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Malta – get swept away!

There is still a little time left for a last minute holiday before school starts.  Malta is only two and a half hours away and both major and discount airlines fly there, so getting there is a breeze.  Last month we took off to the island of Malta, well Gozo to be precise for a lovely family holiday.  I’ve been going since I was 15 months old; it’s great to see my daughter swim at the same beaches I did as a child and experience the same traditions I grew up with.

The country is made up of three islands.  Two islands are inhabited – Malta and Gozo, while Comino only has a hotel on it and is ideal for day trips, where you can swim and snorkel in the crystal clear blue lagoon.  Maltese is the national language, however, everyone also speaks English.  Besides the obvious “beach” holiday, Malta also offers a number of other family friendly options.  From beautiful churches, museums, theatrical productions to theme parks – Malta has it all!

Young travelers to Malta have a wide variety of choices. How many holiday destinations can provide a Popeye Village?  Malta can.  Yup, Popeye featuring Robin Williams was filmed there.  Kids can explore the set and watch shows.  After, to cool down from all the excitement, why not venture over to Splash and Fun Water Park?  Ever wonder how Playmobil toys are made?  Take a tour of the factory in Malta and find out.  Top off your stay with a visit to the marine park and swim with dolphins at Mediterraneo.  In the unlikely event of bad weather, you can stay indoors and go bowling or check out a film at the various cinemas around the island.  No trip to Malta would be complete without a ride on the local bus.  Look for the old ones for that real adventure.  Kids love them!

Feeling a little left out parents?  Well don’t!  There are tons of things for you as well. This small country packs a big punch when it comes to offering a wealth of history.  Sorry Stonehenge, but Gozo has the oldest freestanding temples in Xaghra called Gigantia which were built around 3600 BC.  The island also has some of the best scuba diving in the world, the visibility is extremely clear.  If you aren’t certified, there are ample diving schools that could certify while you are on vacation.  Are you an art buff?  St John’s Cathedral in Valletta holds Carravaggio’s Beheading of St. John, which the artist did while he lived in Malta.  Fancy a round of golf?  Look no further then The Malta Royal Golf Club.  Like the idea of sailing around the islands? Charter a boat from Domina Charters and let the skipper show you Malta from the sea. I never get bored of looking at the Grand Harbour.  No trip to Valletta is complete for me without sitting on the wall of the Habour and imagining what it must of been like when ship captains first set eyes on this harbour.  In my opinion it is one of the most breathtaking ports.

If all else fails, nothing beats sitting in one of the village squares, eating some nibbles and drinking some local wine while watching the bustle.  If you’re after a fun packed holiday that offers a real taste of local life, look no further then these islands.  Accommodation choices can range from boutique hotels to farmhouse with pools – with a price range to match.  I have to admit I have a soft spot for Gozo.  It’s less hectic than Malta and I can really unwind and actually enjoy a slower pace.  I tend to use Gozo as my base and plan day trips over to Malta.  Boats run frequently between the two islands and buses and taxis are easy to come by.  Car rentals are also very reasonable-plus they drive on the same side of the road as we do!  Albeit a little bit crazier.

This is a great all round holiday destination.  If you’re after sun, sea, history the Maltese Isles offer it all and more…

www.airmalta.com

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