What do see and do for 1 week in Malta

Old Feb 7th, 2009, 01:59 AM
  #1  
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What do see and do for 1 week in Malta

We are headed to Malta this Saturday for 1 week. We chose Malta without knowing much about it, and don't have much of a plan. We are staying at Club Dolmen by the Sea in Qawra and we will have a rental car. The apartment has a small kitchen so we'll have our breakfasts there. It is me, my husband, and our 2 kids. Our son is 8 and our daughter will turn 7 during the trip.

We plan to just explore, hike, see the sites, visit the little towns, walk on the beach, etc... We'd like to visit Gozo as well.

We're looking for specific suggestions of places to visit, restaurants to visit (simple, kid-friendly, but good food...nothing fancy, a few traditional places would be nice), places to hike. Also, my husband will be up early most mornings and out at sunset taking landscape photos. Any suggestions for specific locations?

Finally...since it is my daughter's birthday during the trip, any suggestions for something special for her? She is a nature and animal lover...is there anywhere she could get up close to animals?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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ttt
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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I spent two weeks walking around (on my own) Malta & Gozo several years ago, all the walks are gentle, easy along the coast line or countryside. The Malta tourist centre offerw several cheap booklets with walking routes in details, you might like to check: http://www.visitmalta.com/e-brochures.

It's easy to take ferry to Gozo for daytrip, you won't need car in Gozo, as the bus network is quite good and cheap.

For your daughter, you might like to try(not sure about the transport in the winter, there might be some organized day trips) to visit the tiny island Comino nearby, there is a nature reserve.
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 01:52 PM
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We had just over a week on Malta a few years ago and 5 days on Gozo as well. I disagree about not needing your car on Gozo. We were told that buses are irregular and you can be waiting quite a long time at the bus stops so we hired a jeep on Gozo and loved the freedom it gave us. You can take your car on the Gozo ferry.

On Malta we just used the buses which was fine, they go everywhere and are cheap. The only thing is, all routes start and finish in Valletta so you might find that a bit of a pain.

I did a trip report of Malta and Gozo but can't seem to find it, it must be too old for the search engine.

There was a market selling fish, food and clothes etc in Marsaxlokk, it's right by the waterfront with places to eat nearby.

Mdina was good, lots of atmosphere and photo ops.

The view of the Grand Harbour from Valletta is to die for. You can see the view from the Upper Barracca Gardens, near the bus station in Valletta but also if you walk along the built up area near the waterfront, there are some good spots for views there too.

We loved Valletta, there is an enormous amount of history and we found the Maltese people very friendly. We found the Lonely Planet Malta guidebook very helpful too.

Kay

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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 01:44 AM
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Thanks for the replies. JudyC, those e-brochures are great - thanks for that link!
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 04:59 AM
  #6  
Amy
 
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I loved Malta! I stayed in Valletta, but the bus system can take you all over in a rather interesting fashion. There is a list here of many people's favorites in Malta; although the list is not geared to children, it may be helpful:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34569518

My pictures of Malta can be found here:
http://travel.webshots.com/album/115...t?vhost=travel

If they are doing the military reenactment during your week (at Ft. St. Elmo in Valletta) it's quite colorful and should be interesting to kids.

Have a great trip!
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 05:59 AM
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Hi,

I spent 12 days on Malta a few years ago and did an extensive trip report (very long but you can skim it). It's recently been re-indexed so you can access it by clicking on Malta in the country search box on top.

We did rent a car for one day and found the driving difficult so canceled the second day. The buses were better for getting around but we stayed in Sliema which has more bus options.

About animals...there are lots of well-fed feral cats on Malta. Other than that I didn't see any animals except three sheep on Gozo. Malta has no natural water so animals do not graze on open land. The part of Malta you'll be staying on is probably the greenest part and has the sand beaches. Don't expect the island to be lush with greenery.

Valletta probably has the most sightseeing including a public garden. Mdina is also a good place to visit. All the towns are very small. Valletta is the largest and you can walk down the main street from the entrance to the other end in 10 minutes. There are, of course, side streets but don't expect a big city atmosphere anywhere on Malta. You also can't drive your car into the towns like Valletta or M'dina as they are pedestrian only.

Probably the most visited place is the Hypogeum which is an underground temple and the most in tact temple because it's not exposed to the elements. This is something you should see. Send an email to your hotel asking them to get tickets for this as they only allow 10 people on each tour. I think the tours are run each hour.

I also liked the aviation museum (WWII planes, etc.) and right near there is the craft market with lots of jewelry and glassware shops. I bought several pieces of filigree silver there.

The food is nothing to rave about. My favorite place was in St. Julians (can't remember the name - it might be in my trip report - but it has a big deck for outdoor dining and is on the water side of the street). Varied menu and reasonable prices.

If you like churches you'll love them on Malta. Lots of Italian marble and beautiful decorations - very ornate. There are 360 churches on Malta and I loved all the ones I saw.

There are several books set on Malta but the easiest one to get hold of and to read is called the Brass Dolphin by Joanna Trolloppe. It takes place during WWII and gives a flavor of what the island endured.

Have fun - I really liked my time on Malta.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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The Hypogeum is something I would encourage you to see, however, suggest you check to see if your children would be allowed on the tour due to their ages. This is, literally, an underground museum. The Tarxien temples are nearby and your children might enjoy seeing them.

Malta will surprise you by how much is has to offer.

You might want to take a carriage ride while in Valletta, which your kids are bound to enjoy or a harbour cruise around Valletta.

When we visited a few years ago, there was both a Hard Rock Cafe and TGI Friday's, which, again, the kids might enjoy if they are still there. The exterior of TGI Friday's is unlike any others you have seen!

You've gotten some excellent responses and would encourage you to search on the word MALTA if you still have questions.

Malta isn't the easiest place to get to from the US, but is well worth the time and effort it takes to get there.

ENJOY!
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for the info. The main reason we're renting the car is so my husband can have freedom to explore for photos since his hobby is landscape photography. He'll be up early every day and probably go lots of places the buses wouldn't take him. We currently live in England so we're used to driving on narrow roads.

I checked about the Hypogeum and kids 6 and over are allowed in, so our kids would be fine.

I've printed out lots of tourism info from Malta sites, but just wanted to get some input from people who have been there.

Thanks again!

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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 07:25 AM
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I see we can buy tickets for the Hypogeum online. Is any time of day better than another for doing the tour?
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 08:07 AM
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We prebooked the Hypogeum too and went quite early, around 10.00 I think. There were some people who had booked but didn't turn up and others who hadn't booked and turned up in the hope of getting a spot. They let these people take the tickets of the people who hadn't turned up. I don't think this will affect you if you already have tickets. Parking can be quite difficult in the Maltese cities so allow extra time to find a spot near the Hypogeum.

Good point about seeing the military re-enactment at Fort Elmo, if it's on. We got there about 40 mins earlier to get a seat. Otherwise you can stand or go up on the balconies.

Kay
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 08:18 AM
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Please do post a small trip report when you return. I am interested to know what you and your family liked and disliked in Malta. It has been on my radar for a number of years, but soon, maybe....... we will get to go.

Thank you.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 09:21 AM
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If you book early morning tickets to the hypogeum you'll have to get up early to meet the time. It will take at least an hour to get there from your location and I would allow more time than that to find parking.

Once you find the street that it's on you have to look for the sign that is flush against the building above the doorway (rather than at eye level). It's a bit difficult to spot. You can only go with a guide so don't miss your timed entrance since there may not be tickets available for the following time slots.

I don't think there was much available parking on the side street where the hypogeum is located so park anywhere you see on the main street in the town and walk.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Ah, you'll have a relatively quick flight from the UK to Malta.

I recall having to store whatever it was you were carrying when touring the Hypogeum (including cameras) in the lockers provided once inside the building. It definitely is in the middle of a residential area and not the easiest place to find. The Tarxien Temples are maybe a 10 minute walk away, so it would be easy to combine both into one trip. With having a week to explore Malta, you really won't be rushed to see everything. Hopefully you'll have some time to visit Gozo, which IMHO had a more relaxed feel to it than Malta.

Hypogeum tickets can be ordered on line and picked up once in Valletta. Personally, I would take the earliest tour offered in the morning so the rest of your day is free to explore. They were very strict about the number of people per tour-and you'll see why once you start the tour. If you're claustrophic, consider something else!

Your kids might also enjoy the Palace Armoury inside the Grand Masters Palace in Valletta, where they can see a nice collection of suits of armour. I believe there is a small admission charge to get inside. There is also a Toy Museum not that far from the Grand Masters Palace your kids might enjoy as well.

You daughter will have a memorable 7th birthday, touring Malta, that's for sure!
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 09:02 PM
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I spent 12 or so days on Malta and Gozo a few years ago and loved it all, but the 5 days on Gozo were the highlight. I travelled everywhere throughout the islands by bus - the service was very good, even from the more remote places on Gozo. On Malta we stayed up at the far end on Mellieha Bay. On Gozo, in Munxar, a tiny village near Sannat, as I remember. The walking was excellent, with lanes and trails all over both islands. Here are some of my photos, if you're interested: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1650935.html
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 12:04 AM
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Hi,
I don't know if anybody's mentioned this yet, but Malta is fantastic for diving and snorkelling.
We were there for a long weekend a few years ago and spent a lovely day on an organised snorkelling trip. The water was amazingly clear and blue with excellent visibility.
There were adults and children on the day trip we went on, which included lunch. I can't remember the name of the company we went with, but if you ask at your hotel I'm sure they'd have information as diving/snorkelling is very popular in Malta.

If you don't fancy snorkelling, there are plenty of other boat tours that go out to Gozo, Comino, the Blue lagoon, etc. (e.g. http://www.captainmorgan.com.mt/cruises.htm), some of which include swimming stops, lunch, etc.
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 10:43 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion on snorkeling or diving. I'm certified in scuba diving, but it's been years since I went so we'll probably skip that. But snorkeling would be great. We've talked about taking the kids snorkeling - they both can swim - so we'd be comfortable with that. Would the water be way too cold? Are wet suits available for rent? Would it still be too cold in February for snorkeling even with wet suits?

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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 04:37 AM
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Ah, sorry, didn't read your OP properly - I think the water will be too cold at this time of year. But you might still be able to take a boat cruise!
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