Only a few weeks ago I had the chance to discover this tiny island a bit lost between Europe and Africa, Malta. Actually, we often think about it as an island and yet the Republic of Malta is not just an island but an archipelago which only three of them are inhabited: Malta, Gozo and Comino.
After spending a week there I can tell you at least two things:
- When I say that Malta is small, I mean it. It’s only 316 km2 and people like me (and you) would be tempted to think that it’s not a big deal to visit the whole island in a week but, actually, you never have enough with 7 days to see everything and go everywhere you want to, especially if you have to use public transport. And if you try to, you might come back home exhausted. Which is not the first purpose of going holidays, apparently (well, that’s what people told me, at least).
- Malta is definitely a dream destination for every kind of travellers… And that’s a quite good thing if you’re not a lonely traveler like me but if, for some senseless reasons, you keep on going on holidays with people who doesn’t share your interests (yeah, you’re probably masochistic but that’s not my problem so deal with it!)
So, why is Malta the perfect place to go ? Well, wait a sec and I’ll tell you all about it !
First reason: some people like to go on holidays and spend all their time on the beach. Why? I really have no idea. Maybe to show how tanned they can get. Or because they like hearing other people’s kids screaming, buying ugly and expensive souvenirs and eating ice creams everyday. Or maybe they are really exhausted (apparently some people do work hard on this planet). Or because they just really want go to the seaside. Who knows? Anyway ! If you feel like staying still and lounging in the sun, Malta is perfect for you. 40 beaches, at least, so even if wanted, you couldn’t try them all in a week ! Be careful though, there are more rocky than sandy ones !
Second reason: The cities. All the old cities are so pretty and picturesque that you can’t stop feeling you’re trapped in a mysterious and timeless maze. You could easily spend the all day wandering around, trying to discover all the little streets and feel amazed by all the different doors (but maybe I’m the only one who’s obsessed with doors).
Third reason: The landscapes. It might seem obvious or such a commonplace but still. You can’t picture how amazing there are without having seeing them yourself. Of course, some of them are now quite touristic places but some others aren’t at all. It’s something that you should definitely try if you like being lost in the middle of an astounding nowhere with no one around you (and no public toilets either, by the way, which is less pleasant).
Fourth reason: Going out. Malta, especially Valetta and its famous area: Paceville. There is literally always something to do (and drink) there. It’s also probably the busiest place of the town after 6pm. If you like partying or having a few drinks, it’s definitely the place to be. They even have buses all night to make drunk people’s life easier. How nice, isn’t it? And don’t worry about having troubles to find the place, it’s hard to miss it !
Fifth reason: History. More than the cities themselves, Malta is full of History. Its atypical geographic position, standing up fiercely between Africa and Europe, has always given the islands a strategic importance as a naval base. Having been ruled by Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, French and British, the islands are full of interesting remains of its complicated past, starting with the Maltese Megalithic Temples, which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
Things that you might know:
- With two national languages and all the different cultures that has been mixed for decades, Malta is a bit like this weird multicultural place that reminds you your schizophrenic friend you have hard time to handle, sometimes.
- Malta is not always this hot, sunny and cloudless place people usually dream of (especially when they’re used to Belgian weather which has unanimously elected as worse weather ever). It can also be rainy. And windy. Really windy. So be prepared… Or you might die (cause you know, it’s a rocky place with lots of cliffs and not always that much people around to save you, so just in case, it’s better if you try not to do anything stupid).
- If you want to use public transport, you’ll have to take your meditation book with you and do yoga for, at least, 1 hour a day. It might be the smallest European country, you still need 4 hours to go where you want to, sometimes. And it’s not even like the drivers were nice and helpful.
- As every Mediterranean countries, you have the traditional siesta everyday. Take it as a chance to rest yourself but don’t forget about it if you really need something.
- A lot of people come to Malta to learn English. Which is a terrible idea, in my opinion, cause they usually talk to each other and don’t really learn proper English or correct their awful accent. If you’re staying at Valletta, in the newest areas, you might feel like you won’t meet any real Maltese people. But from the moment you start wandering around the island and go to the small villages, you’ll be more able to meet locals. They’re not always nice but some might leave you some priceless memories.