Enriched with thousands of years of history - the Maltese Falcon, the Knights of St John and the George Cross, there is just so much to experience in Malta.
Selected departures May to October 2017
You should arrive at the airport to take your flight from your selected airport. On arrival, you will be met and taken to your chosen hotel. The rest of the day will be spent at leisure, allowing you time to settle into the hotel and start exploring if you wish.
Today you visit the wonderful 16th century city of Valletta where you enjoy a guided walking tour.
Built by the Knights of St John after a huge siege by the Ottoman Turks, it was Europe’s first planned city since Roman times. Valletta, one of the world’s strongest fortresses, is located on a magnificent natural harbour and has changed little since it was built. St. John’s cathedral is remarkable, with overwhelming decoration and colour, an intricate marble floor, a wonderful ceiling covered in gold leaf and fine paintings with the high point being Caravaggio’s masterpiece ‘The Beheading of John the Baptist’.
You will visit the Malta Experience which tells the story of this wonderful island using the latest audio-visual techniques. In the afternoon you may want to visit the archaeological museum, the Grand Master’s Palace or the National War Museum at Fort St Elmo which houses the replica of the George Cross. Valletta has a typical Mediterranean atmosphere and appearance, with quiet squares lined with restaurants and intricate wrought iron balconies adorning the tall honey-coloured houses bedecked with geraniums and given life by the constant chatter of the Maltese greeting each other in the street.
Today you visit the nearby sleepy island of Gozo and its capital, Victoria, a charming medieval town with twisting streets and alleyways with almost completely intact battlements. The pace of life is very relaxed here and what can be better than sipping a coffee whilst watching the world go by? We visit the largest and best preserved of the island’s prehistoric temple sites, Ggantija - even older than the pyramids and Stonehenge. Some of the stones weigh several tonnes and stand 6 metres high: legend says they were brought here around 3,600BC by a female giant! It may be small but Gozo’s countryside with its low hills and fertile valleys creates a feeling of spaciousness, especially when the terraced fields turn into a patchwork of wild flowers and thyme.
The coastline is simply dramatic and sheer cliffs plunge into deep blue waters: especially at Dwerja where geology and the sea have together formed a huge natural arch in the cliffs known as the Azure Window, with an inland sea, a cliff-bound lagoon behind.
Today you have a free day for you to explore as you wish. A wander around St Julian’s perhaps, with its picturesque quayside lined by excellent fish restaurants. One thing in Malta we really recommend but cannot organise for you is a visit to the Hypogeum, a series of underground burial chambers and temple dating from 3,500BC. Visits need to be reserved well in advance and are very limited.
After breakfast, we take a guided tour of the historical Carmelite Priory, home of the friars of this Roman Catholic order. Our guide is none other than a resident monk, who will show you what life here is like devoted to the service of the brotherhood. Get a glimpse into a way of life dating back to the 17th century and see how little has changed since then. We then take a short drive to ancient Mdina for a guided tour of the former capital and the jewel in the crown of the entire island. You will see St Paul’s Catacombs at Rabat, a maze of early Christian burial chambers dating from the 4th century, complete with over a thousand tombs, plus an ancient Roman villa complete with its fantastically preserved mosaic floor. After, we visit the Church of Mosta, with the third largest dome in the world, amazingly decorated, but principally famous as the unfortunate recipient of a direct hit by a bomb during Mass. Fortunately it failed to explode, establishing the legend of a miracle.
Today is a free day to explore as you wish.
After breakfast you visit the amazing Neolithic temples at Tarxien, which date between 3,000 and 1,800 BC and offer important evidence of the ancient cultures that once inhabited Malta. You also have a short walking tour of Vittoriosa, so named to commemorate the Great Siege victory of 1565, before continuing to the pretty waterside village of Marsaxlokk where for centuries fishermen have landed their catches and repaired nets on the picturesque quayside, which has changed little over the years. Today, lined with cafés and simple restaurants it is an ideal spot to relax.
At the appropriate time you will be taken to the airport for your return flight home after a thoroughly enjoyable tour.
For 6,000 years Malta has been at the crossroads of almost all the ancient Mediterranean civilisations and on mention of the island, the immediate thoughts are of the Knights of St John, the Maltese Falcon and the George Cross. With a long and turbulent past and with a language bearing influences of Latin, Arabic and Semitic dialects, it is a unique destination with so much of its past on display. Its temples are the world’s oldest buildings, pre-dating the pyramids by 1,000 years.
Many visitors to this wonderful island never experience its undiscovered side, but on this tour we feel we have created a superb balance of interests ranging from a wonderfully varied history, unique scenery and atmospheric old towns, all in an ideal destination in which to relax.
A Maltese we once met, remarked that the island is like an extended family, which may be a romantic vision, but often that’s just the way it is!
The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. Please see hotel information for details. The price includes return flights to Malta and transfers, airport departure taxes, seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast and dinner, all tours as mentioned, all local accommodation taxes, executive coach travel and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
Included excursions are: a guided tour of Valetta and a visit to the Malta Experience, a ferry to and tour of Gozo, a visit to Mdina, a guided tour of the Carmelite Priory, a guided tour of Rabat and St. Paul’s Catacombs, visits to the temples at Ggantija, Tarxien and a visit to Marsaxlokk.
Should you wish to visit to the Hypogeum on a free day, you must book well in advance on the internet site. The cost is approximately €30. Sundays will always be a free day unless your tour departs on a Saturday or Sunday, in which case Friday will be the free day.
Please note that where hotels feature a swimming pool, this is open during the summer months according to weather conditions.
Dear Riviera Travel. I have recently returned from your Undiscovered Malta trip departing 19th June. The Air Malta flights were on time; the staff and accommodation at the Golden Tulip Vivaldi was excellent (worth paying extra for...
I thought I should tell you how enjoyable this trip was. Every outing ran to time, and I think we saw most of Malta and Gozo. Pete our rep was very helpful suggesting things to do and see on our free days. The hotel was of a good ...