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The perfect way to start your Maltese holiday is to eschew the ranks of taxis and take a bus ride from the airport into the capital city of Valetta. The chances are the bus will be a rickety yellow thing that’s a throwback to the 1950s. The driver will supply your ticket whilst driving with the door wide open and his cab will be decorated with a picture of the Virgin Mary and a figurine of a naked lady. There will be potholes every few yards and the noise of honking car horns. You’ll sit back and watch the landscape of cacti and sand-coloured hills pass by. Welcome to Malta!
Malta is well served by big hotel chains which is fine if your idea of fun is to spend your holiday (and a lot of money) with other tourists. However, to get a real feel for Malta, hire a villa. This will be a particularly good option for families and groups where the cost can be shared.
Having a villa means you’re operating on your timescales and have your own space and freedom to relax and enjoy all that Malta has to offer. There are various towns along the coast of Malta that make for excellent holiday bases including Sliema and Mellieha, and there’s also the option of hopping on a ferry and traveling across to the lovely island of Gozo.
If you only do one thing whilst on Malta, then make sure that you seek out the tours operated by Chris Barbarosa and take a boat trip and jeep safari to the island of Gozo. The tall-masted boat provides an elegant means of exploring the incredibly beautiful and serene Blue Lagoon where it will moor to allow passengers to enjoy a swim in the crystal blue water. Then it’s onto the island of Gozo, where you’ll get into jeeps and set off on an exhilarating ride around the island. Along the way, lunch will be provided and you’ll see all sorts of fascinating sights such as man-made rock pools which salt water is pumped into and then left to evaporate. That leaves salt which is then sold as table salt!
Make sure that you visit the Hagar Qim stone temple complex. To get to it, just jump on a 138 bus from the main Valetta bus terminal. It costs around eight Euros to get in and is great value for money. The staff will proudly tell you that their temple is 3,000 years older than Stonehenge and that its name means “worship of stone”. There’s also a restaurant at the site where you can have a refreshing cool drink and some lunch in the company of other visitors and a multitude of very cute cats!