Recently Jack and I took a trip to Malta – where we had the loveliest, jam-packed time travelling around the island (and two sister islands of Gozo and Comino!) It was one of the most knackering trips ever because we wanted to fit so much in; essentially we wanted to see the entire island as it’s small enough that you really can – so why wouldn’t you! This is the second instalment on our time here so do also have a read of our part one through the Malta tab on the blog.
We had spent the previous day adventuring around the little island of Comino next to the main island of Malta. Comino is home to the beautiful Blue Lagoon and we hopped on some seways around caves, ruins and mountains which was so fun! We decided to visit the last sister island on our next day here so booked a ferry over to the island of Gozo. Gozo is quite a lot bigger than Comino and so you can bring your car onto the island if you’d like – whereas there is zero car traffic on the quaint Comino. Whilst bigger, you can still absolutely see the whole of Gozo in a day – but if you want to squeeze in all the best sights it will be non-stop! We had booked a 3 hour sea kayaking experience for the morning slot of 9AM to get as much crammed into the day as possible. Because of this we had to get up ridiculously early.. Safe to say it was exhausting, but definitely worth it!
We joined the kayaking leaders and learnt some of the basics – Jack had done kayaking loads of times and was an absolute pro, but I had never done it seriously on the sea! I quickly learnt that I could kayak just fine, but I didn’t have any idea really how to stop the boat (hahaha!) luckily it didn’t stop me too much as we had a lot of moving around to do. We started in a smaller port of water, and then rowed through a stunning cave through to the open sea. From here, we went through tons of little different caves – some were so small and so cool to see! We event went over shoals of jellyfish – which was pretty scary as it would be entirely my luck to fall in at this point. (Thankfully this didn’t happen!)
I looked like a bit of a melon next to Jack as he was powerfully soaring through the waves, not a drip of water on him, and I was plodding along behind in my kayak, absolutely drenched!! The trip took us around the side of the island, where we stopped for some food and an optional swim (the water was icy cold so this option was not one I wanted to take aha!) The couple we were with on the tour both got in though, crazy kids. I didn’t realise until I got out of the kayak, but I must have been seriously using my knees for the support and balance of the kayak as they were genuinely jelly when I got out, it was so hard to stand up! We went over the remains of the azure window (which had recently collapsed into the sea during a storm.) It was really cool to go over though as you could still see all the white rock clearly through the clear waters. After stopping I sat a couple of caves out as I was starting to feel a little sea sick, but Jack said the last couple of caves were amazing where you even pulled yourself along with your hands as they got so small and dark. (Not everyone’s cup of tea but pretty cool!)
This tour was really special and had so many epic photo opportunities, but I think it’s best suited for those who are more confident in kayaking – you’re definitely always safe and looked after, but a solid three hours on the open water is pretty tiring! Jack completely thrived but I think I’d have been best suited to 1-2 hours out of the water. Just a note so you can see what’s best for you!
After the tour we visited the blue hole – a natural rock pool that is something like 20 metres deep and *used to* sit overlooking the azure window. This was just around the corner from where we kayaked so we just had to walk through some rocky coves to get here. They filmed a few scenes of game of thrones here and it’s definitely a tourist spot! If you’re ever in the area, earlier is 100% better as you beat the crowds completely. Jack dove in here a few times and after thinking he saw a jellyfish we made a swift exit! It was really beautiful to see though – also slightly unnerving knowing it’s so deep you can’t see the bottom. Does anyone else have that fear? I like to be able to see the bottom of the water to be in it!
We got a bite to eat in a restaurant overlooking the cove. As a vegetarian I just can’t stand the smell of fish and although they had a huge range of food, they were definitely cooking a lot of this inside and the smell was just too much; so we decided to eat outside. We ended up being in a bit of a heat trap here though which was actually amazing as I’d splashed myself so much kayaking, it dried me right up!
Next we headed over to the megalithic temples on Gozo island. These are ruins older than the pyramids(!) – although definitely not quite as cool as seeing the pyramids would be! But nevertheless we had a fun time walking around and seeing what was left of the ruins and their old living quarters. I also bought some gorgeous pots in the gift shop here, handmade in Malta that currently have pride of place in our house!
We then visited a ‘red’ (pretty orange to me) sand beach called Ramla Bay – we were super lucky with the sun beaming all day, but it also meant this area was rammed. Thanks to the calm clear waters and different sand there were lots of families and tourists here, so we mainly had a walk around and admired the surroundings, and then headed back to the ferry port for the hotel. We had planned to go to a fireworks festival that night over in the other side of Malta, but after leaving too late and hitting a whole bunch of traffic we only managed to see the fireworks exactly as it ended!! Which was a shame after a rushed drive over, but we had still had a gorgeous day. From what we did see in the car, the show was pretty stunning and would be worth a watch if you’re there in the future. The fireworks go on over a few days, but sadly the next one was the day we were leaving. There will always be some things that don’t work out as planned on holidays and we still had the best holiday here – nothing could kill our vibe!
Along with the fireworks festival that didn’t wait up for us ( rude! ) we visited a medieval festival in Mdina – a stunning medieval city built on top of a hill – and the old capital city of Malta. We started the day with the most amazing breakfast from a café called Debbie’s. We found this on TripAdvisor and I’m so happy we did as it was possibly the nicest food I had out of the whole holiday – the cupcakes were also soo tasty with cream cheese frosting and so many flavours to choose from. Tripadvisor is always a good shout when you’re only away for a few days as it helps you weed out the cafes and restaurants worth missing, and where to spend your money.
I was surprised to see how many different events are going on in Malta all the time, all through the year. Do some research over the dates you travel as there will be a bunch of things to choose from, and any sort of festival and celebration is worth checking out! Because the island is so small it’s also very easy to go to events anywhere on the island really – particularly if you have a car, but the bus routes also are pretty reliable here. Have a look at our Malta tips post to see whether hiring a car is worth it for you and what we would suggest!
I caught this bird mid-blink and I just think it is just about the funniest picture anyone ever took! As we arrived at the festival we parked at the bottom of the large hill due to road closures to help traffic here. We decided we would just walk up but after a few minutes realised how incredibly steep and winding it was, and that it would not be worth it. Instead we hopped in the free bus (running because of the festival) up to the entrance. We wandered around the festival and found people dancing to funky old medieval tunes, horses, re-enactments, archery, stone-carving and loads more. We also wandered into a museum/exhibition thing, filled with different wax figures and scenes of the past. I had to put a negative spin on it but that was so hilariously intensely boring. We were literally walking around yawning (accidentally of course but our bodies couldn’t take it) and really wanted to leave, but we were walking around at the same pace as another family and nearby an employee so it was really awkward. It was so awkward in fact that we fell into a laughing fit and were both trying to compose ourselves whilst dying of laughter at how crap the whole thing was. The sheer hilariousness of it made it one of my favourite parts of the trip though, so regardless, I’m glad we went in the end! We walked around Mdina and then decided to set off to see Valletta, the current capital of Malta. We were also going here on our last day but we had quite a lot of time left so thought we’d see it twice.
It was really gorgeous to see, but it was a Sunday early afternoon so unfortunately almost everything was shut, there are still a huge amount of viewing points and gardens to look at, along with walking along the whole of the city on the seafront which is really pretty. After a walk around we headed back to the hotel before going for lots and lots of cocktails, visiting three different bars – eventually ending up in a really nice sports/karaoke bar up the road from the hotel. We watched the boxing (*Jack watched the boxing*) and had a really good last night.
We knew our last day would be knackering as our flight wasn’t until nine at night, and we had to be out of the hotel in the morning. We checked out, lugged everything into the hire car and took a stroll around Valletta again. We walked around the entire city and took the long stroll along the sea front. After walking around for a while we went to buy a drink from an ice cream van, and found the man inside stood upright sleeping! I didn’t actually notice him at first but Jack nudged me and after spotting him, I literally had to walk away because it was tooooo funny. (And also a serious talent from this guy!) We were creasing over with laughter for a good ten minutes (don’t worry, we were far enough away from the van that we didn’t disturb the man’s slumber,) and then gave up on getting a drink and travelled around the rest of the capital city.
We saw the fireworks all being set up for the fireworks festival finale, which was quite gutting as we knew we would miss it as we were going home. We were sat in one of the gardens and heard all the music sound checks – knowing it was going to be amazing. Next time we visit I’d love to have a look at events that are on prior to going, because it would have been worth spending a night in a hotel with a balcony view over the water, watching all the fireworks and feeling those feels.
Thankfully though, we managed to see the finale of the fireworks from the plane window as we took off, it was so beautiful and such an amazing way to say goodbye to Malta. We had such a fun time here and would definitely go back – maybe in the summer next time to see it from a different perspective and dive in the water without the shock! Have a read of the Malta tab on the blog to see our tips here and a bucket list of everything you absolutely need to do!