gudja, which is also celebrating the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. Completed in 1666, it is the only church in Malta with three bell towers. When it comes to Santa Marija festa processions, Gudja holds the record for the oldest titular statue of the Assumption, sculpted out of solid wood in 1807 by Maltese sculptor Vincenzo Dimech. Sacred music will be performed by the Assumpta Est choir every day from 11th August in the church at 6:30pm, culminating in the pontifical mass on 15th August at 9am. There will also be two concerts by the La stella Band Club and Maria Assunta Band Club on 14th August from 9pm. The procession with the titular statue on 15th August starts at 7:30pm.

Ghaxaq goes to town with its street decorations for the Santa Marija festa, which is documented to have been celebrated in this village since at least the start of the 1800s. Many of its elaborate street decorations, including statues and pedestals, are over 100 years old. Celebrations actually kick off two weeks before on 30th July at precisely 12pm, when the church bells go wild, flags are hoisted up above the rooftops triggered by a 21-gun salute. A powerful siren, a World War II relic, is sounded from the St Mary’s Club in memory of the joyful arrival of the SS Ohio, which quite literally saved the island at the height of the Siege of Malta.

Head over to Ghaxaq on 13th August from 10pm for a street party like no other, where a procession with the statue of Our Lady ends with a confetti and fireworks show followed by a gig by DJ Armani. And on 14th August, bag yourself a vantage point on Valletta Road just outside the town to watch the “pyro-musical” spectacle “The Convoy” from 9pm, followed by mechanised ground fireworks at 11pm. At noon on 15th August, make sure you don’t miss a little tradition dating back to the 19th century when a mini statuette of the Assumption pops out of its elaborate sarcophagus on top of a grandfather-clock-like structure!

The capital of the sister island, Victoria, is also celebrating the feast of Santa Marija. The cathedral at the Citadel is the focal point for this festa, which also features traditional horse races along Republic Street as well as an agricultural fair at Villa Rundle on 14th and 15th August. Don’t miss the concerts by the Leone Philharmonic Society brass band which is based in the Aurora Theatre, one of Victoria’s two opera houses.

Hosts Global Destination Spotlight: Malta

Today’s Hosts Global Destination Spotlight features one-of kind destination Malta, and Hosts Global Affiliate, and local experts Colours of Malta. Whether you’re a history buff, a night owl, an adrenaline junkie, or simply a rambler wishing to be bowled over by natural splendour, the list of things to do in Malta is endless.

Megaliths, Medieval dungeons and Calypso’s Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages, always leading to a huge Baroque church, are a sight to behold. Their Fortress Cities are architectural marvels and the countryside is dotted with medieval towers, wayside chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world. The Islands have been described as an open-air museum.

Read the full article: https://hosts-global.com/hosts-global-destination-spotlight-malta/

SummerDaze Malta is back!

Having become a crowd favourite, SummerDaze Malta is back this August with some of the leading artists in the music industry.

The main events will take place on the 15th August in collaboration with BBC Radio 1 Dance Live and Creamfields, and on the 17th of August, in collaboration with Radio Deejay and M2O at the Ta Qali Picnic Area.

For the 15th of August, the headliners we are expecting are worldwide superstars Anne-Marie, Bastille, Elderbrook, G-Easy and Jason Derulo who will be performing, supported by BBC RADIO 1’s very own Sarah Story and Arielle Free.

On the 17th of August, audiences will be treated to Deejay Times’s Albertino, Fargetta, Molella & Prezioso with Live Performance by J AX, Baby K, Corona, Ice MC and Special Guest performance by Meduza. The show will include Dancers, MCs, host & musicians by Shake It crew.

Tickets for both main events are free but a donation of €3 will be required to cover the cost of a reusable cup that should be used throughout the festival, in accordance with efforts to reduce plastic waste. The remainder of the proceeds will be put towards a donation to the MTA Corporate Social Responsibility Fund. To register, follow the steps on www.summerdazemalta.com.

Supporting these two main shows, a series of satellite events will take place throughout the week. Renowned Italian rapper Ghali will kick off the week-long festival on the 10th of August with a performance at Uno in Ta’ Qali, followed by a pool party at the Bora Bora Resort on the 11th of August. On the 12th, Vida Loca will takeover the island’s Uno nightclub once again, with the best of Hip Hop, RnB and Reggaeton.

On the 13th, the festival will set sail for a boat party around the Maltese Islands. World renowned DJ and producer Sigala will be soundtracking a sunset pool party at Cafe Del Mar on the 14th of August ahead of the main event on the 15th. The penultimate day of the festival will be headlined by Italian rapper Tony Effe on the 16th of August with a beach party at the iconic Armier bay.

The 10th – 17th of August will be a week you don’t want to miss!

 

Why Malta is the Mediterranean’s most underrated destination

Plunked in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta has been squabbled over by empires for millennia. But today its people are fashioning their own story. Conde Nast Traveler’s Rick Jordan recounts his various visits to the island while giving a brief recount of Malta’s fascinating history and how it shaped the Malta we know today.

Read the full article here:  https://www.cntraveler.com/story/in-malta-roman-ruins-and-natural-wine-bars-sit-side-by-side
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