Island of history & mystery: Malta
May 09 to 15, 2017
Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso’s Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages lead to the main square, which is invariably dominated by the huge baroque church. As the countryside is dotted with medieval towers, wayside chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum. The Maltese archipelago lies virtually at the center of the Mediterranean, and consists ofthree islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino.
Tour Escort: local guide
Cost per person based on double occupancy (Land only) $2,995.00
Single Supplement: $400.00
based on minimum of 4 participants
Your tour Includes:
- Meet and greet service at airport.
- 6 nights’ Accommodation in 4 star Victoria Hotel (or similar).
- All meals and bottled water during touring.
- Luxury air-conditioned vehicle on tour with qualified and licensed English speaking guide on tour.
- Harbor cruise and boat ferry to Gozo and Dwejra.
- All entrance fees to mentioned places in the itinerary.
- All lunches include beverage package of ½ bottle wine, ½ bottle water and coffee.
- 3 course Maltese themed dinner including entertainment and ½ bottle wine, ½ bottle water and coffee.
- All local taxes.
Your tour Does Not Include:
- Entry Visas (currently gratis for US citizens).
- Any airline tickets from/to USA or from Malta to Larnaca.
- Tips and gratuities to drivers, guides, restaurant staff, etc.,
- Items of a personal nature (camera fees at sites, laundry, phone calls, emails, excess luggage, etc.).
- Transfers if not arriving/departing on scheduled flights/tour dates.
- Dayroom or overnights necessitated by changes in airline schedules.
- Travel protection insurance.
View Tour Itinerary
Tuesday, May 09
Arrive in Malta, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel.
Depending on arrival time, you may attend a multi-vision show which describes the island’s history throughout the ages in just 45 minutes, Also a 2 hour Harbor Cruise included before dinner and overnight (D)
Wednesday, May 10
Valletta a UNESCO Capital City
After breakfast, begin your full day tour of the Capital city, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a candidate for the European Capital of Cultural 2018; built by the Knights in the late 1500’s, to protect the harbor from attack by the enemy following the Siege in 1565. Head to visit St. John’s cathedral, a historical gem which houses famous tapestries by the artist Caravaggio. Then head to the Grand Master’s Palace & Armory, served as the seat of Government since its construction as the residence of the Grand Master; marble works, coats of arms, paintings and much more adorn this building. The Armory is an impressive exhibit of militaria from the era of the Knights. After lunch, head to visit the National Museum of Archaeology followed by a visit to the Upper Barracca gardens, built by the Knights as a place of recreation and overlooking the Grand Harbor (One of the world’s oldest natural harbors); then descend to the Harbor via a scenic lift, and have some free time at Valletta’s waterfront before you are back to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Thursday, May 11
Begin your full day tour of the central part of the island visiting Mdina the old capital city of the island, Rabat its suburb town and surrounding areas. Drive through the town of Mosta, famous for its church with the 3rd largest unsupported dome in Europe, then on to a scenic drive to an agricultural town called Mgarr on the West side of the island, where you will learn about this quaint town, and the mystery behind Castello Zamitello. Then proceed to the Domus Romana [Roman Villa] situated on the outskirts of Mdina followed by a visit to the Citadel of Mdina and its narrow winding streets shaded by palaces which belong to the nobility of Malta. Visit to the Cathedral and its museum then lunch after which head to explore St. Paul’s Catacombs in the suburb town of Rabat, which are a typical complex of interconnected underground Roman cemeteries, that where in use up to the 4th century AD. Proceed to the cliffs at Dingli, the highest and most imposing of the island. The tour will end at Palazzo Parisio en route to the hotel. This palace is sometimes called the miniature Versailles of Malta, with its ornate interior and manicured gardens located in the town of Naxxar. Back to the hotel, free time, then dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Friday, May 12
Morning at leisure then transfer to the South of the island where you will visit the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum of Paola, literally meaning “underground” in Greek, a subterranean structure dating to the Saflieni phase (3000-2500 BC) in Maltese prehistory, a necropolis in prehistoric times housing the remains of more than 7,000 individuals.
It is the only known prehistoric underground temple in the world. The Hypogeum is a UNESCO World Heritage site and since its restoration in the mid 1990’s only 60 people per day are allowed to enter. Head to the southern fishing village of Marsaxlokk, picturesquely dotted with colorful fishing boats and have lunch on the water.
Then head to the west coast where you will visit the temple of Hagar Qim, excavated for the first time in 1839, dating to c. 3600-3200 BC. It stands on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Filfla Just 500m away. End your day with a visit to Qhar Dalam cave, where fossils, and human remains were found, and giving insight into the first settlers of the island. Dinner at a restaurant that specializes in local cuisine -traditionally a mill house. Typical local entertainment will accompany dinner before returning to your hotel for your overnight. (B,L,D)
Saturday, May 13
The Three Cities
Late morning transfer to the historical cities of Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa, the first bases of the Knights of St. John. In Senglea you will visit the Gardjola gardens which overlook the harbor and the historical viewing tower – Gardjola, hence the name of the gardens. Then drive to Cospicua, a beautiful quaint town then on to Vittoriosa, which witnessed the victory of the Great Siege, hence its name. In Vittoriosa you will visit the Inquisitor’s Palace, where the Inquisition played a very important role in the island’s history as it did in Europe at that time. Walk through the old town which houses the various residences of the Knights, the Auberges, then on to the water’s edge. Visit the Maritime museum, for a brief explanation of Malta’s maritime history. Have lunch in a restaurant on the water’s edge then return to the hotel, free time at leisure, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Sunday, May 14
Island of Gozo
After breakfast, transfer to Gozo ferry terminal for a full day excursion to the Island of Gozo, a twenty minute ferry will take you across the sea channel, to this green, rural and traditional island of Malta; it’s been rather untouched from the modern world. The island has been associated with Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso in Homer’s Odyssey. Visit the temples of Ggantija (Palace of the giants), which consist of two megalithic temples surrounded by a massive common boundary wall, that date to 3600-3200 BC. Then proceed to Dwejra bay, famous for the Azure window – naturally carved through the rock face- and where you will have a boat ride through the cave and enjoy spectacular cliff views. Then visit the capital of the island: Victoria, and some free time for shopping followed by lunch. Afterwards, visit the fortified part of town where you will stop at the cathedral of St. Mary. The painting of its ceiling deceives visitors, as it gives the impression that it is domed, when in fact it is a flat ceiling. The citadel or Cittadella is perched high up on the hill of Victoria, 360 views of the island can be enjoyed from this view point. Enjoy a refre4shment drink at Xlendi Bay before taking the ferry to Malta and return to your hotel, evening at leisure, dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B,L,D)
Monday, May 15
Malta to Cyprus (Or back to USA)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cyprus OR to another European city to connect back to the States. (B)