Marsaxlokk & St.Peter's Pool

- Malta’s traditional fishing village -

About a half hour bus ride from Valletta is Marsaxlokk, a beautiful fishing village that is famous for it’s Sunday Fish Market and colourful luzzu boats. This is the perfect destination for a day trip to explore the southern shores of Malta and feast on fresh seafood. Along the harbour are stalls offering souvenirs and local produce, and it’s a lovely way to experience everyday Maltese life. There are also plenty of restaurants offering authentic Maltese food so make sure to stay for lunch or dinner once you’re there.

St Peter’s Pool

A beautiful natural pool carved into the Maltese coast can be reached in 30 minutes if you’re willing to hike from the fishing harbour, or just a short drive away by taxi. We personally opted for the hike as we wanted to see the views of Marsaxlokk village from above and experience a different side of the city. St Peter’s Pool is a lovely spot for swimming and sunbathing, and the blue waters makes the spot extra picturesque. Definitely not a place to miss if you’re in Marsaxlokk!

The Azure Window

- Gozo Island Excursion pt. 3/3 -

After we visited the Xwejni Salt Pans, our driver took us to the Azure Window Memorial located west of Gozo Island. It’s a “memorial” because the famous arch is nothing but ruins at the bottom of the sea after it’s tragic collapse during stormy weathers on 8th of March last year. In the beginning I was hesitant to go because I was quite tired, and I thought I’d just get underwhelmed by the sight. But Rickie was determined to go and so we did because when he says, “there’s always other things to see around the area”, he's usually right:

Traveling can be exhausting, especially with jam-packed one-day itineraries and an active boyfriend who loves to spend time on his feet. Whereas I like to take things slow and be more spontaneous, Rickie is a organiser who wants to see everything. Sometimes it tires me out and makes me one grumpy girlfriend, but grateful - that I am always. Every time we reach our destinations and (I) get to sit down and soak in the impressions and the beautiful views, I remember why it’s all worth it. Had I not had someone who pushes me physically and mentally to see and experience more of the world, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

Speaking of cheesy photos, I love this heart-shaped cloud:

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Gozo Island Excursion pt. 1 and pt. 2.

Gozo Salt Pans

- Gozo Island Excursion pt. 2/3 -

The Xwejni salt pans are a hidden gem, and a must-visit if you’re in Gozo. It’s believed that these pans have existed since the Roman times, but currently it’s a family-run business, and it’s been so for the past six decades. If you’ve watched the Apprentice U.K., you might’ve heard about it as this place appeared in one of the episodes. I spoke to the owner of the salt shop just across the street, whose husband and father have worked every summer of their lives harvesting the salt. She gave me a brief history of the business, and was very kind and accommodating, and somehow I ended up with bringing home more salt than necessary.

As you can see, it’s got a very unique geologic landscape. And of course I got Rickie to take some photos of me here because #saltbae. At the button is the tiny salt shop I mentioned earlier, where visitors can buy small gift bags of salt, postcards etc. Quite a funny location, kind of reminds me of a house in the Hobbits. Anyway, definitely a recommended place to visit! Just a heads up, I don’t think there are any buses that goes here so you might have to walk for a bit, or opt for a car/ ATV. The place is of course free to visit, but if you have the chance I would encourage you to support the local business by purchasing something from the shop.

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Gozo Island Excursion pt. 1 and pt. 3.

Exploring Gozo Island

- Gozo Island Excursion pt. 1/3 -

Did you know that The Maltese archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino? Malta is the main, and largest island, and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural, and characterised by fishing and agriculture. And then there is Comino, which is a small island between the two that is more or less uninhabited. It’s got one hotel, and the main reason people go there is to see the Blue Lagoon.

While in Malta, we decided to spend one full-day exploring Gozo, which was quite the journey. We took a two-hours or so bus ride to Ċirkewwa and then a ferry over to Mġarr (Gozo). We wanted to see as much as possible, and since we were quite time constraint we decided to book a private taxi for the day who took us around the whole island, to all the places on our “Gozo bucket list”. At the end of the day the driver drove us back to Mġarr where we managed to catch the next ferry back to Valletta just in time. I don’t think it was a cheap choice, and I personally wouldn’t recommend it if you’re traveling on a budget, but I’m still happy we did it as we got to see so much considering the time that we had. It was also a nice way to avoid bus queues, big groups of tourists and just explore each attraction at our own pace and in our own company.

First stop from Mġarr was Victoria (also known as Rabat), which is the capital of Gozo Island. I swear I felt like I was back in the knight and shining armour-era. Wandering around the streets felt like browsing through the history books from middle school.

We had lunch at the rooftop of Ta' Rikardu Restaurant, situated in the centre of Cittadella before we explored the fortified city itself. Amazing views all around, and a unique history attached to the place. After that we drove to our second stop, which was Marsalforn Bay. I had no idea where or what this was, but the driver insisted it was the most popular resort on the island - well, good to know anyway I guess. Onto the next place: the salt pans!

Sunset in Birgu

- Città Vittoriosa -

Birgu, also known as Città Vittoriosa, is an old fortified city on the south side of the Grand Harbour. We wanted to explore as many places in Malta as possible, so one evening we decided to take the bus from Valletta to Birgu. For less than two euros and a thirty minutes bus ride we got to witness the most beautiful pink sunset.

We were only in Birgu for the evening with the original plan to attend the annual Candlelight Festival. It’s an event that only take place for one weekend (12/10/2018 - 14/10/2018) during the whole year, where all the streets and houses are lit up with candles, chandeliers hang in the streets, and live music is played in the town square. Unfortunately, due to the rain the whole event got cancelled. Super gutted, but nature - what can we do. Looking at the bright side, we enjoyed the evening with lovely candlelit dinner instead.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

- Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures -

A short walk from downtown Valletta is The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens where you can admire a panoramic view of Grand Harbour and look at the Three Cities on the opposite side. The Three Cities consist of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua, and is a collective description of the fortified cities in Malta.

The Streets of Valletta

Sometimes life takes you down roads you never thought you’d wander, literally. Going to Malta was, to be honest, never a place I thought I’d go any time soon. Not because I didn’t like it, but for the similar reason as many, I hadn’t heard much about it. But when I got invited to explore the island nation I didn’t think twice. With my constant state of wanderlust, nowhere is too foreign.

Valletta is perhaps Europe’s most underrated capital city. With a population of barely 6000 people, it ranks as the second smallest in the continent. Despite being located in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Sicily, Malta isn’t as well-known nor touristy as Italy. For sustainable reasons, I think that’s a blessing in disguise. I arrived in Valletta at night, so it wasn’t until the next morning when I looked out of our apartment window in St. Christopher's Street that I realised how mesmerising this city was. The colourful wooden Maltese balconies are truly unique, and wandering around the streets on a gloomy day felt like going back in time.

- All roads lead to the sea -

It’s common to get lost in foreign places when you’re aimlessly walking around. However, getting lost in Valletta won’t be a problem because there is only so far you can go in one direction before you reach the seaside. In other words, it’s a small city!