Mdina’s de Mondion ranks in ‘top 600 restaurants in the world’ list

Housed within the 17th century Xara Palace Relais & Châteauxis boutique hotel, Mdina fine-dining join ‘de Mondion’ is hands down a staple for any foodies living in Malta.

The restaurant is particularly known for its inimitable take on Mediterranean cuisine, so much so that it was recently awarded a Michelin star.

As if that wasn’t enough praise, acclaimed international restaurant guide La Liste ranked it amongst the top 600 restaurants around the world.

Knights era reservoir found under Valletta ditch

A knights-era water reservoir has been discovered beneath the entrance to St Andrew’s Ditch in Valletta, a few metres down from the Hotel Excelsior.

An opening was discovered by accident on Sunday, and then another was found. Each has a depth of some 7.5m. The structure was found to be one of a number of reservoirs built by the knights for water storage in the fortified city. The structure, however, is in a sorry state with broken slabs and missing arches that have rendered it unsafe and unstable.

The gaping hole that turned out to be the entrance was discovered by architect Ruben Paul Borg who said it appeared dangerous since cars park in the area every day.

The reservoir, although forgotten, had been documented by the British. It had a capacity of 343,000 gallons

Subterranean Valletta has been the focus of recent public attention, with Heritage Malta opening a series of 500-year-old tunnels beneath the city for public viewing.

The tours include another reservoir, right beneath Great Siege Square, that dates back to the 16th century. At the time, owing to a shortage of water, the authorities in the city banned private gardens and required water reservoirs to be built under all houses.

The knights, showing great engineering skills, had built the aqueduct system to carry water from the Rabat area to Valletta, but the system was vulnerable to enemy attacks in uncertain times.

One small freshwater stream does flow into Valletta however. It emerges in the large basement of the Archbishop’s Palace.

Read the full article: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/knights-era-reservoir-found-under-valletta-ditch.922855

 

New Malta-Sicily route

The much-anticipated service between Wine Wharf quay in Valletta and Augusta will initially operate five trips a week. Ponte Ferries kick-started its service between Malta and Sicily a few days ago and the itinerary allows for flexible and late departure times to enable passengers to bridge public holidays.

“We’re very appreciative of our clients’ patience and understanding during the past weeks and thank all the parties involved for their continuous support and cooperation to give Ponte Ferries the green light to set sail,” a company spokesman said.

The port of Augusta is located less than five minutes away from the autostrada, giving those wishing to reach or explore areas closer to Catania, Taormina and Syracuse quicker and easier access.

Read the full article: https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2021-11-18/local-news/Ponte-Ferries-inaugurates-new-Malta-Sicily-route-6736238390
Santa’s City to return to Valletta

Fairyland – Santa’s City will return to Valletta from the 3rd December to 2nd January 2022!

Fairyland promises to be exactly what anyone would expect, following its first edition in 2019, as the entrance to Malta’s Capital City will be transformed into an original adaptation of Santa’s City, all set up to give the ultimate experience to children, and those who are still children at heart!

Among the attractions expected to return, Rudolph’s Wheel will once again provide the best bird’s eye view of Valletta and neighbouring cities and the Ice Rink will be providing quite a festive adrenaline rush!. Naturally, the man himself, Santa Claus will be in residence at Fairyland, ready to meet children from all over the world, compile his Naughty and Nice list and even get a head-start on delivering gifts.

Christmas Food and Drink will be available from Santa’s numerous cabins, and there will also be a couple of surprises!

The return of Fairyland – Santa’s City is another step forward in our path towards the normality, we strongly missed due to the pandemic. Through this event, we will be providing families with the opportunity to enjoy the Christmas spirit with their loved ones through a number of attractions aimed at nurturing the positive atmosphere that the festive season is well renowned for in the Maltese Islands. The Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection together with the Malta Tourism Authority will continue working hard to assure that our country remains an entertainment bastion in the Mediterranean,” remarked Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo.

Read the full article: https://www.mta.com.mt/en/news-details/337
International Kite Festival held in Gozo

In this digital age, many children miss out on the simple joys of flying a kite. It’s like having a little bit of happiness on the end of a string, perhaps the ultimate carefree pastime…

Gozo’s skies were set alight with stunning colours thanks to a spectacular edition of the international kite festival in the San Dimitri area in Għarb.

The fourth edition of the festival, which took place over the weekend, was the perfect occasion bringing families, residents and tourists together to see different coloured kites decorate the sky.

The festival was filled with kites far from the normal traditional diamond shape and it included various types of kites, ranging from the shape of a horse, clown, rose, witches to even small cute shaped fish.

Some kites were simple, with single strings, while others were a bit more complicated to fly, with two strings.

Tourists from Austria, Italy, Switzerland and other countries were quick to express how inclusive they felt the festival was.

The festival came to a close Sunday night with a huge magnificent bonfire and fireworks, the perfect way to end festivities.

The Xara Collection to manage “The Villa” in St.Julians

The Xara Collection and Bajja Investments, owners of Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, are delighted to announce an agreement between them which will see The Xara Collection operate and manage the iconic building, “The Villa”, St Julian’s.

The Villa is one of the oldest remaining structures within the area dating back to the 19th century offering unparalleled views of Balluta Bay and its historical surroundings, set alongside the seafront promenade.

The Xara Collection manages The Xara Palace – Relais & Chateaux, the One Michelin star restaurant de Mondion, the Trattoria AD1530, the Medina restaurant and The Xara Lodge, as well as being one of the exclusive caterers at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.

Justin Zammit Tabona, Managing Director of The Xara Collection said that “This agreement brings the Xara Collection to the heart of Malta’s prime location for local and international visitors within such a wonderful venue. After these two challenging years due to the pandemic, The Xara Collection looks ahead to the future with confidence. The strong family and team spirit that has characterized Xara’s growth over the last twenty years is the basis of our future.

Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa general manager Alex Incorvaja states “that following an extensive 15-month, €30M renovation program and repositioning the property as one of the leading 5 star hotels on the Islands, we are thrilled to be working with The Xara Collection, a name synonymous with excellence in quality and innovative gastronomy. This will take the well-established Villa to new heights, giving Malta Marriott guests an exceptional dining experience”.

Over the next few months The Xara Collection team will carry out an upgrade to The Villa’s internal and external decor and will open its doors to the public early next year with a new enticing concept.

 

18 Top Places To Visit In Malta

1.) Dive to see the fallen Azure Window, Gozo
Sadly, one of Gozo’s most famous natural sites, the Azure Window collapsed in 2017, when a storm on the island, causing the huge arch to drop into the sea. If you’re an avid diver, you can visit the magnificent Azure window arch that crashed into the ocean. It’s one of the best places in Malta to go for this. Make sure to only go on an organised dive and listen to local advice, this underwater landscape is new and still forming.

2.) St Joseph’s Church, Msida, Malta
Not too far from the centre of Valletta, St Joseph’s Church is a gorgeous Roman Catholic church to visit in the small harbour town of Msida. If you’re visiting in July, make sure to coincide it with the town’s feast of St. Joseph. It’s one of the best places in Malta to see during the feast.

3.) Popeye Village, Malta
You can’t visit Malta without seeing the original Popeye Village. It’s a quirky and a tiny bit tacky little village that was built for Popeye the film and has stayed on the island ever since.

4.) Hike across Malta or Gozo
Now, this sounds more strenuous than it actually is. Near Popeye Village is Għadira Natural Reserve (this is where the island of Malta actually narrows to about 500 metres in width and) where you can walk from one side of the island to the other, in literally 30 minutes!
However if you want a proper hike, the Girgenti Walk is beautiful and takes in lots of historical sites. It really is one of the best places in Malta if you love a good ramble.

5.) See Ta’ Pinu Basilica, Gozo
Located a good 35-minute walk from Għarb on Gozo, Ta’ Pinu Basilica is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine. The church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu. The basilica is located in open countryside which allows visitors to enjoy beautiful views of the area and is of great national importance to Gozitans everywhere.

6.) The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta
Probably the most iconic Basilica’s in the country, The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a Roman Catholic church in the capital Valletta. It is one of the most famous churches and main tourist attractions of Valletta, and it forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site which includes the entire city.
It’s perfect to explore on your day in the capital. Keep your eyes peeled for the painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that’s inside, too.

7.) See the sunset at Senglea harbour, Malta
Take a bus or watertaxi to Senglea centre and walk north to the fort at the penn’s tip from where there is a great view of the Grand Harbour and Valletta. Make sure to visit the Senglea Harbour area around sunset, when the sun lights up the cobbled buildings with its beautiful orange glow.

8.) Visit the Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens, Malta
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are one of the best places in Malta to get a view across the Grand Natural Harbour. As the highest point of the historic walls, you’ll get to peek out across the harbour from a completely different perspective. The Lower Barrakka Gardens house a picturesque monument to Sir Alexander Ball, which is a prominent feature in the form of a neoclassical temple located at the centre of the garden.

9.) Visit the Blue Grotto, Malta
The Blue Grotto is perched on the southern end of Malta and easily reached by boat or seen from above. It’s quite easy to arrange a boat from most hotels and from Valletta itself. The Blue Grotto actually refers to a number of sea caverns on the south east coast of Malta, a short distance off the fishermen’s harbour of Wied iż-Żurrieq limits of Qrendi, Malta. The location of the caves, combined with the rays of sunlight, lead to the seawater mirroring and showing numerous shades of blue on the cave walls and ceilings. Due to the caves location and the morning light, this time of day (morning) showcases a unique mix of incredible blues and underwater scenery that’s transformed with the morning sunlight. After about 1 pm the effect is not quite the same, so make sure to plan your time well.

10.) Go inside the Rotunda of Mosta, Malta
If you haven’t made it to Rome, you should definitely visit the Rotunda of Mosta as it was designed and modelled after the Pantheon itself. What most people don’t know is that the Rotunda is actually the third largest unsupported dome in the whole world and well worth seeing in person.

11.) Explore Valletta, Malta
The whole city of Valletta has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status and it’s easy to see why.
Valletta’s 16th-century buildings were constructed by the Knights Hospitaller. The city was named after Jean Parisot de Valette, who succeeded in defending the island from an Ottoman invasion during the Great Siege of Malta. The city is noted for its fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtains and cavaliers, along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches. Take a walk around the cobbled streets and wander through this architecturally stunning capital that looks like it’s out of a movie set.

12.) Find Ħaġar Qim, Malta
The Megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim are one of the oldest and most precious historical sites on earth, dating as far back as 3,600BC. That’s well over 5,000 years old! Make sure to visit the Northern Temple, the Women’s Temple and the Main Temple itself. Although the site isn’t Machu Picchu with its awe-inspiring vistas, it really does have a history that dates back much further than most other pre-historic temples and is a great UNESCO site to experience.

13.) Go inside The Grandmaster’s Palace, Malta
When wandering the streets of Valletta head inside The Grandmaster’s Palace. This gorgeous palace has been at the centre of governing Malta for well over 300 years. Best of all, you can head inside and explore the State Apartments and the Islamic and Ottoman histories they house here.

14.) Gardjola Gardens, Malta
Located at the tip of Isla, the Gardjola Gardens have unobstructed views of the harbour and Valletta and are a must-visit instragram photo spot! Make sure to keep a lookout for the sculpted ears and eyes that are carved on the tower that watch over the island.

15.) Hike the shores of Dingli Cliffs, Malta
One of the highest points in Malta with over 250 metres above sea level, the Dingli Cliffs are well worth the stroll, especially around sunset. Get ready to enjoy scenic, towering cliffs featuring panoramic views and a chapel, which marks the area’s highest point.

16.) Explore Rabat and Mdina, Malta
With well over 4,000 years of history, head to the sleepy streets of Mdina and Rabat for a wander around one of the oldest settlements on the island. Mdina is in fact, one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture.

17.) Swim in the Blue Hole, Gozo
The Blue Hole is right next to the fallen Azure Window in Gozo and well worth taking a dip in whilst in the area. If you’re a keen diver, you can book yourself on a tour underwater, deep down this amazing geological formation. It’s totally stunning to see from both above and below, so choose whatever takes your fancy.

18.) Go inside Fort Manoel, Malta
Built in the 1800s, Fort Manoel is one of the best places in Malta to see the fortified history of the country. Perched overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, this historic place was also one of the filming sites for Game of Thrones. Once you enter, don’t forget to visit the piazza and chapel inside the fort, too.

 

The Grand Harbour

Cruising the Grand Harbour is one of Malta’s most peaceful and interesting tours… and has today become an integral part of the tourist itinerary for thousands of visitors to our islands.

The Grand Harbour (in Maltese: Il-Port il-Kbir) is a natural harbour.  It has been used as a harbour since early Phoenician times. The natural harbour has been greatly improved with extensive docks and wharves, and has been massively fortified over centuries.

Our Grand Harbour set stage for various attacks and conquers leaving behind centuries of history and stories to tell.

This morning we set sail with Captain Bruce and Rayphil on a traditional boat named ‘id-dghajsa’ to discover the history of our majestic harbour and explore its magnificence from the sea.

What could be a better way to see the sights than from an exceptional vantage point, with the refreshing sea breeze caressing your face?

The main attraction of this harbour cruise is definitely the Valletta Grand Harbour. The imposing bastions of the fortified cities of Valletta and The Three Cities, together with the skyline of their baroque churches, provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable cruise around one of the world’s deepest natural harbours. One can also view the numerous Fortresses built by the Knights of St John that surround the entire harbour and the Historical Three Cities. The imposing Fort St. Angelo, at the tip of Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu), is considered to be the jewel in the crown of Malta’s architectural heritage.

Further in one can see the docks, which for centuries have provided a living for the inhabitants of the area, and continue to dominate the skyline.

Cruises can take place on different types of boats, all depending on the size of the group and a tour takes approximately 90 minutes.

This is definitely a experience not to be missed!

 

The Red Tower Opens After Major Restoration Project

Carried out in collaboration with the NGO Din l-Art Helwa, and funded by EU Funds and co-financed by the Malta Tourism Authority, Mellieha’s Iconic St.Agatha Tower, more commonly knows as The Red Tower, was reopened this week after extensive restoration on both its exterior and its interior.

This €306,000 restoration project is known as the Northern Coastal Watch and includes two other towers, one in Comino and one in Dwejra, Gozo, with a total investment of around 1 Million Euro.

The St Agatha Tower was built in 1649 by Grandmaster Lascaris of the Order of the Knights of St John, and is one of many defense towers which were built all over Malta and Gozo, hence its strategic position overlooking nearly all of Malta and Gozo. The Tower, which came to be known as The Red Tower, is under the remit of the NGO Din l-Art Helwa as from 1998.

Minister for Tourism, Julia Farrugia Portelli, speaking at the inauguration yesterday said that it is of great satisfaction that one of Malta’s Gems, which usually attracts some 30,000 tourists, has now been restored and conserved. She said that this project is part of the Government’s strategy, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to seize the opportunity, and enhance Malta’s Touristic and Cultural Heritage, through various restoration projects which are being carried out by the Malta Tourism Authority.

 

Find the full article here: https://bay.com.mt/watch-melliehas-iconic-red-tower-opens-after-major-restoration-project/

 

Exclusive viewing of the Fireworks Festival’s grand finale at Fort St Angelo

On Friday 7th August, the International Fireworks Festival will be coming to a close, displaying its grand finale of this year’s event. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Grand Harbour to watch the beautiful display, we’ve got the perfect idea. You can thank us later.

Heritage Malta is inviting the public to watch this spectacular fireworks fest from the glorious and extensive bastions of Fort St Angelo. Can you imagine the view? And there’s a bonus involved! This is the perfect opportunity to explore this historical landmark in Birgu.

Admission prices are at just €3; children under 11 years of age enter for free. Tickets will be available at the door, but it is important to note that for this event, the Heritage Malta students and seniors’ passports won’t be accepted.

Let's go that extra mile!
Colours of Malta Quality Assured