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Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins at Malta International Airport (MLA) at 4.30pm. If you would like to join the main complimentary airport transfer today, the latest your flight can arrive is 4pm. We will then drive together as a group for about an hour to Cirkewwa to catch the ferry across to the island of Gozo, which takes about 25 minutes'. It then just a short 15 minutes' drive to our hotel, where we will arrive in the evening. You will then have the opportunity to go out for dinner with our Leader who will conduct the welcome meeting in the restaurant.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, there will be an earlier transfer from the airport departing at midday. If you would like to join this airport transfer, the latest your flight can arrive is 11.30am. We will add you onto whichever of these two transfers is closest after your flight arrival time. If you are arriving early but would prefer to join the later transfer at 4.30pm then please inform us of this at the time of booking.
Gozo is fertile and picturesque and has retained much of its traditional character. Only 15 kilometres in length and seven kilometres wide, all parts of the island are easily accessible, and for its size the variety of scenery is incredible.
Hotel Calypso (or similar)
We start our exploration in Xlendi, on the south coast, for a short photo stop and walk along the promenade before heading to the island's capital, Victoria; a tiny city named after Queen Victoria in 1887 but locally known as Rabat. After climbing up to the imposing Citadel we'll have a fantastic view of the whole island. We'll explore the old prison where the Knights of Saint John would send their rowdier members to cool off within. The graffitied walls give a fascinating insight into the lives of those who were incarcerated here. Descending to the graceful central square, It Tokk, we have time to wander the cobweb of narrow streets and take some time for lunch. Heading to the town of Xaghra, we reach Ggantija, a megalithic temple complex dating back to 3600 BC and thus named as it was believed only giants could have moved the stones. Some of the colossal stones are over 5 meters long and weigh over 20 tons and the temple still reaches a height of over 7 metres. Predating the Pyramids, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is believed to be the world's oldest free-standing structure. We continue to Calypsos Cave, alleged to be the cave referred to by Homer in The Odyssey. In the afternoon we'll get the chance to stretch our legs on a walk from the area of Calypso's Cave to Ramla Bay where we can enjoy a refreshing dip at the beautiful red sandy beach, if the weather permits, before heading back to the hotel. Please note that the Maltese bird hunting season runs from September until the end of January and during these months hunting activity may regrettably be seen on some of our excursions into rural areas of Gozo and Malta.
Dwejra is perhaps Gozo's most spectacular natural landmark. Here, geology, time and sea have worked together to produce some of the most remarkable scenery on the island. We'll see Fungus Rock, notable as the habitat of a rare fungus which was highly prized by the Knights of Saint John for its medicinal properties. You will then have the option to take a boat ride along the coast from the Inland Sea (weather permitting) - a shallow inland lagoon linked to the sea via a 30-metre tunnel. From Dwejra we continue to the Ta Pinu Basilica, renowned for the miraculous cures reported by it's supplicants. We drive past neat, well-tended fields with their dry-stone walls and enjoy glorious views on our way to Zebbug; perched on a hilltop above the patchwork of green fields below. As with all these fortified hilltop villages, the far reaching views across the island and beyond are spectacular on a clear day. From Zebbug, we'll take a walk to nearby Xwejni Bay. The coastal scenery along the way is varied - at times we pass limestone outcrops eroded by the wind and sea into unusual shapes, where traditional salt pans dominate the view. This section of the coast is one of the most remote and rugged on the island but our walk is relatively steep downhill. There may be a chance to swim (weather permitting) before we visit to the seaside resort of Marsalforn, our chosen location for lunch. We head back to Mgarr, via Nadur for a brief photo stop of Comino and the Blue Lagoon, to catch the ferry to Malta where we transfer to our hotel, north west of the capital. The capital stretches west from Valletta along scenic bays with busy marinas. Our hotel is in St Paul's where many restaurants and bars can be found.
Mayflower Hotel (or similar)
This morning we plan to drive from the hotel for a walking tour around the impressive and heavily fortified Old City. Originally built by the Knights of the Order of Saint John in the 16th Century, Valletta, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is built on the steep slopes of the Sceberas Peninsula and surrounded by two huge natural harbours which have helped to make it such an important strategic port at the crossroads of the Mediterranean. Fort Saint Elmo guards the entrance to the harbours. Walking down Triq ir Republika - the main thoroughfare in the centre of the city, we visit the elaborately decorated Saint John's Co-Cathedral and the National Museum of Archaeology. During the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, over 400 knights perished and as a sign of remembrance, the floor of St John's Co-Cathedral is covered in skeleton tombstones. We'll also admire the classic views across the Grand Harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Your afternoon is free for your own personal exploration.
This morning we head to the historic Three Cities of Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua, considered to be 'the cradle of Maltese history' as settlers and rulers from the Phoenicians to the British all made use of the defences here. The Knights of the Order of Saint John settled in Vittoriosa in 1530 and used the city as their headquarters. The Three Cities have retained much of their romantic medieval charm and we'll see the Inquisitor's Palace in Vittoriosa and admire the views from the Gardjola Gardens - a look-out post to guard the harbour entrance - in Senglea. Driving on to Marsaxlokk, we will take some free time for lunch and exploration. This charming town is Malta's largest fishing port with its colourful boats and excellent fish restaurants. After lunch we will transfer to Sliema for a harbour cruise because the best way to explore the creeks and dockyards is by boat. Only by travelling across the water does one appreciate the sheer magnitude of the ramparts and forts that protect the city.
A short drive brings us to Hagar Qim and Mnajdra; another incredible Megalithic temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site. For three millennia, from around 3600 - 3200 BC, the Maltese archipelago was home to a unique, temple-building civilisation. The discovery of many fat lady statuettes in the vicinity of Hagar Qim has shown it to have been built to worship the Venus of Malta, the sleeping goddess of fertility. Mnajdra is probably the most atmospheric of all of Malta's temples, occupying an isolated position overlooking the rocky coastline. We walk between the two temple groups along a short well laid path before continuing a short distance along a rough country path to the Tal Hamrija costal 17th century tower to enjoy breathtaking scenery as the cliffs rise out of the blue Mediterranean Sea. We return to our bus where we drive down to the Blue Grotto where we have the option of taking a boat trip (weather permitting) to see a series of natural caverns which glow with brilliant corals and sea sponges. We'll then spend the afternoon sampling a range of local food specialities. We'll learn how sun dried tomatoes and the local wine is produced and then get to sample these along with a selection of other vegetables farmed in the region as well as Maltese bread and olive oil.
This morning we'll take a short transfer to Malta's Medieval old capital, Mdina, for a tour on foot around this beautifully preserved city. Its warren of winding, narrow alleys (mostly too narrow for cars) and fortified walls contain a number of impressive buildings such as the Palazzo Falzon and cathedral dedicated to the Conversion of Saint Paul. We'll also take time to see Domus Romana (a townhouse usually belonging to Roman dignitaries) and Saint Paul's eerie catacombs (underground). After our visit to Mdina, we'll drive to Mosta Dome and San Anton Botanical Gardens; the private residence of the President of Malta.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in St Paul's.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from St Paul's at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Malta International Airport (MLA), which is about 35 minutes' drive from our hotel.
April/May and October/November are pleasantly warm. Juneeptember are the hottest months.
3 Pin Flat
Maltese and English
Blue Grotto - Boat trip Approx. €8-10 per person. Cash only Dwejra Bay - Boat trip Approx. €4 per person. Cash only Inquisitor's Palace Visit Approx. €6 per person. Cash or Card accepted
Women should avoid bare arms and shoulders in churches (scarf or stole recommended). Dress for hot conditions although light rainwear and warm fleece/jacket for nights when temperatures can drop (especially in March and Oct/Nov).
Comfortable walking shoes and sandals.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
Sunhat and sunscreen are recommended. You should bring a 2 litre water bottle, torch, as well as insect repellent, a swimming costume and towel.
Bus, Boat, Ferry
Saint Paul's is a popular holiday spot on the coast of Malta. As opposed to the quietness and tranquility in Gozo, the small town is much more vibrant and successfully blends its fishing village charm with its tourist centre.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Visas are not required by UK, E.U Nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing required. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.