New Year, new you – isn’t that what they say? After the unchecked indulgence of the holiday season, is it surprising to find yourself digging out your running shoes and fitness apps (last log-in, this time last year)? Luckily, when it comes to running in Malta, there are plenty of routes covering a variety of terrains, from gruelling trails in Gozo to coastline sprints in St Julian’s. We’ve mapped some of the best routes available to keep you on track, whether you’re an enthusiastic newbie or seasoned pro. The added bonus? Pounding the pavement – or promenade, or off-road track – is an excellent way to see some of the most stunning views the island has to offer.
If you’re staying at our St George’s Bay hotel in St Julian’s, an early morning run taking in the views across the bay are a must. Begin at the hotel and head to Portomaso Square and around Spinola Bay to come to the wide promenade – perfect for runners. However, be aware, this one is best done early before too many people hit the streets.
Continuing on from the previous starting point, runners looking to log the miles, perhaps in preparation for the Malta Marathon (which takes place at the end of February), should trace the route from St Julian’s to Valletta and back. One of the most popular places for running in Malta, the coastline run along the promenade takes in Sliema, Gzira and Pieta. Note how quickly the miles stack up when accompanied by beautiful sea views.
Looking to do some hill running in Malta? Head to Dingli, where your stamina will be put to the test at 250 meters above sea level. Be sure to take in the incredible cliffs but be aware, you’re unlikely to be unaccompanied – Dingli is popular with hikers, cyclists and, yes, more than a few joggers. The spectacular views make it worth your while, however, particularly at sunset. For a long distance countryside run, begin in Mdina and take in Rabat, Dingli and Buskett Forest before looping back to Mdina.
According to local folklore, the majestic Ġgantija Temples were built by a giantess who ate nothing but broad beans and honey – a seriously impressive accomplishment bearing in mind these two temples are made of massive coralline limestone blocks (some weighing over 50 tons). Older than the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge, Gozo’s Ġgantija Temples are among the best-preserved prehistoric sites in Malta.
Originally constructed to defend the Grand Harbour against enemy attack, the fortified city of Valletta is situated on a peninsula. This quirk of topography certainly makes for a picturesque run taking in the city’s parameter, and it’s particularly safe as there’s a pavement that covers the entire route. It’s not too taxing either, clocking in at about 5km.
Hop over to Malta’s sister island of Gozo for some of the more challenging trail runs. The tiny island is home to the Gozo Ultra Trail, a gruelling 55km trail run around the perimeter of the island with 21 km of climb, but you don’t have to go that far. The information centre at the capital, Victoria, is a great place to start if you’re looking for information on running trails, but the small size of the island means you can easily cover cliff top, coastline views and valleys in one go. Phew.