Malta or More Known Country?

Old Oct 29th, 2001, 04:07 AM
  #1  
Howard
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Malta or More Known Country?

For a number of years, I have wanted to visit Malta. I have no particular connection to the country, but its history seems fascinating, it is an easy country to see, and I have enjoy relatively small islands. One thing that has kept me away has been the cost - it is expensive to get to from the US. Now, with lower airfares, I have found a deal for just over $500 from the east coast. Once there, costs seem to be somewhat lower than most of western Europe.

My question is - has anyone been to Malta and can recommend it as a place to say for maybe a week or a bit more. We are going for history, general sightseeing, not primarily for the beach. With the deal I have found, you can spend time at the connecting city (Frankfurt) for just a bit more money. We probably would stay in Germany for 2 or 3 days.

With so many places to go in Europe, I don't know if Malta is worth the trip. Any opinions??



 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 04:34 AM
  #2  
harzer
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Hi Howard!

I haven't been there, but it sounds like a nice place to go, from waht some German friends have told me. What's more, when you get back you can post something a little bit different to the stuff here on the forum at the moment, and do we need it.

English is widely spoken on Malta, although the local language is a mixture of Arabic and Italian. It has the distinction of being the only Arabic-based language written in the Latin alphabet. How about that!

The people themselves are I think 90% Catholic.

Have a nice trip!
Harzer
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 07:16 AM
  #3  
MrLeonardBast
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Malta is a great place to take a nice relaxing vacation. Where on Malta would you stay? Gozo, Valletta? I would stay in Valletta and take the public bus around to all the beaches and sites. The buses are wonderful, one of the best things about Malta. Frankfurt is another matter altogether. I might spend a day there, but certainly not 2 or 3. There is very little to do and the weather is horrid. Try to find another place to have a layover. Cheers.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 07:25 AM
  #4  
cj
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I love Malta, very old city. I love the Arabic flare to it. Maybe because I am half Arabic and half Italian. Great mixture. (Christin Arabic). Need to explain now adays. We spend two days there and in the month of May it was too cold for the beaches. We loved it and the food was awesome. Go for it. As far as Frankfort goes, I can't help you on that one, because I have never been there. Another great place we went to was Corscia (sp). Enjoy
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 07:35 AM
  #5  
Patrick
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We spent a delightful week on Malta a couple of years ago -- but it was the first week of July and very hot! The busses are indeed wonderful -- each driver decorates his own, they are ancient, old fashioned, bouncy busses with no air conditioning, but it is all part of the charm of Malta. There are also no schedules. You just go wait for the next one which may be ten minutes or maybe about an hour -- who cares? You're on Malta. We stayed at a small, quaint, inexpensive, and wonderfully friendly little hotel right in the old town of Valetta (and there are very few there) called the Castille. The restaurant on the roof with a great view became our favorite place to eat. On the fourth of July there were fireworks going off in every direction -- not for our Independance day, of course, but for each little town's religious festival. We made the mistake of not doing an organized day trip to the island of Gozo. With public transportation being what it is, we arrived on the little island at lunch, so no busses were running for an hour or two. By the time they were running, it was too late to get to the very exciting archeological sites there. There is much to do on the islands of Malta, particularly the main island. There is another area called St. Julian's which is filled with tourist hotels and a fairly large casino as well as some really excellent seafood and other restaurants. This is where most of the tourists stay, but we were much happier in Valetta itself, and it is easy to get to St. Julian or to the other beach areas when you want to. Malta has some of the best diving in Europe if you are into that at all. Virtually everyone speaks English and the people are incredibly friendly. The huge old fortress in Valetta (which was used as the Turkish prison in Midnight Express) was fascinating and they have some costumed re-enactments of military events there. We spent a wonderful full day on a large old fashioned sail boat that looked like a pirate ship. We circled two of the three islands of Malta, took a little boat into a blue grotto, and snorkeled off the boat at some beautiful beach areas.
Now that I think about, I'd go back any time. It was a great place to visit. We picked up an inexpensive flight via Malta Airlines from Palermo, Sicily which then took us at the end of our stay to Zurich, Switzerland. And yes, you are right, Malta was quite inexpensive. I think the busses were about 11 to 30 cents per ride. We bought a week's pass for about $7.00 US which cost a lot more, but just seemed more convenient.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 07:43 AM
  #6  
x
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CJ, why do "Need to explain now adays" your Arab Christian background?
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 07:46 AM
  #7  
Howard
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Thanks for all of your comments so far. We would be going primarily for sightseeing, and not for the beach, so I think we definitely would stay in Valletta.

As far as the layover in Germany was concerned, this is the lest expensive option I could find. If we did stay over for 2 or 3 days, we may not stay in Frankfurt but go to another nearby, more atmospheric place...perhaps Heidelburg, or Marburg, or Cologne. That is another question, and I may put up another post on that one..since it doesn't relate directly to the title I put on this post.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 07:58 AM
  #8  
Frank
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To xx - Can you please stop picking on people. Maybe the word Arabic at this time may not be polically correct. I am Arabic also, and to be honest with you, I get stange looks every where I go. Unless you can be in our shoes, please do not comment. Life is not fun right now.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 08:59 AM
  #9  
x
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Well, Frank, my stepmother is Tunisian-French, so I don't consider asking someone why they have to use their Christian religion as a shield an offensive question. And besides, I never met an "Arabic", although I do speak a few sentances of Arabic. I guess you are a troll, since everyone I know from the mideast considers themselves at least partially "Arab".
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 09:50 AM
  #10  
cj
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Now-now lets not start another war. Frank, thanks for coming to my defense. You just may be a troll, but thanks anyway - X, let me explain. I am Lebanese, third generation and I love Malta's culture and their churches. The mixture of both cultures is what made our trip there so memorable. I have learned to speak both Arabic and Italian (not well). Sorry, that my comment made you so upset. Anyway, Howard have a great time and enjoy.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 10:10 AM
  #11  
frankfurter
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Well, having grown up in Frankfurt,I''m admittedly biased Don't worry, there is plenty of stuff to do in and around Frankfurt, wihch you'll find out once you repost or do a search. (Just do a search for Heidelberg.)
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 10:16 AM
  #12  
cj
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Messege to X - PS - I really don't know why I had to explain why I was a Christian- Out of habit, I guess.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 10:28 AM
  #13  
notatroll
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Hey you guys, I'm sure some of you have read this, but the REAL Troll just took a job this week. Is there another lurking?
 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 11:36 PM
  #14  
Gar
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hi there,
agrees a lot with Patrick. Malta is great for his history. The beaches are not a hit. Dont miss that lot of religious festivals. Depending on the time You are there, there will be one each day anywhere on the island.
I would not take an organized day trip to Gozo. Just start early in the morning and if You cant find a bus, the taxis are more cheap than You have to pay for an organized trip. But dont miss that trip to the ruines of Gigantia, they are older then the pyramids and very worth to see. Also it is the old grave Hal Suflien (both UNESCO heritages) and another ruin area on the west coast near the sea (forgotten the name). A thing You can miss is the archioligical museum in Valetta, it is very poor to look at. St. Julian is the tourist center with night life, a nice promenade where the people party at night (noisy to stay there) and lot of restaurants (the fish is great and cheap, also the wine). From there is a little ferry to Valetta which is nice to take and as cheap as the buses. Also a harbour cruise is worth to do. Look at the happy hours and coupons for this. Interessting for history dont miss Medina. And take a look at the floor of the big churches on the island, they are great.
have fun
Gar

 
Old Oct 30th, 2001, 05:34 AM
  #15  
Rhea
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I echo Patrick. We, too stayed at the Castille & loved the old-world ambience
but while the roof-top view was very pleasant, the cuisine was so-so. They also have a "pizzeria-type" place in the cavern underneath.
Walk to the aged cheap buses is very close.
There's a fantastic restaurant whose name excapes me that is only open on week-ends a few blocks from the Castille. Elevator to the roof of a 4-5 story office bldg (Honest!) w/great great food, ambience & decor.
Enjoy! e-mail me directly if you want address etc of hotel.
 
Old Oct 30th, 2001, 11:48 AM
  #16  
Maz
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Howard- I was thrilled to read your email about Malta, my father was born there (I'm first generation in the States) and I absolutely love it there, it's a fascinating place in terms of the history, culture, and wonderful people. Also, its proximity to both Sicily and Egypt make it a great base for an extended vacation, although you could easily fill a few weeks exploring Malta and the surrounding islands.
The best time to go (although it's hot!) is the end of July/early August for the festas, the religious festivals where all the villages celebrate their patron saints. The whole island is just one big party - being the most Roman Catholic country in Europe, they take these parties pretty seriously! Each village has their own saint and a different celebration for them, it's fun to go from town to town (not very far apart) and see the festivities. The people there are wonderful- you'll always be able to find someone to tell you a story about Malta, or direct you to some place that the guidebooks don't mention, and English is widely spoken. The food isn't the best I've had, but if you check out a restaurant guide, you'll find great seafood. Also, the bakeries are great as are the cheeses and wines. As for lodging, I wouldn't stay in Valetta, try one of the smaller towns like Silema, St. Julien's Bay, Bugibba, St. Pauls' Bay- it's very easy to get around the island by bus or renting a scooter, and you'll be among the local culture. Also, if you're willing to look, you can probably get a fantastic deal on a rental apartment or villa, especially with tourism down the way it is- they're cheaper than a hotel. A good resource for planning your trip is www.searchMalta.com, they have quite a few tourism links as well as a history of the island and sites to see.
If you or anyone else has any additional questions I'm happy to answer- I love this island like my home. I've been all over Europe and in my opinion, there's no place better.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 02:40 AM
  #17  
Paige
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Patrick or Rhea, can you provide contact info for the Castille hotel? I hope to go early next year. Thanks!
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 03:07 AM
  #18  
Arthur
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One thing to consider in visiting Malta is that country's slaughter of 3 million migrating birds every year, by so called hunters who shoot anything that moves. Not to mention the trapping, liming and caging of wild birds. The European Union and many national and international pressure groups are trying to put pressure on the Maltese Government to put an end to the indiscrimate massacre of European wildlife. Malta is well on the way to becoming a barren rock with little wildlife and indeed is now down to just 12 resident bird species. Visit http://homepage.mac.com/davidcam/awareness to find out more. The site is maintained by a Maltese resident and is very disturbing if you care for the environment.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 03:47 AM
  #19  
harzer
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Well, this has been the most interesting set of travel posts for some time, and a refreshing change from the interminable re-runs on Italy, southern Germany and Paris.

Has anyone out there been to the former Yugoslavia or Hungary or Scandinavia or Greece lately? Some more variety desperately needed.

Thanks Howard
Harzer
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 05:52 AM
  #20  
Rhea
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Paige: Took this off of Fodor's rants & raves..it's not all that seedy; shall we say time-worn?
CASTILLE
Location: 348 St. Paul St., Valletta Malta island VLT 07, Malta
Phone: 243677 or 243678 Fax: 243677

In a 16th-century former palazzo, this slightly worn - sagging mattresses and
not-so-nice bathrooms - hotel is by far the best bet for inexpensive
accommodations in Valletta. Rooms are spacious, with good windows, and
the staff is friendly. Book at least three months ahead. 39 rooms. Restaurant, café. AE, DC, MC, V.




 

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