Malta: island hopping in the Med

The Maltese archipelago comprises of Malta, Gozo and the tiny island of Comino, and this 5- night idyllic escape includes the exploration of two of the trio’s islands, Malta, and the rugged and spectacular island of Gozo. Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean ocean, south of Sicily and above North Africa, the isles take inspiration from all sides and are infused with a healthy dose of Italian and Arabic culture, evident in the cuisine, architecture and personality of its passionate and friendly inhabitants. This luxury vacation to Malta and Gozo includes the exploration of the ancient medieval town of Mdina, snorkelling and diving in one of the world’s most reputed diving spots, lazing on some exceptionally beautiful beaches and sampling Maltese cuisine in some delightfully characteristic hotels.

The Silent City

You’ll arrive in Mdina, the old capital city of Malta, situated on a hill in the center of the island. The city well and truly lives up to its name as the ‘Citta Notabile’, or ‘Noble City’, with grand palaces lining its narrow sandstone streets. In the spirit of the Noble City, you’ll be staying overnight at the Xara Palace Relais & Château, an authentic 17th century palace. This luxurious and elegant haven is ideally located in the heart of Mdina, perched atop ancient bastions and surrounded by stunning scenery and baroque architecture. Each room is lavishly decorated to recreate the palatial splendour of a 17th century palace, whilst at the same time retaining a comfortable and welcoming feel.

Only Mdina’s inhabitants are allowed to drive cars within the city’s narrow walls, meaning the streets are relatively traffic free and make for a peaceful stroll, which perhaps lends itself to its other nickname of ‘the silent city’. Its small size means that it is easy to see so many of the great archaeological and historical sites within its walls all in one go, including the Roman Villa ‘Domus Romana’, a museum which incorporates the remains of a roman townhouse from the 1st century BC and which features some highly impressive mosaics.

Explore the Coast

After exploring the city, you’ll find the salty sea breeze of Malta’s Mediterranean coastline even more welcoming. Set off to one of the many breathtaking beaches that line its shores and discover some of the best diving spots in Europe. Its host of natural harbors, bays, reefs and wrecks make for a varied and thrilling dip beneath the waves, and the crystalline waters offer excellent visibility that guarantee you are to see a host of varied marine life.

After a day of soaking up the sun and dipping in and out the med’s turquoise waters, it’s time to dry your salty tresses and take your newly tanned beach bod out to dinner. Mdina has a whole host of fantastic restaurants to choose from, combining Italian and Arabic cuisines in a tantalizing melting pot of flavors that is unmistakably Maltese. For authentic local cuisine, try Ta Marija, a Maltese specialty restaurant, or the Xara Palace’s highly praised fine dining restaurant, de Mondion, which has been named the country’s top eating place for countless years in a row. As well as the mouth-watering cuisine and applauded wine list, the restaurant offers enviable views of the island perched atop Mdina’s bastions.

Did someone say spa day?

Savour every minute of your last day in Malta by the hotel pool, catching some rays, indulging in a spot of storeping in town and rewarding yourself with a spa treatment or two. Le Méridien St Julians Hotel and Spa offers the most luxurious spa facilities on Malta at the MyoKa Spa. Translated as ‘mysterious flower’ in Japanese, this spa derives inspiration from all over the world, bringing together the best spa treatments in one place. The spa offers a reviving, rejuvenating and relaxing combination of massages and treatments, as well as a hot tub, cold dip, sauna and steam room to boot.

Off to Gozo

Today it’s onward bound toward the island of Gozo- throw caution to the wind and glide across the turquoise waves by boat, where the island lies just a short way north of Malta. Here, you’ll be checking into the elegant and rustic Kempinski Hotel, set amongst the lush green hills that Gozo is so well known for, offering great 360 degree views. Dramatically more rural and quiet than its neighbor, Gozo is the perfect place for completely chilling out and escaping it all. Why not hire some bikes and cycle down to one of the island’s scenic beaches? Whichever one you choose, you’re guaranteed to be blown away by just how blissfully peaceful it is considering you’re in the Med.

Back at the hotel, wind down at the atmospheric La Caverna wine bar, where you can get a platter of delicious antipasti to whet your appetite. To totally soak up the atmosphere, we suggest dining at the Trattoria restaurant, where you’ll dine al fresco on the beautiful outdoor terraces that offer fantastic views of the surrounding landscape and a delicious assortment of pasta, risotto, fresh fish and other typically Italian fare.

Last day Relaxation

Your last day can be spent wiling away the hours as you see fit- either stay at the Kempinski and make the most of the stunning pool bordered by shady palm trees, have a relaxed lunch at one of the hotel’s restaurants, explore the island or visit one of the secluded beaches. Either way you’ll be leaving the Maltese isles completely chilled out, rejuvenated and not waiting to return.

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