Grand Master’s Palace Restoration Works

The project will cost approximately €28 million, with the initial phase being cofinanced by the European Union as part of the European Fund for Regional Development for the sum of €10 million. The subsequent phase, at a cost of around €18 million, is being financed by the Maltese government. The initial phase is expected to be completed by the end of next year, with the entire project being ready by 2025.

The restoration of the palace’s corridors is part of the initial phase of this ambitious project which, once completed, will offer visitors a totally different experience of the palace to the one enjoyed previously.

 

Malta’s Roberta Metsola Wins European Parliament President Election

Roberta Metsola has officially won the election to become the next European Parliament President.

Metsola beat out three other candidates in the first round of voting, getting the required 50%+1 majority from all MEPs. Metsola had the support of three of the biggest EU political parties, the EPP, the S&D, and Renew.

She won 458 votes of 616 eligible votes in parliament, winning on the first round of voting.

Lovin Malta is informed that Metsola will give a press conference at 12pm.

Metsola has made history today, by not only becoming the youngest ever President, but by occupying the most important role any Maltese person has had on the international stage.

She will occupy the role for at least another two and a half years.

Who is Roberta Metsola?

Metsola, a major figure within the Nationalist Party, needs little introduction to a Maltese audience.

Metsola got elected to the European Parliament in 2013, ten years after she first got into EU politics, after Simon Busuttil relinquished his MEP post to become leader of the Nationalist Party.

A year later, she retained her seat after winning over 32,000 first-count votes at the next MEP election, making her the PN’s most popular candidate and the second most popular national candidate. She increased that margin by the time 2019 rolled around.

In November 2020, Metsola was elected as First Vice-President of the European Parliament replacing Mairead McGuinness who became European Commissioner.

As an MEP, Metsola has focused heavily on irregular migration, presenting landmark proposals that could make the Mediterranean a safer place for everyone.

Metsola also worked hard to finally address SLAPP lawsuits, which sees powerful figures look to silence journalists and citizens with vexatious multi-million euro law suits. She’s also tackled topics ranging from LGBT+ rights and AI regulation to media freedom and foreign affairs.

What does the European Parliament President do? 

The role of the European Parliament President is similar to that of the Speaker of national parliaments.

Metsola will get to open plenary debates in Strasbourg, sometimes even with her own speech, instruct MEPs when it is their turn to speak, ensure parliamentary procedures are properly followed, direct voting procedures and announce voting results.

Her signature will be required for EU laws and the EU budget to pass.

She will also chair the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, where presidents of the EP’s political groups convene to draw up the parliament’s agenda.

Metsola will also be given some bureaucratic responsibilities, chairing the Bureau of the European Parliament, which discusses administrative and budgetary issues in collaboration with the 14 Vice-Presidents and five Quaestors.

Most importantly, as president, Metsola will essentially be the face of the Parliament when dealing with the outside world, including discussions with leaders of EU member states, other countries, NGOs and associations and other EU institutions.

She will represent the parliament in all legal matters and at all international fora, including at European Council meetings, where she will deliver the EP’s views to heads of state and government of the EU’s 27 member states, including Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela.

This will mean she will be involved in international politics at the highest level.

Article credits: https://lovinmalta.com/ewropej/roberta-metsola-wins-european-parliament-president-election/
Valletta, Malta, Named As The Best European City For Wellness

What does it mean to be well? Our health and well-being rely on a number of factors, including the environment we live in, the exercise we get, and the ability to relax and enjoy the simple things in life. Now, in light of COVID, it seems that we are all seeking to be the healthiest that we can be.

The GAP Jeans Department decided to carry out a study to reveal the wellbeing hotspot of Europe. Obviously, in the hope you would wear your favorite skinny jeans as you comfortably globe-trotted around the world!

The study analyzed 28 capitals of the EU and the UK, investigating several factors that contribute to wellness, with Valletta, Malta named the winner. The criteria included:

· The amount of air pollution in each city
· The percentage of green space in each city
· The number of running clubs in each city per capita (per 100,000 people)
· The number of gyms in each city per capita
· The number of spas in each city per capita
· Google searches for healthy food and snacks in each city per capita
· The hours of sunlight in each city
· Drinking water quality in each city

The analysis dives into each factor, finally measuring a total score to find the best European capital for wellness.

Hitting the top of the charts for wellness is Valletta. The Maltese capital scores 100 on the wellness index thanks to its health and fitness fanaticism. In fact, Valletta achieves high scores across the board, including a large number of running clubs (21), 13 spas, and hours of sunlight.

Brussels and Helsinki took second and third on the index with scores of 88 and 87.

Back to Malta – there is a lot to love. This archipelago located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, has been acclaimed for its luxurious accommodations, warm climate, and 7,000 years of history. A visit to Malta is to immerse oneself in centuries of history while enjoying the very best of modern life and curated experiences to meet each traveler’s personal desires. Malta has been acclaimed for its posh accommodations, including luxury hotels, historic boutique hotels, Palazzos, private villas, and historic farmhouses. You can stay in a restored 16th– or 17th-century palazzo, delight in luxury accommodation built into fortifications of an ancient city, with views across the Grand Harbour, or seek out the character of the many beautiful boutique hotels dotted throughout Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage capital, as well as throughout Malta and its sister island of Gozo.

The Malta Michelin Guide highlights the outstanding restaurants, breadth of cuisine styles, and culinary skills found in Malta, Gozo, and Comino. The winners of the first stars to be awarded in Malta are:

De Mondion – Chef Kevin Bonello
• Noni – Chef Jonathan Brincat
• Under Grain – Chef Victor Borg

In addition to the Michelin starred restaurants, Malta, of course, also offers travelers a diverse culinary experience, from the traditional plate of eclectic Mediterranean food curated by a relationship between the Maltese and the countless civilizations that occupied the island. One can also enjoy gourmet meals cooked by a private local chef at your luxury villa or historic farmhouse in Gozo. Menus are changed frequently according to season, availability, or the chef’s impulse.

Many historic sites can be booked for after-hour private tours.  St. John’s Co-Cathedral Tours is one example. Completed in 1577, The St. John’s Co-Cathedral was designed by Girolamo Cassar, a praised Maltese architect also responsible for building the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta.

And don’t forget a trip to the vineyards! Now winning accolades in international competitions, Maltese vineyards are renowned in particular for their high-quality boutique wines. Connoisseurs will especially appreciate the indigenous Maltese grapes – the girgentina and the gellewza.

To your health!

Article credits: https://www.forbes.com/sites/debbikickham/2021/12/06/valletta-malta-named-as-the-best-european-city-for-wellness/?sh=7478e40136f1
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

 

Grand Master to be buried in St John’s Co-Cathedral

For the first time in hundreds of years, a Grand Master will be buried in the crypt of St John’s Co-Cathedral, its foundation has said.

Fra’ Matthew Festing will be the 12th Grand Master to be laid to rest in the crypt – the burial place of L’Isle-Adam, who brought the Order of the Knights of St John to Malta in 1530, and La Valette, who won the 1565 Great Siege and founded the city of Valletta.

The 79th Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Festing died, aged 71, after feeling ill in Malta and being hospitalised earlier this month, the Grand Magistry had announced.

He served as Grand Master from 2008 up to his resignation in 2017.

The last Grand Master to be buried in the crypt was Vasconcellos in 1623, although it is understood, despite a lack of documentation, that it is also the resting place, in an unmarked grave, of Ximenez, who died in 1775, said St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation CEO and curator, Cynthia de Giorgio.

The tradition was that the Grand Masters would be buried underground, but from 1623, their remains would be moved to the chapel of their langue in the co-cathedral after a year in the crypt for the “special indulgences it was endowed with”, she said.

Fra’ Festing would be buried in the crypt because he died in Malta, and since he was English, there was no English langue, de Giorgio explained.

“Where else can you bury a Grand Master in Malta?” de Giorgio asked, adding that the decision was taken in agreement with the knights, the archbishop and the prime minister.

A location in the Grand Masters’ Crypt has been found and his burial site prepared, with cultural and cathedral authorities acting fast to identify a space that could accommodate the very tall man.

The last Grand Master to die in Malta was de Rohan in 1797 and he is buried in the Chapel of Provence. Since then, no others have been buried in the co-cathedral, the Order of the Knights of St John having left Malta in 1798.

The last reigning Grand Master was Hompesch, but he had left Malta before he died and was, therefore, not buried here, de Giorgio said.

Fra’ Festing’s funeral will be held on December 3 and Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, Pope Francis’s special delegate to the Order of Malta, will celebrate the Requiem Mass, while Archbishop Charles Scicluna will concelebrate.

The co-cathedral’s crypt, which was reopened to the public last year, following a €500,000 restoration project that lasted 13 years, was carved out of the rock for underground burial in the 16th century.

It is located beneath the high altar and houses the remains of the 11 Grand Masters who led the Order from 1522 to 1623, including Jean de la Cassière, who commissioned the church that would become St John’s Co-Cathedral.

A descendant of Sir Adrian Fortescue, a Knight of Malta, who was martyred in 1539, Fra’ Festing he led humanitarian aid missions to Kosovo, Serbia and Croatia.

Article credits: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/grand-master-to-be-buried-in-st-johns-co-cathedral.917539?fbclid=IwAR09D-_F4wRIZg-8GcBJOcrCGAhBEakQSrK2baxwHa4uqwO558KX2gJVmPg
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
450 years since the birth of Caravaggio
Today, 29th September commemorates 450 years since the birth of Caravaggio.
Michelangelo Merisi was born in 1571 in Caravaggio, a village near Milan. Troubled and afflicted painter, he was a genius who profoundly revolutionized the history of art, introducing the study of the truth and the violent use of light as a metaphor of God’s grace.
“Caravaggio’s revolution was to treat biblical and mythological subjects with realism. He completely eschews idealization. That runs completely counter to the tradition of his day. He is also a very great storyteller. He’s brilliant at digesting the stories and picking the moment that encapsulates the story”.
Dawson Carr, curator of Caravaggio Retrospective at the National Gallery, London
Some of Caravaggio’s works of art can be viewed at St. John’s Co Cathedral in Valletta.
Where is hot in October? CN Traveller’s top 10 destinations

In any given year, October is the perfect month to get away. Schools are back, so airports are less crowded, it’s sunny and dry everywhere from southern Europe to South America, and prices are set at shoulder season. In 2021 however, things are noticeably different. While the temperatures of a far-flung escape remain appealing, the rules around where we can actually travel have made things more complicated. For optimistic inspiration, see our classic picks for where is hot in October, below.

AZORES ISLANDS, PORTUGAL
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 21℃

Thrillingly elemental, the Azores absorb you in nature: though Portuguese, they’re 1,000 miles from the mainland, cast gloriously adrift in the mid-Atlantic. Here, explorers (or, rather, clued-in Lisboetas and surfers) find a lost world of blue-green crater lakes, bubbling mud pools, and waterfalls rushing down green cliffs – a sort of Iceland through the looking-glass, where a subtropical climate brings year-round sunshine (a land of fire, without the ice). São Miguel, the largest island, has the hushed feel of uncharted territory, but with creature comforts. Try wellness boutique Furnas, in the hot-springs town of the same name; or Santa Bárbara Eco-Beach Resort, sitting secluded among tea plantations and commanding serious sea vistas.

LA GOMERA, CANARY ISLANDS
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 20℃

The ‘secret’ Canary Island is a far cry from its classic winter-sun siblings. Muted and secluded, it’s a heaven for adventure seekers: spectacular hiking paths probe jungly valleys and range up rough-cut cliffs. It’s accessible only via ferry from Tenerife – passengers leave resorts and packed-out beaches behind, swapping them for sleepy villages, tangled trails and rural boutiques. It’s not a fly-and-flop sort of place – though happily exhausted hikers seem content to end at the pebble beach in laid-back Playa Santiago – but October’s ideal walking weather pretty much guarantees a sunny expedition. Plus, there’s plenty of relaxing to be had joining locals at harbourside seafood restaurants, or ambling between capital San Sebastián’s pastel-painted houses.

COSTA BRAVA, SPAIN
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 21℃

No, not the Costa Brava you think you know, with the high-rise resorts and beaches so full you can barely see sand. We’re talking about the Costa Brava the Catalans keep to themselves – where secret coves stash golden shores, stone-cut medieval towns crest every hill and charming boutique hotels are de rigueur. Head for Begur and its Cuban-style mansions, close to Caribbean-esque Aiguablava beach and Amalfi-like Sa Tuna. Then tootle inland to Peratallada: its medieval streets are movie-set perfect, and every menu’s a stunner. A short drive from here, big-city Girona’s Old Town starred in Game of Thrones, and you can dine at twice-world’s-best-restaurant El Celler De Can Roca. Who needs Barcelona?

TAGHAZOUT, MOROCCO
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 25℃

As intoxicating as Morocco’s chaotic cities can be, there’s nothing like soaking up the sunny vibes of its Atlantic coast. Particularly in Taghazout, a drowsy fishing village that’s quietly transforming from decades-old scruffy-surfer hangout to the cosmo-boho’s chill-hang of choice. Make no mistake, it’s still about the breaks: a surplus of ‘surf and yoga’ camps sculpt beach bodies year-round. But a rush of natty new crash pads is smartening up the offering: see Amouage, with its ocean-facing infinity pool and Berber-meets-industrial styling; or Munga Guesthouse, a masterclass in ‘driftwood chic’. The yogi-surfer retreat is completed by the likes of Cafe Mouja, meeting all your smoothie and avocado breakfast needs.

VALLETTA, MALTA
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 25℃

Sitting in the Med between Sicily and the Tunisian coast, Malta is blessed with an outrageously sunny climate (even in December, you’ll see more than five hours of sunshine a day). Its capital, Valletta, is a delight: honey-coloured forts and cobbled streets, sun-dappled squares and back-alley wine bars, churches hung with Caravaggio originals and a budding crop of high-design hotels (such as the forthcoming Iniala Malta). All that, and it’s on the water. Speaking of which, make time to explore outside the city walls, where you’ll find sandy beaches, quaint fishing villages and true-blue lagoons to laze around. Take our advice: go slow.

LAS VEGAS, USA
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 27℃

Want to banish all memory of UK temperatures and escape to somewhere that feels like another planet entirely? Vegas is a good bet. The Nevada desert is still scorching in October, and the Strip is outright bananas year-round. Do it right with cocktails in Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan hotel: a bar inside a giant chandelier. Then dine at Picasso at the Bellagio, the Vegas version of artsy where an over-the-top dining room is plastered with original Pablos (dinner is all wagyu, lobster and foie gras.)

BALI, INDONESIA
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 27℃

You don’t need us to tell you to go to Bali. But we can help you find out where the island’s natural magic hasn’t been eclipsed by crowds and traffic. In short: go east, friends – where traditional villages, wild beaches and peaceful water palaces are undisturbed by the south-coast rabble. As luck would have it, this is also where you’ll find one of Bali’s best hotels. Amankila, meaning ‘peaceful hill’, is just that: a quiet hilltop hideaway with a killer three-tiered infinity pool, thatched-roof suites on stilts and a private beach. Surrounded by nothing but green and sea, it’s the Bali of your dreams.

BEIRUT, LEBANON
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 27℃

Perhaps it’s the lingering shadow of political turmoil that gives Beirut its unique energy – this glamorous city’s party people certainly make a point of living life to the full. By turns chic and hipster, good-looking locals pout up a storm in the beach clubs and rooftop bars; arty types spill out of live-music shows and spoken-word events in the Mar Mikhael district; and everyone ends the night at BO18, the legendary ‘secret bunker’ club with a retractable roof. Soothe morning-after blues with a pillowy manakish (Arabic bread stuffed with insanely gooey cheese), then hunker down at the opulent Phoenicia (did someone say colonnaded swimming pool?). Or opt for a residential feel in the elegant, all-suite Albergo.

TRANCOSO, BRAZIL
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 27℃

It’s known as the Brazilian Tulum, but Trancoso’s pleasures are simpler than that. It’s the absence of pretension that brings São Paulo society – not to mention high-rollin’ celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio and Naomi Campbell – to this languid clifftop town on the Bahian coast. No resorts, no velvet-roped clubs. Just a sprinkling of modest restaurants spilling onto the village green, and a hell of a beach fringed with coconut palms and ochre bluffs. It’s a place where the hottest bar in town serves cocktails from an old wooden boat. High season – Christmas and New Year – brings traffic and queues. But arrive any other time and you’ll call it your own.

ABC ISLANDS, CARIBBEAN
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 31℃

Some like it really hot – if that’s you, October in the Caribbean could be your thing. Sitting safely outside the hurricane belt, the ABC Islands offer all the brochure-blue seas and white-sand stretches you could ask for, without the extreme weather that typically keeps people away at this time of year. Aruba is all-inclusive country, Bonaire a laid-back dive destination – but we’d be tempted to plump for Curaçao. Rows of colourful Dutch houses and colonial-style hotels add a dash of European charm to this particular paradise, and no one will judge if your drink is blue.

Article credits: https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/where-is-hot-in-october
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.

 

Malta gears up for the good times

With Michelin stars, superyachts and swish new hotels, a reinvigorated Valletta is ready for the tourists to return.

On the rooftop of Gracy’s, a new brasserie and member’s club in a baroque 16th-century palazzo, blazers, florals and linen are the order of the day. Rakish co-owner Greg Nasmyth, an English media scion turned philanthropist and Liberal Democrat donor, is doing the rounds, while Malta’s Eurovision star Destiny sings smooth Aretha Franklin covers as the sun sets behind the dome of Valletta’s St Paul’s Cathedral.

The narrow peninsula on Malta’s east coast is a place of romantic ancient buildings with olive-green gallarija balconies — becalmed after a tumultuous history of being tossed around between the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French and British.

Spurred on by Valletta’s 2018 stint as European Capital of Culture, and splashy architecture projects such as Renzo Piano’s parliament and city gate, more than 40 boutique hotels are said to have opened in the past five years — like the eight-suite palazzo Casa Ellul and Cugo Gran Macina, a Design Hotels member opened in 2018 by German property developers the Von Der Heyden Group. Having had no Michelin stars until 2020, Malta now has five, including Under Grain, a slinky basement restaurant at Rosselli, another smart design hotel that opened near the Iniala in 2019.

Read the full article here: https://www.ft.com/content/64f9640b-f05a-4cb5-8bcb-457cc62dfb51?accessToken=–sanitized–&sharetype=gift%3Ftoken%3D–sanitized–&fbclid=IwAR1BVhq2x0emnjWQBnUH8wvDbYFcSdXddpfXPxwZUtM66dJ-6yKH_syTWRU
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