YASMINE SAILING, liveaboard sailing instruction in Malta and La Gomera, Canary Islands, charters and delivery crews

About the islands of Malta                                                                                                                  

Malta is a small island just south of Sicily, and not close to the Tunisian coast as many believe. Ferries run daily across to Sicily, and are great for a short excursion. The Maltese islands are made up of the main island, plus Gozo and Comino to the north west.


Comino is a very small island that offers a handful of hotels, as well as one of the best beaches in Europe, with crystal clear shallow water. That bay is a half-day's sail from Valletta harbour. Tours are run across to Comino from many places, including St. Pauls Bay.

Gozo is the ancient heart of Malta, and its people keep alive the Maltese language and traditions, as they will explain (at length) if given the chance. They practice the older dialect of Maltese, and suffer fewer tourists. Gozo offers many secluded bays, some reached by a hard walk, and is famed for its scuba-diving, the island hosting some great underwater caves and arches.

Valletta is the ancient capital, and Malta offers a history right back to before the pyramids. There are many dated churches to be explored, wartime relics, and ruins from thousands of years ago for tourists to visit. The islands were built by the crusaders, and the crusading knights left their mark in street names, and in place names like Valletta. The capital is well worth a visit, many interesting shops hidden along its narrow and bustling streets, many cafes and bars. You won't be bothered by beggars or time share touts, they are a rare breed here. And everyone speaks English!

St. Julians is where the nightlife on Malta is concentrated, in the area known as Paceville. In Maltese, "C" is "chee", so Paceville is Pachee-ville. It offers nice restuarants and bars overlooking Spinola Bay, but those bars give way to a compact area of nightclubs that gets very busy most days of the week. But don't worry, crime here is very low compared to most countries, and it is perfectly safe to wander around at 4am - and drunk! The police will not hassle you, or issue fines for no reason.

St. Pauls, Qwara and Bugibba is where most of the holiday Brits stay, and is where most of the hotels are located, certainly the budget hotels; you can get a month half-board for 300 GBP! Good hotels (that are also cheap) are the Topaz or the TBH (The Bugibba Hotel) on Tourist Street. Beer can be had on Malta for 1 euro a pint in some places, more expensive in Paceville - where you may pay UK prices.

Malta does not offer many sandy beaches, but many places to enter the water safely from the rocks. Its best beaches are in the north, and are Golden Sands Bay and Melihia Bay. There are also numerous small beaches in the north, off the beaten track. Getting around by bus is easy and cheap, one end of the island to the other is less than 2 GBP. Car hire is reasonable, they drive on the left, but traffic can be terrible in certain places at certain times.

Sailing around Malta is a delight, since there is much to see, many small islands and inlets, coves and bays to spend an afternoon swimming - or scuba diving from the boat. A Saturday or Sunday will see many sails on the water, and some sailors will venture right around the small island. It can be done in 24 hours, but there are many places to stop and anchor for the night. Malta is just 13 miles long, and is a great location for a friendly race, since you end up where you started. There are no dangerous currents or tides here, and swimming is safe off the boat in most anchors and bays.

Malta is a 3 hour flight from the UK, a one-hour time difference, and they use Euros.


For cheap flights and cheap hotels, try www. travelrepublic.com

Air Malta.  www. airmalta.com

Tripadvisor Malta.  http://  www.  tripadvisor.co.uk/SmartDeals-g190311-Malta-Hotel-Deals.html


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