Autumn is here and I can no longer live in denial that winter is on its way. How do I know this? Well looking out my window the only thing interrupting the perpetual gloom of a grey London day is the kaleidoscope of damp umbrellas bobbing about below me. Also I’m wearing opaque 50 denier tights, a scarf and a rather sour expression which can only mean one thing… It’s my first day back at work following a week’s holiday and I’m cold! I’m also annoyed that I spent a week cultivating a nice tan which makes me look like a newly polished monogamy lamp and I can’t show it off as all limbs are covered in autumn layers. So how am I going to get over the holiday blues well I’m going to reminisce about my trip to Malta and remind myself that somewhere out there at this precise moment the sun is shining! Oh and I’m also going to book my next holiday asap!
Here is my little guide to Malta:
Where to stay?
This is the all-important question when booking a beach holiday. Most of the time will be spent either by the pool or by the beach, wherever you prefer the walking distance from your hotel room to the spot you lie back down again should be kept to a minimum. There has to be things to do nearby but you don’t want to find yourself staying above a nightclub. This little conundrum can be quite tricky to figure out in Malta. Most of the lively resorts are clustered together on the south side of the island but you probably won’t get the greatest views and like lively resorts there can be quite a bit of noise. If you plump for a hotel on a different part of the island you may well find there isn’t much to do but the unspoiled views are breathtaking. Luckily I didn’t have to face this challenge when booking my hotel because it sort of booked me. The lovely people at the Radisson Blu, Golden Sands offered me a great promotional rate and well I jumped at the chance, so excitedly that I could have practically got myself there without the aid of Easy Jet. Here are a few snaps I took of the hotel:
The hotel was lovely and certainly deserves it’s 5 stars. Although it is tucked away from most of the Maltese hot spots the hotel has made up for this by offering a shuttle service to the main attractions. A return ticket will cost around €5. The compromise here is that you get fantastic views over Golden Bay and the large plot of land means the hotel developers have added lots of on-site entertainment and restaurants.
Downsides to the hotel you ask? There always are a few niggles I know… well the most basic thing to get right in my mind are the activities that your clientèle will spend most of their time doing. In this case sunbathing and swimming. The pool was perfect, the sun loungers however were not. Perhaps I spent too long on them but my goodness they were uncomfortable. Why no padding I kept thinking to myself while rubbing the pins and needles out of various parts of my body!
What to do?
For such a small island there are loads of things to do in Malta. While cultivating my tan, reading and relaxing were top of my agenda I did manage to drag myself away from the pool to sight see. Here are a few favourites:
Mdina – The fortified medieval city is a great place for a stroll with great views over Malta and there are lots to do and see for history buffs out there. We went during the day and in the evening and I would recommend only going during the day if you do not have much time in Malta as there isn’t much else to do at night other than visit a restaurant or two – the ‘silent city’ as it is known really really is once the sun goes down!
Bugibba – A very typical resort town, a great place to go if you want to get some souvenirs and have a few evening drinks
Sliema and St. Julian’s – Malta’s main coastal towns with lots to do and see. Shopping, eating, drinking are all obvious choices but there are also scenic walks along the water front and lots of interesting architecture to look at.
Valletta – We were so lucky to visit the capital city on one of the busiest nights of the year during the festival of Notte Bianca. All of the state palaces and museums are open for free and there were lots of exhibitions, street art and open air performances taking place amongst the throngs of people milling about the city while enjoying all the food and drink on offer. If you go to Malta it is so worthwhile visiting Valletta , it really does have a lovely vibe and there are lots of narrow windy streets to explore.
Where to eat?
The food at the Radisson was great and with a very healthy 20% discount we didn’t venture to far looking for places to eat. If you do stay in Malta you can visit the hotel restaurants and I would recommend Agliolio, the food is really tasty and not too expensive. The Angello al Pistachio (lamb fillet with pistachio and herb crust with crushed pumpkin and thyme jus) was AMAZING!
The Fontanella Tea Room in Mdina was great for coffee and cake. The views overlooking Malta are lovely and the restaurant is easier on the wallet than other places in the area.