11.20.2012

Wander in: Valletta, Malta

I'm sure you have all come across Mike and Jess's amazing blog, Mike & Jess in Malta...and if not, you must head over there immediately! They are a traveling duo that picked up and left Nova Scotia for the island of Malta! 


I am thrilled to share with you Mike & Jess's amazing insider's take on Valletta, the capital city of Malta!

Upon arrival, this is the first stop: Valletta, the island’s capital city. It’s Baroque and opulent, gritty and quirky, and unlike any other capital city you’ve seen. 


Valletta’s hilly streets lined with unique, Maltese balconies
Valletta’s skyline

 2. To get a taste of the local culture, this is essential: Grab a snack from a pastizzeria. Hot, fresh pastizzi (ricotta or pea filled deep fried pastries) will set you back just 50 cents a piece. It’s the cheapest, best meal around. And if you want to get truly really authentic, wash it down with a Kinnie (a local bitter orange soda).

Ricotta Pastizzi


3. To ride in style like locals, I recommend this form of transport: While buses are cheapest (about $3 for a day pass), and black cabs are the most convenient (book ahead, $10-$30 per trip), water taxis are definitely the most fun. Barter for a good deal between Sliema and Valletta, and other seaside towns.

4. You will sleep like a baby here: Le Meridien, the Intercontinental, the Corinthia, and the Hilton are among some of Malta’s biggest and nicest hotels. But for a more authentic experience, you can rent a centuries-old farmhouse in Malta or Gozo. Or, if you want to indulge, book at the 17th
century Xara Palace (past guests include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie!)


5. Want a souvenir, take this home: Honey. The Romans called the island Melita, which literally translates to honey, and there are about 20 kinds of the sweet, sticky stuff here. Maltese honey is flavoured with hints of clover, eucalyptus, orange blossom, carob and thyme. Delicious. Make sure you pick up a pricier jar, as cheap imitations are only too common.

6. The locals and tourists like to get tipsy here: Salisbury Arms, The Dubliner, and Balluta Bar are great low-key pubs and bars. For a swankier night out, try Club 22, located on the 22
floor of Malta’s only skyscraper, or one of the island’s giant, open-air clubs like Gianpula (they even have swimming pools!) But the kiosks along Sliema’s promenade are truly where locals and tourists like to get tipsy, sitting around plastic tables filled with pints and chips, watching a football match. (The kiosks are my favourite.)
grab a pint at a seaside kiosk

7. The culture here is unique because: it’s where Europe meets North Africa; where Italian and English and Arabic cultures and languages blend.

8.  If I had 24 hours here [during the winter], I would spend it this way: I would start the day with a breakfast of espresso (standing up) at CafĂ© Cordina in Valletta, while rubbing shoulders with Malta’s businesspeople and politicians. Then I’d hop over to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, and take a moment to appreciate the view of the Three Cities from Upper Barrakka Gardens.
St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta
view of the ‘Three Cities’ from Valletta

Next, I would grab a bus to Tarxien and see the incredible Hal Salflieni Hypogeum (book tickets in advance!) then proceed to the medieval city of Mdina, and grab lunch at Fontanella Tea House, enjoying the panoramic view of half of the country (yes, it’s that small!) After lunch, I would take a moment to stroll through Mdina’s tiny, stone streets and feel like transported back a thousand years to an Arabian city.
Next, I would head to Palazzo Parisio – Malta’s mini Versailles – for afternoon tea, and a bit of luxury in the middle of the afternoon.
Palazzo Parisio, Malta
After I’ve had my fill of gold gilded walls and lush gardens, I would go to Sliema for a bit of souvenir shopping (don’t forget that honey!) and have dinner at my pick of top-notch restaurants (I love the view of Valletta’s skyline from La Cucina del Sole and the Maltese fare at Gululu).
View of Valletta from La Cucina del Sole restaurant in Sliema

Finally, if I’m still awake I could join the throngs of partiers in Paceville for a wild night out. Or (more likely) I could grab a bottle of wine and a picnic blanket and head to the rocky shore to count the stars.

10 comments :

  1. Thanks again for having me, Ashley!

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    1. Anytime Jess! Thanks for doing such an amazing job...makes me definitely want to book a trip to Malta!

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  2. Hooooray! I went to Malta in May and went to all of these places - I LOVED the Fontina Tea House in Mdina. Actually, everything about Mdina is just awesome.

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    1. ahhh...I seriously want to go now! It looks and sounds amazing!

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  3. Love Jess and LOVE this series! These are the types of tips you'll never be able to find on a travel site. They are golden!

    xxx
    Jenna

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenna!! I love that they moved to Malta! I don't think I had ever even heard of it before their blog!

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  4. Such awesome tips!!! I can't wait to visit Malta one day.

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Thank you for your lovely comment!

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