March, 03 2017
Bucket List
Valletta, Malta
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

-Susan Sontag

Each week, I’ll highlight a location, hotel, or activity that’s on my bucket list.  Can’t wait to cross them off!

I try to seek out up and coming locations that haven’t yet been discovered by the majority (or at least the majority of American travelers).

I’m not saying I’m a travel trendsetter by any means. I love a cliché travel destination and have high hopes to visit them all. I truly believe you can take any vacation and really make it unique in your own way.

But there’s something special about a less touristy find. It’s like a secret that you share with your travel partner, and that travel partner only.

Years ago, I visited Croatia and Iceland when people looked at me as if I were crazy and even Google mapped them to see what continent they were on. But the secret’s out. Croatia and Iceland are now must see’s for everyone from college students studying abroad to honeymooners heading to Europe.

I’m not claiming to have discovered places like Iceland or Croatia… far from it. If you do a little research you can come across some lesser-known spots that are truly magnificent.

Malta’s been on my radar, as it seems to be the perfect combination of beaches, culture, and history. It’s an untouched medieval town that’s straight out of the movies (literally), surrounded by the deep blues of the Mediterranean. Stone walls against fifty shades of blue, it’s a hidden gem of the Mediterranean Sea, and a sexy little secret to keep between you and your travel partner.

The food game is strong with influences from nearby Italy and North Africa, while making use of local ingredients such as rabbit and honey.

The island is pretty small, which allows you to visit the UNESCO world heritage capitol of Valletta, the beachy resort town of St. Julian’s, and the fortified city of Mdina. Sister islands Gozo and Comino are just a short ferry ride away where you can swim in the intense blue waters of the Blue Lagoon in Comino and relax while marveling at the greenery and views in Gozo.  As if the picturesque landscape and Renaissance villages aren’t enough to make you feel like you’re in a movie, you can literally walk onto a movie set when visiting Popeye Village, built for the musical feature film, Popeye in 1980.

In typical long weekend fashion, I prefer nice digs and appreciate the beauty of boutique hotels in historic properties, which is why I am drooling over Casa Ellul. With 8 unique suites, Casa Ellul dates back to the Victorian era, yet it’s modern and luxurious, with a Victorian vibe. Relais and Chateaux’s Xara Palace is a glamorous fortress in the walled city of Mdina, surrounded by views of the stunning Baroque architecture. More luxury hotels are to come in 2017, such as The Phoenicia opening in May.

Back in October, the New York Times did a 36 hours in Malta special which is a great resource, but it also means that you better get there soon.

Shhhhh, don’t tell. Book your trip before the secret’s out.

What’s on your bucket list?

 

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