Five fun ways to explore Malta and Gozo

Travel writer Petra Shepherd gets active

Malta is just a three-hour flight away, perfect for a beach holiday or a city break. The islands’ honey coloured architecture complementing the deepest of Mediterranean blues will be familiar to many Silver Travellers. I too have visited Malta several times, so it was a fun change on a recent visit to discover some alternative ways to explore the islands’ 7,000 years of history and stunning scenery.

1. Enjoy a ferry ride on a Dghaisa and take a boat trip to discover the Blue Grotto

The Dghajsa is a typical Maltese gondola-shaped boat (dating back to the Phoenician times) used extensively in the Grand Harbour to ferry sailors and seamen. Historically, the boats were propelled by one or two men with oars which they stand and push instead of sitting and pulling. Nowadays, they tend to be motorised and can be hailed to cross from Valletta to the Three Cities costing just 2 euros per person. For 8 euros the friendly boatmen will take you on a 30-minute cruise around the Grand Harbour. Another popular boat trip is to the picturesque Blue Grotto and its neighbouring system of caverns that mirror the stunning colours of the underwater fauna. The Maltese coastline hit the silver screen last year, appearing in several international productions, including Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic World: Dominion starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Several of Malta’s cities feature as the backdrop to many action-packed scenes throughout the movie including Birgu, Pembroke, Mellieħa, and the capital Valletta.

2. Discover the three cities in a self-drive electric car

A Rolling Geek is a self-drive electric car that talks and takes selfies. They’re easy to drive, fun, comfortable and a unique way of discovering the three cities. Did you ever want a robot? Well, these are ones on wheels. Rolling Geeks are cars that talk, not like Knightrider, more like Star Wars C-3PO with attitude. Want to earn serious kudos if holidaying with any grandchildren or just want to put a smile on your face, then this is the tour for you. These little electric powered cars are very easy to drive and come complete with a pre-programmed GPS showing you where to go and what to look at when you’re there. With Rolling Geeks, you get all of the knowledge of a tour guide, but with the freedom to park up, get out and explore whenever you want to. In just 2 hours and 30 minutes you get to see three of the richest cities in Malta enjoying the sights of Birgu (Vittoriosa), Isla (Senglea) and Bormla (Cospicua). The three cities sit directly opposite Valletta and offer spectacular views of the capital city. The cars are safe and fully insured and have an inbuilt 2-way communication system with the office watching over you at all times.

3. Glide through the countryside on a Segway tour

Malta has an array of minor roads, country footpaths and off-road trails. A different way to explore the island’s distinct topography is to go offroad on a segway tour through the rugged countryside taking in views of spectacular cliffs, the jagged coastline and hidden inland valleys. The two-wheeled, self-balancing, electric devices are pretty simple to use and our 90-minute tour with Segway Malta in the north west of the island took in views of the sandy beach at Golden Bay (one of the most popular beaches in Malta) and neighbouring Ghajn Tuffieha.

4. Saddle up for a ride along the Maltese coast

If taking a segway tour, especially off road sounds a bit daunting the same views and countryside can be enjoyed on horseback. You won’t need to be an experienced rider; novices are taken on a lead reign. Golden Bay Horse Riding is one of the longest standing riding schools in Malta, established in 1981 and has been run by the same family since then, so you’re in safe hands. The horses are well cared for and amusingly named after drinks – there was Whiskey and Guinness, Aperol and Tia Maria and my gentle mare, Brandy. On arrival you’re provided with a high vis waistcoat and a helmet and assigned a horse suited to your experience. Don’t expect this to be a canter / beach ride experience but the ride is a lovely confidence booster for novice riders and more experienced riders like myself can ride upfront and enjoy the tranquillity and views. Also, at just over an hour, no sore bums or legs to contend with! 

5. Explore Gozo by tuk tuk

Gozo boasts some of the oldest freestanding stone buildings in the world, the UNESCO World Heritage Ggantija Temples dating back to 3,600 B.C. The island is adorned with stunning baroque architecture inherited from the Knights of St.John and has plenty of sights to see both natural and historic, all conveniently packed into a small island. A Gozo tuk tuk tour will chauffeur you to Gozo’s secret landmarks, cherished by locals but not accessible to hop on/hop off bus tours or public transport. These are larger tuk tuks to the ones more commonly found in South East Asia, carrying a maximum of 6 people with the appropriately named Yippee Tours, living up to its happy sounding name. 

Malta: fun for everyone

Propose a trip to Malta to a bunch of teenagers and it wouldn’t probably be high on their wish list. Catering to a wide range of ages can be a challenge. However, include some of these fun, adventurous activities that all the family can enjoy from 8-year-old grandchildren to 80-year-old active grandparents and suddenly Malta ticks all the boxes for a perfect multi-generational holiday. What’s more the sun shines for 300 days of the year and with oodles of history, it’s pretty educational too.

Find out more

Go to Visit Malta and call our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678 to get a quote and book your holiday in Malta.

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Petra Shepherd

Editor of Silver Travel Book Club & Cook Club

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