Even if you’re a visitor here and not in a ‘weekday-weekend’ routine, Sundays have a distinctly different feel from the rest of the Maltese week. But whether visitor or resident, Sundays need one of two approaches if they are to be enjoyed to the full; either you plan the day properly in advance, or you laze it away and leave it to its own devices.
Mixing the two approaches rarely works out, especially in summer. Because if you attempt an excursion too late in the day, on the spur of the moment, you can be left without a parking space in sight, or be left looking at packed beaches and fully-booked restaurants. Here are some ideas here to help you make your mind up and get you through yet another hot, summer Sunday in Malta with its madding crowds.
For those who can get up early
Get yourself to Marsaxlook for the fish market. It’s a real explosion of colour with fish of all hues, the luzzus bobbing close by and energetic shoppers. If you’ve got somewhere you can cook, buy something that’s in season and head back for lunch or a barbeque.
Go heritage-hunting. Hagar Qim, Mnjadra and the Inquisitors’ Palace can all be fitted in one morning in the South if you have a car. If you’ve managed to make a reservation, the Hypogeum is a must. Or just head to Valletta or Birgu, and remind yourself how amazing these cities are. Simply walk and take pictures. Don’t forget to keep looking up – some of the best architecture is in gargoyles and stone balconies.
Go sailing. It helps if you’ve a friend with a boat, but if not, Golden Bay has a small one for hire as do most hotel sports lidos. Consider a half- or full-day-trip on a group or tour boat. Some fishermen in Marsaxlokk can be coaxed into accepting guests on a fishing trip.
Go diving. Yes, this does take forward planning but even those of us living in Malta, with the sea outside our door, tend to miss out on this fantastic sport. Make an effort and book a beginner lesson (and on the following Sundays too!). We have several features on this site about the joys of going underwater.
Go to Gozo for the day. Ideal if you have wheels of your own.
Head to the beach. Check out our guide for the best sandy beaches. Or head for a rocky beach, where go can do some snorkelling. Whatever you do, try and get there early and avoid sunbathing between 12.00 and 15.00 hours.
For the less-energetic
Get to the Valletta flea market just by City Gate. It’s unlikely that you will find a true bargain, but it’s amazing what the Maltese will hoard, and what they believe may be of interest to others.
If you’re religiously-inclined, you’re spoilt for churches. Malta arguably has the highest density of churches per sq km in Europe, bar the Vatican. If you go to Valletta, there are services for various denominations and in a number of languages.
Go cafe’ and people watching. Cafe Olé in St Julians to catch up on the gossip, or Cafe Cordina in Valletta to watch the passeggiata and read the Sunday papers. Follow up with your own stroll along the Sliema front or Republic Street, Valletta.
Go for lunch somewhere by the water to stay cool. There are cafes on most beaches. Or head towards St Julians or Birgu.
Go for tea and cake in Mdina – always worth visiting the Silent City’s institutions of cake and calories.
Get away from the heat and go to the cinema.
Visit San Anton Gardens, Attard/Balzan borders, and listen to the cicadas. Have an ice-cream at Melita bar and cafe next door.
Find a hammock, grab a siesta and wait for the sun to set.
Photo: Chris Farrugia