Every year since graduating I have made a bigger/longer trip every year: Moscow in 2012; the East Coast of the USA in 2013; Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Indonesia in 2014; a Euro-trip (Amsterdam, Istanbul, Paris, Rouen, Stadthagen) in 2015; Vietnam & Cambodia in 2016 and Morocco in 2017. Last year we moved from the UK to Belgium and had to plan around different jobs, the academic calendar and my 30th birthday. But for that big birthday my other half surprised me with a week-long trip: to Malta!
Our trip came at the perfect time really after some stressful months, and I was looking forward to some time off to relax and chill on a beach.
We flew from Brussels Charleroi airport on a Monday night in September to Valetta. We were staying in the Sliema area for the first few nights, at the City Dacha Guesthouse. The hotel had arranged a pick-up for us from the airport, so my first impressions of Malta were by night from the car. We were glad to arrive at the guesthoude and go to bed as it was well past midnight already. But we appreciated the lovely room we had with a large bathroom and little sitting area, all quite stylish.
In the morning we set off for a wander around Sliema in search of some breakfast. That we found at the little Nuoto Caffe with some pastries, coffee and tea. Over breakfast we decided not to go into Valetta and take it easy on our first day, just relax a bit on the stoney beaches around Sliema and St. Julians. So we wandered around, swam, read and napped. When the lunchtime cravings came we went to Krepree where we had savoury chicken ceasar crêpes in a cone. This was followed by more chilling on the rocky beaches.
In the evening we went to Ta Kris, a wonderful gem of a restaurant my boyfriend had been to when he was in Malta on a work trip. Not quite a hidden gem, so good we came early as the place was entirely full! But wonderful food, so worth the wait!
On the way back to our guesthouse we passed by a hairdresses called Mr Scissors. My other half wanted to get a haircut, but we got a lot more than just a haircut for him! The hairdresser was a lovely lady, giving us a lot of tips and suggestions on where to eat and drink.
On Wednesday on our way to the ferry port we picked up some sweet pastries from Dolce Sicilia and some savoury ones from a little shop across the road. By ferry we travelled to Valetta and made our way through the city to the bus station. There we took the bus to Vittoriosa/Birgu. We explored its little streets and water front before visiting the impressive Fort Angelo. After admiring some of the fancy yachts in front of the fort we made our way back to Valetta by bus for a proper look around. Ice cream in hand, we wandered the parallel streets of Valetta. Back in Sliema we went for a seafood dinner and cocktails by the seaside at a place called Fresco’s on Tower Road.
On Thursday we left Sliema by taxi for Mellieha Bay a bit further up north. The taxi brought us to the next hotel to drop our bags off and then took us to the Bughibba Jetty. We had booked a trip to go to Gozo, Comino, the Blue Lagoon and the caves that day with Hornblower cruises. It was quite a grey day and rain clouds were approaching, but we decided to make the best out of it. How lucky did we get?! Our boat basically circumvented the island and with it the clouds, and we had clear blue skies for the rest of the day!
The boat took us to the Blue Lagoon on Comino where we could go for a swim, sunbathe and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Then we set off to Gozo where we got into little buses to explore the island. First we went to Victoria, where we walked right up the Citadel, with great views over the city and the island. This was followed by a few more short stops all round the island, including some magnificent churches and the opportunity to go on a small boat trip through the caves. Back to the big boat then where we chilled on deck with beers while it returned to Bugibba Jetty.
We took a bus to Mellieha Bay and settled into our hotel, the Luna Holiday Complex. Not quite the same standard as the one from Valetta, but it came with a kick-ass rooftop pool and bar. We went for dinner at Munchies, which was a bit of a disappointment despite its great reviews on Tripadvisor. A bit of a hit and miss I guess: my salmon dinner was lovely, my boyfriend’s dinner was cold.
On Friday we made a trip to the city of Mdina to meet with my other half’s former colleague, her partner and their dog. After taking two busses we picked up some gorgeous savoury pastries from a local pastizzeria in Mdina. We met up with our local guides and went for a walk around the winding little streets of Mdina. We had some drinks in a side street, fraternizing over travel stories (a favourite topic, as you can imagine). On the route back we got off a few stops before and had some lovely pizza at Al Ponte.
We enjoyed our last morning getting that last bit of a tan in, packed our bags and went for a last wander around the bay. And off we went again, with a public bus a street from our hotel all the way to the airport. Until next time Malta!