If the summer for you conjures up visions of beautiful beaches throng with holidaymakers and long, balmy evenings, what happens when you think about winter? Well, for some places, warm weather is no seasonal phenomenon. Malta pushes 16°C even in the depths of December, and summer activities such as scuba diving continue with a roaring trade. An absence of summer crowds makes this an ideal time to explore the island’s many hiking routes. Allow us to introduce the best places to go walking in Malta.
As if anyone needed another reason to visit the enchanting city of Valletta. Malta’s capital and one of the continent’s most iconic and historic cities, it makes for a highly rewarding urban stroll. Take an hour at the most to saunter from City Gate, passing Renzo Piano’s ultra-modern Parliament House and the elegant Royal Opera House as well as a dizzying variety of piazzas and palazzos en route to the leafy environs of Upper Barrakka Gardens.
Go walking in Malta’s Golden Bay area and its name will no longer need an explanation. During summer, it’s one of the most popular beaches in the Maltese archipelago, but come winter, there’s hardly another soul in sight. Take a scenic wander through Il-Majjistral Nature and History Park – the largest of its kind in Malta – to take in some rare unspoilt scenery, and look out for chameleons peeking out through the plants.
A village in an area known for its hilly landscape, Siġġiewi makes this part of Malta a favourite among walkers and ramblers rather than city-dwelling flâneurs. It’s a rewarding hike for those who take it, and one that includes the Għar Lapsi natural swimming hole and dive site.
The island of Gozo is known the world over for its beauty. In fact, its scenic hills are so important to Gozo’s self-image that they’re featured on its coat of arms. It follows that the island makes for a very pretty stroll. Follow the Western coast for unrivalled views of caves, caverns, pristine beaches and, of course, sprawling vistas across the ocean. If time allows, head on to the majestic cliffs of Wied il-Mielaħ and the unspoilt area around it.
Whether in winter or summer, Dingli is a must when walking in Malta. The cliffs on the western coast of the main island are the highest points in all of Malta, and naturally that means fantastic views as well. From Dingli, gaze out across Buskett Gardens, Verdala Palace and Filfla, a tiny uninhabited island just off the coast. Dingli village, named for the English knight who once owned much of the land in the surrounding area, is a charming spot for a refreshment.