Malta in May
95 people found this review helpful
May is an ideal time to explore Malta as the weather is warm and sunny, but not too hot to be unbearable. We stayed at Hotel Osborne in Valletta. Classed as a budget hotel, it was clean comfortable and I thought the service was excellent. We were greeted at reception by the enthusiastic manager, who gave us a wealth of information to help us. The old building had been made into a hotel in 1904 and was tastefully furnished with reproduction furniture and some antiques. It had 2 lifts, air conditioning and a small swimming pool on the roof, with a panoramic view over the old city. There was a varied choice of food at breakfast and the evening meal. Despite being within the city walls, it was quiet. In fact the noisiest thing was the church bells which clunked tunelessly every quarter of an hour. We found ourselves giggling through the night at the clanking! Valletta is hilly with many of the pavements in steps. However we found that most of the attractions could be found by walking along the main streets on the flat or by simply walking at a leisurely pace! We bought a 7-day bus pass which only cost 12 euros and proved to be excellent value. The "bus station" was the most picturesque with the Triton fountain in the centre and a short walk from the hotel. The new Arriva buses were air-conditioned and reliable. We took a bus to Sliema, where we boarded a colourful Luzzu boat for the 2 harbour cruise. Being small the craft is able to enter all the creeks with an excellent historical commentary in English. We were so impressed that we booked another tour for the following day. For no extra cost a water taxi picked us up from Valletta. The cruise went to the island of Gozo and included a 3-hour bus trip visiting amongst others the Azure window and the Citadel. The boat then took us to the Blue Lagoon where there was time for a swim and to the Crystal Caves of Comino.I think that the sea trip was the only time an extra layer of clothing was needed because of the sea breezes. Malta is steeped in history thousands of years before even the Pyramids. We took a bus to the walled medieval city Mdina the ancient capital. Whilst there we visited the Knights of Malta a tableaux museum. The next day we viewed the Changing of the Guard in St Georges Square then took a bus to Marsaxlokk to the fishing harbour, a relaxing day watching the colourful boats. We sat by the harbour at a restaurant with the unlikely name of Southport Gardens enjoying a lunch of freshly caught fish and salad. This was in contrast to Valletta which had erupted in celebration of their football teams cup victory. I think we were the only people not decked out in red & white. The main street was packed with a noisy but friendly crowd dancing and singing. On the Sunday, however, the streets were quiet and empty. We went to Fort St Elmo for the in Guardia parade and re-enactment – lots of swashbuckling, marching and firing of cannons. All about the surrender of Napoleons troops at the hands of the British. We then went on a guided tour of Casa Rocca Piccola a 16th century palace – well worth a visit. We explored Vallettas streets looked at ancient houses with their unique enclosed balconies plus the Barracca Gardens – returning later to take some night time shots. Early next day we went to St John's Co-cathedral and museum – an elaborate baroque ornamentation not to be missed. I recommend going at that time, before the crowds, to see it at its best. Then we went by bus to Wied-iz-Zurrieq to see the Blue Grotto. The trip in a small boat around the caves was great fun. You have to wear a life jacket – and bouncing around over the waves you can see why! The Maltese boatman gave a running commentary, "See lady, the rocks over there – look!" Our small group of passengers were in hysterics. Afterwards we calmed down by visiting the gifts shops and had lunch in a restaurant with a glorious view called the Congreve, where we had the Maltese platter to share. On returning to Valletta we visited the National Museum of Fine Arts which was more or less next door to our hotel. As far as shopping was concerned, I bought some handmade glass and silver. My daughter, who is an artist was delighted by the art shop not far from the hotel, which had a good selection of great value materials. All in all, there is so much to see and do in Malta. The Osborne Hotel proved to be a great value base from which to explore and May is the ideal time.
95 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.