It’s embarrassing to realise quite how far behind I have got on blogging; I keep thinking ‘I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it’… and then… well you know how it goes. Anyway, you all have the lovely Shikha to thank for this post, because she asked on Instagram if anyone had been to Malta over Easter and I immediately thought ‘yes!! yes I have!… but I haven’t written about it…’
Which is a shame, because it was lovely. We usually do a European city break for 4-5 days over the Easter weekend but we try and choose somewhere that’s appropriate for Easter. Malta is known for celebrating Easter in a big way- particularly their huge parades for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It’s astonishing watching all the people marching through the streets carrying huge, heavy floats -a spectacle which we were to see again when we went to Seville the following year.
What We Did
We were staying in Valletta (just outside the city walls) so it was a given that our first day would be spent exploring the capital city. One of the most important parts of Maltese history is the Order of the Knights of St John so obviously our first stopping point was the Knights Hospital to learn a bit more about this. We spent the rest of the day wandering through the narrow old streets and climbing up to the gardens to enjoy the view over the Old Harbour, before heading back down to the city to watch the Good Friday evening parade.
The next day we bought bus tickets and headed off to Mdina, one of the oldest and best-preserved cities on the island with all its original walls and gates. We spent a wonderful sunny day exploring the city, visiting the cathedral, walking around the walls and eating AMAZING cake!
Day 3 meant it was time to use our bus tickets to head the other way and visit the fishing village of Marsaxlokk with its famous market. We had a browse of everything on offer, including flowers, sweets and every kind of fish you can imagine!
That evening we also went to a concert of Handel’s Messiah performed in St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral.
Our final day was relaxed with a bit of time by the pool by our hotel and a visit to the stunning Co-Cathedral of St John, the main Cathedral (yes there are 2!) in Valletta.
Where We Stayed
The Grand Hotel Excelsior – which I have nothing but the highest praise for. The hotel is beautiful and our room was spacious and comfortable. All the staff were very helpful- one of the concierges booked our tickets to the concert mentioned above when I couldn’t get the website to work. The breakfast deserves a special mention for being one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve come across and the cocktails served in the bar were also excellent (we tried different ones almost every night!)
Where We Ate
The best restaurant we went to was Adesso which I found as it was so highly rated on Tripadvisor; a close second was Capistrano where I ate the most amazing rabbit filled pasta (they’re very big on rabbit in Malta…). Other places we loved were Yard 32 (you simply cannot go wrong with gin and tapas, well not in my world anyway) and Fontanella in Mdina for delicious cake with gorgeous views.
You can probably tell from this post that I really enjoyed Malta; I think it’s a great place to go for a short break and I would love to go back.