The photos you are about to see are full of sun, sea and a bucket load of culture! Now grab your sunhats, bikinis, walking shoes and follow me cause we are in Malta! And venturing to Gozo and Comino island!
A tiny, hilly and rocky island which exudes charm, culture and a sense of adventure.
I had wanted a short yet budget holiday and I have been hearing about Malta recently from friends who have visited, and a good friend of mine sister who lived here for 6 months.
I have to admit – traveling in September is perfect! Still very hot weather yet not a lot of tourists and it’s low season for flights – bonus!
There are many areas which you can stay in Malta, there’s the capital city of Valletta, Sliema (full of restaurants, nightlife, and a shopping centre) and St Julians which is known for their nightlife. There’s also Bugibba and St Pauls but I am not too familiar with them.
We decided on a reasonably priced and conveniently located, Sliema Chalet Hotel, a seafront hotel which is only 5 mins away from the ferries to Gozo, Comino, and Valletta.
It’s surrounded by restaurants, a supermarket, the largest retail centre called Tigne Point (The Point) which is 10 mins away, and nightlife. The best part of it all, there is the sea in front with a natural pool and a flat rock for sunbathing.
Can’t complain waking up to this beaut of a view every morning!
Did a spot of sunbathing on that rock ledge on the bottom right, there are stairs to go into the sea if you fancy a dip as well.
Our room was lovely, clean, comes with a hairdryer and most importantly an AC! We’d never figured out how to turn on that fan though.
It’s pretty interesting to see an old TV which it works fine even though we didn’t have time to watch TV. Lots to explore!
Full English for breakfast with a change of fruits every day and cereal, and mini croissants with honey! (Breakfast room below)
I have to admit, I’ve never seen a toaster quite like this one. You slide the bread in on one end, let it do its magic and it comes out as toast on the other side. Nifty!
Oh and something about Malta, there are public toilets everywhere! At least in Sliema and Valletta. I was pretty impressed! And they speak good English as well, very friendly bunch!
However, shops don’t really open till perhaps 10 am, but you have the similar shops in the UK such as Marks and Spencer, Wasabi, New Look and Zara etc.
Getting to Gozo and Comino island
After breakfast, we set off around the corner to where the ferries are docked. We had planned that we will visit Gozo and Comino today but we hadn’t booked online.
You see, there are two ways to get to the islands, one is via a public bus which will take approximately an hour and a half but you will pass by various fishing villages (Popeye village for one) to Cirkewwa and then change to a ferry to either Gozo or Comino.
The second is via a tour operated ferry, trust me I have checked to see if there are public ferries that will take you from either Valletta or Sliema to Cirkewwa but it’s only the tour operated ferry that goes directly to Gozo.
It seems like the largest tour ferry operator is a company called Captain Morgan. (Kind of wish I had a pirates hat hmm)
We took a gamble and walked along the promenade where it’s lined with salespeople selling tours for the day for different companies. We were there at 9 am, and since they were all next to one another, it was not hard to bargain a good price. One man offered us a tour called The best of Gozo and Comino for 30 Euros with an open bar! Whoop! whoop! It is usually 35 Euro to Gozo and Comino with a drink included. Love a bargain!
We had a choice of beer, red/white wine, water, slushies, and soda! Yummmm, they sell ice creams as well.
First stop is Gozo!
Once we have docked, we hopped onto an air-conditioned tour bus and the driver took us around the city.
The architecture reminds me of somewhat Middle Eastern perhaps and they take their balconies very seriously. If you visit, do pay attention to the names of the houses, they are very interesting.
Malta has to be the most Catholic country I’ve ever visited.
It is full of churches and/or Cathedrals, I have never seen a country with more statues of Virgin Mary everywhere. It’s such a lovely sight to see.
Our first stop was a souvenier store where we stayed for 15 mins, the use of the toilet is 1 Euro and we received a cup of coffee for free.
The next destination is the part I was very excited about, we head towards the Azure Window! This cliff is incredible, I was told it was featured in Games of Thrones season 1 but apparently they had disturbed some of the natural surroundings which are a heritage site so they moved filming to Croatia.
Regardless, it was full of tourists and we only had 20 minutes to explore but managed to climb two areas to get different shots of this magnificent beauty.
On the other side of the Azure window is a cave, where I think you can explore on a small fishing boat. We didn’t have time to explore it but perhaps another visit.
We then ventured into the main part of the city and this time, we had 40 minutes. Suddenly I feel like I’ve been transported into the TV series 24. Countdown with clocks ticking haha.
By this time, we were starving so we quickly visited the Citadel for a quick pic but didn’t venture inside, and then to the main square to hunt for food!
Got ourselves sandwiches to go, I had the chicken, egg and bacon with fruity chutney on Ftira which is their local bread and it is massive! Potentially the size of my head. It is soft in the middle with a crusty thick crust?!
The portion sizes were huge. The chicken was succulent with crispy bacon – I definitely like to have the bread again. We had it as a pizza the next day but that’s another post.
We head back to the ferry and made our way to Comino Island for a swim in the infamous Blue Lagoon!
We had an hour here. As we approached the Blue Lagoon, creator of thousands of postcard images of Malta. From everything I’d heard and read, while stunning, the bay was seriously overrun in the summer and not quite as idyllic as the postcards portrayed. As we approached, I was mesmerized by the turquoise waters, squealing in delight as we can see schools of little fishes swim by our boat.
As we got closer, the pounding music from the other boats got louder, and we quickly scanned the best place for us to have a quick dip.
Pretty pleased to see that they have lockers which are super convenient!
There are food stalls, cocktail minibars, and an extreme sports section.
We decided to hike to the other side, climbed down the rocky ledge and perched there. If you come in your own boat, I am sure you are able to find a good spot on other little island rocks and explore some caves.
The water was cold but incredibly refreshing! A confession, this was my first time swimming in the sea. I perched on the rock and slowly dipped myself in. Once in, it was actually really fine!
We made friends with an Italian couple and they lent me their snorkels! It was so exciting to see this one red fish that didn’t move even though I got near it and an underwater entrance to a cave! It was approximately 10 meters deep where I was.
It is times like this where I wish I had a GoPro; underwater pictures would have been incredible.
Malta is notorious for their diving experiences and if you are good at it, you can visit the shipwrecks!
I wish we had more time here, I was told that there’s a beach on the other side of the island as well but it is a good excuse to visit again.
The trip started at 10 am and we arrived back in Sliema around 6 pm.
I suggest that you get on board perhaps at 9.30 am or earlier to get a good seat on the top deck as it is less bumpy up there as well.
I wished we had more time to be exploring Gozo further and more swimming time but it was a good adventure day out.
Now for a cold shower and dinner along the promenade in Sliema.
Oh and guess what! It actually rained in Sliema that evening! We witness an actual thunderstorm over the sea with fireworks going on around us. (I’m using Samsung S7 to take pics and it’s night shots are terrible!)
Next adventure, the silent city of Mdina and world heritage site – Hagar Qim.
More on that in the next post here! See you there!
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