Travel Adventures in The Azure Window and Malta

The Mediterranean island of Malta, located around 50 miles south of the Sicilian coast, has long drawn tourists with its balmy climate, aquamarine waters and architectural wonders, including three UNESCO World Heritage sites. Together with its neighbouring islands of Gozo and Comino, Malta attracts over a million visitors every year.

With mild winters and hot, dry summers, Malta is a heavenly holiday destination all year round. The Maltese archipelago, in the centre of the Mediterranean, is situated south of Sicily. It is made up of three islands. Malta, the largest island, is the cultural and commercial hub, where the majority of tourist come.

This is followed by Gozo, in the north, with many breathtaking natural landmarks is well worth exploring. It is both rural and beautiful. Between Gozo and Malta is the tiny, uninhabited island of Comino. It is home to the famous Blue Lagoon, an absolute Mecca for snorkeling.

And speaking of watersports, Malta is the place to come to discover the underwater world. Malta and Gozo were recently voted the third best scuba diving destinations in the world, after Egypt and the Maldives. That’s some title. Perfect for experienced divers, Malta’s underwater tunnels, plunging walls, drop-off reefs and historical wrecks make it a veritable paradise for those seeking out the awesome underwater scenery here.

One of the best wreck dives in Malta is the HMS Maori, a British destroyer, eighteen metres below the surface of Valletta’s Marsamxett Harbour. The clear, turquoise waters mean that visibility is outstanding. It affords perfect conditions to enjoy spotting some of the fascinating and unusual marine life in Malta’s waters. The seas here are the last place on earth, for example, where you could catch a glimpse of the rare sea perch.

The waters in Malta are not just perfect for underwater exploration, though. Watersports junkies should head to Ghadira Bay in Mellieha, on the north of the island. This is about half an hour’s drive from Malta airport in your holiday transfer vehicle, and a great place to stay if you fancy kicking up some surf.

With everything from paragliding and jet skis to banana boats, there is endless fun to be had! The shallow shores also make it an ideal destination for families with young children. The warm waters here, and the proximity to both Gozo and Comino, make Ghadira Bay an excellent base from which to enjoy Malta’s blue water delights.

From here, a trip down the northeast coast of the island will find family holidaymakers at the waterpark. It is a great day out for kids of all ages, and makes a welcome break from the serenity of beach and pool side. Not only is it a great place for enjoying waterslides, there is also a wave pool and water zorbing.

It is a definite candidate for producing a few laughs! More daring adventurers will enjoy a ride on thrilling Sidewinder, Superbowl and Black Hole slides. In addition to the waterpark, families will also enjoy the brand new Malta National Aquarium in Qawra. It is an 18 km airport transfer ride from Malta airport.

A popular treatment in Malta is thalassotherapy, which uses seawater for medicinal purposes. Showers of high pressure, mineral-rich salt water pummel the body, or a marine or algae paste is applied to the skin. A lot of hotels in Malta now have on-site relaxation spas. Many of these offer thalassotherapy treatments. They claim to have a beneficial effect on the skin’s pores.

Whichever way you plan to enjoy your break in Malta, it’s clear that the water will never be far from hand. Malta is a place where the sea is central to its tourist appeal. Whether it’s the clear blue Mediterranean seas that surround the Maltese archipelago, the writhing waters of the waterpark or the soothing salt water of the spas.

It is hard to dispute that Malta has something for everyone. From families to couples, groups of friends heading to St Julian for the nightlife, or older holidaymakers seeking a calm, relaxing getaway. But despite this, some tourists are put off by some popular misconceptions about the country. Is there any validity to their claims, or can these myths be debunked? Let’s take a look.



Myth 1. Malta is an expensive destination

For many years, Malta did not enjoy the same access to cheap flights as many other Mediterranean resorts. That situation has changed, and low cost airlines now offer cheap flights to Malta from a number of European destinations, including London, Dublin, Barcelona, Pisa and Stockholm. Air Malta and charter flights, offering holidays for all budgets, continue to fly to Malta from many more destinations.

Myth 2. Malta is only for older people

One perception many people seem to hold about Malta is that it is primarily for older tourists. This is certainly not true. Malta is a great destination for families and couples alike, and groups will also find a warm welcome at many resorts.

The calm, sheltered bays are great for swimming with young kids, while older children and adults will love the variety of water sports on offer as well as the many cultural attractions. Mellieha Bay and St. Paul’s Bay are excellent options for families. Couples seeking seclusion can check out some of the more tranquil resorts, such as Sliema and various boutique resorts on Gozo.

Myth 3. There are no nightclubs on Malta

While Malta does not have the reputation of Ayia Napa on Cyprus, Magaluf on Majorca or San Antonio on Ibiza as having an all-out party scene, there are several resorts catering to this section of the market. Indeed, some tour operators actively promote certain resorts for clubbing holidays. Paceville, St. Julian’s, Bugibba and Marsaskala all have a number of clubs and bars. Open-air venues also host club events throughout the summer.



Myth 4. There are no sandy beaches on Malta

Several beaches on Malta are rocky and this has led to the misconception that there are no sandy beaches on the island. In fact, there are a great range of sandy beaches on the three islands, such as Paradise Bay, Riviera Beach and Golden Bay in the north of Malta, Santa Marija on Comino and Ramla Bay on Gozo. Throw in some sparkling azure waters and a dash of Mediterranean sunshine and what could be better?

Myth 5. Malta isn’t a great place for outdoor activities

While some of Malta’s beaches are superb for nature lovers, but offer little in the way of facilities, others are fully set up to offer a variety of water sports, including water skiing, paragliding, windsurfing, snorkelling, scuba diving and more. Gozo is popular for rock climbing. Travellers looking for these kinds of activities will not be disappointed.