COM team catching up with new exciting Hotels

Our team are thrilled to have toured the impressive Barceló Fortina this week! With its stunning Valletta views and versatile spaces, it’s the perfect blend of style and functionality for our upcoming collaborations. Exciting times ahead!

Ainsley’s Taste of Malta

Thank you, Malta & Gozo, for a fabulous culinary journey 😊🇲🇹

A big thank you to you all for watching Ainsley’s Taste of Malta – I hope you enjoyed the series and all the delights that Malta has to offer (I know I did!).

Big love to all the people we met and filmed with – such generous, welcoming people and a joy to work with. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed being part of the show. 😊

All the recipes from Ainsley’s Taste of Malta are up on my website – link in bio. I hope you enjoy trying them at home xx

credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/C3IaNmoIm0L/?igsh=Yzg2bWY0N3hoZ2h4

 

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/
Valletta’s Grand Master’s Palace restored to its former glory

After years of unprecedented logistical and restoration works, the Grand Master’s Palace – a gem in the heart of Valletta that can be considered the cradle of our nation – is once again welcoming visitors. This after the restoration phase of the interior of this historical and architectural site was inaugurated on Friday evening.

The Armoury has taken back its original place of 1605, in the former Parliament Chamber; the Piano Nobile corridors were restored; as was the Uccelliera, where there was the office of the Speaker; and a visitor centre was completed in the area known as Palazzo del Monte and the Orangere (which was the office of the Attorney General) and the place where in the past there was a small orange garden. Moreover, the courtyards of the palace, as well as the State Halls, were also restored.

In total, the restoration project of the Grand Master’s Palace will be executed through an investment of more than €40 million, financed by the Maltese Government with co-financing of 18 million by the European Union as part of the European Regional Development Fund.

In a speech during the inauguration ceremony, the President of Malta George Vella expressed the hope that this evening’s celebration is another chapter leading to a path of renewing knowledge and sustainability of the Maltese cultural heritage, of which this Palace is such an important part.

President Vella recalled that at the beginning of his Presidency he had to relocate his office, including all the staff, to Sant’Anton Palace. “Looking back, I do not regret the sacrifice that my staff and I had to make because over time I recognised the urgency for the restoration of this jewel that had significant damages,” stated President Vella

Referring to his regular visits to the Grand Master’s Palace during the works, the President thanked and saluted all those whose big or small contribution led to the execution of such a big and complicated project.

For his part, Prime Minister Robert Abela, in a speech during the inauguration ceremony, expressed the Government’s desire for this Palace to be more beautiful so that we can ensure that future generations, like our ancestors and ourselves, can enjoy it as well. He recalled his visit in 2020, when the world was facing a pandemic, and that on that day his message to the Heritage Malta management was one of courage, but also a message about the need for more work and investment so that once we overcome that difficult period, the world will find us ready to not only continue with our lives, but to be at the forefront in various fields.

“For us, culture and the protection of national heritage was not an exception. Instead of reducing investment, we increased it. Instead of slowing down, we increased speed. Today we are here in this transformed gem, a beautiful project that we also delivered. A gem among the many in this capital city that we are so proud of. We are dedicating national funds to such projects as the result of wise economic management. Because the economic results we achieve give us the power so that as a country we have the necessary resources to invest in all areas.”

Over forty artists, personalities and children took part in the reopening ceremony of the Grand Master’s Palace with works, some of which commissioned, for this evening.

The Palace will be open every day between 09:00 and 17:00. For more information visit: https://heritagemalta.mt/explore/grand-masters-palace/.

Read the full article here: https://president.gov.mt/en/the-grand-masters-palace-reopens-its-doors-to-visitors-after-an-extensive-restoration-with-an-investment-of-more-than-e40-million/
UNESCO recognises Maltese festas as an Intangible Cultural Heritage

The festa is a community event of religious origin held annually in village parishes across Malta and Gozo. The main festa season in Malta starts towards the end of April and runs until the beginning of October, with multiple events taking place in different villages. Community volunteers prepare the festa throughout the year and the event itself typically lasts a week. On the final day, a statue is carried in a procession led by the clergy and accompanied by members of the parish and marching bands. Festa weeks entail concerts, band marches, firework displays and bell ringing. Typical festa food, such as nougat, is sold from street stalls. The practice is transmitted informally through participation in the preparation and events. For instance, youth learn the stories and songs of the village and its sacred figures and how to participate in the festa by attending community events. Some parishes organise a children’s festa in conjunction with the church, and children carry a smaller statue through the town. Despite its increased secularisation, the festa remains an important part of cultural heritage in Maltese villages, uniting families, outsiders and local communities in a celebration of popular religiosity and local identities.

9th annual Hosts Global Forum – Malta

Valletta included amongst National Geographic’s top 30 exciting destinations to visit

When describing Valletta, journalists Rory Goulding and Connor McGovern suggest to their readers to visit Valletta because it is a “UNESCO World Heritage Site” and has a “skyline of battlements and cathedral domes” which were shaped by “multinational order of knights who ruled Malta from the 16th to 18th centuries”.

“Scenic terraces are set above a glittering waterfront, where wooden townhouse balconies overhang the narrow streets — add in year-round warm weather and it’s not just filmmakers who should be inspired to visit in 2024”, they continued.

They go on to describe how it is of “little surprise that filmmakers would be impressed by Valletta” as they mention how Gladiator was filmed right here in Malta and its sequel is now filming here yet again.

“And, just as with the original, director Sir Ridley Scott has used the Mediterranean light and golden rock of Malta as his canvas for recreating ancient Rome and its arenas”.

Some of the other destinations mentioned in the article include the Atacama Desert in Chile, Nova Scotia in Canada, Sierra Leone and Sikkim in India amongst many others.

Article credits: A prestigious list! Valletta included amongst National Geographic’s top 30 exciting destinations to visit (guidememalta.com
Five Intriguing Facts About Malta’s Historic Capital

Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a picturesque location that skilfully combines history, architecture, and culture. To truly comprehend the essence of this city, we will delve deeper into its interesting characteristics and peel back the curtain on its extraordinary history. Valletta’s continued attraction is impacted by its identity as the 2018 European Capital of Culture, its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its association with Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette, its strategic importance, its cultural variety, and more. Consequently, OhMyMalta has compiled five interesting facts, delineating Valletta’s brilliance, and uniqueness.

Fact 1: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The fact that Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site acknowledges the importance of its architecture and history. Francesco Laparelli, a military architect, methodically planned out the whole town in the 16th century, blending Baroque construction, fortifications, and a grid system that is both practical and visually attractive. The construction of Valletta served a strategic purpose in addition to being an impressive achievement of architecture. Its construction was overseen by the Knights of St. John, who sought to build a fortress city that would protect the island and stand as a testament to their strength and dedication.

The defences of the city, including Fort St. Elmo and Fort St. Angelo, had seen better days, but the Great Siege of 1565 left its mark. The Ottomans, headed by Suleiman the Magnificent, attempted to conquer Malta during this famous conflict, but the Knights, led by Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette, valiantly resisted. The Ottomans had to contend with strong defences, and the city’s tenacity was crucial to the Ottomans’ final loss. This period in Valletta’s history provides evidence of the importance and tenacity of the city.

Fact 2: Valletta Is The Smallest European Capital
With a land area of about 0.55 square kilometres and a population of little over 7,000, Valletta proudly claims the distinction as Europe’s smallest capital. Valletta, however, has an exceptional collection of historical, religious, artistic, and military assets despite its small size.

The beauty of Valletta is revealed in its baroque buildings, stunning artwork, and winding lanes with distinctive inclinations. Visitors may find elaborate architectural wonders, Maltese balconies with beautiful decorations, niches containing renowned saint statues, and Valletta’s characteristic antique store signs while strolling its small streets. The clever shallow steps in the city, which were once built for warriors wearing armour, provide a look into its interesting past. Well-preserved palaces and auberges from the 16th century may be seen strewn over the cityscape, each adding to the attraction of this Renaissance city. The beautiful gardens that cascade over the magnificent walls and provide tourists unrivalled views of the gorgeous bay are also not to be missed.

Fact 3: Strategic Location And Historical Significance
Valletta’s strategic location at the Mediterranean’s crossroads has made it a prized possession throughout history. Its location gives it control over important maritime routes and acts as a powerful defence against possible attackers. The defences of the city, known for their impregnability, have a long and colourful history. Fort St. Elmo is one of them and serves as a symbol of the city’s tenacity and historical importance.

The Great Siege of 1565 was a spectacular and violently fought war that is forever associated with Fort St. Elmo. The Ottomans launched a relentless attack on the fort’s walls in an effort to take Valletta. This fierce battle resulted in severe deaths on both sides, making it an important chapter in the siege’s history. Fort St. Elmo eventually fell, but not before its tenacious defence exacted a heavy price on the invaders and marked a crucial turning point in the epic war for control of the city. The history of Valletta, which is intricately linked to such occurrences, highlights its continued relevance as a symbol of resiliency and strategic significance in the Mediterranean area.

Fact 4: Home To Remarkable Art And Culture
The numerous museums, galleries, and historical places of Valletta are evidence of its cultural diversity. Visitors may travel back in time and take in the splendour of the past at the Grandmaster’s Palace, a magnificent architectural wonder. The State Rooms provide an insight into the splendour of the Knights of St. John thanks to their beautiful tapestries and murals. For those who enjoy history, the Palace Armory’s vast collection of weapons and armour is a gold mine. The National Museum of Fine Arts, which displays the creations of Maltese artists from various ages, is also located in the city.

In addition to its museums, Valletta conducts a wide range of cultural gatherings and festivals to honour its history and originality. An annual highlight, the Malta International Arts Festival, presents a broad selection of performances, exhibits, and installations. With the help of this event, the city is transformed into a thriving centre of culture that welcomes both residents and tourists from across the world.

Fact 4: Home To Remarkable Art And Culture
The numerous museums, galleries, and historical places of Valletta are evidence of its cultural diversity. Visitors may travel back in time and take in the splendour of the past at the Grandmaster’s Palace, a magnificent architectural wonder. The State Rooms provide an insight into the splendour of the Knights of St. John thanks to their beautiful tapestries and murals. For those who enjoy history, the Palace Armory’s vast collection of weapons and armour is a gold mine. The National Museum of Fine Arts, which displays the creations of Maltese artists from various ages, is also located in the city.

In addition to its museums, Valletta conducts a wide range of cultural gatherings and festivals to honour its history and originality. An annual highlight, the Malta International Arts Festival, presents a broad selection of performances, exhibits, and installations. With the help of this event, the city is transformed into a thriving centre of culture that welcomes both residents and tourists from across the world.

Article credits: https://ohmymalta.com.mt/2023/11/06/valletta-unveiled-five-intriguing-facts-about-maltas-historic-capital
Marsaxlokk – Malta’s fishing village

Marsaxlokk (pronounced marsa-schlock – meaning southeastern port) is a small fishing village with a population of around 4,000 located on the south-eastern coast of Malta located at the shoreline of the second largest port in Malta.

At present, this important fishing village has the largest population of active fishermen with many traditional fishing boats of all sizes anchored in the port. The Malta fishing village is a very quiet location compared to others, with few cars passing through. But at the same time it has become a very touristic location with many fish restaurants and cafes lined along the promenade. Street hawkers set up their daily stalls here selling souvenirs, clothing and all kinds of things. You will also notice there are stalls selling fresh fish. Marsaxlokk is busiest on Sunday when many people flock to the Sunday market. Many locals come on this day to buy their weekly supply of fish and vegetables.

You will still see the usual souvenir stalls and the Maltese lace table-cloths with crochet finishing many of them depicting the cross of the Knights of Malta. For those with a sweet tooth, one will find many locally baked sweets to savour and purchase.

The most popular fish in Malta are the Swordfish and blue fin tuna. During spring and autumn dolphin fish or Dorado, known locally as ‘lampuki’ is caught in abundance and is very popular with the locals. If you are lucky enough you might see the fishermen tending to their nets before they go out to sea for their next catch.

It is a village where you can relax and gently stroll around. Despite having become very commercialized, the beauty is in its old houses laden with character and typical Maltese church with the large square at the front.

 

Five Enchanting Squares In The Maltese Islands

Malta is known for its stunning coastal landscapes, rich history, and charming towns and villages. Among this island nation’s many treasures, its beautiful town and village squares, or “pjazzez”, stand out as vibrant hubs of local life and culture.

Here are five of the most beautiful squares in Malta that you should explore during your visit.

St George’s Square, Valletta
Nestled in the heart of Malta’s capital city, Valletta, St George’s Square is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. It is lined with majestic buildings, including the Grandmaster’s Palace. The entire square exudes a sense of grandeur and history. This renowned square is both aesthetically pleasing and a social hub, as it hosts numerous events and concerts throughout the year including Valletta’s New Year’s Eve party. St George’s square is a perfect place to start your exploration of the capital’s historic streets.

Mesquita Square, Mdina
Known as the “Silent City,” Mdina is a fortified medieval town that transports visitors back in time. This small square is charming and serene, with its cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and a well in the centre. TV enthusiasts will know this is the spot where several key Game of Thrones scenes were filmed.

Independence Square, Victoria, Gozo
The quaint island of Gozo boasts its own picturesque piazzas. Independence Square, also known as Pjazza Indipendenza, is the heart of Victoria, Gozo’s capital. It’s adorned with a beautiful fountain and surrounded by historic buildings within easy reach, including the stunning Gozo Cathedral. The square is a bustling hub of activity and a great place to soak up Gozo’s unique charm. Get up early, grab a te fit-tazza (tea in a glass) at a local bar and watch the world go by.

Pjazza San Nikola, Siġġiewi
Siġġiewi is a traditional Maltese village known for its agricultural heritage, and Pjazza San Nikola (St Nicholas) is its central square. Quaint houses, a statue of San Nikola and a lovely parish church surround the square. It’s a serene spot to experience the authentic Maltese way of life and take a leisurely stroll through the winding village streets.

St John’s Square, Valletta
Another gem in Valletta is St. John’s Square. It is home to the magnificent St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The historical facades and the impressive cathedral make it a must-visit destination for art and history enthusiasts. Inside the cathedral, you’ll find an incredible display of Baroque art and architecture and, of course, Caravaggio’s famous painting of The Beheading of St John the Baptist.

These five piazzas offer a glimpse into Malta’s rich history and culture while providing a tranquil and picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy. Each square has its unique charm, making them essential stops for anyone exploring the islands. You are sure to stumble across many more throughout your stay.

So, whether you’re sipping a coffee in Mdina, admiring the Baroque splendour of Valletta, or traversing the quieter streets of Gozo, Malta’s scenic squares are sure to leave a lasting impression on your journey.

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