After a year of our suitcases gathering four layers of dust, we FINALLY have a chance to get our sun-starved limbs abroad this summer and we couldn’t be more ready. Sorry, staycays – we loved ya, but nothing *quite* beats a chance to travel for some guaranteed balmy weather.
It turns out you guys agree too! In a recent (and highly scientific) GLAMOUR Instagram poll, over 2,400 of you told us which kind of holiday you’re craving, with a whopping 74% preferring beach trips over city breaks. Although you aren’t JUST up for lazing on a sun-lounger, as sightseeing, eating out, swimming and hiking came up as the top four things to do while you’re away.
In our poll, it’s the countries with low Covid case numbers and high vaccine rollouts that are topping your lists right now (lots of you revealed that you’re most anxious about catching the infection abroad). However, if you’re after a stress-free girlie get-together to make up for all those Zoom quizzes and freezing cold pub sessions in the rain, a romantic escape for two or a solo do-whatever-the-hell-you-like jaunt, we know just the place.
Malta is our No.1 hotspot for a post-lockdown holiday. The country has successfully vaccinated over half of its population and rather impressively, has the highest Covid-19 vaccination rate in Europe, just ahead of the UK. Best of all, we’ve been able to travel there since 1 June. Of course, you’ll need to be aware that Malta is currently on the UK’s amber list so travellers are required to quarantine on their return to the UK as well as take a Covid test.
While vaccine passports are still up in the air and with travel restrictions subject to change, it’s best to keep an eye on the most up-to-date info regarding arriving in Malta here.
Actually getting to Malta is easy – it’s just a quick three-hour hop across the Med, where water the colour of Bombay Sapphire and the golden, talc-soft beaches of Golden Bay and Gnejna await. Ready? Us? You BET!
Here’s what you need to know about Malta: it’s predominantly English-speaking (bonus), not to mention a destination that is relaxed and supportive of the LGBTQ community, something we are always here for. Best of all, it’s a country that has pretty much every taste covered – whether you’re craving R&R and want to be as lazy as poss, or fancy shaking up some downtime with adrenaline-pumping adventure and some unmissable culture, Malta hits the mark every time.
What to do in Malta
Days can be spent plummeting into secluded lagoons such as the breathtaking San Blas Bay, a spot that’s only accessible from a hike down its steep, rocky path. Or you can dive through mind-blowing historic shipwreck Um El-Faroud while swimming, nose-to-fin, with luminous parrotfish and shimmering blue damselfish.
If you don’t fancy being in the water, Malta just so happens to have an abundance of criss-crossing off-road trails, awe-inspiring valleys and Insta-worthy routes ready to explore on a quad bike, Segway, bicycle or even on horseback. Make a beeline for Victoria Lines, AKA the Great Wall of Malta, a high-altitude route that spans 12km along the width of the island, where you’ll take in spectacular sea views. Or head to the ancient town of Tarxien to visit the incredible Tarxien Temples – the largest of Malta’s megalithic temples and among the oldest freestanding structures on earth. It is just one of the island’s three Unesco World Heritage Sites.
Whatever you do, don’t miss a chance to take a 20-minute ferry ride to the nearby laid-back, hazy island of Gozo, where honey-coloured farmer’s huts, cobbled village squares and quaint wine bars and tavernas await (FYI, in Mgarr Ix-Xini, there’s a secluded fish restaurant perched on a rocky creek, which was a favourite haunt of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt).
If you’d rather spend some time flopping, load up your cool bag and head to the off-the-beaten track Ġnejna beach on Malta’s stunning west coast (where you’re more likely to spot locals than tourists). Or visit Ramla Bay, a striking burnt-orange coastline that was recently voted one of the best red-sand beaches in the world. Heaven.
Eating and drinking in Malta
Since you’re all fans of eating out locally, you’ll be thrilled to know Malta’s gastronomic scene is well and truly thriving. There are now five restaurants across the islands that boast a Michelin star – Noni, Under Grain, De Mondion, Bahia and ION – The Harbour, where you can expect fine dining in some pretty jaw-dropping locations.
There’s also plenty of traditional Maltese food at places such as Nenu The Artisan Baker or delicious Mediterranean vegan and vegetarian picnic hampers from Gozo Picnic, which are worth picking up if you’re over on Gozo for the day. In Malta’s capital Valletta, Gugar Hangout & Bar is a cool restaurant-meets-library-meets-art-gallery, serving up delicious veggie snacks.
If you fancy trying some local tipple (um, yes), the wine scene in Malta is getting quite the reputation too – the island now has its own Wine Trail so travellers can plot day trips to vineyards such as Meridiana, one of the island’s largest estates, and Mar Casar, which specialises in vegan and gluten-free wine-making.
Where to stay in Malta
The great thing about Malta is there’s a whacking great choice of accommodation options. From resting your head in a 300-year-old converted farmhouse with a private pool and stylish décor (like this one on Airbnb), to lording it up in a slick hotel such as the shiny new Hyatt Regency Malta in the popular seaside town of St. Julian’s. Or there’s the cool and artsy Holm Hotel & Spa, famous for its iconic pink rooftop pool and jaunty interiors. You’re bound to find something that suits.
Book 7 nights in Malta with easyJet holidays* from £359**, including flights, hotel, 23kg luggage and transfers. *ATOL number 11694. **Price based on a selection of holidays for 2 adults sharing on a 7-night stay departing between 1 July and 31 October 2021. Holidays subject to availability. Booking conditions apply. Price correct as of 26 May 2021 and subject to change. Find out more about Malta at visitmalta.com