WHAT DO FOREIGN TRAVEL SITES SAY ABOUT MALTA?

Malta has received a number of generous reviews by various travel writers. From music festivals to halal take-aways, international travel writers found many reasons to recommend Malta for travellers around the world.

In March, CNN included Malta among the 18 destinations to visit in 2018. The description focused on Malta’s history at the crossroads, and even used braving a 20-minute bus ride as an intercultural metaphor. The writer suggests visiting Malta “before St John’s Co-Cathedral (birthplace of the famous Knights of Malta cross) becomes yet another place you’re sick of seeing on Instagram.”

In April, the Guardian reviewed Valletta’s ‘cultural side’. The article starts with suggesting that the 2018, the European Capital of Culture year, will be ‘equally memorable, and much less harrowing’ than the Ottoman siege in 1565 and the bombardment in 1941. Think keywords such as ‘boutique hotels‘ and ‘festivals’ (nevermind that they’re not actually in Valletta). The writer was impressed by Strait Street nightlife, more sophisticated than that of Paceville, the remodelled City Gate, and the ‘elegant Parliament building’, excited about the opening of Muza, which hasn’t yet happened, and hopeful about the Pageant of the Seas.

In the Telegraph‘s gourmet food guide, even the colour of the typical stone sounds appetising (‘honey-cream’). Greasy pastries – sweet and sour are at the top of the list, followed by a note that the knights preferred meat to Mediterranean fish. Then comes the compulsory mention of rabbit, a list of chic restaurants, and a recommendation to visit a farmers’ market in Ta’ Qali. Compare it to our own guide to Maltese food.

Finally, it sounds rather unexpected, but Malta is recommended as a halal travel destination on the Muslim Travel Girl blog. The writer was pleased with halal food at the Intercontinental Hotel in St Julian’s, Mamounia and Shekinah restaurants, and various Turkish take-aways.

It is easy to get overly absorbed in daily soul-searching – touristy places become too crowded in summer, local food is not exactly healthy, and other destinations may look like they have more to offer in terms of cultural life and diversity. However, these articles in international travel pages remind us: Malta is loved by many, and each writer has different reasons for it.