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Travel Activities Details

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Country: Malta
City: Various
Duration: 4 Hour(s) - 0 Minute(s)
Tour Category: Holidays Ideas

Package Itinerary

Natural Escapes 

 
Due to the undoubtedly great advantage of fair weather, the Maltese Islands lend themselves well to outdoor activities. 
 
Away from the hustle and bustle of village cores, the Maltese Islands offer various natural spots to be explored and admired, some left almost untouched by modernity. Much of the countryside is dotted with the world's oldest free-standing structures, so a stroll could prove to be most interesting.
 
The first rains after the long, hot summer brings the landscape to life with an astonishing variety of wild flowers. From mid-November until mid-May, the Islands are green and lush with fields full of vegetables and waysides carpeted with fennel, clover, wild iris and myrtle.
 
The Islands offer walkers some of the most stunning views anywhere in the Mediterranean. The first thing to do is to decide what sort of view you prefer – dramatic cliffs plunging into waves, the rocky, scrubland of the garrigue or hidden, lush valleys. En route, you’ll come across mysterious prehistoric sites, medieval chapels and secluded palaces of the Knights.
 
Gozo is extremely popular with both locals and tourists alike for its serenity and quiet beauty. Often referred to as “the land where time stood still”, Malta’s sister Island is excellent walking country. 
 
One of the best walks is along Dingli Cliffs. It’s truly spectacular to watch the sun set over the sea from the highest area in Malta where the land falls away at a spectacular 220m height. These cliffs offer remarkable coastal views.
 
The island of Comino was once reportedly the hideout of pirates and smugglers and is only 2.5km by 1.5km in size, so it’s ideal for a good day’s hiking and the ultimate in solitude and views. 
 
For those who are up for a challenge, the Islands offer some testing scenery to tempt the avid rock climber. 
 
Put on walking boots, hire a mountain bike and head out from the village squares on the narrow farmers’ tracks. You’ll find yourself in a timeless landscape, quite alone even in peak season. There is plenty to discover, from ancient farmhouses and wayside chapels to spectacular seascapes. The Islands are hardly large enough to ever really get lost in and there’s always a friendly face to guide you.
 
Gardens 
"The gardens that can be found in the Maltese Islands are numerous but relatively small. What they lack in size they make up for in historical and cultural content, which when pieced together, relate the happenings of their inhabitants from the early 15th century to present day.
 
The flagship of all the gardens is beyond any doubt San Anton Gardens in Ħ'Attard, built by Grand Master Antoine de Paul in 1623. However, other smaller gardens such as the two Barrakkas in Valletta offer breathtaking views of our Grand Harbour and the fortifications built by the Knights of Malta. Historical gardens were usually born as appendages to palaces and palatial homes of the rulers of the day. Even Buskett Gardens in Rabat grew out of a hunting lodge that was built in the mid-1500's by Grandmaster La Vallette. Sa Maison Gardens, which overlook the equally impressive Marsamxett Harbour, was the work of Grandmaster de Paul (1636), but it was later (1853) revisited by the British Military who used its vantage position for defence purposes and left interesting evidence of their presence by sculpting various coats of arms in the rock face of the bastions.
 
Equally important historical gardens include Argotti Garden, St. Philip in Floriana, Hastings in Valletta, Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar and several others, which are found in outlying areas. Modern gardens which are worthy of note include the Chinese Garden of Serenity in Santa Lucia, the Ta' Qali National Park and the Independence Garden on the Sliema Seafront.'
 
- Peter Calamatta, Horticulturalist
 
ARGOTTI BOTANICAL GARDENS
Notre Dame Ditch, Floriana, Malta
 
Situated in Floriana, the Argotti Gardens were laid out in the 18th century as a private garden belonging to Grand Master Pinto.
 
The gardens became botanical a century later, with a rich collection of trees and shrubs from oaks to oleanders and potted plants, especially cacti. The gardens also hold a variety of water features – fountains, ponds and water towers. The private section has a number of both indigenous and foreign plants. There is a small horticultural museum housed in part of the villa exhibiting seeds, plant pressing equipment, gardening maps and records.
 
There is also an exquisite gazebo dating back to 1741, which is open during office hours only.
 
GARDJOLA GARDENS
Fort St. Michael, Senglea, Malta
 
Constructed on a grid pattern in 1551 by order of Grandmaster De La Sengle, the Gardjola Gardens in Senglea offer a panoramic view that includes the docks in Marsa, Valletta, the entrance to the Grand Harbour and Fort St. Angelo.
 
The sentry box placed on the tip of the bastion, ‘il-gardjola’, epitomises the role of the fortifications around the harbour. On the sentry box there are sculptured various symbols of watchfulness, namely the eye, the ear, and the crane bird. The inscription in Latin assures the inhabitants of the harbour area to rest at ease, as the tower stands guard against any hostile force that may attempt to approach Maltese shores.
 
HASTINGS GARDEN
St. John's Cavalier, Valletta, Malta
 
Located on top of the bastions on the west side of City Gate, the recently-embellished Hastings Gardens offer a magnificent view of Floriana, surrounding cities and Marsamxett Harbour.
 
HOWARD GARDEN
STriq tal-Muzew, Mdina, Malta
 
Howard Gardens are one of the biggest public gardens in Malta, forming a natural border between Rabat and neighbouring Mdina.
 
The ditch surrounds the fortified Mdina and would prove highly difficult to get across for past invaders. Today, at one end of the garden is a very popular site-seeing spot and the garden includes, amongst other things, an orange garden, a football (soccer) ground and a tennis court.
 
Walks 
The first rain after the long, hot summer brings the landscape to life with an astonishing variety of wild flowers.
 
From mid-November until mid-May or so, you'll find the Islands green and lush. Fields are full of vegetables and waysides are carpeted with fennel, clover, wild iris, myrtle and much more. By late spring, a thousand or more species of plants will be in flower.
 
Away from the resorts and urban areas of central Malta, there is a surprising amount of countryside, some left almost untouched by modernity. You may be surprised to learn that only around one-fifth of the Maltese Islands is urbanised. Farmers often use traditional labour-intensive methods of the past. Village life still centres on the agricultural and fishing seasons.
 
Today, as in past times, you will still see old men and women, sometimes with their extended families, working the fields. In the north of Malta, where the ground is barren, and in many parts of Gozo, you'll come across small flocks of shaggy-coated goats and sheep being herded along the wayside.
 
The Islands offer walkers some of the most stunning views anywhere in the Mediterranean. The first thing to do is to decide what sort of view you prefer - dramatic cliffs plunging into waves, the rocky, scrubland of the garrigue or hidden, lush valleys. En route, you'll come across mysterious, prehistoric sites, cave chapels and secluded palaces of the Knights.
 
In Malta, areas that make excellent day hikes, are Mellieħa, Dingli, Għar Lapsi, Fawwara, Wardija, all the North and the various bays, and the southern coast with its fishing villages and Delimara Point.
 
Gozo in its entirety is excellent walking country. Ta' Dbieġi, near San Lawrenz, the Ġordan Lighthouse near Għasri, Ħondoq ir-Rummien near Qala and San Blas Valley near Nadur are all excellent walking areas. The Island is criss-crossed by tracks and lanes. The possibilities are endless.
 
Don't miss tiny Comino, ideal for a good day's hiking and the ultimate in solitude and views.
 
Put on walking boots, hire a mountain bike and head out from the village squares on the narrow farmers' tracks. You'll find yourself in a timeless landscape, quite alone even in peak season. There is plenty to discover, from ancient farmhouses and wayside chapels to spectacular seascapes. It is well worth the effort!
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