Tag Archives: holidays in malta

In need of a stress free holiday? Visit some beautiful gardens in Malta

Grab your camera and enjoy a few days exploring some of Malta’s unique gardens, some of which not even frequented by the locals!

Maltese Gardens

Whether you are a nature lover or are seeking a haven of tranquility during your holidays in Malta, the lovely gardens around Malta offer some ideal spots for your free time.

If you wander around Malta you will find a number of beautiful public gardens. Although they are quite small in size, most of them have a historical and cultural background.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior has prepared a special Three Day Malta Gardens Break that will take you to some of Malta’s beautiful gardens that are spread around the Maltese Islands. Book our tour, hop on our taxi and enjoy the Maltese nature.

Gardens in Malta - Malta Holidays

And if you’re looking for a different experience during your holidays or wondering what else you can do in Malta during your vacation, this superior 5 star hotel in Malta offers you various holiday ideas. Whatever you’re after, whether it’s a romantic break, an active holiday, a cultural tour or simply a getaway with your friends we have designed special packages for you.

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Do you love Nature? Explore the Maltese Countryside…

Natural Attractions in Malta

malta nature

The natural environment of the Maltese Islands differs from the other European countries. Whereas most of them are rich in features such as mountains, forests, rivers or lakes, one will hardly find here. On the other hand, the islands’ landscape is dominated by cliffs, valleys, fields, rocks, beaches and bays.

The cliffs can be found on the western side of both islands, sharply rising from the sea to heights of 80 to 130 meters above sea level and down to 80 meters below in some places. Due to the difficult accessibility, the cliffs are home to many unusual Mediterranean coastal habitats. Maltese fauna and flora definitely have plenty to offer for visitors to view and enjoy.

malta nature 2

So If you’re looking for things to do in Malta one of the must see is a natural trio of spectacular phenomena – the Azure Window, Inland Sea and Fungus Rock. They can be found in the same location and are spread over a space of a few meters from each other. If you also enjoy the more adventurous activities, Malta is the place for you. Unlike other countries, the Maltese Islands conceal many attractions under water. So whether it is snorkeling or diving that you prefer, the Mediterranean waters are host to the extraordinary underwater landscapes surrounding the islands.

These are some of places worth visiting when staying in Malta:
Dingli Cliffs
This countryside is an ideal site for walking; with views of Verdala Palace and Buskett Gardens or Filfla Island. The cliffs are few kilometers long and 200 meters high at some points and were the Island’s natural fortress during the Knights’ occupation. Dingli Cliffs is one of the most beautiful locations in Malta, especially at Sunset, when its charming and breathtaking views are unparalleled.

Buskett Gardens
This is one of the few woodland areas in Malta. The 30ha site lies south of Rabat and east of Dingli. There are many different trees and shrubs growing in the area. These gardens were originally planted by the Knights Hospitaler as a hunting ground. Nowadays, it is a beautiful place to go for a walk in winter or simply just hide in the shade from the sun.

Marsaxlokk Saline Marshland
In all there are only six salt marsh habitats in a good condition found on the Islands. Due to the
very limited number of the saline marshlands, a 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 evolve in isolated area on sediments overplayed with surface water. It 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 is a location in the Northern part of Malta in the limits of Mellieha, 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 running of the Rural Heritage Trail, restoration of Razzett tal-Qasan and the Armoury and also the promotion of the local products. The Historic Farmstead (Ir-Razzett tal-Qasan) is a relatively large rural complex comprising of caves and rooms of which many are now in ruins. Although most of these rooms originated during the Knights’ period, it is believed that some of these date back to the Medieval period. These rooms were used by farmers residing in the
location throughout the year. KRM also offer a Heritage trail, which is an educational visitor programme for both students and adults. This walk along Manikata Rural Heritage Trail is a way for everyone to experience and learn about the Maltese nature and agriculture. Whilst viewing historical and archeological sites, taste local Maltese bread with olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. You can also take an opportunity and purchase the local produce.

Once in the locality you might want to consider visiting the Majjistral Nature and History Park which borders with the Manikata, and is known as the first Natural Park set up on the Maltese Islands. The beauty of the pure Maltese nature gives its visitors a rare experience in very developed Malta; of walking in history and wilderness. It 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’re in love with nature or would like to enjoy some quiet time in typical Maltese gardens during your holidays in Malta, the Grand Hotel Excelsior offers some unique Malta Holiday Packages for your enjoyment. Browse through our inspirational holiday ideas.

Photo courtesy www.viewingmalta.com

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Love Maltese History? A Spotlight on Fort St Angelo

Fort_St Angelo

Fort St Angelo

Fort St. Angelo is the jewel in the crown of Malta’s rich military heritage. It stands majestically at the
tip of the promontory of Citta Vittoriosa or Birgu, as it is popularly known, dominating the Three Cities on the South Eastern of the Grand Harbour. The Families of De Guevara and De Nava were associated with the castle for many years and the latter family had to hand over the castle to the Order of St. John, when the Knights landed on our shores in 1530.

Soon after their arrival in Malta the Knights set about strengthening the then half-ruined Castle of St. Angelo and repairing the Fort’s defences. The church of St. Anne as well as the Castellan’s house, both in the fort, were restored and remodelled by the Order’s Ingeniere e Soprastante dell Opere, the Portugese Fra Diego Perez di Malfriere. The castle soon became a veritable fortress and, thirty five years later, in 1565, was to repulse a formidable Turkish Armada which besieged the island for three months. It was the headquarters of Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette who led the local force of some six hundred Knights and a few thousands met-at-arms against the repeated onslaught of the Muslim invaders. The epic resistance of the defenders of the Fort during the Great Siege, are the archetype of all that symbolizes the character and determination of the Knights of St. John and the Maltese.

The Fort underwent various changes during the rule of the Order of St. John and the other defence works were concluded by the Spanish military engineer Carlos de Grunenburgh, in about 1689. This outline still survives today. In 1912 the British Royal Navy moved into Fort St. Angelo and the fort was turned into a naval headquarters and rechristened HMS St. Angelo. During the Second World War the fort was extensively damaged by air attack and between 1940 and 1943 it suffered sixty-nine direct hits. It continued to be used as a base ship for the Mediterranean until the British Services finally left Malta in March 1979.

In the historical agreement reached with the Maltese Government in 1998, the Order of St. John, was granted the right to occupy the upper part of the Fort, comprising the Magistral Palace and St. Anne Chapel. Intensive restoration works of these areas are being carried out.

The Church of St. Anne in Fort St. Angelo
The 15th century Chapel of St. Anne, in the precincts of Fort St. Angelo, is where the Knights first worshipped on their arrival in Malta. It is said that the original chapel was built by De Nave family one hundred years before the coming of the Knights in 1530.

The histographer of the Order Iacomo Bosio, writing in 1594, says that the present chapel was built on the site of the previous chapel thus: “The church consists of an entrance bay, a square central section of four quadripartite-vaulted bays, another quadripartite-vaulted bay in line with the entrance and, finally a small bay which seems to have supported a half-dome. The four middle bays are sustained by a central column composed of red granite known as syenite and may have formed part of a temple.”

The ‘Guva’ in Fort St. Angelo
The ‘Guva’, or underground cell, was the Order’s most sever place of confinement for convicted knights. It principally served as a place of punishment but occasionally also housed knights awaiting trial. It consists of a bell shaped hole excavated in the ground-rock, without steps, from which it was virtually impossible to escape. The base is roughly oval shaped (from 3.3 meters at its narrowest to 4.2 meters at its widest) and it is 3.4 meters high. Niches and shelves cut in the walls were probably used for candles, laps or lanterns. Sad graffiti decorate all the wall surface and the names incised indicate that the guva was in use soon after the knights’ arrival in Malta. One graffito by Fra Jeronimo Palan is the earliest, dated August 7, 1532.

The only guva known today, rediscovered in 1913, is in Fort St. Angelo in Malta, and is five meters awat from the facade of the little church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. The archives indicate that other guvas existed; with at least two or three in Gozo, but their whereabouts have not yet been identified.

EU Celebrations

EU Celebrations

EU Celebrations

Fort St. Angelo was the centre of attraction in a spectacular display of lights, music and fireworks which was transmitted live on television to millions of viewers, to celebrate Malta’s entry into the European Union on the 1st May 2004.

If you would like to know more about the History of Malta and would like to visit some interesting places during your holidays in Malta, contact Our Concierge & Transport Desk and they will surely be able to assist you. And if you would like to book a superior room for your relaxation break, check out what this Luxury Malta Hotel has to offer.

Photos courtesy of Mario Galea, www.viewingmalta.com & http://www.cc-advocates.com.

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