Suggestions for Malta in late October?

Old Oct 19th, 2000, 06:18 AM
  #1  
Chris
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Suggestions for Malta in late October?

I am making my first trip to Malta in late October and wanted suggestions of things to do and see. Also, any idea what kind of weather to expect then? Thanks!
 
Old Oct 19th, 2000, 12:26 PM
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gail
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Hi, Chris. My husband and I spent 10 days in Malta in February 1999. Don't know about October weather but I can tell you about places to go. We stayed in Sliema on the waterfront - great location, could walk to St. Julian's Bay (very picturesque) for dinner (many restaurants) and just to walk along the promenade by the water, observing people and architecture. Malta has an excellent bus system that goes just about anywhere you'd want to go. The routes radiate out from Valletta, the capital, which you can get to from Sliema by a cheap ferry. I found guidebooks to Malta and studied them for places that looked interesting to us and then put together an itinerary based on the bus routes - lining up a couple of sites along a route for a day. The buses were personalized by each driver with sports and religious regalia, cost about 30 cents to take you clear across the island. Everyone there speaks some English, some less than others, but people were incredibly friendly and helpful, offering to help us, unasked, when they saw us looking at maps. Mdina was a highlight, went to a tiny cafe built into the medieval walls of the city which allows only residents to drive automobiles within the walls. Went to a town on the southeast coast (dont' have my notes here but something like Brzzbuga, lots of consonants) on their market day, wandered among the stalls, had the best fish we've ever had and pink orange juice from the blood oranges. The only tour we took was to Gozo for the day - it was definitely worthwhile because the ferry to Gozo leaves from the farthest west point on Malta - they picked us up at the hotel in a van and took us to the ferry, then took us around Gozo to see many different places; the tour included lunch at a nice restaurant (we were the only English speaking tourists there - most of the tourists we saw/heard were German). The famous stone constructions that predate Stonehenge were interesting but some of the more interesting individual sculptures had been removed to a historical museum in Valletta which was closed, perhaps indefinitely. I have more info at home. Contact me by e-mail directly if you wish more info. We had a great time, but watch out for the drivers - they're possessed. My husband was hit in a "zebra crossing". It turned out ok and was an adventure in itself, but was pretty scary for a while.
 
Old Oct 19th, 2000, 12:43 PM
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Patrick
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I agree with the above post and want to emphasize one thing. The worst day we had was going to Gozo. We hate tours and decided to do it on our own. The bus missed the one boat and we had to wait another hour or so to get the next one. By the time we got up to the center of Gozo, it was lunch time, then it was too late to get busses to the sites we wanted to see --they take a several hour break, and later if you go, you can't get back. We missed everything we wanted to do. DEFINITELY TAKE A TOUR TO GOZO. We also had a wonderful day on a big old sailing vessel, with snorkeling and visiting the smallest island. The bus system there is unique and costs just pennies per trip. We never rented a car as riding the busses was so much fun. <BR> We stayed in the old city of Valetta and loved it, despite sweltering temperatures in July. I would think october would be great.
 
Old Oct 22nd, 2000, 11:25 AM
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Chris
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Gail: <BR>Thanks for the suggestions. Any specific tour recommendations for the trip to Gozo? Sounds like a tour is definitely the way to go. Also, did you go to see the painting of the John the Baptist?
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2000, 04:57 PM
  #5  
gail
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Chris: I don't recall the name of the tour operator - I believe that the hotel recommended them. They took us to megalithic temples at Ggantija (2000 - 3600 BC), to Calypso's Cave, the cathedral at Xaghra (pronounced ZHA rah), a fishing village called Marsalforn, a sweet little harbor town called Xlendi (Shlendee), Victoria (which the locals call Rabat, I think) and its Citadel, and the cathedral at Xewkija which I think is the one with St. John the Baptist. Other places, too. It was a full day and very worthwhile. I'd love to hear about your trip when you return. Not many people go to Malta and I've become quite a booster since we returned.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2000, 06:19 PM
  #6  
elvira
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We went to Malta the last two weeks in October five years ago; shirt-sleeve/shorts weather during the day, and maybe a light sweater/jacket in the evenings. It did rain several days, but it never got miserably chilly. My sister dubbed the island Willynillyville - everything is sort of haphazard in a controlled kind of way (example: the busses all start from a central point in Valletta, and are numbered by route...except bus #1 is here, and bus #2 is over there and bus #80 is behind bus #1). Give up your desire for 'Western' orderliness, and go with the flow - it's rather liberating. <BR> <BR>We took the bus to Bzzrgbfra or whatever it was called (lots of consonants in Maltese) and saw the boats of many colors. We rented an apartment in St Julian - the BIGGEST bathroom I have ever seen in my life (the Maltese seem to be into bathrooms - lots of stores selling stunning fixtures, like green marble tubs about the size of Ohio). More evidence is when in crowds (like on the busses), no - ahem - body ordor at all. They apparently use those gorgeous fixtures! The food was excellent - lots of fish, and a macaroni/meat dish that looked like the high school cafeteria 'macaroni pie', but sure didn't taste like it. Reasonably good wines and beer at decent prices. There was a soft drink called Kimara that we enjoyed. Oh, and the water from the tap is fine to drink. One restaurant at which we ate (a couple of times) was Altstadt Taverne in Paceville/St Julian's - German and Maltese cuisine if you can fathom that. <BR> <BR>In Valletta, there is a craft co-op, and in true Maltese fashion, never seemed to be open at the hours posted. St John's Co-Cathedral is very interesting; the Caravaggios were 'being restored' so we never saw them. Somewhere I read or heard that they are semi-permanently somewhere else. There are a gazillion churches on Malta (our Catholic friend said there were more than even in Italy, per square foot - and the mass that we attended was in LATIN). There's the Knights of Malta museum, which has to be seen to be believed. We found fun stuff to buy, like buttons and ribbons and all sorts of trims that made this seamstress very happy. West of Valletta is the cave where St Paul was shipwrecked. The whole island is dotted with Bronze Age villages - most not even marked (directions are "take a right then it's behind the yellow house"). There's a cave at Ghar Hasan that has unusual formations, and bones from ancient cave dwellers. If nothing else, you MUST go to the casino. <BR>We took the ferry to Gozo, and just sort of wandered around. The Cathedral has a spectacular view. The island is famous for its lace, and now produces gorgeous sweaters, with unusual ribbing - and at sinfully low prices. <BR>Malta is also famous for its glass, and it is quite beautiful. <BR>Hopefully, the island is living up to its potential. It is SO gorgeous, the people SO nice (they get a boot out of teaching Maltese to Anglanders - the glottal stroke is a killer), and the island SO full of history...but other than Germans and English, and daytrippers from Sicily, no one seems to visit Malta (as I said, I hope that's changed over the last five years). <BR>We took Air Malta from Heathrow...my sister and I both smoke, but we never even lit up - everyone else on the plane was smoking up a storm and the second hand smoke was enough (this may have changed - it was five years ago). <BR>
 
Old Oct 28th, 2000, 02:01 AM
  #7  
caitlin H.
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Chris - have you considered hiring a car in Malta? <BR> <BR>I just got back from 6 weeks in Italy, Greece and Malta with the last 10 days spent in Malta. I found my holiday there only got interesting when we got our own whells and could explore. The island is so tiny you can easily do it at your leisure with a guide book and map you pick up when you get there. That includes Gozo - we took the car ferry across and it was our most enjoyable day. <BR> <BR>Car hire is so cheap - our car was 7 lira a day (about US$15), the ferry was 6 lira return. It works out cheaper than taking a tour and way more fun. <BR> <BR>Of course it depends what interests you - I am not a night life person so St Julians didn't interest me much - the cliffs and caves of Malta and Gozo I found fascinating and great fun, also the neolithic sites and catacombes. <BR> <BR>Caitlin
 
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 02:11 AM
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chris
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Thanks to everyone for the tips on Malta! Our trip was wonderful, as was the weather. You're right, the bus system is crazy but we loved it. A day in Gozo was great, and I was thrilled that the Caraveggio's were back at St. John's Co-cathedral.
 
Old Nov 28th, 2000, 08:28 AM
  #9  
elvira
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