Malta

………Malta. It’s a great place!  I lived there for a year back in ’08, I was out at the University and stayed on and worked in a Language school in Sliema and go back every year and work in the school for a month, sort of a working holiday, and it pays the rent!! We were out there for 5 days in December, due to that kind Mr O’Leary we got flights for €50 rtn!!

I lived in St Julians and we always stay around there, it’s a great spot, lovely bars & restaurants and at weekends it’s the main area for nightlife for the whole island! At the top of St Julians is Paceville (pronounced Pash-a-ville), it’s wall to wall nightclubs, I suppose their Temple Bar!! Not to be missed for young people!!

The island is small, only 17 miles by 10, so you’re never far away from anywhere, no matter where you stay. Valetta is the capital, beautiful place with amazing architecture, just stroll down Republic St, visit St John’s Cathedral (Latin Mass on Sunday’s), and at the bottom, The Pub, where Olly Reed died during filming Gladiator, he was on a bender, they have turned the bar into a wee shrine!

From Valetta you can get buses anywhere, very cheap, in fact until 2 yrs ago they had old London buses from the 60’s, they were brilliant and only 47c anywhere, sadly the EU got rid of them! St Julians is about 30 mins from Valetta, through Sliema, loads of bars and restaurants, the Dubliner a great Irish bar (my local!), just ask for Paul or Carl and say you know me!) Up the hill in Spinola Bay you will find restaurants galore, Peppinos for a romantic night overlooking the Bay, and the Avenue, brilliant, great value! Just on a bit then is Paceville, you’ll find it! You’ll also see a big business tower block at the Hilton Marina  and at the top is ‘Club 22‘, a nightclub 22 floors up in the sky!

Further up the island is Bugibba & St Paul’s bay, more touristy and cheaper than St Julians, all comparative as everywhere is cheaper than Ireland, Brandy €2, pints €2.50, meal for two, steaks, wine, Irish coffees, €50!!

Further on then is Melliha and then the ferry to Gozo, another island, 20 mind across, it’s beautiful, like Donegal in the 60’s with sun!! If you’re researching wedding venues, I’d recommend Ta Cenc, it’s wonderful!

There are great wedding venues across Malta, old Palazzos I think they’re called, beautiful old buildings. In the middle of Malta is Mdina, the ancient capital, the silent city, worth a visit. Famously the island has 365 churches and all look like the Vatican, mad Catholics out there you know!! It’s a great place for a wedding, usually a couple a week from Ireland and a third of the price, and they put on a brilliant day!

If you’re into history it’s a great place, walking history, been invaded by everybody, Arabs, Brits, Napolean, and one day in 1942 Valetta was the most bombed place in the world during WW2! Loads of old Roman ruins and heritage sites.

The only drawback might be lack of sandy beaches (if you’re a beach person!) it’s mostly sort of stony places but up north there are small sandy beaches, one near the Radisson is nice. It’s a paradise for diving if you’re into deep sea stuff and there are great boat trips to Gozo & Blue Lagoon, definitely go there!

Now the most important fact – Golf️! Or lack off more like! There is only one golf course,the Royal Malta Golf Club, near Valetta on way to the airport at Marsa. It’s ok not great but expensive, €80 and no open days! €50 with a member if you can make some contacts!  Lovely new clubhouse but golf is still a bit elitist in Malta, bit like Ireland back in the day, so mind your p’s & q’s!!

So that’s about it, can’t think of much else, car hire is cheap but mad drivers! Maltese bread is beautiful, try a  bacon Ftira! Cisk is the local beer, good, Guinness is expensive!

It’s an amazing little ‘rock’ wedged between Europe & North Africa, Sicily on one side and Tunisia & Libya the other! While Independent since 1964 the dynamic on the island is interesting with divisions reflecting previous British & Italian connections! But all in all a great place to visit, the vernacular is Maltese but most speak English as well, with language schools a major industry on the island. Weather is beautiful most of the year but July/August/Sept high humidity & 40o+, November excellent, like the best Irish summer day ever! Go for it!🏻

Malta flag-XXL-anim

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