Let’s continue the trip to Malta with us.
Malta is a beautiful country. Although it is one of the smallest countries in the world, it offers tourists many options to visit. Every place, every corner of the country bring along with them a unique beauty that needs us, as tourists, to discover.
In the tour today, I will lead you to the next three beautiful places of Malta: Gozo Island, Mdina and Comino Blue Lagoon.
For the sister’s island (what Maltese call this island), I recommend you should spend at least one day here. If you have more time, two days will be the ideal time for Gozo. This island is the place where you have many things to discover, but the transfer time between locations is long.
We had a one day trip to Gozo. Our journey started at the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal (one hour transfer by bus from Birkirkara to this terminal). You are free to go from Cirkewwa, but before you get on the ferry from the Mgarr Ferry Terminal in Gozo, you have to buy the ticket at €4.65 per person.
We chose to visit three places in Gozo: the Salt Pans, the Dwejra Bay (with the collapsed Azure Window, Blue Hole and Inland Sea) and the Xlendi Bay.
If you take the bus to visit different destinations, the bus will always stop at Victoria (the capital of Gozo) before going to another place. You can also visit Victoria, where you can find the Citadel (a World Heritage). We did not have much time, so we only stopped at Victoria for a quick lunch then move to Dwejra Bay.
You can also have the option to take the Hop-on-Hop-off bus, offered by Gozo Sightseeing (green bus) or Malta Sightseeing (Red bus). There will be some staffs from these companies at the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal to introduce this offer to you. You can also find the information when you get to the Mgarr Ferry Terminal in Gozo. The advantage of this option is that you can have chances to visit more places in a day because the bus will take you through the most famous tourist attraction of the island. You can choose to hop off at a place where you like, spend time there and wait for the next bus to hop on to the next sites. They will have a timetable of the bus and the route the bus will go, so you can easily to follow.
The first stop of the day trip in Gozo is Salt Pans. Located in Xwejni Bay, it is the place where salt has been collected over the centuries. If you are lucky during your visit, you can see the crystal salt under the beam of the sun at this place, and you can also see locals collect salt. The Salt Pans lengthen about three kilometers.
What impressed me was not only the Salt Pans but the coastal road also. The long road, with one side, is Salt Pans and the ocean, and the other side is rocks and cliff which created a scenic view of this place. It was the fantastic combination of the unique blue color of the sea, the particular color of the rock-cut salt pans, the white color of the road and the yellow-brown color of the rocks.
We took a bus to move back to Victoria, the capital of Gozo, for lunch before moving to the Dwejra Bay in the afternoon. We chose to have lunch at Cup Cake Coffee located near the Victoria Bay bus stops. Cup Cake Coffee offered various food and beverages, from main courses to desserts. We ordered two wraps: one crispy shrimp wrap and one beef wrap (both served with chips), and one Tropical smoothie (with papaya, mango and pineapple). Food was delicious, and the drink was fresh and fantastic. The price of our lunch was around €16 for two people. That was a perfect price for a yummy meal.
Our next destination was Dwejra Bay. There are three places to visit here: Inland Sea, Azure Window and Blue Hole.
From the bus stop, there is a way down to the Inland Sea. As the name of the place showed, it is a lagoon formed by a natural arch and surrounded by cliffs. People can choose to swim here, or buy a ticket for a boat tour (on a small boat) to go through the cave, and go to other caves and Azure Window. The price of the boat ride is €4 per person.
We went back to the upper place to move to the Blue Hole and try to find the Azure Window. After the collapse of the Azure Window during a thunderstorm in 2017, it is not easy to realize where Azure Window was if we did not see the map at the place. I felt pity for a great natural monument.
But, there was something else excited us: Blue Hole. It was amazing when there are two deep holes in the sea where people can go bathing or scuba diving. That was a miracle of the nature.
Leaving Dwejra Bay, we moved to the last place of the Gozo day trip: the Xlendi Bay. A small bay where people can choose kayaking, bathing. We found a way to a secret cave at this place, where we spent half of an hour for bathing. Only three or four people were bathing near that cave. So quiet and relaxing. That was an excellent time for us to chill after spending a long day under the sun and the heat of the summer — an ideal time to refresh ourselves.
Mdina — The Silent City
The last day in Malta, we chose to visit the Silent City — Mdina. It was the former capital of Malta with thousands of years of history. Mdina is a small city inside a wall covering less than one-kilometer square area. The population of Mdina is around 250 people. The name of ‘Silent City’ may come from the status of the city: limited cars, no noises of the bustling town, quiet and relaxing atmosphere.
Mdina has a lot of beautiful places. It also has small narrow streets like Valetta, which are lovely. There are some unique corners where tourist can have amazing, memorable photos.
Getting out of Mdina (outside the wall) is the area of Rabat. But first, let’s have lunch. We chose a bakery named Is-Serkin (Crystal Palace Bar), which located just 200 meters to the left of the Mdina’s gate. Is-Serkin offers Maltese food for a quick lunch before we continue our exploration in Rabat. And that was the choice of the day. We ordered three pastizzi (each filled with a different ingredient: peas, chicken and anchovies) and one Qassatat (filled with cheese). They were delicious. We like the peas one the most. And they also offered excellent milk tea to customers. Price? Around €3–3.5 for all of them. That was a fantastic deal.
The first place we visited in Rabat was the Parish Church of St. Paul & Grotto Of St. Paul. We did not get inside these places, just walking around and see the site from outside. They are located next to each other. Two Popes visited these places and prayed there in the past, the first one was Pope John Paul II in 1990, and the second one was Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.
For the Parish Church of St. Paul, the opening hour starts from 17.00, so we did not have chances to get inside though we would like to do so. For the Grotto of St. Paul, it was a place where St. Paul stayed after his shipwreck. A person needs to purchase a ticket at the price of €5 to visit the Grotto.
Not far from the catacomb was the Parish Church the St. Paul’s catacomb. According to some sources, there was a myth that the catacomb has a connection with the St. Paul’s Grotto. That was why the catacomb has its name.
During the Roman time, the deceased was not allowed to bury within the city (Mdina) under Roman law. Therefore, the catacomb was built outside the wall and became the place for serving burials during that time. Ticket for entering the catacomb costs €6 per adult (you can buy directly there).
When you get inside, you will first see a small gallery exhibiting some skeleton and relics which were taken out of the catacombs. A large wall panel in the room demonstrates the burial procedure and roles of each person during the process. When you go down each catacomb, you can have a general view of how people were buried in the past. It was a good experience for us during this trip.
Comino Blue Lagoon
We spent our last afternoon in Malta to visit and swim at the Comino Blue Lagoon. To get there, we needed to take a bus to the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal again, following the sign to get the place where we can buy tickets. The tickets cost €13 per person for a return boat trip though the service provider is Comino Ferries Co-op Ltd. In the website of Comino Ferries, you can see the time to get to Comino from Malta and the last boat from Comino to come back to Malta. It would be great for you to check it and calculate your time on Comino island.
Our first impression about (and also the greatest of) the Blue Lagoon was the color of the water. The unique turquoise color is hard to find in any other beaches in the world. We spent one and a half hour to swim and chill there. On the shore, there were some booths selling food, snack and refreshment. And there was also a place offering lockers for us to keep our stuff there (at the price of €5).
One thing I did not like about this place was that it was too crowded. Although it was less crowded than before the pandemic, there were still so many people there. However, the general feeling about the Blue Lagoon was great. We enjoyed the time and the view we saw there.
That was all for our trip to Malta. That was a fantastic journey to discover a small country with many historical stories behind. And that was also the first time we went to a beach in Europe. Going to the beach in the summer is always the most incredible thing to do and enjoy.
See you on my next trip.