Whether your perfect holiday is sunning on a beach or strolling ancient ruins, Malta offers some of the best vacation spots under the Mediterranean sun
The island of Malta puts the ‘hidden gem’ cliché to shame. With its secluded beaches and vibrant nightlife scene, Arabic-sounding language and Sicilian-inspired cuisine, Malta is the ultimate Mediterranean melting pot to explore.
With the an array of gay and gay-friendly bars, beaches and bistros, the Catholic nation proves itself to be extremely attractive for a romantic couple’s getaway or a weekend adventure with friends.
This Mediterranean escape is making progress with regards to LGBT rights. As the Maltese went to the polls for general elections on 9 March, leading parties had already expressed their support of same-sex civil unions. One of the island’s leading LGBT rights groups The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) told Gay Star News they now hope to have civil partnerships in the next five years and marriage equality within 10.
GSN has already shared tips and pictures of Valletta, the Maltese capital, and Malta’s sister island Gozo, and now we take you to some of Malta’s less frequented but equally popular hot spots.Beaches of Malta
Surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean, Malta’s beaches are the stuff of legend. Whether you opt for the sandy coves off the western coast or the more private beaches of Gozo, the island offers plenty of oceanfront options for mixing and mingling or getting lost in nature.
Though most beaches are gay-friendly, Gnejna bay is a popular secluded spot for sunning and socializing. The best way to go is rent a car or book a hotel nearby that offers easy walking access.
This city makes the most of Malta’s island terrain, as it’s shops and restaurants can be found up and down the coast. EU development funds have rebuilt a gorgeous promenade trailing along the shore where locals stroll, jog and sun themselves at all hours of the day. At night, the promenade offers a gorgeous spot to meander along lively bars and restaurants..
For an unobstructed sea view of St. Julians, book a room at the Hotel Juliani, a former apartment complex that’s been rebuilt and redesigned as a chic boutique hotel. Situated right on the promenade and small harbor where gondola-like boats dock every day, staying at Hotel Juliani ou are never further than 25 minutes away from most parts of the island. The Mediterranean décor shines in all the rooms and especially at the stone-built rooftop pool.
If you crave a home-cooked Maltese meal, Gululu just down the road from Hotel Juliani offers traditional dishes from appetizers to seafood and main dishes. If the weather permits (and it usually does) try to book a table on the outdoor patio that overlooks the harbor.
A short walk from St. Julian’s you will find one of Malta’s most lively nightlife and shopping centers: Sliema. A cheerful and busy center with a newly built shopping mall and popular nightclubs, Sliema offers a taste of modern nightlife amidst ancient architecture. Enjoy cosmic bowling, a late-night movie or a walk away from the party on the city’s oceanfront promenade.
For a first-rate restaurant with a full ocean view, GSN recommends The Chophouse, hailed as the best steakhouse in Malta. Typical Maltese cuisine meets a refined grilling menu, and the glass-walled wine cellar offers endless drink pairings for your meal. After dessert, walk over to Club 22, a nightclub located on the twenty-second floor of Portomaso Business Tower.
The Three Cities
Take a walk anywhere in Malta and you witness the island’s heritage and history, and none offer a more authentic Maltese feel than the Three Cities of Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa. Built on the docks of the Grand Habor used since Phoenician times, the citie’s homes, churches and palaces are older than those of Malta’s capital Valletta and will astound with the classic structure and stone used to build the cities.
After getting lost in time browsing the Three Cities’ architecture and booming businesses, book yourself a dghajsa trip – a ride around the grand harbor on a gondola-like boat used in ancient times to move products and people around the harbor.
Mdina was Malta’s first capital city during the time of the Knights of Malta. Known as the silent city for its secluded location and quiet atmosphere despite being located on one of the highest hills on the center of the island, Mdina has plenty to offer for the ambitious tourist. The city’s mix of baroque and medieval architecture is a visual history lesson of Malta’s past. The high fortification walls and location on high grounds make it enchanting experience.
The walled city remains home to Malta’s noble families and also surrounds St. Paul’s Cathedral, a 17th century masterpiece with an impressively decorated dome and marble interior that is a rich contrast to Mdina’s simpler narrow streets.
To eat like a king/queen, Trattoria AD 1530 is the perfect experience for dining al fresco in one of Malta’s oldest squares. Located in the front courtyard of the Xara Palace Hotel and built into the castle, the restaurant’s décor includes memorabilia from the 16th and 17th century. The menu ranges from typical Maltese cuisine to trendy cocktails, and the pizzas are out of this world.
by Jean Paul Zapata
Source – Gay Star News