The news that the Azure Window of Malta collapsed into the sea was a cause of great sadness around the world. There are still plenty of reasons to visit Malta though, and here are 10 of them.
Reasons to Visit Malta
I visited Malta in February 2017, and took this picture of the Azure Window just days before it finally collapsed. At the time, our guide said ‘take your photos now, because we don't know how much longer it will be here'. Prophetic words! Its collapse is a sad loss to Gozo (where the arch was), and Malta. It was such a notable landmark, and featured in TV shows and films such as Clash of the Titans and Game of Thrones to name just two.
There is more to Malta than the Azure Window though. Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Malta if you haven't already.
Reasons to Visit Malta
1. Lots of REALLY old stuff
The Maltese Islands have the oldest temples in the world. Hagar Qim, Mnajdr, and Ggantija on Gozo are the magnificent remnants of a long forgotten megalithic culture. Who built the Megalithic Temples of Malta and why?
2. You can get around Malta in a day
Ok, it is a little more complicated than that, given that there are two main islands of Malta and Gozo. Still, if you really wanted to, you could drive around both in a day including the ferry crossing. It wouldn't leave much time for sightseeing in Malta, but you could say that you had done it! It's a perfect choice for getaway breaks in Europe.
3. Incredible views of the Grand Harbour
I think that the Grand Harbour, or Port of Valletta, is one of the best in the world. Get yourself up high and admire the views. Check the yachts out by walking along the promenade. Soak up the history and the ambience of the place.
4. An all year destination
I think that one of the little known reasons to visit Malta, is that it is a year round destination. Now, I am not going to pretend you can go swimming in the winter. Well, you can if you are mad enough I suppose. But, there is a lot more to see no matter when you visit. So, whilst you might not be hitting the beaches in December, you can still visit all the main archaeological sites, museums, and other places of interest.
5. Everyone speaks English
It shouldn't really make it onto the list of reasons to visit Malta, but it does make things easy, especially for less experienced travellers. As everyone speaks English, it is easier to find out what is going on, and get a deeper appreciation for the local culture.
6. The local cuisine
Malta has a rich local cuisine with rabbit and even horse featuring on the menu. My experience leads me to believe that you need to visit slightly more upmarket restaurants to get a decent meal. When you do though, you will really appreciate what there is on offer.
7. The laid back island of Gozo
The main island of Malta has a touch of urban sprawl about it, that I imagine gets amplified in the summer season. Gozo, on the other hand, is a much more laid back and quieter island. If you plan to visit Malta, you should definitely spend some time on this smaller island. Is Gozo also more beautiful? Well, I don't really want to get involved in that argument, but it is very pretty! It is also a good place to go cycling. I have a future blog post coming out all about cycling around Gozo.
8. The fishing village of Marsaxlokk
If you are visiting Malta on a Sunday, make sure you get to visit the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. This traditional villages has somehow survived the EU fishing policies through a combination of sheer bloody-mindedness and innovation. Fishermen still repair their nets on the dockside, whilst markets stalls sell the freshest fish on the island to the locals. A number of souvenir stalls also turn up on market day, ensuring that tourists can come away with something if the catch of the day doesn't appeal!
No, it's not Rio, it's not Notting Hill, and it's not Mardi Gras. It is worth seeing though! I loved the colourful floats that made their way through the narrow streets of Valletta. Apparently, the most lively Carnival fiestas happen on Gozo.
10. St. John's Co-Cathedral
If you are into richly decorated churches, it doesn't get much better than St. John's Co-Cathedral. Relatively unassuming from the outside, the interior is simply incredible. Gold leafed panelling, statues and more, it is certainly a sight to behold!
Hey, I went through these reasons to visit Malta, and I didn't mention the beaches once! Congrats me!
So, are you convinced yet? If not, then check out this post about 27 things to do in Malta! Take your European short break destination planning to the next stage with this Sightseeing in Malta Itinerary for 3 days.
Have you visited Malta, and if so, what did you think? Please leave a comment below.