Our beautiful islands have become a popular holiday destination all year round. If you happen to visit Malta during our off-season (usually January and February), chances are high that you will get to experience at least a couple of our glorious Mediterranean winter days. For this reason, we have compiled a list of fun activities and places to check out during our off-season. As January and February are quiet months, discovering and exploring our island’s gems can be a much more relaxing and gratifying pursuit than during our peak season when the weather is scorching and you have to share your experiences with many other visitors.
Just a stone’s throw away from the local fishermen’s harbour of Wied iz Zurrieq (the southern coast of the island) overlooking the charmingly bizarre shape of the deserted islet Filfla, the Blue Grotto is one of the topmost picturesque places to visit in Malta. The stunning natural beauty of the grotto (plus six adjoining caves) and its luminous brilliance of colours is particularly accentuated by sunlight. The caves can be reached by small boats (‘frejgatini’ in Maltese) departing from the Wied iz-Zurrieg village daily and all year round from 9:00 am -16:30 pm (weather permitting, of course).
Not into visiting caves? The blue Grotto area is also an excellent spot for rock climbing, abseiling, diving and enjoying coastal hikes with magnificent views of the cliffs and the island of Filfla (please note that the Maltese government authorities have prohibited access to the island of Filfla). Moreover, the village of Wied iz-Zurrieg is famous for its restaurants boasting local fish cuisine and local wines.
Last but not least, the Blue Grotto area has served as a popular venue for modelling photo shoots, and advert videos, (e.g., Cadbury Milk Tray). The location has also been featured in numerous movies such as Troy (2004 starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom), Hell Boats (1970).
Marsaxlokk Sunday Market
Located on the water’s edge with a magnificent view of the harbour hosting brightly coloured luzzu boats (the traditional Maltese fishing boats), the Marsaxlokk fishermen village is a beloved tourist attraction due to its charm, its history and of course, its Sunday fish market. Although you can visit the market any day of the week, Sunday boasts the largest display of the goodies. You can also combine a visit to Blue Grotto and the market by joining an organised tour to Blue Grotto and Marsaxlokk.
Over the years, the fish market has expanded to a universal market of local produce. If you go early in the morning, you might be able to witness the arrival of their bountiful morning catch including swordfish, lampuki, octopus, shrimp etc. You might also be dumbfounded by the abundance of fresh local fruits (seasonal strawberries are their main staple) and vegetables, local honey, exotic jam varieties, olives, wines and a bunch of bargain price clothes and souvenirs. It is common to spend about 1.5-2 hours browsing through the market. Believe us, it is an experience. Having been exposed to such an extensive seafood display, you might be inclined to try one of Marsaxlokk’s seafront restaurants famous for their fish dishes and their hospitality. After all, Sunday is a day for browsing and fine dining. And don’t forget to snap some postcard material photos of the waterfront and the uniquely colourful luzzu boats.
The Three Cities
The Three Cities: Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua are among the top ten sightseeing wonders of Malta owing to their unique and dramatic history, their famous landmarks, their natural charm of winding streets, cosy local restaurants and their easy accessibility (via a delightful couple minute ferry ride from Valletta ferry station).
You are welcome to visit all three cities on your own and browse in leisure and peace. If visiting all three cities seems too ambitious for your stamina, at least check out the picturesque town of Birgu. Take a break at one of Birgu seafront cafes and enjoy a gorgeous view of Valletta while sipping your coffee or a glass of local wine. Or visit Birgu street-market, open as early as 6 am on Tuesdays. The street-market is a wonderful chance to meet and get to know the locals and their traditions and of course, to buy unique and delightful souvenirs to take with you as reminders of this quaint and enchanting medieval town.
Have a look at one of these beautiful cities here:
Ta Qali Petting Farm
If you are looking for a day of wholesome family fun, the Ta’Qali Petting Farm with numerous colourful birds and 20 different animal species including bunnies, emus and lamas among others, is your to-go place. Additionally to a large aviary, a butterfly house and a pond with swans, pochards and other types of ducks, you will have a chance to visit, watch, pet and feed over fifty types or rabbits and other larger animals.
The farm also has other entertainment options such as a cycling track, a skate park and a charming little play area for toddlers and small children. The farm is open daily from 6:30 am to 7:30pm (8:30 pm in summertime) and there is no entrance fee!
Horse Riding Tours
If you and/or your friends and family happen to be adventure seekers, why not give a sunset horse riding tour a try?! Horse Riding Tours are suitable for riders of all experience and confidence levels. If you prefer an accompanied gentle walk, you can opt for a horse led by an experienced staff member so you can enjoy the gorgeous sunset views without worrying about your safety. More experienced riders are welcome to try riding alone on a variety of lovely coastal trails. Another option is to start with someone by your side and then gradually switch to an independent trot. Ponies are available for younger riders who will be accompanied by a staff member at all times during the tour. All you have to do it book via + 356 77441347 and relax and enjoy the ride!
The Island of Comino and Dingli Cliffs at Sunset
If you happen to be the outdoorsy type and the weather is good, why not check out the island of Comino during wintertime?! Obviously, you won’t find any restaurants or food booths open on Comino during the off-season but on a sunny day, the little island can be a perfect place for a gorgeous cliff hike (with some impressive snaps to make your folks back home jealous) and an outdoor picnic with wine. More importantly (unlike during the crowded and hectic summer season), the glorious Blue Lagoon sparking radiantly in the afternoon sun, will be all yours to enjoy! If you happen to be of Viking ancestry or just plain crazy (we mean the good kinda crazy) you might even be tempted to go for a dip. We speak from experience stating that the Mediterranean Sea can feel warmer in wintertime than some of the northern seas in high summer. If you follow some of the paths stretching upwards from Blue Lagoon, you might find other treasures: meadows full of wildflowers and other secluded paradise-like beaches off the beaten path e.g., Santa Maria Bay and Crystal Lagoon.
Another sensational spot for the adventurous is the Dingli Cliffs during the golden hour (also known as the sunset hour): the perfect spot to watch the sun slowly descend right into the Mediterranean sea. Any pictures you might attempt to snap will be a meagre reflection of what you had actually experienced, so forget about the pictures, find a cosy spot and be ready to be awed!
Visit http://www.funmalta.com for more ideas about how to have fun in Malta 🙂