Over the Christmas holiday we decided to visit one of my closest childhood friends who have recently moved to Malta with their three children. We spent the most incredible few days all together, not only because we always have a great time together (our children are of very similar ages) but also because Malta is a very special place to visit. If you walk away from the 1980’s beach resorts and decide to go a little bit more inland, visiting Malta is like going back in time in 1980’s Spain in its way of life and going back three centuries in some places and a lot more when it comes to its architecture. This, in a nutshell, describes Malta’s history, a mix of new and old foreign investment that is centuries old concentrated in very few square meters located in a very, very strategic spot… hence countries, pirates, entrepreneurs fighting for it since the beginning of time!
My husband and I love going off the beaten track and anything that has a focus on history and Malta from that perspective didn’t disappoint. Visiting the city of M’dina (where I would live if I ever decided to move to Malta) is a true delight for XVII century lovers, it is like immersing yourself in the purest Baroque surroundings without a single shop spoiling things! No wonder so many movies have been filmed there – it is completely unspoilt and if it wasn’t because of a few cars being parked in the center of town, you could easily transport yourself to that time without needing any imagination. There is an endless list of things to do with children in M’dina such as visiting Palazzo Falson which allowed them to discover how a Renaissance person would have lived (it stores the most beautiful collection of rugs from the Far East, China Porcelain, English silver, beautiful French antiques… all incredibly well preserved and displayed). My children’s favourite were the very intricate collection of snuff bottles and the fact that people used them as a cure for pretty much everything. The main entrance of the city and gateways are truly spectacular, the Metropolitan Cathedral is worth visiting and although I didn’t agree at the beginning with my husband’s choice, our children loved visiting the city’s dungeons… my little Hugo still talks about them, you can imagine why!
Another beautiful place was Valletta with its stunning views of the sea, reminiscent of those famous Game of Throne scenes! I loved the view from Valleta of Cottonera, synonym of the three cities Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua. The view is truly spectacular and there is plenty of space for children to run around and for me to take gorgeous pictures of my family.
From a culinary perspective, Malta doesn’t disappoint either. You can easily find very charming places, eat great quality food at a very reasonable price and the best of all, everybody smiles when they see us coming in. A very refreshing response that we do not get very often!
Another place worth visiting is Gozo, the island next to Malta. Its natural, raw beauty is totally breathtaking and it’s a fabulous place to do some easy hiking, very appropriate for a young family like mine. I particularly loved the views of a very wavy Mediterranean sea, the image I will cherish until we come back again.