Escorted tours to Malta
Time Zone: CET/GMT+1
Tipping: In Malta the service charge is not usually included in the bill, however always check just in case. 15% is the normal amount to tip.
Say a cheerful "Mernba" (hello) as you take a tour of the beautiful Maltese islands which are referred to by many as one huge open-air museum. The Maltese archipelago consists of three islands practically in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea and consist of Malta the largest island, followed by Gozo and tiny Comino. Due to Malta's location and history you will discover an area that has both African and Arabic influences. Even the Maltese language is a combination of the two. The bonus of holidaying in Malta is the wonderful Mediterranean climate, where the summers are hot with at least 12 hours of sunshine and the winters are mild.
Malta is one of the most cultural islands out of the three whose history is as stunning as the local scenery. On escorted tours here you can follow in the footsteps of St. Paul or see the sites where the Knights of St. John fought their most famous battles. The Maltese Cross, the symbol of Malta, was officially adopted by the Knights and its eight points represent the number of obligations that they had to follow.
Valletta is Malta's capital city and UNESCO have granted it a World Heritage Site due to being 'one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world'. Valletta overlooks two wonderful harbours, the Grand and the Marsamxett. As you explore you will find it overflowing with architectural beauty and elements of its past history on every corner. All the touristy action tends to take place around Triq ir-Repubblika and Triq il-Merkanti but if you'd prefer to sample Maltese daily life, take to the narrow back streets and you won't be disappointed.
Wander around Marsaxlokk where you can work up an appetite for the local seafood dishes and admire the beautiful boats in the harbour as you eat. A plethora of megalithic marvels can be found in the Mnajdra Temples or visit Hypogeum, a mysterious underground necropolis whose being is still baffling the experts. Enjoy a chilled glass of vino in one of the many quirky bars in Vittoriosa, experience the elegance of Mdina, relax on the stunning Northern Beaches then finish your Malta holiday with a visit to The Blue Lagoon on Comino – a popular place for tourists so is likely to get very crowded.
Escorted tours to Malta typically include return flights, accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions giving you a good chance of seeing everything that these beautiful islands in the Mediterranean have to offer.
Things to do
Although a rather tiny island located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is still packed to the rafters with a rich history featuring a number of exciting places to visit and interesting sights to see. Here is just a snippet of what you can see on your next holiday to Malta:
No visit to Malta would be complete without spending time in the island's capital, Valletta especially as it was granted a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful harbour city was built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century and maintains many of its historical elegance from the beautiful Cathedral of St. John to the Palace of the Grand Masters and Fort St. Elmo. Triq ir-Repubblika and Triq il-Merkanti are a haven for tourists but, to get a real feel of everyday life in Malta, wander around the back streets, you won't be disappointed! As with many holiday resorts, you will find a wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants plus fabulous entertainment venues ready and waiting to keep you amused during your break.
Whilst holidaying in Malta, you should take the opportunity to island hop and visit its neighbour Gozo. This island is significantly smaller than Malta but there are a range of things to do and places to visit. First on your list should be the capital city, Victoria, known as Rabat by the locals where you can visit the ancient Citadel whose fortifications once protected the city from pirate raids. Sample natural village life visiting Ghajnsielem located on a hill above Mgarr or see the two fascinating Watch Towers of Nadur. During your island hop, visit Marsalforn and Xlendi, two beautiful seaside resorts with fabulous beaches to watch the world go by!
Do not leave Malta without visiting its jewel of the Mediterranean, Mdina which used to be the capital of the island until the Knights arrived. The aristocracy of Malta call Mdina home and still do to this day. The area is so small that you can walk from one end to the other in around 10 minutes. Whilst in Mdina, do make time to visit St Paul's Cathedral, the Cathedral Museum, Medieval Museum and the Roman Villa. The views from the city walls are amazing and there's no risk of getting lost in the maze-like alleyways because you will always end up where you started from in under a few minutes!
Malta is the perfect place to visit if you're looking for a seaside holiday as the island is home to a variety of well-maintained beaches to keep the whole family entertained. The majority of the sandy beaches can be found along Malta's northern coast, Golden Bay is one of the most popular to visit, secluded with a gentle Mediterranean breeze to take the heat of the temperatures. The area here is picturesque and provides some beautiful romantic sunsets.
Home to the largest sandy beach to be found on Malta, stretching for almost a mile offering plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. This area is a tourist hot-spot so be prepared for it to be crowded especially on a good sunny day. There's plenty of facilities available to make your visit here enjoyable including the usual cafes, bars and souvenir stalls. Whilst visiting Mellieha Bay, make time to see the WW2 Shelters, dug completely by hand that helped protect the locals during almost two years of relentless bombardment.
Thinking of travelling to Malta? Check out the average temperatures for when you plan to visit courtesy of BBC Weather
Tips & Advice
Travelling on an escorted tour means that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in unfamiliar lands. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Malta, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Before you leave for Malta ensure that you have a European Health Insurance Card. This is not a substitute for health/travel insurance, however it will entitle you to state provided medical treatment should it become necessary whilst you are away. Any treatment will be issued on same the terms as Maltese nationals. The EHIC does not cover for on-going medical treatment, non-urgent treatment or medical repatriation, and so you should always ensure that you have travel insurance also. It is wise to have access to additional funds to pay for medical expenses should it become necessary. If you are transferred to a medical facility for treatment you should always inform your insurance company immediately. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Mater Dei Hospital is free for British nationals and is of an acceptable standard. You may wish to use alternative private treatment, however this is likely to incur considerable expense which your travel insurance might not cover.
If you need emergency medical help whilst in Malta, dial 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Although rare, bag snatching, pick-pocketing and theft can occur in Malta. Always keep passports and valuables in a locked safe in the hotel if available.
Local Laws and Customs
Drug related crime is extremely serious in Malta; use, possession or trafficking illegal drugs can lead to jail sentences and hefty fines.
Visas are not needed for British nationals to enter Malta, although passports should be valid for the entire duration of your stay. No extra period of validity is needed on the passport beyond this.
Any other nationality looking to visit Malta must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
To find out more about visiting Malta, visit the tourist board website at visitmalta.com.