The Country Of The Knights - Malta And Why You To Spend New Year There
Malta is the smallest EU Member State. It is located in the Mediterranean Sea and consists of three inhabited islands - Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Its area is only 300 square kilometers, but its history is vast.
Malta's history dates back more than 7 millennia. The first settlers on these lands appeared around 5 millennium BC. According to archaeologists, they came from another island, Sicily. By 1200 BC Malta was colonized by the Phoenicians.
Locals claim to have inherited their language. A series of new colonizations began before Christ - in the 8th century by the Greeks, in the sixth century by the Carthaginians, in 218 by the Romans.
In this article you will see:
Little more about Malta.
Why you to spend New Year in this remarkable country?
What to expect from Valletta - Landmarks and weekend trips?
Tips about your journey - price, cruise, hotels, etc.
Silent witnesses to the millennial history are the 23 megalithic temples. They are facing south and when they are solstice, light falls directly on their main altar. The oldest of these is located on the island of Gozo and was built around 3600 BC.
The capital of Malta - Valletta is the commercial, administrative and tourist center of the country. Its history is closely related to the Knights of the Order of Saint John (the so-called Hospitals), which was founded in Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades.
You should definitely visit the Archaeological Museum, St. John's Cathedral, where you can see the masterpiece of Caravaggio's "The Beheading of St. John", the Palace of the Order of Malta - but about the capital and what you should not be missed in Malta, we wrote a little more down.
An interesting experience is the ritual thundering of the toppings every day at noon. Do not miss the museums, which are a monument to the numerous battles that have taken place over the years throughout the country.
Near Valletta is also the town of Sliema, where some of the most beautiful tourist hotels in Malta are located. Here are also the shopping centers of famous and local brands.
It is important to note that unlike food in Malta, which is chasing European prices, the prices of most of the famous brands are well below European ones.
Malta can safely tour for three days. Its old capital is Mdina or Silent City because car traffic is prohibited here. The pride of the city is the Cathedral as well as the embankment, which reveals a magnificent view of the island.
You can take a stroll through the botanical gardens and the crafts village. All restaurants and shops are antique in the capital. The population is extremely religious and there is a large church or cathedral on every street. For the same reason, most of the souvenirs are religious. There is Catholicism in Malta.
There is a ferry every 40 mins from Malta to Gozo, which is a peaceful, rather agricultural area. It is poor in buildings and sites, but has great preserved nature as well as local, authentic establishments.
Attractions on the island are the annual festivals that bring together citizens for festivities and rituals.
The most notable of Gozo are the churches - the Ggantija temples, dating from 3600 BC, as well as the Azure Window (which collapsed in a storm in 2017) and the Blue Cave. They have no employees, and people take care of their maintenance and relics themselves.
Why you to spend New Year in Malta?
You may not have asked yourself the question "Why welcome New Year in Malta?", but now that we have opened the subject, here are some great reasons to count the last minutes from the year on an island nation in the center of the Mediterranean.
What is the weather in Malta around Christmas and New Year?
Malta enjoys mild weather in the winter and although it is not appropriate for beach, it is not uncommon for temperatures to be around 20 degrees at the end of December. However, on the island, this is one of the wettest months of the year, so it may be raining. In any case, doesn't it sound nice to just walk on a vest on the festive streets and expect the clock to strike at midnight? Or be on the shore and watch the fireworks without having to pull three sweaters?
What does Malta look like on holidays?
The Maltese are Catholic and the end of December is a busy time when everyone rushes to shop for presents and decorate their home. In many Maltese homes, you will see a recreated Christmas scene. There are lights, ornaments, trees in the streets
How do Maltese celebrate New Year's Eve?
If you love to be outdoors on New Year's, you will love Malta. Most Maltese are in the capital Valletta (the main square and the coast) or in the nearby town of Floriana - both have big street parties with music and fireworks. Young people are usually at St. Julian's, where there are many bars. Most of the establishments in this part of Malta organize New Year's Eve parties with tickets that sell out early, so it's a good idea to explore on time (ask at your hotel).
January 1 is a relatively quiet day, at least in the morning when most people sleep or worry about their hangover. Traditionally, family dinners are held on this day, usually in restaurants with preannounced menus. If you're looking for a place to eat on January 1st, it may take you a long time because of the many bookings.
And when it comes to celebration, it cannot do without local flavors. Try everything local, strange, colorful and aromatic, but most of all do not leave Malta without tasting the warm winter drink Imbuljuta - water-mixed chestnuts, cocoa, tangerines, and sugar. It smells of holidays and winter.
Valletta, Malta - Landmarks for a weekend trip.
Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a small town surrounded by strong fortification walls. Make sure you start your tour before cruise ships pour in a daily dose of tourists, which can make his visit quite a busy activity. In 2018, Valletta is the European Capital of Culture, which means that you will also have a bonus to the knightly heritage of the city - a rich cultural program, festivals and exhibitions throughout the year.
Here are some of the best sights and activities to fill your time with if you decide to visit Valletta for the weekend.
1. Have coffee and enjoy the sun on Piazza Regina Square. Enjoy the baroque architecture and soft colors of the stone from which the buildings are built.
2. Go to Santa Catherine d'Italia church at lunch to hear the concert at the temple.
3. Take a stroll through the Barracks Gardens, which offers a magnificent view from high up to the harbor. Be here at noon to see the ceremonial launch of the cannon. Check out the Military Museum if you find it interesting. Use the lift to get to the port below. Barracks are two gardens, in fact - Upper Barrack is more visited and offers more spectacular views, while Lower Barrack has fewer visitors and can pass as a secret place.
4. Sail a traditional Maltese "Dghajsa" boat to the three medieval towns on the opposite shore. The boats sail from the wharf under the Barrack Gardens and cost about 3 euros per person.
5. Enter the St John the Baptist Cathedral (called the Cathedral or Co-Cathedral because the status of the temple is the same as that of the Archdiocesan Cathedral in Mdina) dedicated to the Knights Hospitals. While it doesn't look like anything special on the outside, make sure you step inside to enjoy the incredible murals. Get an audio guide and spend at least an hour browsing. A $ 20 entry is worth it, you won't be sorry.
6. Take a look at Casa Roca Picola, the family estate of a generation of Maltese nobles. It is interesting that part of the house is open to tourists (12 rooms with original furniture and objects from the life of the family, including a basement used as a bomb shelter during World War II), and in another part still lives the Marquis. The guided tour costs 9 dollars.
7. Eat rabbit, fish, and seafood - these are some of the main ingredients of Maltese cuisine.
8. Look at the sunset from St Barbara's Harbor - the view of the harbor is just amazing.
Tips about your journey to Malta.
Some useful tips for Malta if you are planning your own trip there. How to navigate the island, what to try and what to keep in mind so you don't waste time.
Driving in Malta.
If you decide to go around the islands independently, there are two main options. One is to rent a car, but keep in mind that the traffic is on the left side and driving in Malta is not for everyone.
Malta public transport.
Urban transport, on the other hand, is inaccurate, delayed, and so structured that you must constantly return to the same starting point. If you want to go around the coast, for example, you will have to constantly return to Valletta and then take a bus to the next destination, which was otherwise very close to you, but which is not directly accessible from the smaller towns. If you choose this mode of travel, provide more time.
Malta Cruise & Boat Tour.
There is a Malta cruise ship and excursion company - Captain Morgan. From there, you have several options for cruises - half-day and full-day, touring the coast and sightseeing. Check the program carefully - some of the cruises are few stops and are suitable for those who like to relax onboard rather than sightseeing. Be sure to check the weather forecast for the day you will sail so you don't find yourself green for 7 hours on a rough sea. Be sure to wear a swimsuit because it stops at the beaches for vacations.
Prices in Malta.
Prices in Malta are slightly lower than in the rest of Europe. For example, 2 fresh drinks, coffee, and water will cost you about 6 euros.
Excursions to Malta.
Even if you are traveling on your own, it is a good idea to find a Bulgarian guide in Malta. There is a choice of guides in Bulgarian who have a thorough knowledge, will give you a lot of information about the life of the island and will arrange transport between the sights, which otherwise is long wasting time.
Beaches in Malta
In most places in Malta, the shores are rocky and the water goes downstairs and platforms. There are also several sandy beaches for the fans of this type of coast. On the island of Malta, look for Mellieha Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay. Gozo Island - Ramla l-Hamra, Armier, Paradise Bay. The whole island is rocky, there is not much greenery and the water is very salty. The season is eight months, from April to October is suitable for a visit. Even on New Year's, the weather is nice and although it's not a beach, temperatures are usually around 17-20 degrees.
Hotels in Malta
If you want an all-inclusive vacation, there are several resorts on the island to choose from. If you want to stay away from the crowd and really be alone, go to the smallest island of Comino, where there is only one five-star hotel. Keep in mind that hotels often don't match the stars (4 stars are more like 3).
Food in Malta
Be sure to try the local melons - honey, incredibly sweet, they are a special variety grown only in Malta. Get some sweet locust syrup as well. It looks like honey and the Maltese dissolve it in tea or water when their throat hurts. Try the fish lamps too - similar to trout, very tasty.
We hope that we have provided you with comprehensive and useful information about this amazing destination.
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