One of my favorite things about Malta is its diminutive size — the whole country is less than 200 square miles. This meant that it was easy to explore in bite-size segments, perfect for coordinating with the working schedule of my hunky host.
One afternoon, as Anders arrived home from a dive, I was waiting by the door with a beach bag packed and car keys in hand. “Take me to the sea,” I ordered, any my exhausted but obliging host drove us to Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Its nearby neighbor Golden Bay is a more popular choice despite being more crowded and less scenic — Għajn Tuffieħa’s seemingly endless steps dissuade some. But we were more than happy to trot down the stairs in order to enjoy the island’s late afternoon glow from the perfect vantage point.
As we lounged on the sand I flipped through the inflight magazine from my Air Malta flight, which listed the country’s top sunset spots. Sitting pretty at number one? Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. When I showed this to Anders he immediately informed me that it was his plan all along to bring me to Malta’s top ranked, number one sunset spot! Suuuure it was, Anders.
When we eventually peeled ourselves off the sand, we nabbed a front row seat for sunset at the beach’s one restaurant, and enjoyed a laid back meal while watching the show.
While we were eating, I was playing around with the Sygic navigation app I was soon reviewing, and marveling at the short distances between Malta’s major sights. “We’re only twelve minutes to Mdina!,” I marveled. “Well, let’s go then,” Anders replied. And so, as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon, we hoofed our way back up to the car and made our way towards Malta’s most beautiful medieval city.
I had gasped when Mdina’s majestic walls appeared in the distance on our drive, and I only grew more excited as we made our way towards the city from our hard won parking spot in Rabat (car traffic is extremely limited in Mdina). Nicknamed “The Silent City,” the peaceful and pristine streets were the Malta I dreamed of finding. The citadel, dating back as far as 1000BC, is so steeped in history it practically seeps from the hidden alleyways.
I’m not much of a history buff, but I am a photography nut — and the challenges of capturing this gorgeous city at night had me giddy.
Though the cities museum’s were shuttered and we were too stuffed to sample any of the restaurants, simply wandering the streets while still salty from the sea was one of the highlights of my time in Malta.
And yes — we had a bit of fun with some of the very un-Anders sized architecture.
As we eventually wound our way back to Rabat, I sighed with happiness. Chasing late afternoon light to a beautiful bay with a name I could barely pronounce? Front row seats to the country’s top sunset? An evening spent wandering a hauntingly beautiful medieval citadel? It was the perfect impromptu Malta adventure.
Next up? Taking Gozo by storm!
A perfect impromptu Malta adventure indeed. Malta is looking perhapds even more amazing than I had imagined. I know you and Anders had a car but do you know how easy the island is to circumnavigate sans automobile?
Anders doesn’t have a car there and uses the public bus all the time. It’s something crazy cheap like 2 euros for a day pass. Definitely doable!
It reminds me so much of Sicily, which makes sense, eh? Only not nearly as dirty and with prettier beaches 😉
I have yet to be to Italy but I have to admit, that description didn’t really sell it to me, ha!
Ha, well, Sicily was quite dirty and not idyllic like mainland Italy. I would recommend all first-timers go to the Italian coast (Amalfi or Calabria) as it’s seriously gorgeous there.
Your photos have definitely been convincing me of that lately!
Love seeing beautiful photos and learning about lesser known places (at least to me) like Malta. The door photos of you and Anders are hilarious.
Ha! Our size difference never ceases to amuse me 🙂
From one shorty to another, I love the pictures of you and Anders in that doorway. Malta looks out of this world.
Ha! Malta is definitely Alex and Miquel sized, then 🙂
So you’re saying I need to start traveling with you two in order to feel tall? 😉
I have the gift of making just about anyone feel tall 🙂
I don’t know why but that photo of Anders at the sunset spot cracked me up! Gorgeous views at that place, I can see why it’s #1 in the country!
Ha… probably because he’s giving me the “Are you f*$ing serious?” face.
I love impromptu adventures like that, looks like a very fun afternoon/evening 🙂
It was everything I love about travel wrapped up in one adventure 🙂
There’s nothing better than wandering around a medieval city at night. I love getting lost in maze-like alleyways 🙂 I really know nothing about Malta but, man, everything about it looks amazing. Ha, I love how you so easily fit under that door! Those photos are hilarious!
I didn’t know a thing about it upon arriving either — but I left very impressed!
Great shots – make me want to explore and visit Malta even more than before!
It’s a great little island for spontaneous exploring — hope you make it there yourself soon!
This post seriously gave me goosebumps, i NEED to view that sunset!!!! love all these Malta posts and my to-do list is growing by the day 🙂
I’ve got a few more coming up for ya as well — stay tuned 🙂
Wow Alex, you have just skyrocketed Malta to my number one country to visit with your last 2 Malta posts……. I hadn’t heard that much about it or really even considered it before. I am incredibly impressed and have read the posts and looked at the pictures several times over now! So lovely. Thanks!
That’s awesome, Rachael! And actually, these aren’t even my favorite posts! You might lose your mind when I start posting about Gozo 🙂
Looks like a great evening in Malta, but my favorite photos were the ones of you and Anders in the doorway! So funny!
Ha, he’s a good sport isn’t he!
Wow, just beautiful. Malta has been on our radar for a little over a year now. Every once in a while it crosses our minds. We must visit! Great photos as usual 😉
Thanks guys! Malta’s blogger campaigns have definitely been successful in bringing it on people’s radars, kudos to them. It’s a great place to discover.
LOL, the Anders pics at the end really tie in well with your Blog name 😉
Ha, took me a minute to get it but yes, indeed it does!
Heading there soon – and I can’t wait!
Nice! I hope my upcoming posts give you some fun travel inspiration!
Malta has been on my wishlist for a while, but I’m afraid 85% of the other visitors will be rowdy teenagers on summer break. Any truth in that?
I had the same fear based on my flight, ha! But I never really saw them again… Anders pointed out a certain nightlife district to me where they appearantly do a pretty good job of containing themselves. We weren’t really doing the party thing on this trip, and I don’t think they were really doing the daytime thing, so not much crossover 🙂
Haha, oh Anders! How tall is that guy? Or better question: how short is that doorway?
Love the sunset pics – what a beautiful spot! I’m sold.
He’s over 6’6″! Pretty handy for reaching things of high on shelves 🙂
Little late to the party on this post but wow. Malta looks amazing! Especially the medieval city.
And Mdina is just one of many! (Though in my opinion, it was definitely the most impressive that I saw :))
What a great trip and beautiful architecture. Would love to go there some day!
Definitely add it to your list of future hits 🙂
How gorgeous!! Malta is a country I’d love to visit. Mdina looks spectacular!!
It’s a special place! My recommendation if you go is to visit Valleta first… nothing looks as nice after seeing Mdina 🙂
What an amazing sunset spot – and even more amazing that it didn’t appear to be overly jammed with people! Missed Mdina while I was there but I guess that’s what happens when you only give yourself 16 hours. So dreamy at night!
Ah yes, it may be small, but 16 hours is definitely not enough for Malta 🙂
AHHHH. THE LAND OF MY BIRTH …….. HAVE BEEN BACK THERE SO MANY TIMES ALL THE WAY FROM AUCKLAND NZ ……… VIVA VIVA MALTA . . .
That’s quite a long trip, but I can see why you would make it 🙂 Gorgeous country!
I haven’t been but it looks like you did Mdina by night justice as the photos are stunning!
I love spur of the moment adventures that turn into perfect travel memories 🙂
Malta was all about spur of the moment for me. It was the perfect trip in that regard 🙂
Great post! I’m headed to Malta in November… so, unfortunately, I won’t be spending too much time at the beach, but I’m still excited!
There’s plenty to explore off the shore! Stay tuned, I have a few more posts coming 🙂
Good to know! Looking forward to more Malta posts.