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Multi Day Discover Malta & Gozo

6 Day Tour
6 Days (7/8 hours each day)
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View from Upper Barraka Gardens, Valletta

Tour Description

Day One
Half day tour to Valletta

We start our tour of Valletta with a visit to the Upper Barraka Gardens with breathtaking views of the magnificent fortified Grand Harbour. We continue with your tour through the heart of Valletta. En route one can appreciate the beautiful architecture and imposing facades. A visit to St. John's Co. Cathedral, which was the conventual church of the Order and historically one of the most important buildings built by the Knights. The Oratory in St John's houses two of our most important art works, amongst them 'The Beheading of St John' by Caravaggio. We then proceed on to the Grandmasters Palace State Rooms for the impressive set of Gobelin Tapestries and also the Armoury. Our tour ends here and we make our way back to your hotel.

Day Two
Full day tour to Northern Scenic - Mellieha, Dingli, Siggiewi, Girgenti, Mgarr, Fomm Ir-Rih

A superb tour taking you off the beaten track to some of the more secluded areas which most visitors do not have the opportunity of exploring.

We start with a drive to the north east of the island, en route you will pass St. Paul's and Xemxija Bay. Our first stop is the town of Mellieha, a hilltop town which overlooks the beautiful Ghadira Bay (Mellieha Bay), the island's longest sandy beach. Here you can visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady which is said to have the oldest icon of Our Lady and Baby Jesus and also said to be miraculous. Pope John Paul II paid it a visit in 1990.

We continue touring and our next stop includes a photo opportunity at Anchor Bay and Sweethaven Village, the actual location where the movie 'POPEYE' was filmed in 1980. We continue onto the small town of Manikata which is set in a rural area. The surrounding scenery is beautiful. We pass en route ‘Il-Grotta ta' San Martin’, a small sacred cave on the way to the rural villages of Zebbiegh and Mgarr. The village of Mgarr is a farmer’s village and very popular with the locals that flock here to dine at one of the many local speciality restaurants. We can stop for lunch here if you would like to try out some of the local traditional cuisine such as - bragjoli (beef rolls), majjal (pork), quail (game) and of course the nation's favourite, rabbit which can be baked, fried or stewed.... Other cuisine is available such as chicken, beef, pasta etc....

After lunch we continue with our tour to the west of the island passing through rural villages and the typical Maltese countryside. A variety of coastal cliffs, inlets and bays in this area form part of a National Park and are protected, the combination of rustic charm, deep blue sea and total quiet in the area are very unique and provide the ideal setting.

Our next stop is the typical local village of Siggiewi. here we stop at the piazza which is surrounded by a few small local shops, tavernas or kazini(as they are called)...a typical village scene. A short distance from the village of Siggiewi is the area known as Girgenti. Girgenti is a shaded fertile valley renowned for its orchards and cultivated fields.Eco system here is Maquis so it is green all year round. Citrus and other fruit trees thrive in the valley beneath the surrounding ridge. The old picturesque farmsteads are the homes of the farming community who till the fields and cultivate the orchards. On a spur overlooking the valley stands the summer palace of the Inquisitors built by Monsignor Visconti in 1625 (not open to the public). Nowadays it is the official residence of our Prime Minister.

We continue with our scenic drive through the rustic countryside to Dingli Cliffs on the west coast. These cliffs are characterised by vertical or near-vertical rock faces rising from the sea to heights of up to 70-130m above sea level. Some of the steep slopes are terraced and this unique feature together with the expanse of the deep blue Mediterranean sea provide stunning views. At this stage we head back inland via Buskett Gardens. This woodland garden was created in the 17th century by Grandmaster Lascaris but now the trees regenerate naturally. The magnificent Verdala Palace which was built in 1586 overlooks this woodland area. Trees found here include American Oak, Norfolk Island Pines, Aleppo Pines, Carob trees, Olive trees and Bay trees. There are a number of privately owned vineyards, olive and orange groves. From Autumn till late Spring you are sure to find streams, wild flowers and many woodland creatures, which are not very common for Malta. At this stage our tour comes to an end and we make our way back to your hotel.

Day Three
Full day tour to Mdina, Mosta Dome, Rabat, San Anton Gardens & Artisans

Our first stop during this tour is at one of Malta's most famous churches, Mosta Dome. The church’s dome is the fourth largest unsupported dome in Europe. Mosta Dome is also popular with visitors as it was at this church where a bomb pierced the dome during a World War II air attack. The bomb fell inside the church during a service and failed to explode. Locals hailed this as a miracle.

We next visit the Medieval city of Mdina. Mdina is built on a plateau in the centre of the island, the city's old Baroque buildings, Cathedral and magnificent bastion walls dominate the rural skyline. Mdina, once the capital of Malta until the modern city of Valletta was built in 1566 has had many names including Melite (Roman occupation), Medina (Arabic occupation), Citta Notabile and Citta Vecchia (after Valletta was built). Today it is also referred to as the Silent City since it inspires tranquillity at any time of the day or night. The only way to really experience and enjoy this city is on foot, explore the quaint alleys, narrow streets, ancient buildings and magnificent far reaching views from the high bastion walls.

Our tour will then continue to the old town of Rabat. Here we will make our way through the narrow streets to the centre which is dominated by the imposing St. Paul's Church overlooking the piazza. Rabat can claim the origins of Maltese Christianity and also good examples of the Roman period are found here. It was here in AD60 that the Apostle St Paul is said to have stayed after being shipwrecked on the Islands. We will visit St. Paul's Grotto which is said to be the resting place of St. Paul during his stay on the islands. Our visit to Rabat also features the Roman Domus. In 1881 remains of an upper class Roman townhouse were discovered on this site. There are some excellent exhibits and the museum above houses the principle remains of Malta’s Roman period (218 BC – 870 AD). The Roman Domus contains the finest mosaic floors on the Island in particular the Peristyle.

After a lunch break (lunch is additional) we proceed to San Anton Gardens. These magnificent gardens are located in the grounds of San Anton Palace – today the official residence of the President of Malta. Probably the best known of our public gardens, San Anton Gardens were first laid out by Grand Master Antoine de Paule between 1623 and 1636. You can wander along paths and terraces which are lined with enormous trees, hedges, flower beds and old stone pots full of plants to any of five ponds with ducks, fountains and water lilies. Here one also finds the largest orchard on the Island with more than 800 orange trees and other citrus trees.

Our final stop includes a visit to an artisans centre. Here one can view the local crafts and it is also the ideal place to purchase some gifts from a good selection of locally made pottery and ceramics, filigree and jewellery,stone items, wrought iron and much more. Do not miss out on the glassblowers – decorative glass made in the traditional manner by hand and mouth; also etching and crystal cutting. Our tour comes to an end and we make our way back to your hotel.

Day Four
Full day tour to Ghar Dalam, Tarxien, Hypogeum, Hagar Qim, Grotto & Marsaxlokk Fishing Village

We will be touring the south of the island during this tour, starting at the Blue Grotto. This picturesque grotto and its neighboring system of sea caverns mirrors the brilliant phosphorescent colors of underwater flora. Boat trips, which take around 25 minutes allow you to explore these grottoes and sea caverns along this stretch of coast (the boat trip is not included in the overall price as it operates subject to weather conditions, allow €8).

We continue with our tour to the Hagar Qim temple site. Set in a rural area this ancient temple is particularly interesting as it has the largest and heaviest megaliths out of all the temple sites around the Maltese Islands, some slabs weighing a staggering 20 tons. Our guide will unfold the history related to this temple which dates back to 3300BC.

Our next stop includes a visit to Marsaxlokk. This quaint fishing village on the south coast is characterized by low lying buildings and the colorful traditional fishing boats known as the 'luzzu'. A small local market lines the seafront and for those that enjoy fresh fish there are plenty of good quality restaurants to choose from.

You will have free time for lunch. In the afternoon we continue with our tour and our first stop includes a visit to Tarxien. Tarxien was the first temple site to be excavated scientifically and it offers a unique collection of circa. 3000 BC sanctuaries. Stone idols and tablets, domestic animals carved in relief, altars and screens decorated with spiral designs and other patterns, oracular chambers and riches enhance the attractions of these temples.

Our next stop is at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. This unique ancient underground monument is 12 metres below street level. It consists of a network of passages, chambers and caves cut on three levels, similar to the interior of a megalithic temple. The most impressive part of the temple is the "Holy of Holies" and one of the most important prehistoric masterpieces known as the "Sleeping Lady" was also found here.

Our tour continues to Ghar Dalam. The Ghar Dalam Cave is a highly important site as it was here that the earliest evidence of human settlement on Malta going back 7,000 years was discovered. This huge cavern is 144 metres deep, but only the first 80 metres are open to visitors. The various layers contained the fossilised bones of dwarf elephants, hippopotami, red deer, bear, fox, wolf, micro-mammals and birds dating back to the Pleistocene Age(180,000 years ago) and the end of the last Ice Age(16,000 years ago). Our tour ends here and we make our way back.

Day Five
Full day tour to Gozo Island

We start our tour to Gozo with a pleasant 25 minute ferry crossing. The charm of Gozo is apparent the moment you arrive there. Greener, rustic more rural and smaller than Malta.

Our tour is a combination of scenic spots, historical sites and local culture. We feature most of the main highlights during our tour including the oldest free standing megalithic structures in the world known as Ggantija Temples. We will pass through quaint sleepy villages that characterise Gozo's unique charm and visit stunning sites such as Calypso's Cave which offers magnificent views over the red sands of Ramla Bay. Just before lunch we will also stop at the Fontana Cottage where you can sample local delicacies such as sun dried tomatoes, olive pate, local cheeslets, wines and liquors. You will also have some time for a spot of shopping for popular buys such as lace. Free time for lunch will be at the pretty bay of Xlendi.

After lunch we continue our tour with a visit to one of the most photographed sites in Gozo, Dwejra with the General's Rock and Inland Sea. Here you can take an optional boat trip (the boat trip is not included in the overall price as it operates subject to weather conditions, €4 paid on the day) from the land locked sea(Inland Sea). Our final stop before we head back to the ferry for Malta includes a visit to the main town on Gozo, Victoria and The Citadel. The Citadel is a small fortified city that dominates the heights above Victoria. The history of The Citadel dates back to an early period when Gozo was under Roman and Arab occupation. The views from its fortified walls offer panoramas of the whole island. Our tour comes to an end and we make our way back to the ferry terminal for our return to the main island.

Day Six
Half day tour to Three Cities & Traditional Boat Trip

This half day tour visits the oldest part of the Grand Harbour. Our first stop includes the Gardjola Gardens with an incredible view from the Vedette (watch tower used by the Knights). We continue with the tour of this area stopping next at Birgu. Birgu is the oldest city of the Grand Harbour. The Knights of St. John first settled in this area in 1532, and we will give you an insight to an era dominated by the Knights of St. John. Our walking tour will take us to the heart of city, the narrow streets and quaint alleys known as the 'Collacchio', an area of old Palazzos which were the original Auberges occupied by the Knights. We finish this tour with a trip around the harbour on a traditional Dghajsa (type of gondola) or motor boat (weather permitting).

OR

Night tour to Birgu
Our tour includes a visit one of the most beautiful night time locations...Birgu is the oldest city of the Grand Harbour. Our tour starts with a visit to the Gardjola Gardens. The magnificent view of the Grand Harbour from the Vedette (watch tower) located at these gardens provides a fabulous panorama of the towering forts and fortifications that surround this historical harbour. We continue with a visit to the old city of Birgu and a tour of the historical centre known as the 'Collacchio'. The Knights of St. John first settled in this area in 1532 and by the time they left Malta, Birgu had become the main maritime city of the Maltese Islands. We will give you an insight to an era dominated by the Knights of St. John. A short walking tour will take us to the heart of city through narrow streets and quaint alleys which are lamp lit at night. We can end our tour at one of the local restaurants located on the waterfront or at one of the local wine tavernas, alternatively we can return back to your hotel or residence.

© 2013 Joan Sheridan Freelance Tour Guide. All rights reserved.