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Paraffin Pathfinder
Paraffin Pathfinder

Malta & Gozo, at the Crossroads of the Med

[caption id="attachment_20743" align="aligncenter" width="900"]battery2 The Saluting Battery, Grand Harbour[/caption] The super-yacht looks at home berthed between Fort Saint Angelo, Vittoriosa and the Vedette, Singlea. In an archipelago where Church and Cannon dominate the history and landscape, people of an independent, seagoing outlook have found their niche here – Phoenicians, Romans, Knights Templar. Straddling the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Malta boasts magnificent churches and temples that comfortably predate Stonehenge and the Pyramids. So apart from the history and archaeology, are there other attractions for the modern visitor? Oh yes, a walking holiday is a great way to explore – and you can swim too. [caption id="attachment_20745" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Ferrieha Farmhouse Ferrieha Farmhouse[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20746" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Blue Lagoon Blue Lagoon[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20747" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Crystal Lagoon Crystal Lagoon[/caption] The Blue Lagoon fits in well with a day trip from Gozo. Within easy reach of the ferry port of Mgarr, the hike around the island of Comino allows plenty of time to take in the Comino Tower, Santa Marja Bay and the old Redoubt yet still grab the chance to bask in the blue water. Just take a picnic, plenty of water and avoid the weekend. [caption id="attachment_20752" align="aligncenter" width="900"]salvatur2 Tas-Salvatur[/caption] Gozo offers other walking. From Ta’ Cenc a rugged hike leads over the unspoilt Ta’ Cenc Plateau with grand vistas of Comino and later it crosses the tiny beach at Mgarr ix-Xini Bay. The mellow town of Xaghra hosts two walks to the North coast; the first through the pretty valley of Wied Dahlet Qorrot and the bays of San Blas and Ramla, the second through Gozo’s most popular resort, Marsalforn, then alongside the ancient Saltpans to the charming city of Victoria. [caption id="attachment_20756" align="aligncenter" width="768"]St George Cathedral St George Cathedral[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20757" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Victorian Street Victorian Street[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20758" align="aligncenter" width="900"]The Saltpan Coast The Saltpan Coast[/caption] The contrast between the quieter Gozo and the bigger, busier Malta is marked, however there is still room for the walker to find space. With two nights in Naxxar, it is straight forward to use the public bus to visit the Citadel of Mdina. A section of the ridge line that runs from coast to coast forms an interesting hike over the British built Dwejra and Victoria Lines – as expected of military fortifications, the views are commanding. Then of course, there is Valletta and with two cathedrals, four auberges of the Knights Templar, five churches and much more, there will be crowds. This tiny Capital is a magnet for tour parties. [caption id="attachment_20761" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Valletta Valletta[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20763" align="aligncenter" width="887"]Vittoriosa Vittoriosa[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20762" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Lower Barrackka Gardens Lower Barrackka Gardens[/caption] Nevertheless the independent visitor can meander the narrow streets, enjoy open views from a public ferry and find a quiet seat in the sun. Frequently there is a crowd free alternative to the major venues; instead  of St John’s Co-Cathedral, try the Carmelite Church, instead of the Valletta 1566 exhibition, try the National Library of Malta. Yet if you do want to enjoy the atmosphere of Valletta’s heart, you will find cool umbrellas and hot coffee in Republic Square. Don't forget though, just a short ferry  trip across the Grand Harbour lie the Three Cities; Vittoriosa, Singlea and Cospicua. There you can lose yourself in the lanes. What’s the recipe for good walking in Malta?... Walking shoes with breathable uppers and good soles. Trekking poles on the rough country paths. Broad rimmed hats and water… … then take your time. pp       View Macs Adventure's range of walking holidays in Malta & Gozo online.
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