A mere 3 months after we started dating we set off on a weeks holiday to Malta...
A holiday it may have been labeled but in fact with hiring a car we didn't stay around our hotel in Qawra for long as we were off exploring the island each day and spent two days day-tripping to Gozo and Comino. We had an amazing time exploring and falling in love with the place.
7 years later the photos make it to our blog and I still dream of going back one day.
Below you will find where we visited and see what we got up to. The facts of prices and distances and so on may have faded but the memories will last a life time.
St. Paul's Catacombs
St. Paul’s Catacombs are some of the most prominent features of Malta’s paleochristian archaeology. The archaeological clearing of the site has revealed an extensive system of underground galleries and tombs dated from the fourth to the ninth centuries AD. It was an eerie experience but we were completely cool kids messing around in the cemetery, I don't think we would be doing that now.
The Blue Grotto is a number of sea caverns on the south coast. Best seen from the water on a boat trip, we just enjoyed the area by Shannon jumping into the choppy water whilst I fearfully looked on from the edge.
Driving around one day we passed by a gorgeous little restaurant in Dingli and couldn't pass it by, the setting was rustic and cute and we enjoyed a lovely lunch.
Our favourite place, hands down! Mdina is a fortified city in the Northern Region of Malta, which served as the island's capital from antiquity to the medieval period. The city is still confined within its walls, and has a population of just under 300. It was so picturesque and gorgeous, the cobble footpaths and the sandstone buildings were just dreamy. From the boundary city walls we were treated to the most splendid panoramic views across Malta. And the other thing that made Mdina so memorable? The biggest and best antipasti platter we have ever had the pleasure of eating, so good we went twice! If you can only make one stop in Malta make sure it is Mdina!
We took a boat trip to the small island of Comino part of the Maltese archipelago, measuring 3.5 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi) in area. Comino is tranquil and rather isolated with just 3 permanent residents (there were 4 residents until 2017). Comino has a rugged coastline with sheer limestone cliffs, and dotted with deep caves, one of which was used in 'The Count Of Monte Cristo' and Comino also featured in Shannon's favourite movie 'Troy'. Comino is most famous for its Blue Lagoon. The boat trip cost €10pp.
We booked the local car ferry ' Gozo Channel Line' which runs from Cirkewwa in Malta to Mgarr in Gozo 24 hours a day and departs every 30- 45 minutes. The fare for 2 persons and a car is around €19. Having the car to explore the island was great as we got to see a lot in a short space of time. We visited the capital of Gozo- Rabat which is name of the old town centre, more commonly known as Victoria now and wandered around the glorious Cittadella. After a stop at the markets where Shannon let me buy my first of a million trinkets we went to the coast to visit the wonder that is (was) the Azure Window, a natural limestone arch that was a remarkable geological feature, however in 2017 it collapsed and is no more. We rounded the day off by having dinner in the little fishing village of Marsalforn, Shannon asked the restaurant owner what he should have, and was presented with a plate full of fish complete with head and eyes. He didn't know what to do!
Valetta and Sliema
We visited Valetta, Malta's capital a few times through out the week, we took a horse and carriage ride around and took in the lovely atmosphere and the gorgeous buildings and architecture. We visited the 'Malta At War' which is a museum dedicated to Malta's role in World War II. The museum is housed within a barrack block and a rock-hewn air-raid shelter, the museum's collection consists of memorabilia such as weapons, uniforms, medals, documents and other items.
One evening we went to Sliema which is located North of the capital, which is a pretty seaside resort.
Fort Ricasoli is located across the water to Valletta, I have included separately as it was possibly Shannon's favourite thing in Malta. Fort Ricasoli is a bastioned fort in Kalkara, which was built by the Order of Saint John between 1670 and 1698. It was used in several invasions and mutiny's. Today Fort Ricasoli remains mostly intact but in a dilapidated state, and it is used as a filming location, of which excited Shannon to no end, we tried to enter the fort but security couldn't allow us in as there was some filming due to starting, we eventually were allowed in and it was rather exciting to think what had been and would be filmed here. We learned that in 2000 'Gladitor' was filmed here and in 2004 'Troy'.
In researching for this post I also found that it was used as a military hospital, which could well have been where my papa was sent when he fell ill whilst serving in the Royal Navy.
Golden Bay and Mellieħa
We drove to the North of the island to visit Mellieha which is popular tourist resort and we visited 'Saint Agatha's Tower', and sat and watched the world go by as we had an iced drink, overlooking the 'Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa'. We also went to the beach at Golden Bay and enjoyed a day splashing in the sea and sunbathing.
Our hotel was in Qawra which was a lovey quiet area, a mix of residential and holiday feel. One night we went to the casino to try our luck. The hotel had a huge roof terrace complete with a jaccuzzi, one evening there was spectacular thunder and lightning so ran up to the roof to watch.
Mosta is a town located in the North of the island. The most famous building in Mosta is the Rotunda, a large church with the third largest unsupported dome in the world. The church narrowly avoided destruction during World War II, a German aerial bomb pierced the dome and fell into the church during Mass but failed to explode. This event was interpreted by the Maltese as a miracle. The bomb was still sitting there for us to see.
My second favourite place after Mdina was the traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk which is located on the South East of the island, we had a lovely time wandering around, seeing the markets which fresh fish was being brought straight off the boat and into the stalls. It was so picturesque and nice to see the place buzzing with locals and not as many tourists.
The story behind the love heart shaped stone
Whilst sunbathing and relaxing on Dwejra beach in Gozo, Shannon found a normal stone shaped stone and went about carving it out using a large rock which was next to us making me this gorgeous love heart shaped stone. We still have it to this day, and treasure it greatly. We have since used it as our icon for the blog and social media as it is close to our hearts and know that whilst others can make similar stones, no one has ours.
We had a wonderful holiday in Malta and one day we will definitely go back...