Category Archives: Malta

Your Spring holiday in Malta

Spring in your Step…

Malta has so much to offer to the adventurous traveller at springtime! The Maltese Islands hide many attractions under water, so whether it is snorkelling or diving that you prefer, the surrounding Mediterranean waters offer spectacular underwater views. If you prefer walking or hiking, a must-see attraction is the natural trio of spectacular phenomena – the Azure Window, Inland Sea and Fungus Rock, which are located in Gozo.

A visit to Malta would not be complete without viewing the following:

Dingli CliffsDingli Cliffs
This countryside is an ideal site for walking, with the views of Verdala Palace, Buskett Gardens and Filfla Island. The cliffs are few kilometres long and 200 meters high at some points, and these were the island’s natural fortress during the Knights’ occupation. Dingli Cliffs is considered one of the most beautiful locations in Malta, especially at sunset.

Buskett GardensBuskett Gardens
This is one of the few woodland areas in Malta. The 30ha site lies south of Rabat and east of Dingli, and many different trees and shrubs grow in the area. These gardens were originally planted by the Knights Hospitaller as a hunting ground. Enjoy a stroll around these beautiful gardens while enjoying the cool shade and tranquil surroundings.

MarsaxlokkMarsaxlokk Saline Marshland
There are only six salt marsh habitats in a good condition on the Islands. Due to the very limited number, great importance is paid to this natural heritage. These sites are recognized as conservation areas. The Marsaxlokk Saline Marshlands were listed as Nature Reserve in 1983. They evolved in an isolated area on sediments overplayed with surface water. This is a process which happens during the growth season. The distance between the sea and the Saline Marshland is very important as they are the link between the marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments.

Manikata
Manikata, located in the Northern part of Malta, within the limits of Mellieha is run by a group of local farmers and its residents known as Koperattiva Rurali Manikata (KRM). The group was set up in order to protect the locality and to maintain its natural beauty. The organization is currently working on four projects. These are management of the Rural Heritage Trail, the restoration of Razzett tal-Qasan and the Armoury and the promotion of local products.

The Historic Farmstead (Ir-Razzett tal-Qasan) is a relatively large rural  complex comprised of caves and rooms, many of which are now in ruins. Although most of these rooms originated during the Knights’ period, it is believed that some of these date back to medieval times, when they were
used by farmers. The Heritage Trail is an educational visitor programme for students and adults, which allows visitors to experience Maltese nature and agriculture. The trail includes a walk, viewing of historical and archeological sites, and a taste of local Maltese bread, as well as an opportunity to buy some of the locally produced foods. You might want to consider visiting the Majjistral Nature and History Park which borders with Manikata, and is known as the first Natural Park set up on the Maltese Islands. The beauty of this area gives its visitors a rare experience in very developed Malta; of walking through historical and natural sites. Manikata is located in the Northwest Malta and includes the coastal area from Golden Bay to il-Prajjet and ix- Xagħra l-Ħamra. This park includes 6 km of designated Natura 2000 area, historical and archeological site.

If you would like to view some of these interesting places during your holiday in Malta, contact our Transport Desk and they will organise interesting self guided tours for you.

Photos courtesy of Maurizio Modena & Viewing Malta

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Easter Celebrations in Malta

Easter Celebrations in Malta are given a lot of importance due to the local religion and culture. The faithful gather to celebrate and commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These celebrations are also very popular amongst international visitors to Malta, who enjoy watching traditional ceremonies. Activities begin on Good Friday, when a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is carried in a procession across many local towns and villages.

Good Friday Procession in MaltaLater in the afternoon, several localities also commemorate the Passion of Christ with a solemn procession of statues carried by bearers. Those participating in the processions would be dressed up as biblical characters or bear crosses and drag chains tied to their feet as a sign of penance or piety.

Easter Procession in MaltaThe solemnity of Good Friday is succeeded by the festivities of Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Church bells ring jubilantly, and statues of the Risen Christ are carried in the streets. In Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa; one of the Three Cities, a group of men make a mad dash uphill bearing a statue of the Risen Christ. This is another popular event in Malta and also attracts many tourists.

On Easter Sunday many families meet up for a special Sunday lunch; exchanging good wishes and some small gifts. Another tradition is to give the little ones chocolate eggs and a ‘figolla’, a traditional almond pastry.

If you wish to attend one of the processions, you may wish to plan in advance to find the perfect place providing a clear view. Processions usually start in the mid-afternoon on Good Friday. Some of the locations where processions take place are:
Malta: Birgu (Vittoriosa), Bormla (Senglea), Ghaxaq, Luqa, Mosta, Naxxar, Paola, Qormi, Rabat, Senglea, Valletta, Żebbuġ (Città Rohan) and Żejtun.

Gozo: Nadur, Ghajnsielem, Victoria (St. George Basilica and St Maria Cathedral), Nadur, Xewkija, Qala, Xaghra and Żebbuġ.

If you’re planning to spend your Easter Holidays in Malta contact Our Chauffeur Driven Service and they will advise you on Where to Go and What to Do in Malta during your holidays.

Photos courtesy of Jürgen Scicluna & Viewing Malta.

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Carnival Celebrations in Malta

Carnival in Malta

Carnival is a very important part of the Maltese culture. It dates back to almost five centuries ago, when it was first introduced by Grand Master Piero de Ponte. Since then, although it has undergone several changes over the years, Carnival has remained very popular among the locals. In accordance to tradition, celebrations begin one week prior and up to Ash Wednesday. In fact, the name Carnival was derived from ‘Carne vale’ which when translated literally means ‘meat is allowed’. This was due to the fact that Catholicism forbade the consumption of meat during the forty days of Lent. As a result, Roman Catholic countries celebrated Carnival just before the commencement of the fasting period.

Carnival CelebrationsNowadays, thousands of residents gather in the streets of numerous villages and towns to celebrate Carnival. Some of the most popular venues are Valletta and Floriana in Malta and Nadur in Gozo. The festivities held in Valletta, the capital of Malta and Victoria, the capital of Gozo, also feature various costume competitions together with dances, and various floats in all colours and shapes. The Carnival taking place in Nadur, Gozo, differs to those held in Malta. This has a more modern feel to it, which makes it very popular among young people. In fact, several individuals travel from Malta to Gozo for the celebrations. The festivities in Nadur take place mainly in St. Peter and St. Paul’s Square. The streets are filled with individuals dressed in costumes of which many are outrageous. The Nadur Carnival has become renowned across Europe.

If you’re visiting Malta during the Carnival festivities, take the opportunity to visit the City and experience the Carnival celebrations first-hand. The Grand Hotel Excelsior is located close to Valletta, just a few minutes’ walk from the activities.

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