If you’re out walking Malta or Gozo’s coastline, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to views. But, some are ‘must-sees’ if you’re on holiday here. However many times I go to Upper Barrakka Gardens, near Castile in Valletta, the view across Grand Harbour never fails to impress. The beauty of coastal scenery is the ever-changing play of light on the water, and the myriad cloud formations. The same view is never quite the same view, one day to the next. Below, we’ve picked our choices, and mapped them for you. Do comment to add your own favourites.
1. The Islands from the sea
This is the ultimate way to experience the islands’ coastline. Nothing comes close to seeing it all from the waves – the cliffs loom larger, the sun setting on Valletta’s bastions from afar is all the more spectacular. Cruise liner passengers often have the best views on arrival and departure – into Grand Harbour at sunrise and sunset. If you can’t beat them, try to join them in a smaller craft – pleasure boat trip, private yacht or simple pedalo!
2. Grand Harbour from Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, Valletta
Classic views, the stuff of picture postcards, but hard to do justice to if you don’t have the right lens and weather! But memorable to the eye. The upper gardens give you the history – views across the Three Cities, Fort St Angelo, and to the dockyards; the lower gardens give you the harbour breakwater, and the endless horizon. Great here for cruise liner spotting! Try Wednesdays early evening as they exit harbour.
3. Dingli Cliffs
This stretch of coastline is where often sheer cliff meets sea. A drop of some 300 metres in parts. Tourist excursions stop at the little chapel of St Magdalen almost mid-way along the cliffs, but try to walk the stretch if you’ve time. Early evening in summer (mid afternoon winter) give you wonderful sunsets and light. Glimpse little Filfa, a rocky islet jst off shore, that’s a nature reserve.
4. Mgarr Harbour- Gozo
Walk up past the Grand Hotel and along the road to Nadur/Qala, and look out and over both Comino and Malta, tracking with your eye the route the ferry takes. Again, sunset is the time to see it at its best. The landscape blurs a bit, and somehow you get a sense of vastness and distance – a rare feeling on these small islands.
5. Dwerja Bay & The Azure Window
All Gozo is view upon view, but this is one not to miss. Again, early and later in the day make for more interesting photography. It’s fun to zoom in and snap pictures of people walking up and over the window itself! They put the rock arch’s size into perspective.
6. Ghajn Tuffieha Bay across to Gnejna Bay
Walk the bay and climb up on the bony, eroded ridge that juts out between the two bays. The views either way are spectacular, and all the more so for the weird, lunar-like, golden landscape of the peninsula itself. Again, a good sunset spot, that makes for amazing photos.
7. Tigne’ Point, Sliema
The place for that classic photo view of Valletta, with the Catholic and Anglican Cathedrals vying for attention on the city skyline. The area is still under development but you can walk far enough on the new walkways to take that photo!
8. St Agatha’s Tower (the Red Tower), Mellieha
You’ll see this landmark standing proud on the Marfa Ridge as you head North and to catch the Gozo ferry. Built by the Knights in 1649, it has open views over Mellieħa Bay and across to Comino and Gozo. It is a robust, large structure designed to hold a garrison of 30 men and to enough ammunition and supplies to withstand a 40-day siege. The tower is run by Malta’s National Trust, Din-l’Art Helwa, and is open to the public Monday-Sunday from 10.00 to 13.00 hrs. Tuesdays open from 10.00 to 16.00 hrs.
9. Bugibba / Qawra Seafront
A touristy walk if ever there was one as you’ll pass lots of holiday makers getting some air. Not strenuous to walk and refreshment bars and kiosk aplenty. The attraction here is the open view across St Paul’s Bay, and to St Paul’s Island – a tiny rock really, with a statue on it. Said to be where St Paul was shipwrecked in A.D.60, so legend has it. The seafront has lots of seating so you can simply sit, read, sunbathe and enjoy the views!
10. Walled Cities – Mdina (Malta) & Cittadella (Gozo)
Last but not least, come the two walled, medieval cities that dominate the centres of Malta and Gozo, respectively. They both have spectacular views and walkways on the bastion walls, though at Cittadella you have 360 degree views. Mdina’s perspective gives you most major landmarks – the Portomaso Tower at St Julian’s, Valletta’s skyline, the Mosta dome and so on.
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