Essential Malta & Cyprus, 13 - 20 May, 2020
A 5-Day Photographic Journey with Jeremy Woodhouse
Malta packs glorious variety into its small archipelago. You'll find prehistoric temples, fossil-studded cliffs, hidden coves, thrilling scuba diving and a history of remarkable intensity.
The Deep Blue Sea
Malta's landscape contrasts rocky stretches of coast that end in dizzying limestone cliffs with sheltered bays that hide gin-clear water and red-gold beaches. The islands' many marinas jostle with boats, and you can take to the water in sky-blue traditional craft, stately yachts or speedboats. Snorkellers and divers have much to explore underwater as well, a world of caves, crags and wrecks.
A Mediterrean Cocktail
Malta is staunchly Roman Catholic but is also home to a beguiling mix of cultures that has stewed together over generations. Traditional Maltese food mixes Sicilian and Middle Eastern flavours, while making use of local ingredients such as rabbit and honey. The Maltese people are warm and welcoming: if you ask for directions, it's likely a local will walk with you to help you find the way. Plenty of 21st-century sophistication can be found, but there are also pockets where you feel you’ve gone back in time, especially on Gozo, where mammoth churches tower over quiet villages.
Prehistoric & Futuristic
Malta's geographical location in the centre of the Mediterranean made it an alluring and much-fought-over prize, and the islands are full of majestic above- and below-ground defences. The capital, Valletta, built by the Knights of St John, is a harmonious grid, Mdina and Victoria are fortress-like hilltop towns, and watchtowers dot the coast. Even Malta’s fishing boats resonate with the past, their prows painted with eyes, just like the boats of their Phoenician predecessors.
Malta and Gozo’s astounding prehistoric sites were constructed by sophisticated-seeming temple builders, who also left miniature figurines and mammoth sculptures of ‘fat ladies’, which have survived millennia and are housed in Malta's fascinating museums. Out in the open, gigantic temples and towers from many different eras stand proud, continuing their endless watch over the sea. But the most extraordinary site of all lies underground: Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a 5000-year-old necropolis carved from the living rock.
Day 1: Mon, 13 Apr—Arrive Hal Luqa/Valetta
Arrive in Malta and make your way to the hotel. We will meet for a Welcome Dinner at 6:00PM
The capital of Malta, Valletta, is inextricably linked to the history of the military and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem. Built after the Great Siege of 1565 and named after Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, this fortified city has hundreds of monuments, all within a relatively small space, making it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site
O/N Hotel Castille, Valetta
The Castille Hotel is a superior category three-star hotel conveniently located in the heart of Malta's historic capital city, Valletta.
Day 2: Tue, 14 Apr—Valetta
We will spend the day exploring some of the principle sites in Malta's capital.
O/N Hotel Castille, Valetta
Day 3: Wed, 15 Apr—Valetta/San Lawrenz
After breakfast we will spend the day driving to the north western tip of Malta where we will catch the ferry to Gozo (Departure–Cirkewwa, Malta (return boat leaves from Mgarr, Gozo).
Gozo is known to provide a tranquil haven for a tempo and scene change. The charm of Malta's sister Island is immediately apparent; it's greener, more rural and smaller, with life's rhythms dictated by the seasons, fishing and agriculture.
Steeped in myth, Gozo is thought to be the legendary Calypso's isle of Homer's Odyssey–a peaceful, mystical backwater. Baroque churches and old stone farmhouses dot the countryside. Gozo's rugged landscape and spectacular coastline await exploration with some of the Mediterranean's best dive sites.
The island also comes complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago's best-preserved prehistoric temples, Ġgantija.
The western tip of Gozo is savagely beautiful, with wild, wave-battered cliffs, dramatic rock formations and wind-whipped headlands. This stretch of headland, known as Dwejra, is messed with celebrated natural landmarks such as Fungus Rock and the stunning Azure Window–one of the most photographed sites in Gozo
O/N Hotel San Andrea, Xi-Xlendi
A modern, quaint 28 twin bedroomed, family run, seafront hotel located on the Xlendi promenade just a few steps away from the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Day 4 Thu, 16 Apr—Gozo/San Lawrenz
We will spend the day on Gozo exploring its natural beauty
O/N Hotel San Andrea, Xi-Xlendi
Day 5: Fri, 17 Apr—San Lawrenz/In-Naxxar/L-Imdina
After breakfast we head back to the ferry terminal for crossing to Malta. We will visit the Palazzo Parisio before heading towards L-Imidina, Malta's ancient capital and a magical little city girded by sturdy walls and full of medieval palaces and fine churches.
Palazzo Parisio, In-Naxxar, Malta
The glorious Palazzo Parisio was originally built in 1733 by Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, then acquired and refurbished by a Maltese noble family in the late 19th century. The magnificent interior (in particular the gilded ballroom) and baroque gardens resemble a miniature Versailles. You can also eat at Luna restaurant, and tea in the gardens is particularly lovely.
This fortified city was once the capital before the arrival of the Order of St. John, after which it remained an important–but quiet–noble presence, hence gaining the nickname the “Silent City.” Architecturally, the pedestrian-only city, which can be explored in a few hours, features limestone walls covered in bright bougainvillea, as well as both baroque and medieval facades.
O/N The Xara Palace, L-Imdina
The Xara Palace Hotel is a unique 17th-century palace hidden away in the medieval fortified city of Mdina, the old capital of Malta.
Day 6 Sat, 18 Apr—L-Imdina/The Three Villages/ Ħaġar Qim/Marsaxlokk
After breakfast we will explore Malta's ‘Three Villages'–Ħ'Attard, Ħal Balzan and Ħal Lija just a short drive from L-Imdina. During the Golden Age of Malta, after the Great Siege, many noble families built houses here, thus identifying the villages with a semi-urban sophistication.
After lunch we will drive to Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra. The megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim (adge-ar eem; 'standing stones') and Mnajdra (mm-nigh-dra) are the best preserved and most evocative of Malta's prehistoric sites, and have an unparalleled location atop sea cliffs, looking over to the islet of Filfla.
Moving onward, we head to Marsaxlokk. The Marsaxlokk Bay is Malta's second largest natural harbour and it is the best place to see the colourful, traditional Maltese fishing boats, the Luzzus, with the mythical eye painted on their prows.
Marsaxlokk derives its name from the Arabic word marsa, meaning harbour, and Maltese for the south-easterly Mediterranean wind, the Xlokk (Sirocco in Italian). Marsaxlokk, with its sheltered habour, was an easy landing place for pirates and the Ottoman Turks. It was here that the Ottoman Turks landed for an attack which ended in the Great Siege of 1565. Napoleon's army landed here in 1798; and in recent times, the harbour was the scene of the Bush-Gorbachev Summit,1989.
O/N Port View Guesthouse
Located in Marsaxlokk, Malta’s tranquil fishing village in the south-eastern part of the island
Day 7: Sun, 19 Apr—Marsaxlokk
We will spend the morning at the Marsaxlokk Sunday fish market. The village is the Islands' main fishing harbour and its Sunday fish market offers a fascinating insight into local life and a traditional industry. The stalls brim with the night's catch–fish of all shapes, colours and sizes. The village itself has many good fish restaurants.
After lunch we will drive
O/N Port View Guesthouse
Day 8: Mon, 20 Apr—Luqa/Departure
Today we will head to the airport to catch our flights back home
END OF TOUR
Arrival & Departure
Arrival & Meeting Place
Malta International Airport at Hal Luqa, about 5 miles from Valletta. The national airline, Air Malta, connects with more than 50 major cities. Major carriers Alitalia, Lufthansa and Emirates
fly to Hal Luqa as well as budget airlines Ryan Air and EasyJet. Meet at Hotel Castille, Valetta
Malta International Airport at Hal Luqa
Sitting between Sicily and North Africa, Malta’s a Mediterranean archipelago with some of Europe’s best weather. There’s less rain and warmer temperatures in April as the summer gets closer. You’ll enjoy lots of sunshine at this time although you might still get the occasional downpour.
The Mediterranean Sea’s heating up in April, but is still quite cool which stops Malta from warming too much. The country’s fairly windy because it’s quite exposed and mainly flat, while there’s not much difference in climate around Malta. Breezes keep things cool, although it can get hot in Malta when the Sahara Desert sends hot winds over, along with the occasional dust storm.
The average high temperature in Malta during April is 20ºC, which is perfectly warm enough for spending long days at the beach or by the pool. You should pack some warmer clothes for the evenings though as things can get a bit chilly, while the average sea temperature’s 17ºC. Humidity’s low and ranges from around 55-95%, with average rainfall 26mm over six rainy days.
During April you can expect 13 hours of daylight with eight hours of sunshine each day. Take care of yourself in the sun as UV levels will be high. Sunset’s just before 7.30pm at the beginning of April and gets later as the month goes on.
Before you pay your deposit, please register for this tour (if you are registered for the Cyprus tour, you need not fill in the Registration Form)
Tour dates: Month 13 - 20, 2020
Cost: Approx $TBA
Early Commitment Deposit: $250
Deposit Balance: $750 (due April 13, 2019)
Single Supplement: $TBA
Max Group Size: 6
2 SPOTS OPEN
Photographer: Jeremy Woodhouse
Once you have made your flight arrangements, please fill in the form at the link below
Tour Fee Includes
Tour Fee Does not Include
Paying by check
If you would like to pay your deposit and/or balance with a check, please make the check payable to: Pixelchrome, Inc and mail it to:
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Paying by Wire Transfer
Bank: Wells Fargo Bank, NA
Account #: 4428-000051
Routing #: 121000248
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Phone: (972) 439-3416