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December 2017/January 2018 €3 The official visitors’ guide of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association


Valletta becomes European Capital of Culture The programme of events for 2018


Malta’s grand palaces under the spotlight


3 foodies share their favourite festive delights

All things culture The performances, parties and events you shouldn’t miss this season

your guide to events | fashion | eating & drinking | shopping


December 2017/January 2018 EDITOR Martina Said PUBLISHERS Content House Group ADVERTISING Head of Advertising Sales Matthew Spiteri Advertising Sales Executives Jean Mark Meli, Matthew Sciriha Advertising Sales Coordinator Lindsey Napier PRINTERS Progress Press Ltd Art Direction & Design Antoinette Micallef Box Design – T: +356 7969 1212

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Photo: Bernice Yeomans -

10 Calendar of events

The major events taking place in Malta and Gozo throughout December 2017 and January 2018.

13 Cover story

Jingle bell rock in Malta this Christmas – Rebecca Anastasi rounds up the best places to visit, and what to see and do at some of the islands’ most popular Christmas hotspots.

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Photography Alan Carville, James Bianchi, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Malta Tourism Authority, Natalis Notabilis, Ray Anastasi, Valletta 2018 Foundation

21 Valletta

Valletta 2018: Putting culture in the heart of the capital – As Valletta prepares to wear its crown as European Capital of Culture in 2018, Rebecca Anastasi finds out what to expect from this year-long event.

Content House Group, Mallia Buildings, 3, Level 2, Triq in-Negozju, Mriehel, BKR3000. T: +356 2132 0713 E: W: Guide Me is published every two months in Malta. This issue covers the period December 2017-January 2018. The magazine is the official visitors’ guide of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. The publication is distributed free of charge in the individual rooms of three, four and five star hotels. Guide Me is also distributed for free from MTA offices in Malta and Gozo and at the La Valette Club within the Malta International Airport (MIA). It is also sold at leading newsagents in Malta and Gozo, including those at The Valletta Waterfront and at MIA.

Cover picture:

Teatru Manoel, Valletta Photo: Luiz Rodriguez

Editorial opinions expressed in Guide Me are not necessarily those of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association or of Content House Group and both organisations do not accept responsibility for editorial or advertising content. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publishers is strictly prohibited.


December 2017/January 2018 page 71


33 Culture

A very cultural Christmas – From religious concerts to larger-thanlife pantomimes, Jo Caruana brings you her pick of Malta’s most unmissable events taking place throughout December and January.

48 Heritage

Fit for a king – Adding to Malta’s rich history is a treasure trove of palaces ranging from the medieval to the baroque. Marie-Claire Grima finds out what’s behind their magnificent old doors.

71 Cuisine

Festive advice from 3 Maltese foodies – Just in time for the most food-indulgent time of year, Jo Caruana catches up with three self-confessed foodies to find out what’s on their menu this Christmas.

77 Eating & Drinking Find the perfect place to wine and dine on the islands with our handy restaurant guide.

63 Fashion

Fabulous festive fashion – Spruce up your party style with Sarah Micallef’s pick of the glitziest fashion, accessory and shoe trends this festive season.


page 83

page 63 83 Nightlife

Time to party – From international DJ performances to the best NYE parties and celebrations, Martina Said brings you the top events across the Maltese islands.


Welcome to the Maltese islands! ISSUE

76 December 2017/ January 2018

Casa Rocca Piccola, Valletta - Photo: James Bianchi


he festive season is around the corner, and the Maltese islands are at full steam preparing for the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas lights, carols and cribs enliven the islands, creating a magical atmosphere that we islanders have come to crave once December rolls around. The cover story this issue (page 13) will help you navigate the festive season on the islands, highlighting the most popular hotspots for all things Christmas, be they family fairs and markets, shopping or celebratory ceremonies and events. If it’s a live performance

you’re looking for or a night on the town, turn to pages 33 and 83 respectively, for a round-up of the top cultural performances and after-dark parties taking place across the islands throughout December and January. If you travelled to Malta for sightseeing, however, you’d be thrilled to find out that there are enough stunning sites to pack into multiple trips here, not least a variety of historical palaces spanning centuries in Malta’s history, which you can find out all about on page 48. The magic is not limited to the 2017 festive season,

however – it will infiltrate all of 2018 once the capital, Valletta, gets crowned European Capital of Culture towards the end of January 2018. It’s promising to be a superb year for Valletta, boasting an extensive programme of events (page 21), deserving of a stately European capital city and UNESCO World Heritage site. All of this and more in the December/January issue of Guide Me. We wish you a happy and healthy start to 2018.

Martina Said EDITOR


CALENDAR OF EVENTS 2017/2018 December 1-3 December Lola’s Christmas Market – A quaint Christmas market which is sure to transport you to the Christmas of your dreams, Lola’s Christmas Market promises a fun-filled weekend, with plenty of stalls for the perfect Christmas gift, as well as animation and entertainment for children and adults alike. Venue: Villa Madama, Balzan.

1-19 December 11th Pastel Society of Malta Annual Exhibition – The Pastel Society of Malta will be holding its 11th Annual Exhibition, with the participation of 18 artists showing 40 paintings which include portraits, nudes, landscapes and seascapes. The public is invited to see and admire these works in pastel and appreciate the colours and beauty that this medium can produce. Venue: Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta.

2-3 December Malta Comic Con – The Malta Comic Con is a two-day event which celebrates comic creators, comic books, books, movies, TV series, table top games, video games, role playing games, cosplaying and virtually anything that is related to the comics culture. Venue: Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

7-10 December Magical Christmas Concert – Bringing children’s favourite Disney characters together with some of the best-loved Christmas songs, the Malta National

Children’s Choir will turn the theatre into one energetic concert. With spectacular visuals, synchronised lights and continuous animation, the concert is a treat for young and old. Entrance costs €10 and includes a gift at the entrance. Tickets from Venue: Catholic Institute, Floriana.

9 December Piano and Winds: The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s Chamber Music Concert – The MPO Wind Quintet joins forces with Russian-Azerbaijani pianist Natalia Sokolovskaya for a concert featuring some of the best music written for piano and winds. Venue: Robert Sammut Hall, Floriana.

7-12 December Natalis Notabilis – This six-day event will transform Rabat’s historic core into a Christmas wonderland. Around 80 stalls will form Malta’s largest Christmas market, while a historic building will be hosting various Christmas-related activities, such as the Nativity Trail within the Franciscan Friary’s Secret Garden and the Natalis Notabilis Crib Exhibition within the 500-year-old convent. Ta’ Ġieżu Church will be hosting a number of choir festivals, while a new drama production, Scrooged will be staged at the 18th-century Palazzo Xara. For more information, visit

8 December-2 January Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem – An annual tradition since 2008, Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem sees the village of Għajnsielem in Gozo turn into a little town called Betlehem, with actors recreating the timeless Nativity story in an authentic setting. Attractions include a carpenter’s and blacksmith’s dwellings, a bakery, a market selling natural fruits, fresh fish and vegetables, a tavern, a local crafts area and a barn. The village is animated on weekends and public holidays. For a detailed schedule, visit

14-16 December APS Teatru Unplugged 20th Anniversary – Teatru Unplugged is Malta’s longest annual standing event. The contrast of short and different musical acts of different genres creates a unique and fast-moving concert. This year marks the 20th edition of the event, and will feature several local artists and a Pink Floyd Tribute band. Venue: Sir Temi Zammit Hall, University of Malta.

15 December The Nutcracker – Under the direction of Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing an extensive selection of music from this charming and heartwarming ballet. The orchestra will also be performing Mendelssohn’s famous Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and his only Violin Concerto, for which it will be joined by the internationallyacclaimed young violinist Esther Yoo. Venue: St George’s Square, Valletta.

19 December The MPO Community Orchestra Concert – Christmas is a time to bring people together, and with this in mind, the MPO wishes to celebrate it through an open

For the full online Malta Calendar of Events please go to: 10

concert which sees it joining forces with musicians recruited from the general public. Under the direction of Joseph Debrincat, the orchestra will be performing a selection of festive music fit for the occasion from 7pm to 10pm. Venue: St George’s Square, Valletta.

26 December-7 January Comedy Knights: 5how Me The Funny! – Have yourself a funny little Christmas – the hilarious Comedy Knights are back for another run of side-splittingly funny sketch shows. Tickets can be bought from or from the Embassy Cinema Box Office in Valletta. Venue: Salesian Theatre, Sliema.

27 December Malta Youth Orchestra – Christmas Classics – For the second year running, the MYO will head down to Valletta to perform a selection of music fit for the festive season. This year’s concert, directed by British conductor Robert Hodge, will feature orchestral Christmas favourites by Tchaikovsky, Leroy Anderson, Hess and Victor HelyHutchinson, as well as timeless Yuletide classics. Venue: Castille Place, Valletta.

31 December The Valletta National NYE Celebrations – Malta’s well-established national New Year’s Eve celebration brings a magical and festive atmosphere throughout most of the capital city on this night. This year will be a special one for Malta as it welcomes Valletta 2018 – The European Capital of Culture. St George’s Square once again will host the main stage, featuring the very best of Malta’s top local artists and bands. Venue: St George’s Square, Valletta.

JANUARY 7 January The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s Epiphany Concert – The MPO celebrates the arrival of a new year with a festive concert directed by John Galea, featuring popular orchestral pieces by Strauss, Shostakovich and other composers, as well as arias sung by soprano Miriam Cauchi and mezzo-soprano Marvic Monreal. Venue: Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

12 January The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah – The MPO, two choirs and four soloists join forces under the direction of Michael Laus for a special performance of Handel’s famous oratorio, a reflection on Jesus as the saviour of humankind. The concert is being held in aid of the restoration of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral. Venue: St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral, Valletta.

17 January Inspired by Baroque – A concert featuring a selection of music inspired by the baroque era, with works by Grieg, Tansman and Villa-Lobos, as well as a newlycommissioned work by Maltese composer Euchar Gravina. The concert is part of the 2018 edition of the Valletta International Baroque Festival. Venue: Manoel Theatre, Valletta.

20 January Valletta 2018 Opening Ceremony – Valletta 2018’s Opening Week will draw crowds to the heart of Valletta with music and entertainment, street artists and performances throughout the capital’s streets, exhibitions set in diverse venues around the city, open days that re-discover Valletta’s fascinating historical spaces, community storytelling events centred around the city’s residents and the spaces they use, and much more. For more information, visit

27 January 13-27 January The Valletta Baroque Festival – Since its launch in 2013, the Valletta International Baroque Festival has treated audiences to a unique event featuring some of the best ensembles on the baroque music scene. Taking as its main venue one of the oldest working theatres in the world, Teatru Manoel, this prestigious twoweek festival also plays out within many wonderful baroque and historical venues, such as St John’s Co-Cathedral and the Grandmaster's Palace. This year’s musical programme has once again secured some of the best contemporary exponents of baroque music from the international and local spheres to contribute to the celebration of Malta’s capital. www.

Ein Heldenleben - A Hero’s Life – Richard Strauss is particularly renowned for his epic tone poems, and none are more epic than his Ein Heldenleben, a musical depiction of the life and works of a hero, which is typically interpreted as being autobiographical in nature. Under the direction of Dutch-Maltese conductor Lawrence Renes, the orchestra will also be joined by Latvian pianist Inese Klotiņa for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto, written when he was just 18. Venue: Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.



Jingle Bell

Rock in Malta this


Get ready for the merriest, snazziest time of year with our guide of the best places to go, what to see and how much to eat (spoiler alert: a lot!) this festive season on the islands. Rebecca Anastasi has the round-up.

The Maltese islands really get into the Christmas spirit of things once December hits, with lights going up, shops remerchandising their windows and cribs meticulously assembled. While its religious significance has not completely disappeared, this season

gives locals and visitors alike the opportunity to forget their woes and celebrate with those close to them in not-so-white (and sometimes, positively warm!) locations around the islands. We’ve picked the best things to see and do, wherever you find yourself on the rock. Valletta Christmas 2017 lights - Photo: Ray Anastasi

VALLETTA The sound of Christmas songs, the smell of mulled wine and the sight of elaborate decorations make Valletta a sensory experience during the merriest time of the year. Walk down Republic Street, mingle with shoppers planning gifts for their family and friends, or simply settle down to a heart-warming meal in one of its many vibrant restaurants to get a feel of Europe’s smallest capital city at this time of year. The action kicks off on 2 December at the Valletta Waterfront, down by Grand Harbour, where music, food and festive activities are planned, which transform the promenade into a Christmas village with its own 35-foot tree. ➜ 13


Valletta flower shop - Photo:

Kids particularly can expect to have a magical time here as they can visit Father Christmas and his little helpers in their workshop and take some holiday snaps to treasure for years to come, as well as watch puppet shows, play on the bouncy castles and have their faces painted in their favourite colours. Further up on the hill, in the centre of the capital, the churches which line the streets of the city are also a sight to behold during the festive season. Their walls are lined with crimson damask, while flowers soften the religious glow. The magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral, meanwhile, leaves its opulent Baroque gilded walls bare, showing off the wealth the site has to offer, and ensuring its treasured works of art retain their starring role. All churches have their own calendars of events, such as processions and carol singing, which can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Most, including St John’s conventual church, also organise midnight mass on Christmas eve, a staple for many Maltese, who swiftly follow their reflections on sacrifice and repentance with indulgent 14

breakfast food at one of the island’s many eateries. A fullEnglish breakfast, and continental varieties of pastries, are served together with coffee, tea and the much-anticipated prosecco from 1am, in anticipation of another food-filled day the morning after. And Christmas in this city is not over till it says it's over. Between 26 and 30 December, street parades and performances by folk groups and majorettes, accompanied by various international bands, will take place in the second edition of the Malta International Christmas Festival, also happening in Victoria, Gozo.

SLIEMA The big British department stores may have already rolled out their Christmas adverts, but if Sliema

Christmas decorations in Valletta - Photo: Bernice Yeomans -

you’ve arrived on the rock with some gifts left to buy, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle. Instead, head down to the high streets in Sliema, where you’ll find a host of your favourite branded stores as well as some sweet surprises. The town is popular with shoppers at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own during the festive season. The Christmas lights go up in the first week of December and will continue to shine their merry light on all and sundry right into the New Year. Mulled wine is actually prepared and served by the bucket load in this town, with bars and restaurants pairing it up with the ubiquitous mince pies. But, there is also a larger variety of cocktails and signature dishes to enjoy, if you fancy something different. ➜


Natalis Nobilis - Photo:

Entertainment is also at the very core of Sliema during the festive season. One of the highlights is the Comedy Knights show, taking place post-Christmas, from 26 December to 7 January, which includes a series of sketches written and performed by some of Malta’s most talented comedians and comediennes. The venue itself is a sight to behold – the old Salesian Theatre boasts an interior of plush red seating and a lunette above the main stage painted by celebrated artist Giuseppe Calì.

RABAT & MDINA Christmas scenes are recreated all over the island by nativity crib enthusiasts who are constantly looking for ways to further embellish their meticulously assembled Rabat, Malta - Photo: Clive Vella -

Natalis Nobilis - Photo:

creations, sometimes even starting their preparations as early as October. While tasteful treasures live side-by-side with more kitschy examples, the tradition is a Maltese staple, with every town and city displaying their own versions of the Christmas narrative, a testament to the passion and enthusiasm which drives the craft on the islands. And the centre of Malta – home to the medieval fortified city of Mdina and its neighbouring town, Rabat – is no different. Here, Christmas is heralded with the

More Christmastime events to take note of

1. Lola’s Christmas Market Dates: 1-3 December Venue: Villa Madama, Balzan 2. Magical Christmas Concert Dates: 7-10 December Venue: Catholic Institute, Floriana Tickets from 3. Nativity Cribs Exhibition Dates: 8-28 December Venue: Parish Centre, B’Kara E: 4. Pantomime: Cinderella Dates: 22 December-3 January Venue: MFCC, Ta’ Qali 5. Pantomime: Alice in Wonderland Dates: 23 December-7 January Venue: Manoel Theatre, Valletta 6. Malta Youth Orchestra – Christmas Classics Date: 27 December Venue: Castille Place, Valletta

start of Natalis Notabilis, a six-day event commencing on 7 December in the village core of Rabat, and featuring nativity cribs as well as carol singers along a Nativity Trail, taking visitors to the heart of the town’s past and into historic buildings, such as the 500-year old Ta’ Ġieżu church, and the 18th century band club, Palazzo Xara. ➜


COVER STORY The town will also play host to Malta’s largest Christmas market, with over 80 stalls selling artisanal wares and speciality food.

MELLIEĦA In a town more popularly known for its long stretches of sandy beaches, deck chairs and the smell of suntan lotion, Mellieħa is this year hoping to attract a different sort of crowd with the Mellieħa International Christmas Festival, to be held on 23, 24 as well as 27 and 28 December. Kids’ parties, a gospel choir and street parades will all feature. Father Christmas is due to make an appearance here as well, while food stalls selling traditional Maltese food will be set up in the picturesque parish square. GOZO Malta’s sister island may be smaller in size, but it’s got a massive Christmas-filled heart for anything related to the festivities. The official opening of the celebrations will take place on Saturday 2 December when the Malta Concert Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Paul Abela, will perform musical

Bethlehem f'Għajnsielem

The village of Għajnsielem travels back in time, with over 150 actors offering a naturalistic reproduction of the nativity story. numbers, while the Minister for Gozo switches on the Christmas lights in the centre of Victoria. And, in this same location, specifically in St George’s Square, on Christmas Eve, the Youth Wind Band and Orchestra will welcome the merry day in by performing carols, medleys and arrangements in a concert entitled Twas the Night Before Christmas. And, further down the road, the village of Għajnsielem travels back in time, with over 150 actors offering a naturalistic reproduction of the nativity story set over 20,000 square

metres of land which transforms into Bethlehem – market stalls, carpenters and taverns included. The event takes place from 8 December to 2 January, and will also include re-enactments of the journey Mary and Joseph took from Nazareth to Bethlehem, as well as the Adoration of the Magi. But, the highlight is the grotto, where the baby Jesus (played by three alternating newborns) is re-born. So, whether you’re into festive performances, sparkly lights or traditional culture, the merry season in Malta has much to offer – except, that is, for snow.


Palace Armoury - Photo: Aaron Briffa -

Valletta 2018 Putting Culture in the Heart of the Capital

Final preparations for Valletta European Capital of Culture 2018 set to kick off in January are underway, with the city’s cultural scene expected to experience a fervent, and lasting, resurgence. But what can we expect? Rebecca Anastasi takes a look. The highly anticipated showcase of Valletta’s, and indeed Malta’s, art and culture scene is nigh upon us, with the capital expected to show the world just what the island’s artists and cultural practitioners have to offer: a strong sense of identity, a vibrant atmosphere and a buoyant artistic confidence. It is hoped that Valletta 2018 will do Malta proud. “The most unique part about Valletta 2018 is that, whereas in other European Capitals of Culture

most of the activities are confined to the city, ours extend to all of Malta and Gozo,” Maria Mizzi, Valletta 2018’s digital marketing and communications executive explains. The themes of the yearlong event centre on the nature of island life, taking a close look at the stories, the images and the spaces of the whole archipelago. “It’s the first time that Malta is experiencing a European Capital of Culture title and since the island is so small, we have projects and

performances in various spaces around the Maltese islands including in Gozo,” Maria continues. To this end, the programme includes both large and small events designed to involve locals and visitors alike. “We feel that every project is important within the bigger picture of the cultural programme. However, we do have projects which are bigger than others. In January, the opening will set the tone and the pace for the rest of the year. ➜ 21

VALLETTA Our main exhibition, Dal-Baħar Madwarha (The Island is What the Sea Surrounds), opens its doors in March with diverse exhibitions taking place until June and all revolving around the relationship Malta has with the sea. We will also be hosting the second edition of the Valletta Pageant of the Seas which was a major success in 2016,” Maria outlines. All the events, whatever their size, aim to give Maltese and Gozitans a renewed sense of pride in their cultural heritage, present visitors with an experience they will never forget, and involve creative practitioners in putting the heart and soul back into the country’s art scene. Younger generations are encouraged to participate, in the hope that love for culture and the arts will be instilled in tomorrow’s leaders, artists and educators. “Another event, Museum of

Invented Cultures, has drawn inspiration from our Oħloq Kultura (Create Culture) project which encourages children to come up with their own madeup cultures,” Maria continues. Valletta 2018’s official programme kicks off during the opening week from 14 to 21 January, with street artists, performers and travelling bands taking to the capital’s thoroughfares; the doors to historical spaces will be thrown open to the public and exhibitions will be dotted around the city; community storytelling will be at the heart of the event, with activities centred on Valletta’s residents. “There is much to see all over Valletta. We invite the public to rediscover the capital by experiencing the performances as they happen in the streets and at different venues,” Maria states.

"There is much to see all over Valletta. We invite the public to rediscover the capital by experiencing the performances as they happen in the streets and at different venues" – Maria Mizzi

Valletta Pageant of the Seas - Photo: Viktor Vella


Strada Stretta - Photo: Turner Gencturk

Dal-Bahar Madwarha - Photo: Ali Tollervey

This Maltese traditional festa atmosphere will culminate on 20 January, with dance and music filling each of Valletta’s four squares, St George’s, St John’s, Castille Square and the area around Triton Fountain, where the highlights include performances by Catalan theatrical group, La Fura dels Baus, whose members will interact with the audience through their outdoor acrobatics, and by local contemporary dance group ŻfinMalta. ➜


Programme highlights

Artist's impression of MUŻA

This is a massive undertaking, coordinated with artistic and cultural practitioners from all over the globe, with the hope that huge crowds will turn up to witness the free event. “Preparations for the opening ceremony are in their final stages and are going really well,” Maria asserts. “All the artists and projects are confirmed, and everything is good to go for the public to enjoy an unforgettable night.” The rest of the year promises to maintain the momentum launched by the opening week, and its ceremony. “January is La Fura dels Baus

only the beginning of an inclusive programme that spans over a whole year. In February, we will have several music events tied to our music programme, while in March, for example, there will be the opening of the major exhibition, Dal-Baħar Madwarha (The Island is What the Sea Surrounds) and other visual arts exhibitions,” Maria explains. A multitude of projects are planned, such as European Eyes on Japan at Spazju Kreattiv, where two European photographers will exhibit their work on the island nation, as well as festivals such as the Valletta Film Festival in June and the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival in August. The year-long programme even includes events which are more academic in nature such as the conference Sharing the Legacy. The projects span all art forms and all cultural endeavours, from those aimed at building a rapport with the local community, to design projects, performances, opera, film and music. Events in other parts of the islands will also tie into the themes of the entire Valletta 2018 programme, such as the project Bodies in Urban Spaces, taking place in Mellieħa, and in which performers will encourage audiences to examine the ways in which they interact with their townscapes. ➜

1. Valletta 2018 Opening Week Dates: 14-21 January; opening ceremony on 20 January; Venue: Various sites in Valletta 2. Carnival Dates: 9-13 February; Venue: Various sites in Valletta 3.

European Eyes on Japan Photographic Exhibition Dates: 30 March-29 April Venue: Spazju Kreattiv, Upper Galleries, Valletta

4. Valletta Green Festival Dates: 4-6 May Venue: St George’s Square, Valletta 5. Malta Fashion Week & Awards Dates: 28 May-2 June Venue: Fort St Elmo, Valletta 6. Valletta Pageant of the Seas Date: 7 June Venue: Grand Harbour, Valletta 7. Valletta Film Festival Dates: 8-17 June Venue: Various sites in Valletta 8. Malta International Arts Festival Dates: 29 June-14 July Venue: Various sites in Valletta 9. Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival Dates: 23-25 August Venue: Fort St Elmo, Valletta 10. Science in the City Date: 28 September Venue: Various sites in Valletta 11. Notte Bianca Date: 6 October Venue: Valletta 12. Valletta 2018 International Conference: Sharing the Legacy Dates: 24-26 October Venue: Various sites in Valletta 13. Malta Book Festival Date: November Venue: Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta 14. Closing Spectacle Date: 15 December Venue: St George’s Square, Valletta


VALLETTA Laika theatre group will be creating a sensory adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s modern classic, Saint Joan of the Stockyards in Ta’ Qali, while, not far from the gates of Valletta, a new operatic work by Maltese composer, Mario Sammut, Aħna Refuġjati (We Are Refugees), will be performed on the Granaries in Floriana. But, the year of culture is just the start of a journey for the Valletta 2018 Foundation, as an additional four infrastructural projects have been set up, with the aim of ensuring a lasting legacy and a future filled with art and culture for generations to come. Maria describes the vision for these. “These include the cultural regeneration of Strait Street, the opening of MUŻA at Auberge d’Italie (Malta’s new museum of art and flagship project for Valletta 2018), the opening of the Old Market in Merchants Street, which will cater for the needs of the resident community, while also having a space dedicated to cultural activities, and finally, the opening of the Valletta Design Cluster at the Old Abattoir in Valletta, which will act as a design hub for students, architects, businesses and residents.”

Musical performance at Strada Stretta

But, the strength of Valletta 2018 will rest on the experiences it will create in the minds and hearts of all who attend. “Though Valletta 2018 is running for a year, we want this to be a memorable experience in which people from different backgrounds get together

and create long-lasting friendships through cultural activities,” Maria asserts. These experiences, it is hoped, will encourage greater critical thinking, collaborative attitudes and an understanding of the integral function of art in the community and the country.

“Though Valletta 2018 is running for a year, we want this to be a memorable experience in which people from different backgrounds get together and create long-lasting friendships through cultural activities” – Maria Mizzi

Dal-Baħar Madwarha - Photo: Ali Tollervey



Teatru Manoel

re-opens its doors with a spectacular 2018 programme

As a result of the new climate-control system, Teatru Manoel is now open for longer and will be presenting significantly more projects. 2018 is also the year in which Valletta is the European Capital of Culture and the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Teatru Manoel, Valletta - Photo: Luiz Rodriguez

Once again, the Theatre has strived to increase the richness and variety of the artistic programme it presents. On the opera front, the theatre is presenting Don Giovanni, the second of the three operas by that miraculous partnership of Mozart and Da Ponte, and premiering in Malta is Cendrillon, the opera by Maltese composer Nicolo Isouard on the 200th anniversary of his death.

Drama productions include great plays like Anouilh’s Antigone and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which sit cheek by jowl with original scripts in Maltese by Staġun Teatru Malti, as well as a new production by the recently-formed and award-winning Grokk Teatru. Alongside the popular series of orchestral concerts by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, the music programme includes an eclectic mix

of concerts and recitals covering various musical genres including a unique weekend of concerts by Malta’s leading brass bands. As a result of 21st century acclimatisation technology in this unique 18th century baroque theatre, the audience can enjoy an artistic programme that spans centuries of creativity. 29


Limited edition collection at

Women’s Secret

Women’s Secret has launched a limited edition collection that’s sexier than ever, featuring premium lace pieces with opaque fabrics, and transparencies that add an alluring touch to undergarments. The delicate and elegant collection includes heart-shaped necklines, swan necklines and corsets that flatter

women’s curves and heighten their sensuality. A novelty in this collection is the duality of some pieces, which can be worn as underwear or outerwear.

Level 2, Bay Street, St Julian’s. T: 2371 9312; Also at Pama Shopping Village, Mosta and Tower Road, Sliema.


Teatru Manoel, Valletta - Photo: Luiz Rodriguez

A Very Cultural


From religious concerts to larger-than-life pantomimes, Malta’s cultural calendar comes alive at Christmastime. Jo Caruana takes her pick of the events you simply cannot miss. Malta really is a special place over the holiday season, as each town and village becomes home to brightly-coloured decorations, a prettily-lit church and houses bedecked with garlands. However, there’s also so much more to enjoy than that, with a vast selection of live events – from music and theatre to religious spectacles. In fact, the toughest challenge is to narrow down which ones to see!

Music Live music is one of the cornerstones of a jolly Christmas, and there are a number of lovely events to choose from this festive season. One is by the renowned Grima-Gialanzè Duo who will be performing Weihnachtsbaum (16 December, Palazzo de la Salle, Valletta, – featuring pieces for four-hands, as well as a piano solo, in a festive programme of music by Liszt, ➜

Handheld guide Download the free iMalta app to help you find your way around the islands by suggesting the best places to visit and sights to see.



Grima-Gialanzè Duo

Debussy, Schumann and Tchaikovsky, including the Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71. It is suitable for children (8+) and families are encouraged to attend. There will also be two fabulous performances by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), starting with The Nutcracker (15 December) in St George’s Square, Valletta. Under the direction of Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan, the orchestra will perform an extensive selection of music from this charming and heart-warming ballet, as well as Mendelssohn’s famous Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The MPO’s next event takes place later in the new year at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta. Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben – A Hero’s Life (27 January) is a musical depiction of the life and works of a hero that is typically interpreted as being autobiographical in nature. Under the direction of Dutch-Maltese conductor Lawrence Renes, the orchestra will also be joined by Latvian pianist Inese Klotiņa for a performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto. However, if you’re in the mood for something traditionally festive, then look no further than the University of Western Australia Choral Society and 34

Malta Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mediterranean Conference Centre - Photo: Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

the Goldberg Ensemble’s performance of Handel’s Messiah Concert (12 January, St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral, Valletta), as part of fundraising efforts for the Cathedral’s Restoration Appeal. Kicking off 2018 is one of the most anticipated music events of the year – the Valletta International Baroque Festival ( mt). The programme of events begins on 13 January with the Four Seasons by Vivaldi, followed by a concert of German Celebrity Composers on 14 January. Other highlights include Suites for Viola by Gamba & Harpsichord by Corelli, Forqueray, Duphly and Abacus on 17 January, La Mascarade on 20 January, and the closing La Liberazione di Ruggiero on 27 January.

Theatre & Dance For something more theatrical, on the other hand, consider Screwged (7-12 December, Palazzo Xara Concert Hall, Rabat), a performance that’s part of Natalis Notabilis 2017, Malta’s Christmas Village in the heart of Rabat. This 30-minute show is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, set within a modern scenario and directed by Zep Camilleri.

Another family event is the Science of Christmas Through Storytelling (3 December, Esplora Interactive Science Centre, Kalkara,, in which everyone gets to tell their own tale. What lies within the stocking? How do the magi know which star to follow? What happens to the little match girl? This event will draw on classical and contemporary Christmas stories to introduce story-telling techniques to the young and old alike. ➜

Lawrence Renes Photo: Malta Philharmonic Orchestra Comedy Knights


The King's Consort - Valletta International Baroque Festival

Alternatively, if you’d like to get to grips with some political and social satire this Christmas, then the adult-only Comedy Knights: 5how Me the Funny (26 December-7 January, Salesians Theatre, Sliema, is bound to entertain. This laugh-out-loud sketch show returns for the fifth consecutive year and promises to sell out once again as it takes a (light-hearted) stab at all things Maltese.

Pantomimes You may be surprised to learn that the very British pantomime tradition has found a permanent home in Malta – and locals love attending it every year. The event itself actually dates back to the years when the British were still based in Malta, when the MADC was set up as an amateur dramatic club that showcased a variety of productions throughout the year. Today, two pantomimes take place – one at the MFCC in Ta’ Qali, and the other at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta. This year’s Ta’ Qali offering will be Cinderella (22 December-3 January,, bringing an all-time favourite to the stage. With not-one-but-two ‘dames’ played by Michael Mangion and Jean Pierre Busuttil (as larger-than-life characters and men in drag) in the roles of the ugly sisters, poor Cinderella (played by Rachael Tedesco Triccas) is bound to have her work cut out for her. As for the Manoel Theatre panto, this is set to be Alice in Wonderland (23 December-7 January, www. and will star well-known actor Malcolm Galea as the dame, as well as Stephen Oliver as the Mad Hatter and Joseph Zammit as the White Rabbit.


Both pantomimes promise fun for all the family, with lots of live music, singing, dancing and hilarious antics – the majority of which are performed in English (although you will spot the odd joke in Maltese). The real fun here comes with the audience participation, including the famous ‘panto call’ and ‘song sheet’. It’s definitely a way to inject some fairy-tale merriment into your festivities.

Religious Events And for something completely different, head over to the Christmas Carol Concert (7 December, St Mark’s Church, Rabat) at 7pm, performed by St Monica’s Choir. Year-onyear, this concert gains ground for its stunning renditions of carols and festive tunes, all of which are beautifully performed and fun to sing along to, followed by mince pies and mulled wine served in the Augustinian Cloister. Finally, if you’d like to experience the real magic of Christmas, then hop on the ferry over to Gozo to wander through the Għajnsielem Live Crib (10 December-7 January, Għajnsielem). From baby Jesus in his manger to an array of other Biblical characters (and even the odd donkey!), this is your chance to imagine beautiful Bethlehem as it might have been on that fateful night.


Heritage Malta’s branded gift lines

Heritage Malta is venturing into new initiatives not only to generate revenue in its aim to safeguard its cultural assets and to make them accessible for the enjoyment of the public, but also to develop different methods of promoting such cultural treasures. The national agency is currently investing in business development initiatives. It is a known fact that people who visit cultural heritage sites are interested in buying a unique memento which help them extend that experience away from the cultural site. In this respect, Heritage Malta is retailing a selection of own-branded gift lines which are only available from museums’ retail outlets around Malta and Gozo. The development of the range of products that is currently being offered takes into consideration not only the subject matter but also other practical aspects such as pricing, portability and variety. A radical change is the medium that is being

used when creating a product line. Apart from the important medium of publications in order to convey information to our clients, other media are being factored in, in order to appeal to a wider audience, and the product range has been expanded to include various materials such as textiles, clothing, a range of exclusive collectable figurines and other accessories.

For more information about Heritage Malta, its museums and sites, and the agency’s products, available also online, visit

Community Orchestra

at St George’s Square, Valletta

Christmas is a time to bring people together, and this year, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra wishes to celebrate it through a special concert which will see it join forces with musicians recruited from the general public. Community Orchestra, which will be held at Valletta’s St George’s Square on 19 December, will see the orchestra perform a selection of works fit for the festive season, under the direction of conductor Joseph Debrincat. For this occasion, amateur string musicians were given the unique opportunity to perform with a professional orchestra. Musicians who could play a string instrument at an intermediate level were interviewed and auditioned before embarking on a series of rehearsals to prepare for their day on stage. A marquee is being set up in St George’s Square for

the occasion, to ensure that the concert can take place come rain or shine. And since Christmas is also a time for giving, admission to the event is free of charge.



The MELLIEĦA INTERNATIONAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL The Mellieħa International Christmas Festival will be held on 23, 24, 27 and 28 December with a unique programme to cater for the whole family.

A kids’ party will be organised at the Mellieħa Primary School and will feature games, face painting, balloon modelling, sing-alongs and of course a visit from Father Christmas himself. A Christmas concert with the participation of the Vocal Gospel Choir and Band will be held at the Manikata Church, while an activity for the elderly will be held at the Mellieħa Home with the participation of Benny and Tonia and the Future Voices Childrens’ Choir. On Christmas Eve, the traditional purċissjoni bilBambin (Baby Jesus procession) will be organised by the MUSEUM Society of Mellieħa, accompanied by carol singing by the Għaqda Mużikali Imperial. On 27 and 28 December, Mellieħa will offer two unique days of international parades and shows with the participation of Father Christmas along Mellieħa’s main streets (one day along Gorġ Borġ Olivier Street with a spectacular finish at the Mellieħa Parish Square, and the next day along Parish Street, again with a spectacular ending at the Mellieħa Parish Square), to celebrate 40

the last days of 2017 with a bang. Maltese participants will include The Big Friends Guggen Musik Band and the Wallace Bagpipes and Drums, as well as Artemocion Dance Studio and Valentine Dancers; while participants from Italy include The Majorettes of Casperia, The Associazione Musicale V. Bellini – Citta di Calatabiano, I Cariddi Folk Group, I Fanfara Bersaglieri dell Etna, The Gruppo Sbandieratori and Musici Leoni Reali. Food stalls selling traditional food items will be set up at the Mellieħa Church Square.

Join the merriment for a truly magical Christmas celebration that Mellieħa has to offer. This event is being held in collaboration with the Department for Local Government, the Malta Tourism Authority, Valletta 2018 Foundation, North Region and the Malta Christmas Festival. More information is available on the Mellieħa Local Council’s website, or by calling T: 2152 1333.


Hilfiger Denim rebrands to Tommy Jeans Capitalising on a growing demand from a younger demographic, Tommy Hilfiger is re-branding its Hilfiger Denim label as Tommy Jeans. The move is effective with women’s and men’s pre-spring 2018 collections, which will be introduced to Malta shortly. The decision was made to build on the strong momentum that Hilfiger is experiencing in its globally-

established denim business. In spring 2016, the company launched Tommy Jeans heritage capsules, which have continued to experience an impressive sell-out performance with a strong global demand for the collections. Special edition Tommy Jeans capsules will continue to be a part of the label. The Point, Sliema – T: 2060 1163; Republic Street, Valletta – T: 2060 1192;


Get ready

for Malta’s own dynamic tourism and travel portal to launch in February 2018 Regularly featuring among the top destinations to visit in respected foreign publications and other media, Malta has been experiencing record-breaking tourism results for years. Now, with more people visiting our islands than ever as we prepare for Valletta’s role as European Capital of Culture in 2018, the time is ripe for a dynamic tourism and travel portal that will become an invaluable asset during your stay.

Here are 6 reasons you’ll love! 1. Fresh look Featuring a clean and attractive interface that’s eye-catching and easy to navigate, www. is being created to be useful, entertaining and fun, and look great while doing it. 2. Cutting-edge content Regularly updated by a great team of writers with cuttingedge content dealing with everything from news, lifestyle and useful information to restaurant reviews, top happenings on the islands, places to visit and things to see and do, www.GuideMeMalta. com will have something new and dynamic to offer every time you visit. 3. Wide audience With such varied content, www. is relevant to a wide audience, from those planning a trip to Malta and those already in Malta to expats and even the Maltese.

5. Hotel booking platform We’re teaming up with www. to provide a platform which enables visitors to book their stay in Malta directly through – an exciting feature that makes the portal truly a one-stop-shop! 6. Extensive events section You’ll never be stuck for things to do with’s events section, featuring everything from the latest feasts and festivals to gigs, concerts and parties.

4. 2,000 strong restaurant guide will feature an interactive digital restaurant guide which will include over 2,000 restaurants across Malta and Gozo. Easy to search and navigate, this extensive section will prove invaluable to anyone looking for their next great meal in Malta and Gozo.

About the publisher As a specialist in the tourism media segment, Content House Group is the only local media company with a specialised arm catering for tourists and visitors to Malta. They are the publishers of Guide Me magazine and the local publisher of the international publishing house Time Out Group of London, through the publication of the annual Time Out Malta & Gozo Visitors Guide.



7,000 years of history brought to life

Located in Malta’s capital city, Valletta, housed within what was once the Sacra Infermeria of the Knights of Malta, is The Malta Experience. This audio-visual spectacular is one of the largest attractions in Europe in terms of duration, system and language commentaries. It is also the only show that retraces 7,000 years of Maltese history. The 45-minute presentation can be listened to in one of 17 languages. In a purposely built auditorium, with a panoramic screen, sensational vision and a gripping commentary, The Malta Experience brings 7,000 years of history back to life. Shows are every hour on the hour as follows: Monday to Friday from 11am to 4pm; Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11am to 2pm. After the show one can also enjoy a tour of the Sacra Infermeria, the old hospital of the Knights of St John. Today, this beautiful building is known as the Mediterranean Conference Centre, but you can still step back in time and visualise its revolutionary past on a guided tour, and visit the

longest ward in Europe measuring 155 metres in length and holding 247 beds. Quote ‘Guide Me’ at the ticketing counter to claim your 15 per cent discount on the entrance fee (not valid with any other offer). Ask for a combined ticket which also includes a guided tour of The Sacra Infermeria – The Old Hospital of the Knights of St John.

The Malta Experience St Elmo Bastions, Mediterranean Street, Valletta. T: 2124 3776;


fit for a


Malta has a treasure trove of palaces, ranging from the medieval to the baroque, some of which have been beautifully preserved and are still in use to this day. Marie-Claire Grima finds out what’s behind those magnificent old doors.

Grandmaster's Palace - Photo: Aaron Briffa -

Malta has as many grand and elegant palaces as you would expect from an island that was colonised by a military order of noblemen, princes and assorted aristocrats for nearly 300 years. Several of these palaces have been sadly forgotten or lost to time or tragedy, but others are still in use for administrative or ceremonial roles, and many of them are open to the public, either on a daily basis, or on special occasions. Here are some of the finest.

Grandmaster's Palace The Grandmaster's Palace was one of the first buildings built in Valletta by the capital city’s namesake, Grand Master Jean de Valette. Designed by Girolamo Cassar, the architect 48

who brought to life many of the buildings in Valletta, it occupies a whole block and is the largest palace in Valletta. It is built around two courtyards, which are now known as Neptune’s Courtyard and Prince Alfred’s Courtyard. During the time of the Knights of St John, the palace was enlarged and developed by successive grandmasters to serve as their official residence. Later, during the British period, it served as the Governor’s Palace and was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921. The palace today is the seat of the Office of the President of Malta. The Grandmaster's Palace houses the Palace Armoury, one of the world’s largest collections of

Grandmaster's Palace - Photo:

arms and armour still held in its original building. The collection in the Armoury includes several suits of armour belonging to Knights of the Order of St John, cannons, firearms, swords, and other weapons. The palace also holds numerous artistic treasures, including the only complete and intact set of 18th-century French Gobelins tapestries in the world, entitled Les Teintures des Indes; Matteo Perez d’Aleccio’s 13 frescoes depicting the Great Siege of 1565; ceilings decorated with trompe l’œil paintings by Nicolau Nasoni; as well as the official portrait gallery of Malta’s various rulers and heads of state, from the time of the Knights of St John in Malta till today.


The Palace State Rooms are open Monday to Friday between 10am and 4.30pm (last admission at 4pm) and Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 4.30pm (last admission at 4pm). The Palace Armoury is open from Monday to Sunday between 9am and 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm).

San Anton Palace San Anton Palace in Attard was originally built in the early 17th century as a country villa for Antoine de Paule, a knight of the Order of St John, and expanded into a palace after de Paule was elected Grandmaster in 1623. It continued to

San Anton Palace - Photo:

grow with the occupation of subsequent Grandmaster's. San Anton served as the headquarters of the rebel National Assembly during the uprising of 1798-1800 against French rule, and it later became a residence for the Civil Commissioners, Governors and Governors-General of Malta. It has been the official residence of the President of Malta since the office was created in 1974, when Malta became a republic. The palace’s best-known features are its lush gardens, which were first opened to the public in the early 19th century by Civil Commissioner Alexander Ball. Some of the trees in the garden are over 300 years old, and are remarkable for their beauty and diversity. It is the custom for visiting heads of state to plant a tree in memory of their stay in Malta. The gardens are also bedecked with various sculptures, fountains, ornamental ponds and a small aviary. A number of events are held at San Anton, including the annual Horticultural Spring Show. While the palace is not open to the public, the gardens are open Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm. ➜

San Anton Palace - Photo:


HERITAGE Inquisitor’s Palace The Inquisitor’s Palace in Birgu, also known as the Sacred Palace, was the seat of the Maltese Inquisition from 1574 to 1798, under the name Palazzo del Sant’Officio. It is one of the few surviving palaces of its kind in the world, and the only one which is open to the public. Although it contains a number of different architectural elements and styles, it looks much like a Roman palazzo, with a symmetrical façade and a small courtyard with a Gothic groin vault cloister. After the Inquisition was abolished during the French occupation of Malta in 1798, the palace was used for a number of purposes, including as a military hospital, a mess hall and a convent. The upper floor became a Folklore Museum in 1981, but by the late 1980s the museum was in decline and only parts of it remained open to the public. The palace was fully reopened as the National Museum of Ethnography in 1992. Besides exhibits relating to the Inquisition, the museum’s collections also include a number

Inquisitor’s Palace - Photo: Aaron Briffa -

of architectural models of Maltese landmarks that were destroyed or demolished. It also houses Heritage Malta’s ethnography section. The palace is open from Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm).

Verdala Palace Verdala Palace is a 16th-century palace located in the limits of Siġġiewi. The palace, originally a hunting lodge, was built in the Boschetto (now known as Buskett

Verdala Palace - Photo: Mario Galea -


Gardens), a stretch of woodland that was used by knights of the Order of Saint John for hunting game. The lodge was expanded into a palace in 1586, during the reign of Grandmaster Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle, who gave it its name. It was further embellished in the 17th and 18th centuries, during the reigns of Giovanni Paolo Lascaris and António Manoel de Vilhena. Verdala Palace lost its lustre under the initial few years of British rule, when it was first used as a silk factory and eventually abandoned. It was fully restored by Governor Sir William Reid in the 1850s, and became the official summer residence of the Governors of Malta, as well as hosted visiting heads of state including King Edward VII, King George V and King George VI of the United Kingdom, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia and Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. It was also used to shelter works of art from the National Museum during the Second World War. Nowadays, it serves as the official summer residence of the President of Malta. ➜

HERITAGE It is generally closed to the public except for the August Moon Ball held annually in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund; however, the surrounding Buskett area is open to the public and you’ll find several families walking their dogs and having picnics there on weekends.

Palazzo Falson Palazzo Falson is a two-storey medieval palace in Mdina, one of the imposing palaces built by the Sicilian, Spanish and local nobility in the ancient city. It was originally a one-storey house, with the set of rooms at the back of the courtyard forming the oldest part of the building, and dating back to the 13th century. It now consists of a series of rooms built around an internal courtyard, and an overlying piano nobile which contained the original living quarters. Palazzo Falson’s architecture also features a number of different subsequent styles from various historical periods. Its most well-known and celebrated resident was Olof Frederick Gollcher, the son of

Palazzo Falson - Photo:

a wealthy Swedish shipping merchant; Gollcher bought the palazzo bit by bit between 1927 and 1938. Gollcher was an artist and philanthropist who collected precious historical artefacts and objets d’art; in Palazzo Falson, he found a perfect site for his personal collection, and spent many happy years adding to and rearranging his collections. The Maltese Heritage Foundation entered into a management agreement with the Gollcher Foundation in 2001, and proceeded to restore the palazzo and all its contents to their former glory, where they are now available for public viewing.

Palazzo Vilhena - Photo: Aaron Briffa -

It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm (last visit at 4pm), and can also be booked for after-hour visits and special events.

Palazzo Vilhena Palazzo Vilhena is an 18th-century French baroque palace in Mdina, named after António Manoel de Vilhena, the Grandmaster who commissioned it. The palace was built after an earthquake in Sicily caused huge damage to the city in 1693, and took the place of the Università, the meeting place of the civil administrative council. Palazzo Vilhena was designed by renowned architect Charles François de Mondion in the French baroque style that was then popular in Parisian palaces; with a U-shaped forecourt surrounded with loggias, following the plan of the original castle. The central façade of the palace contains the ornate main doorway, flanked by Corinthian columns and featuring a bronze relief of de Vilhena. Under British rule in 1860, the palace was converted into a sanatorium, before being closed down in 1907. ➜



Palazzo Parisio

King Edward VII reopened it in 1909 as a hospital for patients suffering from tuberculosis. The hospital was closed down for good in 1956. Since 1973, it has been open to the public as the National Museum of Natural History, with a sizeable collection that includes samples of flora and fauna, fossils, rocks, minerals and dioramas of Maltese habitats. The museum is open from Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm).

Palazzo Parisio Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar was built as a hunting lodge by Grandmaster António Manoel de Vilhena in 1733. After his death, it was used for a number of purposes – from a summer residence to soldiers’ barracks – before being acquired by the Marquis Giuseppe Scicluna in 1898, who transformed it into a fabulous palace. The Marquis commissioned a team of Italian architects, sculptors and painters to embellish the palace, a project that took six years – in fact, the Marquis died before the works were fully completed. The interior is richly decorated 54

with frescoes, statues, columns, chandeliers and a unique gilded ballroom, while the lavish gardens boast many exotic species including jacaranda, cinerarias and over 65 species of hibiscus – no wonder it has been described as a miniature Versailles. The palace and its gardens are now open to the public, and are a very popular wedding venue. Palazzo Parisio is open daily from 8am to 8pm, while the restaurant – which is open daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea – is also open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday from 7pm till late. Casa Rocca Piccola - Photo: James Bianchi

Casa Rocca Piccola Casa Rocca Piccola is a 16thcentury palace located in Valletta. It was built in 1580 by Admiral Don Pietro la Rocca, and is referenced in maps of the time as la casa con giardino (the house with the garden), as normally houses in Valletta were not allowed to have gardens. The house has over 50 rooms, including two libraries, two dining rooms, several drawing rooms, a chapel, and a restaurant, and is packed to the rafters with collections of fine furniture, silver and paintings from Malta and Europe. It houses Malta’s largest private collection of antique costumes from the 18th to the 20th centuries, as well as the largest private collection of Maltese lace. Casa Rocca Piccola is the home of the noble de Piro family to this day, whose ancestors bought the palace in the 1700s. The palace is open to the public from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm. Guided tours are held on the hour, often provided by the 9th Marquis de Piro himself, Nicholas de Piro.


A car collection for the ages

The Classic Car Collection was the brainchild of obsessive petrol head Carol Galea, an avid and selfconfessed car enthusiast. He first began customising and building his own cars for local hill climbing races, but his hobby evolved into a full-blown passion for classic cars. This is his personal tribute to the automobile industry – or as he puts it – to a “living and growing collection that spans more than 50 years of motor manufacturing”. The museum has a huge variety of cars, ranging from a 1955 Jaguar C Type to a 1972 Fiat 500F. They have all been carefully restored and lovingly preserved. To really take you back in time, we have also decked out the museum with a collection of antiques and memorabilia from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Gramophones, antique television sets, jukeboxes and even the fashions of yesteryear all frame our collection and help put it in context.

Come on over and watch us bring these classic automobiles back to life and restore them to their former glory. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm; Saturdays and public holidays 9am to 1.30pm. Closed on Sundays. Entrance fee: Adults €9 and Children €4.50.

Malta Classic Car Collection, Tourists Street, Qawra. T: 2157 8885; E:;


Fall in love with

Charles & Ron

Charles & Ron is a contemporary lifestyle brand of high-end clothing and bags with a distinct Mediterranean flair and a dedication to superior quality. Maltese culture is an integral part of the Charles & Ron design ethic, and the brand’s vision is to inspire customers to be part of the ‘love affair’ with the brand’s instantlyrecognisable Mediterranean style.

Mediterranean Identity “Malta has always been of enormous inspiration to our work, and throughout the years, we’ve enjoyed designing with inspiration from the Mediterranean and all it offers. For us, it’s important to incorporate certain aspects of culture, architecture and tradition, and show them in a different and unexpected way. We’ve incorporated these references into our brand since the beginning – they define us as a brand, and it’s important to embrace and appreciate your heritage.” Celebrities and Feminine shapes “In the past year, we’ve had the pleasure of dressing many international celebrities, including Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), singer Ashanti, Ally Brooke (Fifth Harmony) and Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child). These moments have been

very satisfying for us as designers, however, we take pride in designing for all kinds of women. The Charles & Ron woman does love statement pieces with a feminine silhouette and is never afraid to stand out in a crowd.”

The importance of accessories “Key items in our range are our Maltainspired luxury scarves and our leather bags. Our handbags are made from the finest Italian leather and handcrafted in Malta. By taking home one of our bags and/or scarves, you will truly be taking home the spirit and beauty of the Maltese islands!”

Charles & Ron, 58D, Republic Street, Valletta. T: 2124 0184. Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa, Attard. 59


Your Shopping

destination of choice

Since its inception in March 2010, The Point – the largest shopping mall in Malta – has succeeded in firmly establishing itself as the shopping destination of choice on the island. The Point has been innovative and bold in its strategy and marketing campaigns, giving customers an unprecedented shopping experience and becoming a popular destination for all the family. The wide variety of top brands, comfortable ambience, ease of access and ample availability of parking spaces are only some of the components that helped The Point to achieve its success. Always customer-centric, the team at The Point manages to put together a vast calendar of events targeting various age groups and tastes. Competitions and offers are also available from various outlets and the mall itself on a regular basis. The Point Shopping Mall offers an experience like no other for customers who are looking for a good mix of outlets within any budget!

For a full calendar of events visit and The Point’s Facebook Page



festive fashion Our diaries are full of parties, functions and events at this time of year, and with so much to do, it’s a great excuse to show off your seasonal style. Not sure how to get your wardrobe up to scratch? Sarah Micallef brings you the top trends in festive fashion, accessories and shoes.


FASHION The festive season is definitely the time of year to go a little OTT. From glitter and sequins to bold colours and sharp tailoring, there’s plenty to help you stand out.

Gold Metallics are the obvious neutral of choice during the festive season, and gold remains synonymous with festive cheer year after year. Whether you go for an all-out look in top-to-toe gold or opt for gold separates, you’ll certainly be hitting the right notes at any holiday party. Sequins Sure, sequins come out to play every Christmas, but who can resist a bit of sparkle at this time of year? Go for a statementmaking

Dolce & Gabbana

Christian Louboutin

piece like a sequin skirt or trousers for a subdued look, or get ready to shine on the dancefloor in a full-on sequin dress.

Tuxedo Few things are as classic in a formal event as a tuxedo, but who says the guys get to have all the fun? Feminine takes on the strong tuxedo trend abound this season, as do twists in the form of tuxedo-inspired dresses. Wrap dress Channel 1970s Diane von Furstenberg in a wrap dress at your next holiday event and you’re sure to look festive and sexy in equal

Daniel Wellington

measure. It’s a flattering silhouette for all shapes and sizes, and works as a wonderful basic piece which can be accessorised up or down. ➜ 63


Hit the shops… Check out Malta’s top shopping destinations.

VALLETTA Our beautiful capital city offers so much more than history and architecture. In and around the beautiful baroque buildings that line the city’s streets lie several high street outlets for a dose of retail therapy amid the culture and history lessons. Don’t miss: Republic Street, Merchants Street and The Embassy Complex


Little black dress We all know you simply can’t go wrong with a little black dress, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose one with a little twist. Give your LBD an update this festive season with feather or sheer detailing to take your look up a few style notches! Red This one’s an obvious choice at the holidays, and to top it off, it’s a major A/W 17 trend too. Avoid going down the kitsch route by opting for a deep red number in a luxurious fabric like silk, or if you’d prefer a little darker, merlot is a wonderful vampy shade that will keep you from going down the black route. ➜


SLIEMA Sliema is the undisputed shopping centre of Malta. Look out for the main streets that house a variety of high street and designer brands, as well as the islands’ biggest shopping malls. Don’t miss: Bisazza Street, Tower Road, The Plaza Shopping Centre and The Point Shopping Mall


ST JULIAN’S For the more discerning shopper, the area opposite the upmarket complex of Portomaso is home to a selection of designer shops that beckon you to explore what’s on their beautiful rails. A shopping complex just down the road from the nightlife capital of Paceville is also open on Sundays. Don’t miss: Bay Street Shopping Complex and Portomaso

FASHION Statement shoes From crystals to brocade and jacquard fabrics, there are some truly decadent shoes hitting the spotlight this season, and they look like they’re truly fit for a princess. Slip a pair of these babies on your feet and you’re sure to never feel like you haven’t made an effort! Thigh-high Thigh skimming hem lines are the perfect accompaniment to this season’s trending thigh-high boots, for a look that’s sexy and just a little bit daring. If you’re not up to all that, layer them over jeans or team with a billowing dress for a more laid-back vibe.

Estee Lauder

Velveteen We just love soft, tactile fabrics during Sam Edelman autumn and winter, and just because you’re getting all dolled up doesn’t mean you can’t choose a soft and comfortable option. Velveteen looks fabulous in the form of a suit, with colour favourites including deep red and dark green.

SHOES & ACCESSORIES Outfit hasn’t got enough pizazz? Not to worry, that’s what these sparkling shoes and accessories are for! Check out this year’s must-haves.

Hats You read that right – hats! After a long absence from the runways, hats seem to be stealing the show once again. From leather berets at Christian Dior to baker hats at Miu Miu, it’s looking like we might be seeing a new and fashionable crop of headwear on the high street this season.

If you’re not into all the bling, an elegant monogram can make for a toned down yet equally festive addition to any outfit.

Keys Spotted dangling from necklaces, bracelets, earrings and bags this season, keys seem to be enjoying a moment as accessories in their own right, far from their utilitarian roots. Mystic symbols Cosmic and mystic symbols are trending on both runways and the high-street, with designers like Gucci, Chanel and Alberta Ferretti presenting everything from Illuminatiesque references, talismans and cosmic symbols in their jewellery collections – enchanting!

Sparkles It seems designers really can’t get enough sparkle and shine this festive season. Rhinestones were the dazzle of choice in a number of collections, and found their way onto evening pouches at Alexander Wang, necklaces at Miu Miu and boots at Saint Laurent. Monograms Initials, acronyms and monograms are all the rage among designers the likes of Balenciaga and Dior this season, and we love them.

Net A Porter



Art in every dish The newly-renovated restaurant at Portomaso Casino has recently welcomed a new Head Chef, Daniel Farrugia. Although still young, Daniel has gained a vast amount of experience. He has worked overseas alongside renowned chefs such as Jamie Oliver, as well as at restaurants such as the UK’s double AA Rosette Restaurant, Zodiac, located at the Marriott’s Hanbury Manor in Hertfordshire. Back on the sunny shores of Malta, Daniel has also worked at prestigious venues such as Palazzo Parisio. “My priorities are to deliver finesse, art, as well as flavours. Each individual ingredient is handled with care and with a passion that comes from the love I have for cookery. My vision is to taste every ounce of that passion in every dish I create,” says the Head Chef.

Visit Portomaso Restaurant at Portomaso Casino, Level -1, Portomaso Business Tower, St Julian’s. For reservations call on M: 7939 5830.


Festive advice from 3 Maltese foodies Malta is a food lover’s paradise all year round, but there’s no better time to experience it than during the festive season. Jo Caruana meets three self-confessed foodies to discover what’s on their menu this Christmas. Debbie Schembri runs foodie blog Barefoot and Curious, while also working as a private chef. She prides herself on taking the hassle out of entertaining by creating menus using seasonal, local produce. What do you love most about food and Christmastime in Malta? Without fail, I look forward to the imbuljuta tal-qastan – a thick drink made from chestnuts and chocolate, and flavoured with orange, cloves and cinnamon. It really is one of the most comforting things to sip on! And, even though I don’t consider myself much of a baker, I relish throwing a big tea party a few days before Christmas. I always make way too much food (and put out too much alcohol!) but it leaves everyone dozy and satisfied. What local festive treats should visitors try? Honey rings known as qagħaq tal-għasel – just be sure to avoid the commercial version and, instead, get them from a local baker.

What does Christmas lunch in your house consist of? We’re a small family and don’t really celebrate in a big way. However, every year, there will be an actual fight (generally started by myself) about what our main course should be. I absolutely hate turkey and I will fight to have it replaced by anything under the sun – from goose to partridge cooked over beer cans on the barbecue, we’ve had it all. Then, after lunch, there will be another argument about whether we should nap or clean up first. What are your favourite winter dishes? As much as I love trying different things (and I am known to order the oddest thing on a menu) a proper lasagne always hits the spot. I also love a super-rich beef and ale pie with buttery mashed potatoes.

Imbuljuta tal-qastan - Photo:

What in-season ingredient do you recommend at this time of year? Without a doubt: Jerusalem artichokes. They have so much depth and earthiness to them, and they’re delicious paired with mushrooms and truffle. Which foodie hotspots should visitors try while in Malta? One of my favourites is Bahia in Lija. The team there uses fresh, locallysourced produce, it has a great wine

list, and the service and attention to detail are spot on. I also recommend the newly-opened Risette in Valletta, which will give you an added excuse to wander around the capital. What would be your top foodie tip for enjoying Malta at this time of year? December time in Malta is pleasant and mild, and so picnicking is something I relish the chance to experience. Food never tastes better than when it’s eaten in the open air, looking out over some of our beautiful scenery. Start by buying a loaf of Maltese bread; then grab some olives, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh ricotta from the cheese counter. Finally, visit one of our olive presses to buy some olive oil. Then, just combine the lot and use your hands as cutlery! ➜ 71

CUISINE Fran Farrugia is the founder of Baked – a company famed for its delicious home baking and private catering. This Christmas she’s looking forward to plenty of family time – and plenty of food time! What do you love most about food and Christmastime in Malta? This time of year always seems to bring out the best in people’s abilities to get creative and make great food. I love coming across restaurant food that is bursting with flavour, and also enjoy the sense of warmth that a nice meal brings with it. Everyone seems to be more lenient when it comes to watching what they eat, too, which is perfect for people like me who love entertaining and cooking for other people. What local festive treats should visitors try? I would definitely suggest trying traditional mince pies from a local bakery, as well as the Christmas chocolate log, which is to die for if you’re a chocolate lover. My personal favourite, though, are qagħaq tal-għasel – honey rings with a flaky crust.

Christmas log - Photo:

What does Christmas lunch in your house consist of? Every year, I look forward to Christmas lunch at my grandparents’ house. My family and I have been celebrating it there for as long as I can remember. We have lost family members along the way and also gained new ones, and the sense of unity I feel at that table is amazing – we all share stories from our past, present and future, over a delicious home-cooked meal prepared by my grandparents. The line-up is usually soup, lasagne and pork roast, followed by soufflé for dessert. My grandfather and I share a love for spicy food, so it’s always fun to discuss different dishes with him and exchange cooking ideas. What are your favourite winter dishes? That would have to be a hearty stew or bowl of flavoursome ramen. I love how simple yet delicious these two dishes can be. You can add almost anything to them and always be surprised with the vast flavour profile they offer.


What in-season ingredient do you recommend at this time of year? Seasonal vegetables always make the best dishes, especially Brussels sprouts; they just scream Christmas to me, even though my nine-yearold cousin would probably disagree. I also love cooking butternut squash with the skin on until it is burnt, which adds a smoky flavour to it. Just a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper make it an excellent dish. Which foodie hotspots should visitors try while in Malta? Lore and Fitch, overlooking Spinola Bay in St Julian’s, is one of my favourites, as I am never disappointed by their service or delicious food. If you’re after a relaxed lunch in the sun, Valletta is always my go-to location. What would be your top foodie tip for enjoying Malta at this time of year? Be open to trying different things. Relax and indulge in delicious food and don’t worry about your dress size while you’re here. ➜

CUISINE Known simply as ‘Ed’, our third foodie is the anonymous restaurant critic for the Sunday Times of Malta. While he may be a little grouchy around the festive season, he’s certainly looking forward to a feast. What do you love most about food and Christmastime in Malta? When Christmastime in Malta rolls around, I love the food and little else. I’m quite the grouch when decorations start to pop up, then food starts to pile up around me and my spirits lift. We seem to have picked the best of European traditions and spend a month elbows-deep in preparing stews, roasts and bakes. Then there are the sweets – sinful concoctions that are packed with dried fruits, nuts, molasses and a little too much brandy. What local festive treats should visitors try? There’s our variety on the meatloaf, the pulpettun fl-inbid aħmar – a richly-savoury meatloaf stewed in red wine, as well as the Maltese take on the Christmas fruitcake that, if done properly, is sweetened with a carob julep. The treacle and honey ring (qagħqa tal-għasel) is also traditional over Christmas and, perhaps even more unique to the season, is a sweet chestnut and cocoa hot drink that

Qagħaq tal-għasel - Photo: Alan Carville

we call imbuljuta tal-qastan. But I suppose the best advice would be to find a way to invite yourself to a Maltese family meal and to prepare for a few hours of unbridled feasting. What does Christmas lunch in your house consist of? My dad does all the cooking and that’s my favourite aspect. He is tireless and inventive, and restricts his TV time to food channels so he’s endlessly inspired. Lunch starts a little late and progresses so that it blends very neatly into suppertime. We all contribute our favourite liquids, too, so there’s plenty of spirit and good cheer throughout the day and night. What are your favourite winter dishes? Well, my favourite winter dishes aren’t exactly Mediterranean. I like what the Italians call cucina povera – cooking that has originated with hardship, like sausages stewed in beans. I’m also partial to the other end of the spectrum, the richly-flavoured meats like venison and boar. It’s easier today than it used to be, with some of the more respectable food markets stocking up on practically everything I dream of cooking. What in-season ingredient do you recommend at this time of year? The Jerusalem artichoke, strange as it looks, is in full swing around Christmas. It’s nutritious as an addition to, or replacement for, potatoes, and turns into a delicious savoury purée. Puréed Jerusalem artichoke is surprisingly versatile. It’s lovely as a hearty base for cured meats and cold cuts, can be added to risottos and stews for its rich, earthy flavour, and makes for an excellent soup too.

Which foodie hotspots should visitors try while in Malta? Go to Valletta. It is steeped in history and has eating gems hidden all over the place. Don’t stick to the main thoroughfares, though. You should hunt around a little, possibly asking for advice, and you’re bound to find a restaurant to match what you’re really up for. It’s a small city so you can go for a leisurely tour, making a list of likely restaurant candidates while you’re at it. If you time things just right, you’ll wind up outside your favourite in time for a meal. Finally, what’s your favourite foodie tip? Avoid the set menus and speak to locals – we love to give advice about food. Do help out and be specific about your preferred dining style rather than asking for ‘a good restaurant’. You could end up in a location that looks unlikely but where you’re bound to be well fed. 75


La Sorpresa La Sorpresa is a family-run restaurant and pizzeria where customers are welcomed like friends and family. Colin and Doreen pride themselves on making consistent, high-quality food and service a priority. La Sorpresa restaurant offers both a Mediterranean-based à la carte menu, as well as a variety of set menus designed to suit every guest’s preferences. Our à la carte menu includes pasta dishes, mouth-watering steaks and other carvery dishes, fresh local fish, homemade pizzas, traditional Maltese dishes and other special dishes which change frequently. Our little guests have their own kids menu and gluten-free options are also available. Open Monday to Saturday 6-11pm; Sunday 11.30am-3pm, 6-11pm. La Sorpresa, Tourists Street, Buġibba. Contact Nicholas Farrugia on T: 2157 7301; M: 7925 4324.

Maltese Mama Maltese Mama serves authentic Maltese and Italian cuisines complemented with great service in a relaxing atmosphere. To start, patrons are offered a complimentary plate of traditional Maltese antipasti, served with fresh bread and galletti (water crackers). Starters include home-made soups, octopus, scallops, clams, the speciality shellfish platter and pasta dishes. A variety of main courses is also available, with specialities including fish and traditional Maltese dishes such as rabbit and braġjoli (beef olives). Maltese Mama, 19/2, Paceville Avenue, St Julian’s. T: 2737 7024; M: 7780 5312; E:

Palazzo Preca Restaurant Palazzo Preca Restaurant is repeatedly awarded highly as one of the best restaurants in Malta and Gozo. It is situated in one of the best-known historic streets in Valletta, within a beautiful 16th-century palazzo in Strait Street. An extensive and creative menu provides mouth-watering choices of food and fine local and foreign wines – and do not miss out on our delicious homemade desserts! Professional, dedicated and attentive staff will help you to ensure that your visit is a completely enjoyable experience. Wednesday is our special night when the lights are turned off and the restaurant is entirely lit by candles, creating an intimate and romantic ambience. Open Tuesday to Saturday 12.30-3pm; 6.30-10.30pm. Open for lunch on Sunday and closed on Monday. Bookings are recommended and are to be confirmed by phone. Palazzo Preca, 54, Strait Street, Valletta. T: 2122 6777; M: 9986 6640;

Shakinah – Indian Cuisine Situated on the St Julian’s seafront in Balluta Bay, Shakinah presents Indian tastes, scents and flavours in an interesting selection of exquisitely prepared, Halal Certified colourful dishes. The fresh ingredients, oriental spices and interesting flavours are carefully handpicked by our native-born Indian chefs. Great emphasis has been placed on the décor, mood and general ambience to ensure a true Shakinah special experience. Allow yourself to be transported on a magic carpet ride to the exotic orient in the heart of St Julian’s. Open Monday to Sunday 6-11pm; Thursday to Sunday 12.30-3pm. Shakinah, 5, Ġorġ Borg Olivier Street, St Julian’s. T: 2731 8000; M: 7731 8000; E:;; FB:



Ta’ Marija Celebrating 50 years of excellence, Ta’ Marija restaurant offers the ideal venue for colleagues, friends and family to celebrate any occasion with sumptuous food in welcoming surroundings, complemented by our exceptional service and merriment in the making. Enjoy our all-inclusive carvery buffets on Saturday evenings and Sunday lunches for just €25 per person, or indulge in a Maltese extravaganza on Wednesday and Friday nights with a spectacular traditional folk dancing show and our mandolins and guitars duo! Ta’ Marija Restaurant, Constitution Street, Mosta. T: 2143 4444; E:;

Terrone Terrone is a restaurant in the charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk that combines rustic charm with contemporary regional cuisine. Focusing on southern Italian and local Maltese cuisines, and hand-picking the best local and organic produce, we aim to recreate a healthy and enjoyable way of dining. We are open every day for lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast on weekends (8-10.45am). The restaurant is situated on the Marsaxlokk seafront. Open Monday to Friday noon-11pm, Saturday 8am-11pm, Sunday 8am-10pm. Terrone, 1, Wilġa Street, Marsaxlokk. T: 2704 2656; E:;

Ta’ Kris Restaurant and Maltese Bistro Right in the heart of Sliema lies Ta’ Kris Restaurant and Maltese Bistro, serving wholesome home cooking at unbeatable prices. Chef patron Chris uses the freshest ingredients to create tasty Maltese dishes like Dad’s famous braġjoli, thick beef stew, veal escalopes and rabbit, and for those with a sweet tooth, the deliciously crunchy imqaret – a must-try datefilled pastry. Patrons are also spoilt for choice with the daily specials ranging from fresh fish to beef fillet and various pasta dishes. Everything at this price-worthy restaurant is served in the unique setting of a former bakery. Ta’ Kris is one of the best-rated restaurants by the Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants. Booking is recommended. Set menus for special occasions can also be arranged upon request.


Open Monday to Saturday 12.30-11pm, Sunday 6-11pm. Ta’ Kris, 80, Fawwara Lane, Sliema. T: 2133 7367; M: 7933 7367; www.takrisrestaurant



BANKS AND CURRENCY EXCHANGE Banks are normally open between 8.30am and 1.30pm Mon-Thur, between 8.30am and 3.30pm on Fri, and up to noon on Sat. Some banks open for longer hours. International bank cards are accepted and foreign currency is easily exchanged. Banks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and exchange bureaux can be found all over the islands.

26 ta’ Mejju 1990. T: 2152 4666 Sliema Info Desk Plaza Commercial Centre. T: 2136 3691 St Paul’s Bay Misraħ il-Bajja (Buġibba). T: 2141 9176 Valletta Waterfront Pinto Wharf. T: 2122 0633 Birgu (Vittoriosa) Inquisitor’s Palace, Main Gate Street. T: 2180 0145

USEFUL AND EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NOS 00356 International Code 112 Emergency Services 1182 Directory Enquiries 1152 Overseas Operator 195 Time Check 2124 9600 Flight Enquiries

Public hospital in Malta Mater Dei Hospital, B’Kara By-pass, B’Kara. T: 2545 0000; E:

TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICES IN MALTA Malta Tourism Authority-run offices may be found at: Valletta 28, Melita Street. T: 2291 5440/1/2 Malta International Airport Arrivals Lounge, Luqa. T: 2369 6073/4 Gozo, Mġarr Gozo Channel Ferry Terminal. T: 2155 4538 Gozo, Victoria 17, Independence Square. T: 2291 5452/3 Marsaxlokk Xatt is-Sajjieda. T: 2165 1151 Mdina St Publius Square. T: 2145 4480 Mellieħa Misraħ iż-żjara tal-Papa Gwanni Pawlu II-

Public hospital in Gozo Gozo General Hospital, Victoria. T: 2156 1600 SMOKING No smoking is allowed in any entertainment establishment, including bars and restaurants, unless there is a designated smoking area.

Getting Around Malta is about 27 kilometres long and 14.5 kilometres wide. Short distances make it possible to make the most of your stay at a relaxed pace. The network of buses within the public transport system covers nearly all the islands. Car hire rates in Malta are good value. You may also enjoy a relaxing trip on the calm, blue Mediterranean Sea by taking an island or harbour cruise or cross between Valletta and Sliema by ferry at half hourly intervals.

BUSES The public transport services offered in the Maltese islands operate on a network offering multiple connections and main termini in Malta’s capital, Valletta, and Gozo’s capital, Victoria. A total of 80 different routes link the different localities in Malta to either major hubs such as Valletta, Mater Dei Hospital and the airport or to other destinations, while 15 routes operate in Gozo. The public transport service runs daily between 5.30am and 11pm, with express routes (designated with an ‘X’) having limited stops and operating to and from the airport from different localities. Three digit routes link different localities together and, in most cases, do not serve Valletta. A journey planner, timetable information and details on bus fares are available at More details on T: 2122 2000 and on pages 88 and 89. TRAVELLING TO GOZO A regular ro-ro ferry service carries passengers and cars between Malta and Gozo. The trip takes about 30 minutes. For information and timetables contact The Gozo Channel Company on T: 2210 9000. CAR HIRE Most international car hire companies have a branch in Malta. Local companies too offer this service, with or without a chauffeur. Car hire rates are very reasonable compared to those in other European countries. TAXIS All taxis are fitted with meters and should charge government-controlled prices. Any complaints should be addressed to the Public Transport Authority, T: 2143 8475. Over recent months, a number of private companies have also been set up to offer competitive chauffeur-driven services.



Time to party

If you’re visiting the Maltese islands this December for a party experience like no other, then you’re in for a treat. Martina Said highlights some of the most happening events this season that will ensure you end the year on a high note. Live Jazz at Hard Rock Waterfront Ir-Russu and Friends entertain crowds with live jazz sessions every other Sunday, starting from 3 December, at 7.30pm, at Hard Rock, Valletta Waterfront. Adrian Brincat, better known as ‘Ir-Russu’ in the Maltese music scene, together with fellow musicians, appeals to a range of jazz music fans – be they keen aficionados or total newbies – with a selection of pieces that appeals to a wide audience.

2 December Ferry Corsten at Mansion Club OneOff Events will be hosting Dutch DJ Ferry Corsten, who will be performing at Mansion Sky Club, St Julian’s, as part of his Blueprint Album World Tour on 2 December. Corsten’s greatest hits include Made of Love, Rock Your Body Rock, Fire and Reanimate. Corsten will be supported by local DJs, including Tenishia and Clay C. Tickets may be bought online at

9 December The Reeds Re-Union Time Machine presents The Reeds Reunion at Avalon Club, Birżebbuġa, on 9 December, featuring Tenishia with a one-off 90s trance set, Jamaica, Funky J, Degi, Matt Pomroy, Kevin Tech, JD Alex and special guest DJ Ruby with a special Italo dance 90s set. Doors open at 9.30pm and invites may be collected from various outlets across the island. ➜



NIGHTLIFE 14-16 December APS Teatru Unplugged A fixture in Malta’s music calendar, the 20th edition of Teatru Unplugged will feature six short acts of diverse musical genres, keeping patrons intrigued and surprised in a fast-moving event. Expect acts by Cheryl Balzan, Duo Kukkanja, Gillian Zammit and Rosetta Debattista, Pete and Papps with Gianni and Renzo Spiteri, Narrowlane fronted by Kurt Calleja, and a Pink Floyd Tribute band. The event will be held at Sir Temi Zammit Theatre at the University of Malta in Msida. Tickets from 15 December Trance Syndicate Malta presents Heaven on Earth Head to Tigullio in St Julian’s for an event dedicated to passionate trance music enthusiasts. The event will feature DJ Eloquentia, who

APS Teatru Unplugged


has released music on global sensation Armin Van Buuren’s label, Armada Music. Special guests for the night include Thomas Venutu, New Even and Atleha. Entrance to the event is free between 10pm and 1am, after which a €5 entrance fee will apply.

Live DJ every Friday at Hard Rock Waterfront Popular radio DJ and comedian, Colin Fitz entertains the crowd every Friday night with rock and well-known songs at Hard Rock, Valletta Waterfront. Head down to the Waterfront for an enjoyable evening in a relaxed atmosphere with a great selection of music. Throughout the festive season, live DJ sessions will be held on 22-24 and 29-31 December. Tune in to Hard Rock Cafe Malta’s Facebook page for updates, and get in touch on E: sales@hardrockcafe. for bookings.

New Year’s Eve Carl Bee presents BEE NYE DJ Carl Bee will be hosting a New Year’s Eve event at Sky Club in Malta’s nightlife hub, St Julian’s. Malta’s top underground DJs will perform alongside Carl Bee on the night, including Daniel Blade, Carl Lautier, Sponk, Monochrome, Thias, Wayne Works and Toxism. Tickets are available from Junior B Classics NYE Local techno legend Junior B will be returning to the decks this New Year’s Eve with a performance at Gianpula, Rabat. Expect a pumping set featuring a varied selection of techno and electro classics spanning the last four decades. The line-up on the night includes A-Call, Nioxin, Vitae and Matleb. Tickets may be purchased from ➜


Uno Malta

Malta National NYE Ball 2018 The Malta National NYE Ball, a glamorous celebration that is strictly Black Tie, will be held at the luxurious five-star Le Meridien hotel in St Julian’s. If you’re looking for a night of opulence, elegance, entertainment and excitement, then this might be right up your street. Entertainment will be split into two rooms, including live music by The Busker and contemporary club house music by Andre and Carlo Gerada, who will be joined by Yazmin Helledie, the voice behind their popular 2017 debut single Just Need You. Guests will be treated to spectacular midnight celebrations, a glass of prosecco on arrival, delicious nibbles to keep you going throughout the night and an all-night open bar serving unlimited premium drinks. Ministry of Sound Presents Emma Hewitt Club Konnect in Dragonara Road, St Julian’s, will be hosting queen of trance Emma Hewitt live on New Year’s Eve. Only 600 tickets are available for this exclusive event, which will be supported by DJs Clay C, Thomas Venutu, Josephz, Pierre and Matt Pomroy. Tickets available from

Red Electrick Live in Concert Popular and successful Maltese band Red Electrick will be performing live at Hugo’s Terrace this New Year’s Eve, in what is promising to be a masterful performance. End the year on a high with a set specifically designed to celebrate the arrival of 2018, featuring a host of top DJs, including Droow, LeoMax and Jesmar on the night. For tickets, get in touch on E: marketing@ or M: 7777 2192. The Valletta National NYE 2017 Celebrations Following previous successful years, the NYE national celebrations held

in Malta’s capital are now a staple on the islands’ cultural calendar, and this year, with Valletta’s turn to carry the torch as European Capital of Culture in 2018, celebrations are expected to be bigger and better than previous years. St George’s Square will host the main stage and feature a number of Malta’s top artists and bands, as well as aerial performers and street artists. For more information, visit

Ziggy Classics NYE Celebrated Maltese DJ Ziggy, who’s got a massive following on the local party scene and a varied style of music that mixes melodious funky house music with electronic beats, will be hosting his very own event this New Year’s Eve at Aria Complex, San Ġwann. Supporting DJs on the night include DJ Ruby, Pocci, Pillu and Nick C. Tickets available from

Aria Malta





52 56 181



3 km









106 54






Ħaġar Qim




Iż-Żurrieq 73

Il-Ħnejja (Blue Grotto)


71 73 74



Ħal Luqa

Ħal Safi







1 124 213

L-Isla 2 (Senglea)


88 226


Ħal Far

210 82


, 226






Ħal Għaxaq


Santa Luċija

8 0 ,83



323 301






91, 124 ,93




Pretty Bay







302 303 323 306

322 330

312 322 303 322 323 303 322

302 KEMMUNA 303 305 306 307 308 (COMINO) 310 311 312 313 323 330

1 2 3 4 13 13A 14 15 16 21 22 24 25 31 32 35 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 56 58 58A 61 62 63 64 71 72 73 74 80 81 82 83 84 85 88 91 92 93 94 122 130 133 238 250 260 X4 TD9 TD10 TD11 Malta International Airport 117 119 135 201 X1 X2 X3 X4 TD2 2 3 4 124 213 Il-Birgu 80 81 119 210 X4 Birżebbuġa 71 201 Blue Grotto 31 45 48 186 203 212 221 223 Buġibba / Il-Qawra 280 X3 TD9 TD11 221 222 250 X1 X1A 41 42 101 201 Ċirkewwa Ferry 56 186 202 201 Ta’ Qali 52 56 181 201 Ħad-Dingli 223 225 44 101 201 Golden Bay 1 124 213 L-Isla 213 N3 3 201 Il-Kalkara 91 92 93 119 124 135 201 204 N91 Marsaskala 81 85 119 210 TD10 TD11 Marsaxlokk 22 31 32 109 110 117 120 121 Mater Dei Hospital 122 135 181 182 204 206 201 201 209 233 238 213 218 226 201 201 210 201 50 51 52 53 56 109 181 182 L-Imdina 186 201 202 250 X3 221 222 250 41 42 49 101 201 Il-Mellieħa X1 X1A 201 44 101 213 L-Imġarr 14 120 Paceville 50 51 52 53 56 109 181 182 Ir-Rabat 186 201 202 250 X3 13 14 15 16 21 201 202 204 Tas-Sliema 201 201 222 225 201 233 X3 TD2 TD11 212 81 82 201 206 Ħal Tarxien 71 73 74 117 201 218 Iż-Żurrieq


MALTA - Index of places served

Id-Dwejra L-Għarb Kemmunett Marsalforn (Cominotto) L-Imġarr In-Nadur Il-Qala Ir-Ramla Ta’ Sannat Santa Luċija / Ta’ Kerċem Ta’ Pinu Church / L-Għasri Ix-Xagħra Ix-Xlendi Iż-Żebbuġ Ix-Xewkija Il-Munxar

301 309 311 308 310 301 302 303 302 305 313 308 307 306 309 301 305

GOZO - Index of places served


Ir-Rabat (Victoria)

322 323 301 303



St Thomas Bay




91 92 93 119 124 135 204 93






Marsaxlokk Market

81 85 TD10 TD11



81,119 ,

6 84, 20






94 120 121


Fort Rinella




302 , 303

206 Marsaskala 84 Iż-Żejtun (Wied il-Għajn)

Tarxien Temples Ħal Tarxien






Ramla Bay

Ta’ Kola Windmill Il-Ġgantija (Ġgantija Temples)



3 Il-Kalkara


213 1 Il-Fgura 90,91 92,93,94

Raħal Ġdid (Paola)






30 1,3 03

Ir-Rabat (Victoria) 30 2 32 3


310 322

Marsalforn Bay


309 Marsalforn

Il-Munxar Ta’ Sannat

Il-Birgu (Vittoriosa)

3 13

X1A Bormla



33 306,

TD2 TD13 15 21 202 203 212 222 225


, 11


Ta’ Kerċem







Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum



56 58 Tal-Pietà A










74 TD2 X1 X2 X3 119 201 117 Malta Int. Airport 218 72

L-Imqabba Il-Qrendi

San Ġwann University







St George’s Bay San Ġiljan (St Julian’s) 1


22 Il-Balluta 21 0,1




306 330




30 31






Santa Luċija

Ix-Xlendi Xlendi Bay


Mater Dei Hospital

X1 X2 X3 X4 61 62 63 64 74 110 120 121 135 204 206 209 210 218 226


62 209

58 51,5



61,62 2


233 16 25 35 2 2

Ħal Qormi



13A 14 103 110 120 121





TD 1

Ħal Balzan Birkirkara



41-49 203, 25 0,260 280 54


202, 203





Ħaġar Qim L-Imnajdra Temples (Mnajdra Temples)


Ras Bajjada


46 260

Ħal Għargħur

,182 181

9 10

1 20



Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq



5 17,13

Għar Lapsi





In-Naxxar Mosta Dome Il-Mosta

, 56 50,52,5 3

Ta’ Qali


Buskett Gardens


53 186 201 202



Ta' Qali National Stadium




Tarġa Gap



X 1,

21 2 , 22 2, 2



San Lawrenz



, 19






44, 2






X1 X1A X2 22 25 31 32 106 110 117 120 122 135 181 182 204 206 209 210 213 218 226 233 238 260 280

Azure Window

Ta’ Pinu




A X1


TD9 TD11 X3 31 45 48 186 203 212 221 223 280

Selmunett (St Paul’s Islands)

San Pawl il-Baħar (St Paul’s Bay)




Skorba Temples

Dingli Cliffs


Ta’ Ħaġrat

101 238

Bus routes Bus routes only summer Number of bus route Place of departure/arrival Key bus stop Sales and information office Bus interchange Tourist information Heritage site Place of interest Airport Hospital Ferry Beach








Ġnejna Bay

25 223, 2


Mellieħa Bay

Għajn Tuffieħa




1 44, 10

Golden Bay



44 223 225

Popeye Village Il-Prajjet (Anchor Bay)

22 1






Paradise Bay

181, 56




2 20 1, 6,18 52,5





25, 35


Ċirkewwa Ferry




L-Armier (Armier Bay)




X1 X1A 41 42 101 221 222 250

73, 1



80,82 , 85



26 11 0,2 D 0, T D1 6,T ,88 ,22 ,85 ,82 80





2, 5






13 TD2







5,48,186, X3 ,42,4 ,41 31 203,250,280





0 ,25



9, 2

2 22 103 31



1A , 260



ġa Im L-

,X 16 124



41,42 X1

B, ,X1

ew Ferr y to Ċirk


rr y Fe


32 303



11 X4





Guide Me Dec 2017/January 2018  
Guide Me Dec 2017/January 2018  

The Official Visitors' Guide of the Malta Hotels & Restaurants Association