Continued from yesterday…
Getting there & around
Major airlines with services to the island include KLM, Lufthansa and Swissair, but Malta’s national airline Air Malta dominates the flights market. In contrast to the others, Air Malta operates direct flights to cities south of the island as well as north, and on to other destinations such as Istanbul. Gozo has its own helicopter based at Xewkija from where it operates flights to Malta’s airport in Luga. Helicopter flights are a 10-minute luxury and certainly expensive compared to the alternative 20-minute ferry option. But for a special view of Malta and a flight to remember, consider it an investment.
Families can also arrive by sea, as Malta has regular sea links with Italy and Tunis. Virtu Ferries runs fast catamaran services to and from Sicily and Grimaldi ferries operate a service from Salerno, calling at Tunis.
Know before you go
Malta has the highest road accidents in Europe – Maltese drivers don’t believe in speed restrictions. If you have to get behind the wheel the heed caution, remember they also drive on the left like the British.
Steps and pavements
For small children and pushchairs, certain parts of Malta can be difficult to get around. The narrow streets and pavements can almost be impossible to walk on without nearly getting hit by a passing car. Take caution with toddlers, especially as there are many uneven pavements and lots of steps to negotiate (particularly in the historical areas like Mdina).
Food + drink
You’ll be amazed and stunned by the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables. The best (and freshest) are sold by hawkers at the side of the road. Beware of hawkers that go around the more touristic villages as some are known to overcharge tourists unfortunately. Tap water, although often advised otherwise, is safe to drink but the taste isn’t spectacular to say the least. Some hotels will have their own reservoirs and will advise against drinking tap water. To be on the safe side offer children bottled water.
A walk around pretty Spinola Bay in the early evening, and as the sunsets dine at one of the smart restaurants overlooking the bay.
Take a horse drawn carriage around the walled city of Mdina and stop for afternoon tea at the Fontenelle Gardens.
Spend a day digging and making sandcastles on the family friendly beach at Mellieha Bay.
Gozo by Sea
Visit Dwejra point and the gigantic caves, and snorkel or scuba dive on the blue lagoon on Comino.
Fun family fact
Wondering why Malta has such an affinity with nearby Italian island Sicily? There used to be a land bridge connecting the two islands. The islands of the archipelago were formed from the high points between Sicily and North Africa that became isolated as sea levels rose after the last Ice Age.
Tip for the trip
If this is your first trip with your children, plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt. If you want to see more than one place, be realistic about what you can cover with little ones in tow. Plan for naps, frequent meals, toilet/nappy stops and also times of the day when they can just sit and play.
Dr. Jill Nash is a Cheshire based travel journalist and owner of independent guidebook publishing company ‘Luxury Backpackers’. Visit www.luxurybackpackers.com for more details on her best-selling guidebooks, including her new book, ‘Family Adventures in Style’ RRP £16.00