MALTA WITH KIDS
Composed of three islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, the Maltese archipelago is ideal as a family holiday destination. Some of its best resorts that cater exceptionally well to parents traveling with babies, toddlers and teens are found in Mellieha Bay, Sliema and St Julian’s Bay. In Malta, there are loads of family-friendly things to do. Kids will love the water parks and beaches! Meanwhile for adults and for the older children, there is an abundance of historical sites and monuments to discover! Here is a list of the main activities for families with children.
1. Popeye’s village
Popeye’s village is a theme park located in the north western part of the island and former set for the 1980 movie ‘Popeye’, starring Robbin Williams. The entrance ticket to the grounds includes a boat trip to a small nearby cove where some of the most iconic scenes of the film were shot. A movie theatre was erected in one of the buildings on set that goes into detail on the makings of the movie. You will get free popcorn with your free movie theatre experience – don’t worry! This place is probably the coolest thing you will have done in Malta, according to the little ones.
Sundays are traditionally reserved for the Sunday Fish Market at Marsaxlokk bay. This place is well worth a visit just to watch the trading and to see the Mediterranean sea-life unfold beneath your eyes. It is best to go earlier in the morning, as the best fish on the market gets traded at that time and the best stuff is long gone by the afternoon! This spot is perfect for a scenic seafood lunch with the whole family. Try to avoid the restaurants in the middle of the bay and head instead towards the extremities – the food is of better quality and better priced!
3- Malta National Aquarium
Malta isn’t only just fascinating above ground – but also below sea level. The Maltese archipelago is situated at the heart of the Mediterranean and consists of three islands. It boasts an incredible variety in sea life, all of which is showcased at its incredible National Aquarium in St Paul’s Bay. This place is perfect when you and your family start feeling saturated with all the sand and the sunshine…or even on a (very unlikely yet possible) rainy day!
4- Gozo salt pools
This is a lesser known destination in Malta. It is more unusual for people to travel all the way up north and visit the Gozo salt pools. This day trip, which involves renting a car and then driving up north to catch a ferry ride to the next island, is recommended for families with more adventurous offspring! The long journey, however, is definitely worth it…
5- Boat trip to the Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto is an enormous natural arch perched off the many sea cliffs of the island. It is located in the southern end of Malta. There are many different boat trips that will take you to the Grotto, but – keep in mind – the best time to go is before midmorning, when the sun is shining into the grotto. Small boats (carrying up to eight passengers) depart from 9am to around 5pm daily, assuming the weather permits it. As soon as you get to the island you will find many tourist centers and shops selling these excursions. Pick the one that best suits your family’s needs.
6- Lunch in Valletta
Valletta is the lively capital of Malta, located on the Eastern side of the island. Its fascinating history, breathtaking baroque architecture, ancient fortresses, cathedrals and fascinating museums will blow you away! The entire city was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Upper Barrakka Gardens are a great place for toddlers to crawl or run around in a safe environment. From here you will be able to take in fantastic views of the city from here. The pedestrianised historic centre is easy to stroll around due to its limited size. It is quite had to get lost as the city plan features one central main road from which many side streets extend. Valletta is pretty flat, making it perfect for a good stroll and a nice meal overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The waterfront area is particularly good for walking with a stroller.
7- Sunset at Dingli cliffs
Sliema and St. Julian’s, in the eastern part of the island, are Malta’s busiest coastal resort towns. Popular beach resorts which lie to the North are Mellieha, Buġibba and St. Paul’s Bay. The south is famous for the Sunday Market and, finally, the western part, which is largely made up of natural cliffs, boasts incredible sunsets! At Dingli cliffs you will find a long road lining the coast. Here and there you will find a random bench, or a cafe that are perfect to see the sunset!
The three islands, beyond having some stunning sandy beaches, also feature plenty of family friendly activities. Although the area around St Julian’s is catered towards an intense nightlife, the rest of the island, dotted with medieval towers, chapels and archaeological ruins, is simply perfect for a family holiday!