This post was last updated on December 3rd, 2013
How has Malta managed to stay under so many people’s radars? Yes, it certainly has a thriving tourism industry, and those who’ve been tend to go back, but it doesn’t have the widespread reputation of go-to holiday destinations like Portugal, Spain or Greece. But once there, it’s the natural beauty of the lagoons, coves and clifftops around the island’s shores which proves the real stunner.
As something of a hidden treasure, the island has its share of unexplored spots and off-the-track destinations. If Malta is down on your itinerary, here are a few suggested highlights of the Maltese coastline…
Uncover the Golden Sands
For a truly idyllic day on the beach, catch a bus from Valletta or St. Julian’s and head over to Malta’s west coast towardsGolden Bay. There you’ll find the island’s most beautiful beach, a hidden patch of sand at the base of some rocky, seaside cliffs.
Fittingly named ‘Golden Sands’, this picturesque beach is the perfect place to set up camp for a day. Take a dip in the shallow blue waters and enjoy an ice cream from the small adjacent cafe.
Take the ferry to Gozo
Before traveling to Malta, many don’t realise that the country is comprised of three main islands – the large island of Malta and two smaller islands named Gozo and Comino. For a fascinating day trip, take the ferry to Gozo, just a 20-minute journey north of Malta. Views from the ferry deck will give you a new appreciation for the beauty of the Maltese coastline.
After you arrive, be sure to explore the grand ‘Citadella’ in Victoria, Gozo’s capital. The small, fortified town dates back to the Bronze Age and features a stunning 17th-century baroque cathedral.
Swim in the Blue Grotto
On Malta’s south coast lies the magical Blue Grotto, a series of sea caverns characterised by their blue-tinted walls. The colour is a result of the daylight bouncing off the blue sea and reflecting onto the rocky caves. When there’s bright sunshine, the effect is as though the rocks were brushed with blue paint.
Boat tours of the Blue Grotto leave from the shores of one of Malta’s oldest towns, Zurrieq. If boat traffic isn’t too heavy during your tour, the guide may allow you to get out and swim. It’s certainly worth wearing your swimsuit just in case!
Enjoy the view from the Upper Barrakka Gardens
A visit to Malta wouldn’t be complete without exploring the country’s historic capital, Valletta. This public park, located atop the city’s famous fortifications above the Grand Harbour, serves as a scenic oasis within the bustling city and provides some of the best panoramas on the island. The lush gardens of Upper Barrakka are the perfect place to enjoy a romantic stroll, or a picnic of local delicacies.
Ginny Bevan is currently writing and travelling her way around Europe, and has no plans to return home just yet.