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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.

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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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Looking for a Luxury Break in Malta?

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Deluxe Partial Sea view Room

Relax and enjoy a well deserved break. Make use of Our Facilities including the indoor and outdoor pools, our small private sandy beach, and our luxurious spa facilities. And if you would like to add some culture to your holiday, experience one of our great tours around the Maltese Islands.

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The Luxury Malta Escapes includes:

• Accommodation in a Deluxe Partial Sea View Room
• Welcome drink upon arrival
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• Free pressing service during your stay

 Room rates start from €65 per person per night sharing a Double Deluxe Partial Sea View Room.

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Terms & Conditions Apply.

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A Mediterranean way of life: Music, Festivals and Fun

We’ve all heard the saying ‘find a balance between work and play’ and this is surely practised by many Maltese. The Maltese seek every possible occasion to celebrate, be it a personal celebration such as a family wedding, a local feast, carnival, and other yearly musical festivals. And come summer everyone is so eagerly waiting for the lazy months to relax by the beach and enjoy a lovely dip in the sea. But there is no exception for tourists that frequent the Maltese islands during the year seeking some quiet relaxation from the mundane life.

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Having an ideal climate with mild wet winters and warm dry summers, Malta is a well sought destination for many tourists from all around the globe. And come summer what better way to enjoy life than some lazy summer days with a nice glass of wine or a cold beer and some nice music in the background.

Tourists on holiday in Malta do not simply seek the rich history and culture of Malta or the warm climate, they also want to party and enjoy lovely music. So if you are a music lover Malta is perfect for you! All year round there are several activities and concerts that are suited for different age groups and tastes. These events are the perfect occasion for a night out with friends or family.

Cultural Events
Some of the annual cultural events include the Valletta Baroque Festival, the Malta Jazz Festival, the Malta International Choir Festival and other Operas and recitals.

Malta Jazz Festival

An annual musical event that has become increasingly popular in the local events calendar is the Malta International Jazz Festival which takes place on three evenings in July at the Ta’ Liesse in Valletta. This year the festival dates are from the 18th till the 20th July and includes a line-up of top international and Maltese artists. The Festival presents an eclectic mix of jazz styles from the current musical scene which suites various music tastes. The beauty of the Grand Harbour by night sets the backdrop and as described by Mike Stern who played at this venue, the place is magnificent: ‘I have never played in a postcard before’.

The Valletta Baroque Festival is another musical event centered around Valletta. It highlights Malta’s capital as a winter and cultural touristic destination. The aim of this Festival is to celebrate the baroque identity of our truly special capital city, Valletta.

The second edition of the Valletta Baroque Festival will take place between the 10th and the 26th January 2014. The Festival will be centered around the Manoel Theatre, however events will also extend to the magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral, the atmospheric Valletta churches, the splendid Grandmasters’ Palace, the auberges and other baroque edifices. Although this is a musical event, the programme will also be touching on opera and theatre.

Malta International Choir Festival

The Malta International Choir Festival besides being a festival, it is also a competition. It sees various choirs from different nations, cultures and religions performing and competing in a friendly atmosphere. The choirs vary by style and level. This Festival serves as a means of meeting music lovers from all over the world in a friendship concert. This year the event will take place from the 31st October to the 3rd November 2013 and is open to various categories of choirs which hail from all over the world.

Music Concerts and Festivals
In the past years several artists such as Elton John, Zucchero, Ronan Keating, Tom Jones, Rod Stewart and Sir Cliff Richard have visited Malta to perform during a live concert.

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And the highlight of the music scene in Malta is the annual free live European Summer Music Concert, namely the Isle of MTV concert which is held at the Granaries in Floriana. Every year well known and world renowned artists perform at the yearly Isle of MTV concert. These concerts attract a huge audience consisting of both locals and tourists. In previous years, stars like Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog, Black Eyes Peas, LMFAO, and Scissor sisters have taken part.

This year the Isle of MTV concert took place on the 26th June and included top international artists Jessie J, Rita Ora, AfroJack and Rudimental. A local Maltese artist, Kristina Casolani, and the Maltese Eurovision star 2013 Gianluca Bezzina, also took part in this year’s well-sought concert. As was done in previous years the concert will be filmed and aired on MTV channels in the coming months.

For a fun-filled holiday in Malta stay in a Luxury Hotel in Malta close to Valletta and with easy access to all the attractions and events happening around Malta. And if you would like to enjoy a special five star holiday deal during next year’s Valletta International Baroque Festival check out our special Valletta Baroque Festival Offer

Photos courtesy of Viewingmalta.com & Rene Rossignaud.

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