In the last article, we touched up on some tricks of the travelling with babies/toddlers. In this article I thought I can share some experiences with you from one of our adventures in Malta. After a lot of back and forth, our friends (with a 3-year-old) and us (with a 8-month-old), decided on a trip to Malta! The timing for the holiday based on availability ended up being end of June and we knew- it was going to be a SCORCHER!!
Malta is an archipelago nation of Europe in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. Lonely Planet describes it as an archipelago destination packing a glorious variety from prehistoric temples, fossil-studded cliffs, hidden coves, thrilling scuba diving and a history of remarkable intensity. Lately, Malta has become popular due to one of the prime locations where Game of Thrones has been filmed.
Beautiful Mellieha Bay
Mellieha Bay is Malta’s largest, and most popularly visited beach, and is located in the North of the main island, on the outskirts of the village of Mellieha. It was a week-long break based in one resort at Mellieha Bay- we booked through Thomson Holidays. Arrival was timely with the flight full of families and yes noisy children. For once – we felt we were not pressured to make sure our son behaves as literally everyone is in the same place as you- Families trying to get to the beach and hoping the journey is as uneventful as possible. I can’t believe I am saying this – We belonged to this crazy group of travelers- there, I said it!
Pick up was organized by the hotel- so after landing within 2 hours we were at the check-in desk of the hotel, drinking a welcome cooler.
The hotel, Mellieha Bay hotel was very well set up for families. Swimming Pools, private beach with sailing hire options, food (incl. breakfast, lunch and dinner) meant we literally didn’t have to venture out for anything if we didn’t want to. The first couple of days was dedicated to exploring the resort and acclimatizing to the hot weather.
A few things we had to quickly learn were
– The hotel offered washing milk bottles but it was easier to use the sterilizing pouches in the rooms.
– We got milk for the morning feed at night and just warmed it up with kettle water in the room in the morning
– After dinner, we had to normally quickly retire to our respective rooms to get the little ones to bed and sit there for rest of the night making minimum noise. This is when we realized if travelling with friends getting a villa was a great option as it allows you to get the little ones to bed and have a lounge to socialize with the other parents.
– Food in buffet can be very appealing for first couple of days but the appeal can sometimes wear off. I realized having an option of a kitchen to cook can be a great add on. A simple homemade pasta from all the lovely fresh ingredients you picked in the local market after talking to local suppliers can be very appealing! Add a local dessert from a local shop and a glass of wine and viola – you have a winner!
– Heat can be quite harsh and a few quick remedies we had were getting the muslin wet and covering the buggy hood, if on the baby carrier you can put the same muslin on the baby neck.
– A hat, sunscreen, an umbrella, water bottle and muslin is a must amongst items to carry.
Sandy beaches and delicious food
Eventually we did venture out to explore the area, first the local beaches and trying local restaurants for lunch. With a gentle slope towards deeper waters, Mellieha Bay is a great beach for swimming with the family. One can venture into a lot of water-sports such as waterskiing, sea kayaking etc.
The restaurant Munchies on Mellieha bay was a great find. The food was incredible with the right choice for little ones and the adult (we did have at least 3 meals here).
On the third evening, we bundled the little ones in the buggy for their night sleep and went for a lovely moonlight way along the bay, followed by an ice-cream treat from a local convenient store.
Bringing history to life
Feeling up for a challenge, a plan to visit Valletta was arranged and a bus tour mode or transport booked. The first available option for the tour was a non AC open top bus and we booked it – in hindsight an AC bus would have been the best option. Albeit even with this choice we had great fun while we complained and swore never to make this mistake again! We arrived at Valletta water front and took a lift to the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Beautiful views to the port and lush green gardens served as a welcome break for the tired explorers.
We found fabulous place to lunch in at Pepe Nero at the Valleta water front followed by the nice walk along the Triq San Gwann to reach St. John’s co-cathedral, whose opulent interior is home to the Caravaggio masterpiece “The Beheading of Saint John.”A green sanctuary for a good afternoon respite from all the touristy wandering. The street around the cathedral are full of interesting local shops and cafes perfect for walking and immersing yourselves in a cultural experience. A quick coffee and cafe in a local cafe for a break set us up for the next leg of our adventure. The day ended with a brisk visit to Minamidai is a fortified city in northern region of Malta (seen from a distance when you approach) which served as a capital till medieval period.
The city walls, including Mdina Gate, Greeks Gate and the Torre dello Standardo were absolutely fascinating. The other great place to visit here is 12th century St. Paul’s cathedral. The cathedral is regarded as Maltese architect Gafà’s masterpiece. Following this we were back to base with a taxi ride.
The Blue Lagoon
Next day was as eventful with a planned boat trip to the island of Kemmuna from Cirkewwa Gerry terminal- it was the most amazing day spend looking at the blue lagoons, great landscapes & wildlife.
It is a day trip to island of Kemmuna and back with option to buy ticket on the day. A walk on the island is highly recommended to the other side way from the heavy tourist traffic beaches.