Welcome to Malta, the archipelago that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean, 93km south of Sicily and 288km north of Africa. The archipelago contains three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, with a total population of over 400,000 occupying an area of 316 square km.
Malta is the largest island, the centre of culture, commerce and administration. Gozo is the second largest island, known for being more rural and characterised by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture. Comino, is the smallest of the three islands, having just one hotel and is largely uninhabited.
The Maltese islands are positively mythical. The narrow streets of the towns and villages all lead to the main squares, which are mostly dominated by each town’s large baroque church. The Maltese counrtyside is embraced with medieval towers, chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world – the prehistoric temples.
With beautiful, warm and sunny weather, attractive beaches, ample nightlife attractions and 7,000 years of enthralling history, there is a great deal to see and do.
There are various ways of getting around Malta, depending on your age, level of fitness and personal preference. There are no trains in Malta (although there once was a rail network many years ago).
Many of our guests like to hire a car as their preferred was of getting around. There are a large number of Car Hire firms in Malta (including many international names) and you can also choose to book your car with your holiday thus saving money.
There is the alternative of using the Maltese Public Transport network as a means of getting around. The hub of this can be found in Valletta where the intrepid traveller can find transportation to almost anywhere on the Islands. The fares are cheap although it has to be pointed out that most buses are not available late at night. The Public Transport network is however the ideal way of getting around for those travellers on a shoestring budget.
Cycling or Walking:
Ideally for the fitter and more adventurous, there is really no better way to see Malta than to walk and cycle around from village to village. The short distances from place to place makes this a realistic way to see the Islands, however there are disadvantages: the hilly terrain (Gozo is especially so) coupled with the intense heat in the summer months can present the very real dangers of exhaustion and dehydration and is best avoided, especially in the months of July to September.
There are various ways of getting around the Islands by sea. For those intending to visit Gozo during their stay in Malta or vice-versa, the Gozo Channel line provides a quick and efficient way of island hopping, car and all, with a trip that takes about 20 minutes in fair weather. There are also a number of service providers offering boat trips to various locations such as the island of Comino, around the Islands cruises, cruises around the Grand Harbour and more. There is also a pleasant way of jaunting between Sliema-Valletta-Sliema using the Sliema-Valletta ferry which offers a refreshing change from driving or catching a bus.
The Karrozzin (Maltese Horse-Drawn Carriage) is quaint old-world way of travelling around and seeing the sights. You can find these cartriages in Sliema, St. Julian`s, Valletta and Mdina.
There are various taxi services available on the Islands, the most common of which is the white taxiservice. You can book a taxi at a taxi rank, through your hotel reception of over the phone. Pre-booked airport transfers in Malta are also available.
A novel and exciting way to travel to and from Gozo is by seaplane. A seaplane normally can accommodate 14 passengers and has specially modified bubble windows which is perfect for sightseeing and photography.
Casa Bernard, Rabat
Sumptuously furnished with period furniture, this late 16th Century Palazzo has great character and is perfectly preserved, having been recently restored to its former splendour. The home of a Maltese noble family. still lived in today, offers guided tours daily, except Sundays & public holidays.
Casa Rocca Piccola, Valletta
Valletta with his Casa Rocca Piccola is still privately owned and is a much loved family home. Over the last few years a Museum of Costume has been added. World War II Air Raid Shelters have provided a dramatic and exciting addition to the tours of the house. All this has all been made possible from the contributions that come in from the thousands of tourists who come to Malta and Valletta every year.
Fort Rinella, Kalkara
Fort Rinella, in Kalkara, was built in 1878. This fort is not only a unique remnant of Malta`s recent British colonial past,. Combining lively historical re-enactments with expert commentary this tour offers you a unique window into the past life of the late 19th century Victorian garrison in this coastal fort.
Fort St Angelo, Birgu
On their arrival in Malta in 1530, the Knights chose to settle in Birgu, and Fort St Angelo became the seat of the Grand Master`s military might. They made this their primary fortification and substantially reinforced and remodelled it, making it a formidable stronghold. Fort St Angelo bravely withstood the Ottoman Turks during the Great Siege of Malta, though in the aftermath of that siege the Knights built the fortified city of Valletta on Mount Sciberras across the other side of Grand Harbour.
Grand Master`s Palace, Valletta
Dominating Palace Square, the Grand Master`s Palace has always been the house of government in Malta, presently hosting the President`s office. When parliament is not in session the palace can be visited free of charge. Within its walls is the famous Council Chamber, adorned with valuable Gobelins tapestries woven in France for Grand Master Ramón Perellos y Roccaf. The other rooms and passages of the palace are splendidly furnished with objects d`art, old coats of arms as well as armour. Particularly notable are the former Hall of the Supreme Council of the Knights, which hosts fine frescoes and the Hall of the Ambassadors, where portraits of Grand Masters and European rulers can be found.
Manoel Theatre, Valletta
The 300-year-old Manoel Theatre is a compact, bustling six-hundred and twenty-three seat venue, with a lavish, oval-shaped auditorium, three tiers of boxes constructed entirely of wood and decorated with 22- carat gold leaf. Hidden behind an austere facade that is fully in keeping with Valletta`s Mannerist architecture, is a richly adorned, glorious Rococo interior. Despite numerous alterations over the years, it retains many of its old architectural features, such as the white Carrara marble staircase, shell-shaped niches, and Viennese chandeliers. The Theatre has a very busy schedule and hosts musical anddramatic events throughout the year.
National Library, Valletta
The idea of a public Library in Malta originated in 1555 with the issue of a decree by Fra` Claude de la Sengle, Grand Master of the Order of St. John, whereby all books in the legacy of deceased knights were to pass to the Common Treasury of the Order. It was not until 1776, however, that the formal foundation of a Bibliotheca Publica was decreed at the Chapter General of the Order convened by Grand Master Emmanuel de Rohan.
Palazzo Falson, Mdina
Palazzo Falson is a typical two-storey medieval palace fashioned on Sicilian examples of its period, and is one of the imposing Palazzi built by the Sicilian, Spanish and local nobility in Mdina. The Palazzo consists of a series of rooms encircling an internal courtyard, and an overlying piano-nobile which contained the original living quarters.
Palazzo Parisio, Naxxar
Described as “a miniature Versailles”, Palazzo Parisio is a historic palace at the heart of the Maltese village of Naxxar, facing the baroque parish church dedicated to Our Lady in Victory Square. The interiors are rich with fine frescoes, magnificent marble, mirrored walls, trompes de l`oeil, rare paintings and extravagant gilding. The internationally recognised landscaped gardens, which are acclaimed as being among the finest in Europe, further reflect the splendour of this gracious home.
Sacra Infermeria, Valletta
The Sacra Infermeria (Holy Infirmary) occupies a large site which overlooks the Grand Harbour, very near Fort St. Elmo. This hospital, one of the first buildings of Valletta, started to function in 1574 under Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere.
St Agatha`s Catacombs, Rabat
These Catacombs were not intended to be hiding places during persecutions of Christians, nor as living quarters. They were underground cemeteries consisting of long narrow corridors with tombs on each side and vaults. Some of the tombs are even decorated with reliefs and frescoes. Most of the tombs were used for the internment of two people. Sometimes a double tomb has a thin wall separating one from the other. At times they are put side by side, and not only two, but even three, four or five persons were buried in the same grave.