Malta is a small and densely populated island in the Mediterranean Sea. It's actually an archipelago with the neighbouring Comino and Gozo islands. With its strategic location it has gathered an interesting and diverse history. The rule was shifted through many nations including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, French, British etc. All of them influenced the island, be it through architecture, language or general vibe.
It was February 2nd, somehow the first real winter day in Slovenia and the roads were covered in snow. There were traffic jams, car crashes and truck slips, so we spent 6 hours on the road instead of 3 to reach the airport at Treviso. We barely caught our flight.
We landed in Malta after dark. It was quite a chaotic left-side-drive getting from the airport to our Airbnb. We had a flat in Birkirkara, a town in the central region, thinking it'd be a good starting point to see the island.
The weather got shitty, quite unlike the previous forecasts so we were bummed out. That didn't stop us though. We hoped on a bus to Valletta and explored the rainy streets. It's a beautiful city. We avoided the busy main street, the smaller side alleys are much nicer anyway.
Next day looked more encouraging. We took our car and drove to Marsaxlokk, a fishing village in the south-east of the island. It was Sunday so the fish market was open. It's a nice village, full of traditional colourful boats and also filled with tourists. We drove on towards the cape afterwards and reached St. Peter's pool, a lovely piece of coast.
Continuing our circle, we stopped at the Blue Grotto viewpoint next. An impressive rock formation. Next we wanted to dangle over the Dingli Cliffs, but somehow couldn't find the entry point to reach the actual cliffs, so we stopped "one level" higher at the private property road. There are great views towards Filfla all over the southern coast.
Moving on. Mdina is a fortified city, which served as the island's capital from antiquity to the medieval period. It's truly beautiful. One of our favourite spots in Malta.
On our third day we headed west toward the three bays - Gnejna, Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay. We actually parked at the middle one and hiked around the coastal area. We almost had the place to ourselves. These bays are packed come summer.
After that short and windy hike we drove all the way up north and hopped on a boat to Comino. We disembarked at the famous Blue Lagoon. At the time there were only about 6 of us on the island. It felt good to see the Blue Lagoon so clean. We went for a short hike around the island for a view of St. Mary's Tower. The watchtower dominates the coastline and is an especially awesome sight if you've seen The Count of Monte Cristo movie. Many movies and series were filmed in Malta actually.
A day in Gozo. Next morning we drove north again. A ferry took us to Mgarr in Gozo. We checked out the seaside at Ramla Bay first and were accompanied by a random dog soon enough. The weather wasn't what we had hoped for but at least it wasn't raining.
We stopped at Ggantija temples next. Giants' Tower is a megalithic temple complex, older than the pyramids of Egypt and apparently world's second oldest existing manmade structure. It's a Unesco World Heritage Site.
We continued towards Victoria, the capital of Gozo. The real gem there was Cittadella, a walled town that has been inhabited for a really long time. Walking around exploring and catching the views all around Gozo was a delight.
To the far west. Dwejra Bay is a seaside attraction. There used to be the famous Azure window which collapsed in 2017. That doesn't stop people from visiting though. There are beautiful cliffs and rock formations all around.
We drove back and hit Ta' Cenc Cliffs next. These were accessible. And absolutely spectacular. Warm sun, gentle breeze, the sound of waves hitting beneath and no one around.
Xewkija was a random pitstop so we visited its Rotunda as well. It's the largest church in Gozo and apparently its dome is the world’s third highest unsupported dome. Then back to Mgarr and back to Malta.
Our final day. Best weather ever. We took a bus to Valletta and gave it another go. It was very lively. The main street was crawling with people. I can't imagine how the summer looks like. We grabbed a cup of coffee and hoped on a bus to Sliema, a more developed town adjacent to Valletta. After relaxing on the rocky beach we walked to St. Julian's, another busy town with lots of goodlooking restaurants. We finished off by walking all the way to Birkirkara.
We enjoyed Malta just fine and got plenty of rest which was just what we needed. We kind of hoped for more sunshine but what can you do. The islands are beautiful and there's plenty to see but somehow we felt it wasn't 100% our type. Gozo and Comino were definitely the highlights of the trip. It's great seeing the cliffs and beaches in the off-season. Everything is really calm outside the towns. I guess that changes dramatically in the summer so we're glad we chose winter.