21 REASONS TO VISIT MALTA IN 2022

2022 is the year of the big travel revival. The Mediterranean Archipelago, comprised of Malta, Gozo and Comino, packs a punch in the number of experiences travellers can have and is brimming with reasons why Brits should return to explore Europe’s sunniest destination. From a Michelin gastronomy scene to 300 days of sunshine, culture and heritage dating back 7,000 years, easy connectivity from all parts of the UK, and sporting activities galore, Malta has rounded up 21 reasons why the destination should be on every travel bucket list in 2022.

We’ve split up the reasons under headings of Gastronomy, Sun & Sea, New Accommodation, Cultural Heritage, Celebrations, Adventure & Connectivity.

Low season: Oct-Mar

Under Grain, Restaurant, 167, Merchants Street, Valletta, Malta

1.  Not Just One but Three Michelin Star Restaurants to Experience

The pandemic has led to travellers being unable to sample and taste the delights of Malta’s three Michelin star restaurants – Noni, Under Grain and De Mondion. In February 2020, these three outstanding restaurants were the first in the Archipelago’s history to be awarded Michelin star status, cementing Malta’s place on the world’s gastronomy scene. For travellers who love fine dining, 2021 will be the ideal time to visit as Malta will finally have its time in the spotlight to celebrate the achievements of its outstanding chefs. Michelin will return to the Archipelago in February 2021 to announce whether more restaurants are going to be awarded a coveted star.

De Mondion Malta

2. Taste History Meets the Stars

To give travellers further reasons to visit Malta’s Michelin star venues, Malta Tourism Authority has collaborated with Heritage Malta’s Taste History project, as well as Noni, Under Grain and De Mondion to recreate several historical dishes that tell the story of their restaurant or location. The first of the historical dishes to be served includes a pasta dish that pays homage to the consumption of pasta at Dominican Priory – Papiri ‘ Gentile Selection’, secondly, Duo of Local Hunted Rabbit to mark the hunting of hares around Mdina during the time of the Knights, and Malefanti Pasta Octopus Tagine which is a three-hundred-year-old baking tradition of lower Valletta. Praised by Malta’s Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection, “the initiative intertwines a rich culinary experience and the unique history that Malta offers.” www.tastehistory.org

Pash & Jimmy's comes highly recommended

3. A Vegan and Vegetarian Holiday Dream

When travellers visit Malta there are a wide variety of restaurants, dishes and chefs that focus on serving the very best of vegan and vegetarian cuisine. From a tailored Gozo Picnic experience to vegan pasta and desserts at Pash & Jimmy’s Café, or Valletta’s healthy café – No. 43 – an eclectic hangout at Gugar where you will find a library and art gallery for emerging artists alongside delicious snacks – the Maltese islands demonstrate vegan and vegetarian food never has to lack creativity or flavour.

Maltese Farm Produce

4. A Revival of Traditional Farming

Young Maltese farmers are reinventing Malta’s farm to table concept by reviving old techniques, traditional vegetables, and the repopulation of the native black bee. Blending the old ways with modern methods, a group of upcoming farmers are working with local restaurants to place Maltese ingredients back on the menu. From Jorge the amateur beekeeper to a neighbourhood shop concept, The Veg Box, started by Emanuela and Lucas, and community-supported farming launched by Cane and Cassandra just a year ago, diners can today taste home-grown ingredients at the island’s three Michelin star restaurants of Noni, De Mondion and Undergrain, as well as Verbena, Townhouse No.3 Bahia, Madiliena Lodge, Briju, to name but just a few.

Ta Betta, Malta

5. New Wine Trail – Bring A Spare Suitcase Because You Cannot Buy Maltese Wine in the UK

If you are looking for a wine tasting getaway, Malta should be on your radar, especially as you cannot purchase Maltese wine in the UK. The newly released Wine Trail, created to inspire wine enthusiasts, maps out the ultimate wine tasting break, highlighting where you can find all of Malta and Gozo’s vineyards. The newest vineyard to open is Ta’Betta, a family-run business offering tours and private wine tastings starting from €75 per person.

Visit https://www.tabetta.com/ or https://www.maltauk.com/winery-trail/ for more information.

Iniala Harbour House

6. New Luxury Hotel, Iniala Harbour House

This hotly anticipated luxury hotel, Iniala Harbour House is now open, situated on St Barbara Bastion with spectacular views across Valletta’s Grand Harbour. The boutique property offers 23 uniquely designed rooms and suites across four exquisite Maltese houses and their ancient vaults below. For a fine-dining experience from Chef Andrew Borg, diners can visit the rooftop restaurant, ION – The Harbour. An exclusive lounge bar, spa, heated pool, and exercise facilities located in the vaults are due to open in 2021. Priced from €350 per night, room only. https://inialamalta.com/

The Hyatt Regency overlooks St Julians Bay

7. Launch of Hyatt Regency Malta

This new premier resort in the heart of vibrant St. Julian’s blends modern living with the history that surrounds it. A short walk from the pristine beach on St George’s Bay, the 151-room hotel offers unrivalled views of the city and the ocean beyond. Guests can relax by the rooftop pool, be indulged in the wellness centre with spa treatments or sit back in a steam bath, Finnish sauna, ice fountain and indoor pool. Offering two dining outlets, diners have the choice of an alfresco experience at The Square or a lively setting at GIN-ger located on the hotel’s rooftop for a romantic sunset moment.

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/malta/hyatt-regency-malta/mlarm

Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa

8. Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa – A New €30m Renovation

Following €30m renovation, the new Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa located in picturesque Balluta, St. Julian’s, is a fantastic escape for travellers looking coastline getaway mixed with the cosmopolitan amenities of St. Julian’s. The contemporary 301-room hotel has five restaurants and three bars, including the signature dining venue of Taro situated in a 19th-century palazzo. The hotel also offers an indoor and outdoor pool, a spa and fitness centre, plus an M Club Lounge with outdoor terraces and views across the azure Mediterranean Sea.

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mlamc-malta-marriott-hotel-and-spa/

Multi-generational Families are welcome!

9. Have A Multi-Generational or Intimate Group Trip

The travel trends for 2021 all point towards the rise in multi-generational trips as families and friends are looking to come together to make up for the time missed in 2020. Malta has a wide variety of villa and apartment options from farmhouses in Gozo to city-centre living in Valletta. Here are a few of the providers that sell villas in the Archipelago: James Villas, Tui Villas, and Oliver’s Travels.  

Stunning Marsaxlokk

10. Marsaxlokk’s Tal-Maghluq Area to Be Regenerated In €5 Million Project

Malta has announced that the Tal-Maghluq area in Marsaxlokk will undergo a €5 million regeneration project. The Marsaxlokk area is a big draw for tourists, with over 1.2 million visiting the quaint fishing village in 2019. The project, overseen by the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation, aims to improve both the infrastructure and aesthetic of the area. From new pedestrian areas to improvements in Marsaxlokk Square and modern facilities along the harbour’s edge, travellers will be able to wander the beautified streets of the fishing village by the end of 2021.

Casa-Rocca-Piccola-Malta-2

11. Stay in A Maltese Aristocrat Family Home, Museum and Now B&B

Valletta is brimming with beautiful boutique hotels housed in restored palazzos. The latest is Casa Rocca Piccola Valletta’s most beautiful family-owned living museums and now an exclusive B&B. The 16th Century palace recently opened its doors to the public, allowing visitors to explore the stunning interiors, spread across 50 rooms, learn about the unique customs and traditions of Maltese nobility, plus spend the night in one of the palace’s spectacular bedrooms on a B&B basis. Rooms available from £99 (current prices, 2021 prices not yet released).

Fort St Angelo

12. Explore Malta’s Golden Age from Three Cities to Valletta And Fort St. Angelo

History buffs can explore the legacy of the Knights of St John throughout Malta. The Knights 250-year rule began in Three Cities and Fort St Angelo, before they built the fortified city of Valletta after the Great Siege of 1565. Visitors to the islands can learn about the valiant battles that took place, explore the architectural feats including Baroque palaces and churches the Knights built throughout their reign, as well as an abundance of rich cultural gems including artistic masterpieces and sculptures.

Cobbled Streets of Birgu

13. Three Cities – The Alternative City Break

Whether you are wanting a solo city break, a trip with friends or a romantic getaway, Malta’s Three Cities, made up of Birgu, Senglea and Bormla, have something for everyone. Located across Malta’s Grand Harbour, the three fortified cities offer a wealth of history and culture, and an insight into authentic Maltese life. Undergoing something of a renaissance, the Three Cities pose a fantastic alternative city break to Valletta, Malta’s capital city and former European Capital of Culture, and are arguably the epicentre of Maltese history. Enjoying Malta’s year-round sun, visitors can wander along the beautiful streets, soaking up the relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere and exploring the many churches, cafes, and piazzas. A recommended place to stay is the boutique Cugo Gran Malta, with prices starting from €144 per room per night.

 

Host of EuroPride 2023

14. See Why Malta Tops IGLTA’s Rainbow Index – Named Host of EuroPride 2023

Malta will host EuroPride in 2023, which is Europe’s biggest gay pride event. The Archipelago has retained the number one place on the IGLA- Europe Rainbow Index for five years running. Malta blends traditional and historical culture with a contemporary and welcoming mindset which is celebrated in style each September during Malta Pride. Malta is proud of its inclusivity with parliament approving in 2015 the Gender Identity Act, legalised same-sex marriage in 2017 and introduced gender-neutral passports in 2018.

Happy Couple in Malta

15. Have an Overseas Wedding

Following a year of up and downs for couples looking to tie the knot, why not indulge in a stunning destination wedding in Malta in 2021? Malta boasts 365 churches, making it the ideal destination for a religious wedding, as the stunning baroque architecture provides a beautiful setting for the special day. Those opting for a non-religious wedding have an expansive choice of beautiful hotels, rustic farmhouses, beaches, or historical sites to choose from. Celebrate in true Maltese fashion with a large reception for guests, and couples can sail away into the sunset on a traditional Dgħajsa boat in Valletta’s Grand Harbour. For more information on planning a wedding in Malta visit: https://www.maltauk.com/weddings/

WizzAir Now Flying UK to Malta

16. A New Route from Wizz Air

Wizz Air announced a new base earlier this year at Gatwick Airport, with a new route to Malta. Wizz Air is offering flights to the stunning Maltese archipelago from as low as £21.99 per person. Travellers can also take advantage of the budget airline’s Flex service as an add-on to their fare, which will allow flights to be cancelled up to three hours before departure, with 100 per cent of the fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit. For more information visit: https://wizzair.com/en-gb/flights/malta

Diving HMS Southwold

17. Europe’s Best Diving Destination

Repeatedly voted Europe’s number one diving destination and the second-best diving site in the world, Malta has placed 12 additional historical wreck sites on its diving map. Providing a clear blue sea which boasts an abundance of reefs, stunning caverns and caves, trails around the Archipelago are designed for both beginner and advanced divers, making it an absolute must for divers worldwide. Diving enthusiasts can arrange to visit wreck sites by appointment with The Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit (UCHU), exploring incredible locations that range from a 2,700-year-old Phoenician shipwreck to WWI battleships and dozens of aircraft crash sites. For more information on booking a diving trip to Malta visit PADI Travel.

Cycling in Malta

18. Cycle Around Malta

Cycling along the craggy edge of Malta West coast offers visitors the opportunity to experience the sites of the picturesque Blue Grotto and stunning Dingli Cliffs, Malta’s highest point, before admiring the majesty of the rich baroque architecture built by the Order of the Knights of St. John. Cyclists can also explore Gozo, stopping to take in the island’s stunning 360-degree views from the top of the Citadel fortification in Victoria before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples – the oldest free-standing temples in the world. For more information on renting bikes in Malta visit: Be Green Malta.

Abseiling in Malta

19. MC Adventures in Malta

Adrenaline junkies can have their fix of adventure in Malta with MC Adventures, Malta’s leading extreme sports provider. The Maltese islands are an adventure lover’s playground, offering an expansive range of extreme activities including abseiling, freefalling and ziplining to name but a few.  For the ultimate adrenaline-packed holiday, visit: https://mcadventure.com.mt/your-first-step-to-a-great-adventure.html

Yoga in Malta

20. Paola’s Body Barre Retreat

The Malta Tourism Authority has partnered with iconic cult London-based fitness brand, Paola’s Body Barre (PBB) to bring you an exclusive wellness retreat in 2021. The retreat will take place on the idyllic Maltese Island of Gozo and will involve a mix of barre-classes, exclusive cultural experiences and health and wellness offerings, all wrapped up in a beautiful and peaceful resort setting. Founder of PBB and celebrity trainer, Paola Di Lanzo, will be guiding the barre classes, which means guests will receive a first-hand experience from Paola and her team against the breath-taking backdrop of one of the Mediterranean’s most stunning islands.  For more information please visit: https://www.paolasbodybarre.com/gozo

Kayaking on Gozo's Blue Lagoon

21. Watersport Experiences – Sailing, Kayaking, Paddle Boarding

For those wanting to explore the waters, but are not ready for the full diving experience, Malta offers year-round warm waters and excellent visibility for snorkelling at the Blue Lagoon. Visitors wanting to swim further out to sea can charter a sailing boat and take in the breath-taking views of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea before taking a dip. For a tranquil morning or afternoon on the water, visitors can go kayaking and paddle boarding to explore the coastline of the Archipelago which boasts varied topography, natural beauty and calm waters. Adrenaline junkies can also try flyboarding off Malta’s shores. Those who are brave enough to tackle the sport are lifted into the air over the water as they try to hold their balance to walk on water quite literally.

There are currently direct flights from the UK to Malta International Airport from the following 16 airports: Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, and Newcastle.

The following airlines operate direct flights to Malta: Air Malta, British Airways, Ryanair, Jet2, easyJet and Wizz Air.

Malta is currently not on the UK travel list and travellers must quarantine on return to the UK.  Safety continues to be a key focus for guests when they are on the Maltese Islands and a number of new protocols have been implemented to ensure they have a ‘Sunny and Safe’ time on holiday.

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