Day 1 UK - St Paul's Bay
Malta beckons as you depart on your flight to the Mediterranean isle. When you arrive, we will transfer you to your hotel in pretty St Paul's Bay. Here, you can relax and take in the dazzling sea views. Your hotel faces a private beach, and there's plenty of free time before dinner to savour the first magical moments of your holiday. D
Day 2 Valletta
After breakfast, you'll get to know Malta's capital Valletta, a World Heritage City brimming with historical sites. First, you'll head to the Barrakka Gardens, which are laid out on part of the city's old fortifications and offer magnificent views of the famous Grand Harbour. You'll then visit the Saluting Battery, where one of eight replica cannons is fired daily at midday. Our group will be granted exclusive access to the area where the cannons are located and we will be the only people there. It promises to be a very special experience, as we meet the volunteer responsible for firing the gun and they tell us a little more about the history of this ritual. Then, as midday approaches, you will be invited to help prepare the cannon if you wish, and we'll watch and listen as it is fired - you may need to cover your ears!
Afterwards, we'll explore Valletta's main streets on foot. You'll see many historic buildings built by the Knights of St John, such as the Auberges and the magnificent St John's Co-Cathedral, where Caravaggio's masterpiece 'Beheading of St John the Baptist' is on display. B,D
Day 3 St Paul's Bay - at Leisure
Today is a free day, so it's entirely up to you how you spend it. If you're so inclined, join us on an optional excursion to the pretty green island of Gozo, just a short ferry ride away. During the crossing, we'll pass the small island of Comino and on top of one of the rugged cliffs you'll see the Santa Maria Fort, which appeared in the movie 'Count of Monte Cristo'.
As we step ashore on Gozo, we'll be met by a Local Guide and together we will explore some of the island's highlights. We will visit the shrine of Ta'Pinu, a church set amid beautiful countryside, and Dwejra, where an inland lagoon of saltwater is linked to the sea by a small arch-like tunnel. If time allows, you can take an optional cruise on the lagoon and through the tunnel before we continue to Admiral's Rock. Better known as Fungus Rock, a unique plant with medicinal properties is said to have once grown here.
There's a chance to shop for local handicrafts including pottery, glass and lace at the Fontana Cottage Crafts Village. Then we will enjoy lunch on a private estate overlooking the medieval village of Għarb. We'll try a selection of Gozitan wines served with traditional crackers and dips, local bread and sheep's cheese. In the afternoon we'll explore the medieval city of Victoria on foot and visit the Cittadella, a walled city within the city, which has recently been restored. If you choose to walk along the walls here, you'll enjoy breathtaking views across the island. Finally, we'll make a stop at the Qala Belvedere to take photos of the incredible view towards the coast, with the islands of Malta and Comino in the distance. B
Day 4 St Paul's Bay - at Leisure
You're free again to relax or explore at your own pace. If you fancy an excursion, join us on our optional tour to Marsaxlokk, a fishing village on the island's south coast with a picturesque harbour filled with colourful boats. Explore the famous seafood market and if you fancy sampling some of the local catch yourself, there will be time to have lunch by the water. Enjoy a visit to the Blue Grotto caves, a series of seven dramatic sea caves. You can experience this spectacular natural wonder up close by boat if you wish, for a fantastic photo opportunity. (B)
Day 5 Dingli
We'll spend today with a local family on their 600-acre farm in the rural village of Dingli. We'll be warmly welcomed by the owner and taken on a tour to see the vegetable plot and olive-tree orchard. We'll discover more about the history of the farm, learn about the traditional process of making olive oil and enjoy a lunch of specialities which have been cooked by the family for generations. You can look forward to tasting Maltese potatoes fried in garlic, ross il-forn (baked rice), warm pies and peppery cheeses, all washed down with a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade squeezed from lemons grown on the old tree in the garden. This unique experience will give you a moving, heart-warming taste of rural and family life on Malta. (B, L)
Day 6 Three Cities and Mdina
A full day of exploration starts with a walking tour of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea. Collectively known as the Three Cities, they were built and fortified by the Knights of Malta and their narrow streets are home to historic buildings and churches. At Vittoriosa's waterfront you'll see the former Palace of the General of the Galleys and the Order of St John's Treasury. Then in Senglea you can enjoy spectacular views from the lookout situated in the centre of the Grand Harbour. Next, we will drive to Mosta Village and visit its domed Church of Santa Maria, which was modelled on Rome's Pantheon. The church became famous during the Second World War when a bomb crashed through its dome, but miraculously failed to explode. Step inside to see the damaged tiles and a replica of the 200kg bomb. Your tour continues to Ta'Qali craft village, where you can watch the art of glass-blowing. You'll also have time to shop for souvenirs before we reach Mdina, Malta's ancient capital. This hilltop city is filled with beautiful architectural gems and you'll have some time to stroll through the narrow streets and admire spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. (B)
Day 7 St Paul's Bay - at Leisure
Today is a free day. Take the opportunity to make the most of the sunshine or do anything else left on your list. In the evening we'll enjoy a night of traditional music, dance and food in a Maltese village. During a fabulous dinner, you'll be entertained by local musicians and traditional dancing. It's the perfect way to end this wonderful introduction to Malta. (B, D)
Day 8 St Paul's Bay - UK
Today we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight back to the UK. (B)
Meals included B = Breakfast. L = Lunch. D = Dinner