Tag Archives: nature

Visit Malta: Majjistral Natural & History Park


The Majjistral Natural & History Park is located in the Northwest part of Malta, extending from Golden Bay to Popeye Village, or Anchor Bay. Majjistral Park is the only natural park in Malta and it includes coastal cliffs and a rich ecological and rural heritage.

The park contains a diverse of habitats that include: clay slopes, boulder screes, maritime and clifftop garigue, agricultural land, a sandy beach and an associated dune. Native trees, shrubs and smaller plants are being planted and taken care of in the area after it was cleared of rubbish. In Majjistral, you can also find cart-ruts, rubble walls, farmhouses, tombs dating back to the Classical period, caves and a number of ‘giren’ that were used by hunters for storage and shelter. You can explore remains of British military architecture, dating to the early 20th century, amongst which is a military shooting range.


Majjistral Park was declared a National Park in 2007 and since then over 1300 plants were planted including olives, Evergreen oak, Carob, Myrtle, Golden Samphire and more. There are around 430 different species of plants in the park, including some very extreme species and other plants endemic to Malta – such as Maltese Spurge, Maltese Sea Chamomile, Maltese Pyramical Orchid and the Maltese Sea Lavender. The park is also home to 9 bird species known to breed there and several migratory species who visit. You can also come across different reptiles and mammals such as hedgehogs, various bat species, weasels and wild rabbits. The area is mostly composed of Blue Clay, the rock layer sandwiched between the Globigerina limestone and the Upper Coralline Limestone. Being one of the softer rocks, clay erodes easily with the action of the elements, collapsing limestone structures and leaving a stretch of scattered boulders. Erosion created the sandy beaches of Fomm ir-Rih, Gnejna, Ghajn Tuffieha, Golden Bay and Paradise Bay. The relative inaccessibility of these beaches makes them less frequented and they remain amongst the most pristine and picturesque bays of the island. The amazing landscape at Majjistral Natural Park
attracts several trekkers during autumn, winter and spring.

You can explore the site at your own leisure or join guided nature walks held every Sunday from October to May, subject to a minimum participation. You can book your walk by sending an email to walks@majjistral.org.

Find out what’s happening in Malta by contacting the Concierge Desk at this luxury 5 star hotel and they will definitely give you some great tips on Where to Go and What to Do during your next holiday to Malta.

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Malta: the Land of Honey

Malta is well renowned for its pure honey. In fact beekeeping in Malta has a long history. Proof of this is the name the Greeks gave Malta. They called the island ‘Melite’ (Μελίτη) which derives from the Greek word ‘meli’ (μέλι) that means honey.


Photo credits: Times of Malta

A sub species of the honey bee (Apis Mellifera Ruttneri) is endemic to the Maltese Islands. This type of bee used to live in the wild. Nowadays you can still find some but they have become very rare due to diseases.

In the past Maltese honey was considered a delicacy and it also used to be exported from the island. It is believed that the Phoenicians introduced the domestication of beekeeping in apiaries and earthenware jars. In fact some Punic apiaries remain. In the Maltese countryside one can still find apiaries called ‘Miġbħa’ that date back to Punic times. One of them is the Xemxija apiary that is one of the oldest in the world. In theory this apiary is still in a state of use, however nowadays the beekeeping technique is different with movable frame hives.

Apiary - Honey making in Malta

Photo credits: Cordyline on Panoramio.

In Malta, until the 1950’s bees were kept in earthenware jars. These type of jars were made of clay and without a bottom. At the top they had a closure with small holes. These jars were kept under carob trees in order to get a good shading from the sun. Sometimes they were also placed in niches in rubble walls made especially for these jars. But those who had the means used to build apiaries in their fields. These apiaries were specially built rooms or caves which had their opening closed by a wall. An opening in the wall would allow the bees to enter the cave.

Honey was gathered once a year after the wild thyme honey season, usually around the Feast of St. Anne which falls on the 26th July. The honey making process is quite a busy one for the beekeeper. He needs to observe the bees at work in order to add extensions to the jar. The gathering of the honey was a little messy too. A long knife was used in order to cut off the combs with honey. The liquid was then placed in a pail or a pot and covered. Before bee smokers were available, the beekeepers used to burn some grass in old cooking pans and extinguish it to make some smoke in order to enter near the bees and not be stung.

These techniques started to change in the 50’s as the first movable frame hives and other tools began to appear. These were generally imported from Britain. The hives were then copied from them and crafted locally. Till today the British Standard hive is common in Malta.

Maltese Honey

Photo credits: Viewing Malta & Mario Galea

In old times honey was a commodity for the general household. Before the invention of sugar refining, honey was the only means of sweetener. It was also cheaper than cane sugar. Although nowadays the whole process has changed, one cannot forget our fathers that without any modern knowledge and tools managed to place Malta in the world map of honey. In fact Maltese honey is still regarded as one of the best around the world.

If you would like to witness some local traditions during your holidays in Malta be sure to speak to our Transport desk during your stay and they will guide you through our list of self guided tours and excursions.

Photo credits: Times of Malta, Viewing Malta & Mario Galea and on Panoramio.

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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 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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