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Sicily or Malta or both

Old Nov 20th, 2009, 03:38 AM
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Sicily or Malta or both

We are hoping be in Italy in January and current planning gives us 4 days in the south - any recommendations about spending them all in Sicily, all in Malta or 2 and 2? We have a 4 year old child.

Grateful for any suggestions.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 04:53 AM
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Malta is one of those places that you either love or hate. We spent a year there one week and fall into the latter category.

Sicily eveytime for me, but stand back for the broadside from the Maltophiles-known as Maltesers.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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Lifeman - thanks for the warning Can you give me a bit info on why you did not like malta?
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 05:43 AM
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I live in Italy and love Sicily. We went to Malta for the first time this summer and were very impressed (as were our two kids - 4 and 6). What I didn't like about Malta is all the urban sprawl (big, characterless hotels, lots of ugly holiday homes and apartments). We managed to skip these areas and loved the capital, Valletta, the charming town of Mdina, the Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino (although January might not be a great time for that) and the Hypogeum neolithic temple (although only kids 6 and over can enter - our 6-year old loved it.) 2 days and 2 days seems short to due justice to either Sicily or Malta. If I were you, I would choose one for your four days.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 06:12 AM
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Four days is way too short, as romana2 says to do justice to Sicily, although I think it would be plenty for Malta. (But it's been many years since I went to Malta.) I loved Sicily, and would love to go back - Roman mosaics, great Greek temples, Byzantine mosaics, many different influences on the food, good scenery.....
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 06:31 AM
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Two days in each place sounds crazy. You have to take into account travel time as well, either flying or ferry, there and back. We had a week on Malta and 5 days on Gozo and loved it. We enjoyed it more than Sicily.

Choose one or the other.

Kay
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 06:44 AM
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caitg We didn't enjoy it for all the reasons that romana2 gives. We stayed right at the gates of Valletta and were not impressed with it at all. It, like the rest of the island is very "samey". Not much character IMO either there or elsewhere. The sprawl is indeed ugly and in January I think you'll find it makes for a less than welcoming place to visit.

Whilst Sicily will equally be subject to not great weather, I'd prefer to visit Taormina or Palermo with my 4 days.

Enjoy, whatever you decide!
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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I am afraid I am in the not fond of MAlta" camp. To me, the best think on Malta is the ferry to Sicily

I am being a little unfair here as my cheap package tour to Malta was somewhat of a disaster. I liked Gozo, thought that Valetta had incredible fortifications but otherwise no.

I am eagerly awaiting the chance to go back to Sicily as it has just about everything. Superb archaeological ruins, wonderful cathedrals, good scenery, some excellent beaches and terrific food.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 07:12 AM
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The attributes of Malta are irrelevant with only 4 days--stay in Italy.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 07:16 AM
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We have a four year old and I know they are all different but generally they do :

1. Like sitting on beaches for 12 hours a day

They do not

2. Like sitting in cars for 12 hours a day.

As its January option 1 will be a problem so damage limitation means trying to avoid option 2.

We spent a week in Sicily recently and the island is big so that the travel distance can be 2 or 3 hours if you base youself in one place. I have driven 500,000 and would not hire a car again in Sicily - their driving is that bad it just ruined our holiday - trips out just became a lesson in short term survival. Retrospectively we would have enjoyed the trip far more by using public transport but clearly this is time comsuming and restrictive.

We covered the whole of the East coast - loved Siracusa, loved Ragusa/Modica. The rest of it was pretty poor - in fact some of it shocking. Africa not Europe in terms of civilisation.

Personally, we would base ourself again in Siracusa and take the bus to Noto. We stayed at Il Parco (new 4 star hotel) which had incredible gardens and was VERY good value at 85 euros a night.

We found Taormina vastly over-rated and not worth the trip.

Your 4 year old will love the chocolate shops of Modica.

As far as Malta goes - haven't been but "you will love it or hate it" comes up EVERY time.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 07:22 AM
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What yorkshire said. With only 4 daysand with a small child, you'll use up too much time getting back and forth from Sicily and/or Malta. And you won't do justice to Sicily in only 4 days. There's so much to see and do in Italy.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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Being from Chicago-Sicily is VERY cold and damp in January.I agree with everyone else about it not being a long time to visit if you are in Italy. Stay there for the whole time instead with a 4 year old.
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Old Nov 20th, 2009, 09:12 AM
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I spent 12 days on Malta and enjoyed the trip very much but I would never choose Malta over Italy (although I've not been to Sicily yet so I can't speak for that part of the country).

The "sameness" in Malta (referenced above) is because limestone is Malta's only natural product so all the buildings are made from this stone and look similar. The island has limited vegetation because there is no water and that, combined with all buildings made from the same stone, makes Malta non-diverse.

Italy has more beauty and visual diversity and the food is infinitely better than Malta's food.

In its favor, Malta has very friendly people (most of whom speak English), interesting archeological sites, and beautiful filigree jewelry. Its churches rival those in Italy with many churches using Italian marble.

I would not advise visiting a country for only 2 days, even one as small as Malta.

Enjoy your 4 days in Sicily!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 12:05 AM
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Everyone .. thank you so much!

And no, winter is not an ideal time for visiting but it is what we have to work with. I think from all the replies that staying is Sicily is a better option. I was tempted by Malta because of some incredibly cheap airfares back to Barcelona (we live in Spain) but it is no point having the cheap airfares from a place we won't enjoy!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 01:22 AM
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We stayed here - beatiful but no evening restaurants - very cheap for the quality and have family rooms.

We placed Sicily into the love it or hate it league.

Be careful to plan trips - some of the island is beautiful and lives up to its reputation some is not and does not.

Your four year may love the puppet theatre in Siracusa its one of those things in life thats shines through in the age of Playstations and iPhones. Good old fashioned fun.

The flamingos at Vendicari also make an interesting trip as does the chocolate in Modica.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 01:39 AM
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I would say that four days in one place are much better than two/two with travel time between, but I just wanted to add another "love Malta" perspective on here for a bit of balance: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-100-best.cfm
I've not yet been to Sicily, so I'm certainly not saying it's better, just that I had a fantastic and beautiful week there and would indeed go back.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 05:46 AM
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amy - thanks for that link .. that is where I started thinking about Malta in the first place .. so many wonderful things, and then I found the cheap airfares!

markrosy - thank you for those suggestions for keeping our son entertained.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 07:35 AM
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I tell everybody who will listen about the puppet theatres (I missed Siracusa but went to the one in Cefalú - and to the puppet museum in Palermo). It was one of the many highlights of the trip for my wife and I, and we are significantly older than 4!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 08:17 AM
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willit - its strange and I think it something about being dragged out of the 12st century back to your childhood (if you are 40ish) to a time when little things went a long way. We spent days sliding down grass bankings on cardboard boxes in summer.

Sat in the theatre - you get innocent entertainment of the highest quality by people who spend their life improving to perfection.

Compare that with spending twice as much to go see some overweight professional footballer who was drunk the night before (and bashed his girlfriend up whilst driving a Ferrari).

Puppet theatre actually sent shivers down my back and don't laugh out there until you have tried it!
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