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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

Today’s hot deal takes us from dreary London where the spring rain showers have moved in to a very sunny and pleasant Valetta, the capital of Malta. Seated in the Mediterranean, Malta offers everything a traveller could want: stunning cities, beautiful coastlines, culture… the European experience other words without the line ups or the crowds.

Malta may be small but it’s packed full of things to do. Located less than 60 miles from Sicily, it’s the perfect place to spend a vacation this summer or sooner if you can’t wait to get out of this drowsy spring weather like I do. Even last minute flights to Valetta are at a great price. This morning I found one for £58 round trip, all taxes included for next week. Tempted? I certainly am! Malta is just as easily accessible and just as cheap from Barcelona, Rome, Marseille and Nottingham.

What to see?

The Old Town in Valetta is stunning enough to attract even the likes of Sir Walter Scott. Start your tour at Fort St. Elmo and head from there to St. John’s Cathedral, inside which is an impressive collection of gold leaf, mosaic work and effortless frescos. The Grand Master’s Palace and the Manoel Theatre should also be included on your route around the city’s centre.

Even though the historical city was built by knights, there are still some traces of Malta before the crusaders which you can find on the outskirts of Valetta. A Neolithic cult also inhabited the island and you can see their carefully constructed underground necropolis at Hal-Saflieni Hypogeum and their Ggantija Temples that even predate the great pyramids in Egypt. As far as archaeologists can tell, these temples are the oldest man-made structures in the world that are still standing. Intrigued?

What to eat?

Part of Malta's neolithic temples (img: larrylurex / flickr cc)

You can find all sorts of variety here, with Mediterranean delights reigning. A great way to start every day is by indulging in some honey cakes, inspired by Arab cuisine at any of the city’s coffee houses. Throughout the island’s history, the cuisine has adapted in many ways with Spanish, Italian, Moorish and even British influences.

Starters and snacks range from stuffed olives to fried beans, artichokes, buttery oysters and even snails simmered in red wine with a touch of mint. Meals usually start with a soup, the most popular is minestra, a thick vegetable soup. As for the main dish, meats come grilled and there is plenty of variety of vegetables including stuffed eggplant, gourds, beans and peas.

Where to stay?

British ** (267 St. Ursula Street) Valetta

British is the longest running hotel in Valetta and is located in the city centre. It is still family owned and operated, service is personal and friendly. Ask for a room with a view of the harbour.

Bella Vista *** (Triqu li SPB14) Qawra

St. Paul’s Bay and Salina Bay are just a moment’s walk from this hotel. Its rooms offer great views of the seaside and the hotel is a prefect retreat for those looking to get away.

Cornucopia **** (10 Gniern Imriek Street) Gozo

Housed in a rustic and traditional home, this hotel offers spacious rooms with character. Many rooms face the valley and have balconies. It’s the perfect place to stay if you want to explore Malta’s countryside charm.

Victoria Hotel **** (Gorg Borg Olivier Street) Sliema

Boutique and gorgeous, this stylish hotel has charm and character. Located along the coast in Sliema, the Victoria offers its guests everything you’d expect from a 4 star hotel and more.

Malta may be small but it has a lot to offer. It is the perfect Mediterranean destination this season and the cheap flights are just the beginning. Hotel rooms are often discounted during the off-season meaning you can find great deals even last minute. Since the island attracts many vacationers that stay long-term you have the option of full or half-board service at many hotels if they have an in-house restaurant. The locals are genuine and always helpful. It is easy, to say the least, to fall in love with Malta. Grab this hot deal and head to Malta!

Ever been? What are your recommendations?

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