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Top 10 Reasons to Visit Malta & Sicily

Malta & Sicily

Malta & Sicily are two European gems in the Mediterranean Sea that offer incredible views, architecture, food and culture. As ElderTreks gears up to take its first small group of travelers on this European sojourn, we go through some of the amazing highlights of these two Mediterranean gems. So in no particular order, here are what we think will stand out for you when you visit Malta and Sicily in a small group.

1.   The Blue Grotto

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think crystal clear azure waters are stunningly beautiful. As soon as you hop in the traditional boats and are taken out to the blue grotto, you will be amazed at the contrast between the rocks and the waters. You will weave in and out of sea caverns, admiring the blue that sparkles from the sun’s rays. It's a stunning highlight of Malta, one that you don't want to miss.

2.   Archeological sites in Sicily

Sicily is full of incredible archeological sites, and if you are a history buff, you are sure to love the variety and excellent shape the ancient ruins are in. You should visit Selinunte, Valley of the Temples, and Siracusa. Some of these ruins are the best-kept Greek temples (even better than those in Greece). 

3.   Sweeping Views

Erice is a town in the Trapani region of Sicily, which is still fortified on the outside but offers stunning and sweeping views of the land and the sea. In addition to its views, Erice serves up some delicious almond biscuits. So don’t forget to grab one as you stroll along the cobblestone streets and admire the tiny shops and restaurants. The best way to get to the top of Erice is by cable car, affording you incredible views of the sea and land, and of course, a very fun experience.

4.   Mt. Etna

Volcanoes never cease to fascinate and amaze travelers, and Mt. Etna is no exception. It’s Europe’s highest and most active volcano. It has been erupting on and off since 2001. If you aren’t heading there soon, or just want to keep an eye on the active volcano, check out the live feed here.

5.   Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is always a no-brainer, and Sicily offers lots of opportunities to try and taste local wines and liquors. Marsala wine is well known and made in (where else!) Marsala, Sicily. You may have tried some before in popular Italian dishes, as it's often used for cooking (think: Veal or Chicken Marsala).

6.   Fishing village of Marsaxlokk

One of the most charming villages on the island of Malta is the small fishing village called Marsaxlokk. Its market is full of little stalls with locals selling trinkets and souvenirs like intricate lace fabrics, art glass, or traditional filigree (silver jewelry).

You can also find the traditional colorful boats – called Iuzzu. It’s a great spot to take photos.

7.   The Grand Harbour

This is one of the most stunning areas in all of Valetta. The best views of the Grand Harbour are normally seen from a ship or boat in the harbor, but one of the public gardens or across the way in one of the 3 cities. The Grand Harbour, or il-Port il-Kbir in Maltese, is a natural Harbour which helped the island gain significance in its military and commercial endeavors. 

8.   The Food

Sicilian food is, of course, similar to mainland Italy but also features a lot of seafood, including sardines grilled on an open flame, head on and all. The Mediterranean diet is widely followed, but you will still find delicious deep-fried treats like arancini (risotto balls). Yum! 

9.   Gozo Island

Gozo Island is a nearby island that offers gorgeous beaches, salt beds, bumpy hills and a much quieter Maltese experience. The best way to explore this area is by 4x4, where you can feel the sea breeze on your face as you drive through the hilly, desert-like landscape. It’s a refreshing break from the busy Valetta. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh sea salt to bring back home with you.

10.      Markets

Both Sicily & Malta have incredible markets, and they are worth exploring to see how locals buy their fresh meat, produce, and local delicacies. Markets in Palermo are loud, crowded and pushy, where the scents of fish and dirt from the veggies just dug up linger in the air, but watching the nonnas carry their baskets and manoeuver through the throngs of people is well worth the busy experience. Maltese markets are similar, but the lace products and Maltese cross souvenirs will shake things up a bit. There is nothing quite like a market visit to really understand the local people and culture.

 

Can’t wait to explore Malta & Sicily now? Check out our brand NEW Malta & Sicily 14-day trip here

- November 21, 2016
 

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