Le guide di....
The green way....
Excellent; welcome to Sicily: the beginning of your journey. If you arrive by air to Palermo, first organize the airport transfers to the accommodation establishment of your choice. The Palermo airport is well connected, however bus and train times do not always coincide with flight arrivals, therefore we suggest
that one consults the bus and train schedule available in this guide. If public transport times are not available upon arrival hiring a car or a mini bus (if travelling in a small group) is advisable. The area of Sicily which covers the Green Itinerary is more easily accessible by car or motorbike. The area of Castelvetrano is distance 89km
(1 hour) – the reach the Sciacca take into account an additional 30 km or 20 minutes. If you arriving at Trapani-Birgi, distances are shorter, however it is still advisable to hire a means of transport (OBIMED will accompany you with a series of transport services, accessible both online and through mobile applications).
First Advise: relax, you will notice the classical Mediterranean lifestyle, with people always willing to help. To make the most of your holiday we advise you to immerse in the climate of cordiality which is typical of Sicily. If you think of Sicily and view it on a map, being an island, you cannot leave out the bond that the island has with the sea, what will surprise you is that the sea is the island’s most valuable treasure both in terms of beauty and richness, however the mountains, the hills and the countryside are as beautiful and as stated by Goethe it is the harmonic bond of the sky with the sea and the sea with the land that fuse the green traveler’s experience, not forcing you to choose but live an altogether amazing experience, where the beauty of the landscapes is forceful. First Day Supposing that you have welcomed our advice regarding your accommodation establishment for the next three days, this will be our place of departure. During the first three days I will guide you through the beauty of the three lands between Sciacca, Castelvetrano and Selinunte. Areas of farmland, canteens, vineyards and small
artisanal enterprises. On the App that you have downloaded or on the booking kiosks available within our territory, you will found some of the producers that offer the possibility to taste and visit their own production establishments. You can spend the first day familiarizing with the territory; consult the e-book, to find something that is most attractive for you. The first place I recommend to visit is Mount Kronio, which
is unique in the world; the reserve of limestone origin is characterized by rocky vegetation and is well known for its complex architecture. In the outside, in the complex labyrinth of caves, five caves stand out, of which the wellknown â€œStoves of San Calegero, where vapor resulting from geo thermal activity circulates â€Ś. Why not take a healthy Sauna while there? After this first part of our day, that we hope was relaxing, to familiarize more with the area,
we suggest that you visit the Natural Reserve Orientata di Torre Salsa. The reserve a protected area, extends along the coast between Siculiana and Eraclea Minoe, in a spectacular and wild territory where chalk cliffs and limestone marls at times covered by clay can be seen. The natural habitat is characterized by an extended humid area, the pit of Pantano which is home to various plant and animal species typical to the area and a long beach which
is well preserved and offers a system of dunes, mixed with cliff and which are still intact. Of interest is the presence of various migratory birds present in the area. The seabed, with crystal clear waters all offer an interesting bio diversity. How to arrive: For those arriving from Agrigento, from SS 115, after Siculiana exit towards Siculiana Marina, and take SP 75 towards Montallegro for around 2 km until you reach the visiting center of the reserve at the entrance known
as “Omomorto”. For those that arrive from Sciacca, from SS115, after Montallegro exit at the second crossroad towards Montallegro, and follow the signs “Riserva Torre Salsa”, until the entrance known as “Omomorto”. Verify on site the presence of guides or signs: follow a footpath which leads to del Ginepro Valley, a natural chalk amphitheater, where one can see the last remaining examples of il “Ginepro Feniceo”. From here will visuals various panoramas towards the sea. While visiting the reserve it will be important to take with you a cap and water. We also signal that the cliff edges are very fragile and therefore dangerous. Curiosity: The reserve managing authority also carries out scientific research related to the nesting of marine tortoise in the area, bird surveys, and habitat reclamation from the quarries found inland. The watch tower, which gave the name to the reserve, formed part of the coastal defense system against pirate attacks. It exchanged optical signals with the nearby towers of Capo Bianco to the west and Torre Felice to the East. Leaving from the visiting center through a nearby footpath
one will arrive to an orchard garden, which is property of the WWF and where one can observe some of the orchards surveyed in the reserve. The footpath also takes to the ginepro valley, where it is still possible to observe the last examples of “Ginepro Turbinata”, positioned at the base of a watershed amphitheater shaped, characterized by a layer of chalk crystals. Moving up the valley one arrives in an area characterized by quarries long ago abandoned. From this area it is possible to observe various panoramic views towards the sea and also karst pinnacles brought to light by the extraction activities. Now we will move through the path which takes to the properties managed by the WWF, at the beginning of the path which takes to the beach and where one can take a break. Along the beach one can observe various views and rocky vegetation. During this walk one can also observe that gradual change in vegetation, at tracts full of bushes until reaching the dune characterized vegetation. As soon as one arrives at the beach one can immediately appreciate the view of a crystal clear waters and the seabed abundant with flora and fauna.
The whole place can be visited in half a day. We suggest that you are equipped with binoculars, trekking shoes or comfortable shoes, a cap, a reserve of water and swim wear. Managing Authority: WWF Sicilia address: R.N. Torre Salsa – Via Roma 156 92010 Siculiana (AG) – Tel 0922 808220 www. wwftorresalsa.it. Tired? I think so … but I am sure that you are very satisfied! Let’s go back to the hotel, take a shower and rest a bit before
dinner. Remember that we are at Sciacca, well known in the world for its fish dishes and pizza … what to choose? I do not know, they seem very far apart, but close to each other in terms of quality, you will find three zones covered by free WIFI, the OBIMED Booking Kiosks, the Mobile Phone Apps … which you can use to find a good restaurant, which suits your tastes … have a nice dinner!
We start the second day … after breakfast we will head towards Menfi. There you will find a wild and natural territory of a rare and surprising beauty. A place rich in agricultural landscapes, typical of the Sicilian countryside: hills characterized by rows of olive trees, small gardens, fruit trees, old farmhouses, beams, rural houses, farmers working the land, and sheep grazing around. The light is intense, sometimes glaring. Everywhere around is a mosaic, a constellation of vines which when put together form the largest vineyard in Europe. A succession of vines, cultivated using the knowledge farmers acquired
since old times, whose culture in this area has remained intact throughout time. A typical agricultural community, founded on traditions and authentic values, which have remained intact over the years like the beauty of the place in which they live. A unique context, where African and Sicilian components mix together giving life into a landscape which is difficult
to replicate elsewhere a strip of land in South of Sicily that looks towards Africa, from which it is separated by a tiny strip of sea. A territory that is truly suggestive and generous. A place which is rich in reserves, oasis, natural beauty, enchanted and wild gardens, which mix and blend into the true Sicilian countryside: sweet fertile hills bustling with rows of vines, olive trees and wheat cultivations. Here if we want there is also the possibility to take part in innumerous activities, one finds a number of trekking and mountain bike tracks, most of which lead to the sea. Trekking is able to provide
experiences which are only available in nature. What surprises is that at every corner, the landscape always offers something new, fascinating and emotional views. Excursions by foot will take you nearby the Pineta Molinari (Pine Grove Molinari) at Giache Bianche and at Belice di Mare. Viewed from the sea the coast appears in all its beauty, from the Pineta Molinari you can continue towards the discovery of various beautiful beaches. Roaming into the bays with the canoe one can experience these places from a totally different angel. The mountain bike is the most ecological way to freely and independently experience the beauty of rural landscapes. It is possible to hire a bike – maybe by visiting the link of the SIBIT Project – dedicated to bike tourism – where you can freely roam through the paths
which both take you to the “Bosco del Magaggiaro and to the splendid carpet of vines in the Belicello Valley. The cycling lane of Menfi Portopala has been built over the same railway line, today in disuse. Apart from being appreciated by both locals and tourists, it is a prerequisite to qualify for the “blue flag”, an award that Menfi has obtained for 16 consecutive years. The structure passes through territories of particular interest. To the southwest one will pass through a hilly area known as “I fiori” (the flowers) and “il Serrone Cipollazzo” until reaching the “Borgata Marinara di Portopalo”. This lane permits
both tourists and locals to experience the natural beauty of the area in the most ecofriendly manner. In fact a stroll both on foot as well as by bike, will allow you to experience in full the surrounding natural beauty in full respect of the natural environment. A walk is recommended for those that love to relax outdoors amongst the scents of nature. The lane is long around 6.3km, and can be cycled in around one hour. An advice: It is during the month of September that Menfi mostly bustles with life. A multitude of vines loaded with bright grapes, a large community of small wine growers busy harvesting grapes from the
early morning hours. Everywhere is full of tractors loaded with grapes roaming through the streets. The air is fresh and smells of grape juice which inebriates and enchants. It is a corner of Sicily less known, away from the city and the crowded beaches, an agricultural Sicily that comes to life in the landscapes modeled through hard work, in the farmers’ culture, in the faces of its people, in the scent of vines. Being here in September means living first hand this show. Inform yourselves about repeats during September by the Madrarossa Vineyards – a manifestation that in 2012 has been experienced by many tourists. Who said that experiencing nature is not exciting and amusing has never been to this place!! Good, a day through various activities has flown away, do not forget the walks, the mountain bike, the hang glider or light crafts, you can always roll down a towel at the beach and sun bath in total peace, cuddling yourself by the sound of the sea or having a chat with local residents. You will experience a new dimension at the beach rare and in total freedom.
Let us go back to the Hotel in Sciacca or Castelvetrano, to recoup from a recharge from a busy day with dinner and a walk along the avenue, uploading the daily photos on facebook or mailing them to friends who will remain amazed by the beauty and adventures experienced.
Good Morning, let us go to Marsala, where more adventures await us, the location today is the natural reserve “del Belice” found on the outskirts between the municipalities of Castelvetrano and Menfi, which extends for 129 acres. The reserve delimited on the South by the Mediterranean Sea and in the North by the old railway that connected Castelvetrano to Agrigento, to the East by the plains of Serralonga and to the West by the inhabited area of
Marinella di Selinunte. www. focedelbelice.it. The reserve is comprised by different habitats: the dunes, rivers with typical marshland vegetation, and more inland, evergreen Mediterranean vegetation. Habitats which are rare and are only found in places like “del Belice”, more abundant in the past, but which have disappeared as a result of the heavy and reckless human activity. Apart from the intrinsic scientific value, such places enrich
the landscape and therefore are worth visiting. Here in particular along the beach of fine sands, we find a natural complex of sand dunes, high up to one meter, extending almost five km and moving inland up to 70/80 meters, therefore a zone rich in marsh vegetation, which nowadays is very rare. The Belice reserve can be easily visited by following one of the branches that spread out from Castelvetrano-Menfi which all lead to the center of the
natural reserve. Through the reserves flows one of the most important rivers of the province, River Belice (from the Arab word Belich, the name of a castle that most probably was located between the right and left confluence of the river), apart from being one of the three major rivers that pass through the Selinuntino territory, it is one of the longest in Sicily. In the past the river was navigable, and was a major transport route for thousands
of years between the sea and land. This fact is evidenced by a number of colonies found along its course, dating back from the prehistoric period up till the middle ages; apart from this in the past the river was a flourishing fishing ground. Due to its violent waters river Belice was inadequate for milling; however of particular note is the old Mill which due to its structure and hydraulic engineering can be traced back to the Roman period. The old mill can be accessed through a tiny path along river Belice. The patch branches out from the main road, and can be found using the OBIMED App. River Belice crosses the territory of Castelvetrano with its final part and its estuary. The river flow has progressively diminished as the centuries passed, mostly attributed to climatic changes, and today has been reduced to only a few cubic meters per second. Though a reservoir has been constructed on the north side, the river and the valley remain one the most beautiful and scenic natural places in Sicily. It might interest you a visit to one of the wine cellars present within the territory, most of which recognized worldwide and present in the best re-
staurants around the world, an example is “la cantina Settesoli”, and “Planeta e la cantina Donnafugata”, both can be visited by appointment. The same advice is applicable for the numerous producers of the “gold of Castelvetrano”: Oil and Table Olives of Castelvetrano. You will find online the tasting programmes, as well as a link to find the places. Taking the road in direction of Marsala we arrive at the natural reserve Orientata Saline
little terns, plovers, larks), a show which is rare and unique and again enriches this part of Sicily. It is possible to take a guided tour around the protected area of the reserve, however pre-booking is necessary on the following numbers: 0923867700 – 3275621529 – www. wwfsalineditrapani.it. The guided tours are free of charge and are available during the winter season, by booking using the reserve’s booking form. Excursions take around two hours and evidence both the natural uniqueness of the area as well as the art of salt production. The itineraries around the reserves vary depending on the month of the year as well as climatic conditions. As the best months we suggest either between di Trapani. The Salt Pans is a natural reserve managed by the February to May or between September to November since WWF, an important stopover it is during this time that mifor thousands of birds during gratory fauna stops over, on the the autumn and spring migraother hand during Summer (in tion season, the area results order to protect nesting birds to be an area of particular certain area are closed to the ornithological interest, in fact public), it is possible to observe to date 208 species have been surveyed, most of which winter the birds only from certain areas at distance. From July birds (flamingos, spoonbills, to September one can assist great white egrets, herons, at the collection of salt at the hawks, shorebirds, and more saltpans, a place where tradithan 5000 ducks) and other nesting species (avocets, stilts, tional “cultivating” methods
are still in use. To consider as a natural progression of the journey or as an alternative …. The Island of Mozia as at the extreme north-west of Sicily, almost in front of Marsala, where the sea forms a lagoon known as Stagnone (large pond), enclosed to the west by the Lunga (long) Island and to the East by the Sicilian coast. At the center of the lake, one finds the island of San Pantaleo, home to a colony of Phoenicians of Mozia and two other small islands one known as “di Santa Maria” and the other as
“di Scuola”. Di city of Mozia, a name that maybe connected to an Oriental word meaning “stagnant water”, presented the typical characteristics of a Phoenician colony: it was situated on a small island near the coast, surrounded by shallow waters, therefore, in a position to defend itself against enemy attacks, but at the same time provide a safe shore for mooring ships. Mozia, founded in the eight century BC, due to its strategic position near Africa the island was an obligatory stop for commercial maritime routes towards Spain, Sardinia and Central Italy. Over the year the colony became one of the richest Phoenician colonies in the Mediterranean. The presence of the Greeks in Sicily, with whom the Phoenicians had friendly exchanges and other times not so friendly exchanges, culminated in a series of wars that ultimately resulted in the destruction of Mozia at the hand of Dionisio of Syracuse in 397 BC. From there the survivors settled on the Sicilian coast, founding the city of Lilibeo, modern day Marsala. The island however was not completed deserted, as testified by numerous archeological findings discovered over the year. The
most important archeological finding are exhibited in the archeological museum ivi, created by Giuseppe Whitaker, a culturally sophisticated individual, with a passion for natural sciences, history and archeology, who then bought the island in the beginning of this century to conduct archeological research. It is to this individual, member of a rich British family that had industries and commercial activities in Sicily, that we owe the primary fundamental impulse towards the discovery and valorization of the archeological heritage of this part of Sicily. An alternative? Why not reach Favignana? … it is only an hour journey by Ferry. Believe me, when you will see it so close,
you will want to dive into its waters and lie down on its banks. So it comes to an end the third day, if you wish you can stay dining in the area, you are only an hour away from home …
Departing to Malta from Pozzallo Here we are, the last day of our journey. Today is the day of departure …. by the way … how can you reach Malta? From Trapani, from Palermo or from Pozzallo? I will try to guide through every possible choice and at same time try to make sure that the day is pleasant and not only as a phase in your day necessary to reach your destination. Departing to Malta from Pozzallo If you have decided to reach Malta by ferry, remember to use the free WIFI that you have found in Sciacca, to verify the ferry timetable. The majority of trips are during even days, however it is better to consult the company’s website www.virtuferries.com. Taken this decision we are lucky to be heading towards Agrigento, to discover a Unesco Heritage Site: “la valle dei tempi” – “the temples valley”. From Agrigento towards Pozzallo you will have to travel around 170km, it will take around three hours by car, therefore make sure to take note of the time and maybe depart early to enjoy your stops.
As an alternative, you can also visit another reserve, to be precise, “la riserva Naturale Orientata della Foce del fiume Platani”. The natural reserve Platani Stream, flows into the Sicilian Channel and is found along a rocky headland, known as Capo Bianco, a spectacular and high cliff of white limestone that
extends into the adjacent sea and a sandy beach. On the cape of the plateau one will find the remains of the ancient Greek Colony of Eraclea Minoa. Those that arrive at the reserve from the river Platani, cannot miss a visit to the archeological site that sits on the Plateau right before the shores of Capo Bianco. The hill, like in a casket still preserves the
ancient remains of Eraclea Minoa, a Greek Colony probably of the Mycenaean period (sixth century), which during the centuries was contended between Syracuse and Carthage. The natural reserve and the
neighboring Archeological Park allows visitors to follow an extraordinary natural and archeological path. The reserve presents various contiguous natural habitats: the river with its typical vegetation, the long beach with its low sand dunes, inland Mediterranean vegetation and reforestation operations carried out by the “Aziende Foreste”. The reserve protects the final part of the river. Its banks are home for reed which offers refuge to numerous bird species. The sand dunes system formed along the coastline is home to flourishing vegetation and patches of Mediterranean vegetation, which provide a clear example of how was the southern part of Sicily. How to arrive: Follow the SS 189, then the SS 115 AgrigentoSciacca. At the cross roads towards Borgo Bonsignore leave the highway and continue towards the archeological area of Eraclea Minoa. From here
follow a path along the cliff of Capo Bianco and one will reach a tiny path which takes down towards the beach and the grove of Borgo Bonsignore. A curiosity … after many years of absence thanks to the creation of a protected zone, the Loggerhead sea turtle has returned to nest in the sandy beach. The river mouth is also home to a colony of river tortoises and grass snakes. Managing Authority: Azienda Regionale Forest Demaniali.
Responsible on site: Ufficio Provinciale Azienda via L. Sturzo 14 – Agrigento – Tel: 0922 27088 Distaccamento Forestale di Ribera – C.so Umberto I – Tel 0925 545951.
Departing to Malta from Trapani If you have chosen to depart via the Trapani Birgi Airport, we can take advantage of this route to visit some places which we have left out on arrival. The trip is almost 100km, which takes around one hour and the flight generally departs around 14.30, therefore we have around an hour to visit Selinunte and Segesta. One of the great marvels of the world, the mystery of ancient temples within the temples of Selinunte. Travel throughout our history to understand better from where we arrive, how this land, which always was at the center of the world has transformed itself in time, giving so much to its rulers that have succeeded one another, but from whom we have also taken a lot. Note how one of the most beautiful and representative sites of the classical civilization (VII-IV century BC), Selinunte is also one of the largest parks in the world. Distant around 70 km from Trapani, Selinunte covers an area of around 270 acres, crossed by the rivers Cottone and Selinos (which give
the name to the place). What astonishes is the architecture of this place: one of the most articulated places in Sicily, dating back to 580 B.C. The image is that of a Siceliotan city, with monumental remains, temples which dominate the hill, and houses that crowd the acropolis, divided by the
two valleys. The area around Selinunte, is a great natural oasis, within the Fiume Belice Reserve. Enjoy the visit and do not get lost in time, remember that you have a flight waiting for you. Remember that if you decide to visit this place, you can always ask the reception
for directions. Departing to Malta from Palermo If you have decided to leave Sicily via the Palermo Airport, taking into account your time-
table, I suggest that you do not leave without visiting Palermoâ€™s Center and seen Monreale, which is easily reachable. It will provide you with another cameo to include with your memories. It is presumed that Monreale,
derives from an ancient Arab village situated on the slopes of Monte Caputo, 310m above sea level. Monreale began to gain in importance after the arrival of the Norman dynasty around the tenth century. It is in this place that the Normans found
refuge after the fatigues of war and the Sicilian government. It was in the night of 1171 that King Guglielmo known as the kind, in a dream the Virgin Mary revealed to him the place of an immense treasure ( a war loot of his father), with
which Guglielmo has to build a temple dedicated to Mary. Without wasting time the king gave order to start the works of the temple, the Archdiocese’s Palace and the cloister. He also ordered that 100 monks from la “Badia di Cava”
headed by the abbot Teobaldo, are transferred to Monreale to officiate in the temple. They arrived in Monreale on the 20th of March 1176 and the abbot Teobaldo was given the title of “Master of the City”. In February 1182, at the request of
Guglielmo elevated the church of Monreale to the title of “Metropolitan Cathedral”. The first Bishop of Monreale was a monk – Guglielmo of the Benedictine monastery. At the end of the seventeenth century the Arch Bishop of Monreale owned 72 feoffs. Since the elevation to Metropolitan Cathedral to
today, Monreal had 54 archbishops of whom fourteen were Cardinals. Long before the dome was completed, the whole world was astonished by this marvel: the same pope Alexander III, through a degree sent to the king in 1174, expressed his total joy at the solemnity of this monument.
I would like to offer you a thought before leaving Sicily - how many experiences in a few days, how many cultures you have met? This is the Sicily that we wanted you to discover! See you soon ….
ECO Vacation in Malta and Gozo MALTA & GOZO The Maltese archipelago consists of four main islands, Malta, Gozo, Comino and a series of smaller islands known as St. Paul’s Islands, Cominotto, Filfla and some other marine rock foemations. These islands have a plethora of interesting features with places, possibilities and activities that can be carried out in rural or pristine unspoiled settings, each one offering a distinguishing feature. An eco vacation in Malta would be the ideal setting for those searching to have a short holiday break in an eco, or agro setting away from the hustle and bustle of normal city life. During a stay on the Islands one should enjoy a simple yet beautiful holiday away from today’s modern day world that detracts us from all that is simple and full of narural beauty. For transportation one can make use of any of the following modes of transport: • • • •
public buses; private motor vehicle; cycling or trekking; by boat.
After strolling from one stall after another fresh fish which are bountiful as those of agricultural produce that includes fruit, vegetables and herbs. One may also taste the delight of local marinades and condiments. Walking away from the bay of Marsaxlokk, along footpaths adorned by a colourful mix of wild flowers, wild thyme and rows of cultivated fields with the years old carob tree which offers the ideal spot to rest towards the beautiful limestone cliffs along the coast, facing north east of the village these cliffs offer a series of little coves and beaches with sloping limestone bays where one finds a labyrinth of salt pans dating back to Phoenician times. Walking on the white chalky cliff top, leads to 3 small bays namely St Peters Pool , Delimara Bay and Xorbb L-Ghagin Bay also known as Island Bay and further on the path furthers to St Thomas’ Bay. All of which offer idyllic spots for bathing, snorkeling and even more diving experiences within the crystal clean and clear pristine waters. Further along the beautiful marine coast, more intrinsic coastal saltpans
Useful Information can be obtained through the following sites: www.visitmalta.com; www. transportmalta.com; www.arriva.com.mt; www.islandofgozo. org; www.gozo.gov.mt; www. vallettawaterfront.com; www. gozochannel.com; www.natura2000malta; www.naturetrustmalta.org; www.birdlifemalta. org; www.ramblersmalta.org; www.heritagemalta.org; www.maltacyclingfederation. com; www.gozocyclingclub.org; www.eco-gozo.com; We are suggesting three sets of tours of 3 days each, South/ East Tour or North / West Central Tour or West Malta & Gozo to choose from.
South - East Malta Tour North - West Malta Tour West Malta & Gozo Tour
The port of Xlokk (MarsaXlokk ... literally meaning the South East port), is a good starting point to discover the mesmerize onself in a fishing village that combines manyof the senses to the visitor, sounds, scents and display trounce the www.visitmalta.com e calling of fishmongers luring customers to buy the freshly daily fish catch mixed with colorful fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit.
Local delicacies like qubbajt, honey rings, local olives or cheeses are also found here and for those wishing to taste local alcoholic beverages, wine or the traditional carob drink, the Marsaxlokk open air market. Here on a warm morning, several farmers’ fishermen and craftsmen, bring their best produce for Maltese and visitor alike to be fascinated with.
are found on the waterfront bearing the same name “Triq Is Salini” in Marsescala. At end of walk / tour
After leaving your place of stay, make your way to Zejtun from where this tour starts leaving the Coastal Areas of the South East and making ones way inland, paths lead to the surrounding villages namely Zejtun, Zabbar and Birzebbugia. In the past these were, predominantly agricultural villages with their names all referring to a typical agricultural activity which traditionally is still present within the agricultural community found here in this region. The village of Zejtun as its name implies refers to Olive Oil hence the name Zejt (Arabic) meaning oil. This same village, on account of all the oliver trees being cultivated, hosts a late summer festival to celebrate Olive Oil Pressing. Vineyards are very common in this region mainly around thr Marnisi estate overlooking Marsaxlokk. During August and September one could visit and spend an enjoyable day picking grapes and ending the hard day’s work with a celebration activity on the estate drinking and eating traditional Maltese
bread dipped in olive oil and drinking wine to finish off the year’s harvest in style. End of walk / tour. DAY THREE Southern Coast Malta After leaving your place of stay, make your way to Birzebbugia from where this tour starts. Driving along the Southern Coast a visit to a unique spot still in the rural countryside of Birzebbugia is the Ghar Dalam Cave where Stalagmites and Stalactites’ hewn into a deep underground cavern in the face of the valley leading to the sea are situated. Here one finds a fossilized dwarf elephant and a fox from prehistoric age, apart from the other flora and fauna remains, that were unearthed at the beginning of the century and today are housed in a Museum next to the cavern.
These remains is evidence that Malta prior to the Ice Age period formed part of the greater continent of Europe. As the Ice Age unfolded the seas rose making a mountain, in to an island. Above this valley and caverns lies Borg In-Nadur, a Bronze Age settlement above a small port, built as a fortress on the highland. Pottery shreds and remains from this Bronze Age settlement are today housed in the Museum of Archeology in Valletta. A drive around the coast of St Georgeâ€™s Bay a small fishing port towards Pretty Bay, the largest sandy beach on the south of the island, takes one to the higher cliffs of Ghar Hassan where the beauty of sheer cliffs and hanging caves relating legends of corsairsâ€™ kidnappings of maidens out to sea during the Middle ages add mystery and interest to this location.
hidden by the same cliffs, these two small bays offer beautiful rocky beaches where traditional boat rides in typical fishing boats called luzzus take you out into the dark blue seas, leaving the beautiful fjord like beaches that lead to the mystical caves and azure waters of the Blue Grotto. Organizing diving expeditions even as far as close to the protected tiny island of Filfla, across the Bay from Zurrieq is also possible. Here divers have the possibility of diving down to a shipwreck in the waters around Filfla, an area which is a protected both on and around the waters of the island.
The nearby villages of these coastal areas namely Siggiewi and Fawwara are beautiful agricultural villages where a vast array of vegetables and fruits are grown. In Fawwara one finds a farmer on the heights above the sea, tilling sloping fields with hundreds of olive trees and an orchard, naThe coast along the south con- mely Joe Borg who runs a truly sists of high rise cliffs and sloorganic farm cultivating fruits, ping fields with little indented herbs vegetables and cold presbeaches that give space for the sed olive oil. However before visitors to access two particular leaving this area one must bays namely Wied Iz -Zurrieq visit the Prehistoric temples of and Ghar Lapsi. Secluded and Mnajdra and Hagar Qim .
Standing above the high rising cliffs are these gigantic temples dedicated to a female goddess of fertility that date earlier than Stonehenge and the Pyramids in Egypt. A visitorâ€™s centre on site, offers all the information on these grand edifices that appear to have been built by giants considering the size of the stones and boulders with which they were built. End of walk / tour.
NORTH / WEST / CENTRAL TOUR DAY ONE After leaving your place of stay, make your way to Rabat from where this tour starts. Leaving the pristine countryside and going towards the high rising coastal areas, one must continue on his way further North West towards the villages of Rabat and Dingli Cliffs, driving through the Grigenti Valley where the lush vegetation of this valley between Siggiewi and Dingli is similar to the beautiful rich valleys in Gozo, here nestled in the valley one finds the official Prime Ministerâ€™s residence which was once the Inquisitors Summer Palace. For the more adventurous there are riding stables in Grigenti and those who enjoy cycling during their stay, these localities are devoid of traffic giving space to the traveller cyclist or trekker to explore the beautiful surroundings. To the right hand side of the valley of Grigenti a much grander expanse of forested area is found, rightly to say the
only forested area on the island around Rabat, Dingli, and in known as Buskett Gardens. the further low lying 3 villages have brought us in touch with A beautiful Castle stands much prized fruits namely the amidst on the heights called typical Maltese orange, honey, Verdala Castle, today this olives and various vineyards building houses the Presidentâ€™s too. Summer Palace. Ta Qali is also home to the End of Walk / tour. National Park with Outdoor adventure areas for children DAY TWO having also an animal petting farm for animal lovers. The Central Malta popular crafts village where local craftsmen have their worAfter leaving your place of stay, kshops one can easily indulge make your way to Attard from oneself at the craftwork of where the tour starts. Ongoing glass blowing, filigree making, inland one finds 3 small villages pottery and other typical arts called Attard, Lija and Balzan and crafts. localities where the knights of St John had their country For refreshments with a scenic houses and estates that is why view over the islands one must so many beautiful gardens are certainly stop on the Mdina still evident today. These three Bastions at the tearooms and villages are prominent for their cafes situated on the ancient orchards of citrus, which are a walls of this city. beauty to behold. Just across the road from San Anton Palace End of walk / tour. Gardens is the Presidents homegrown vegetable and herb Garden with a delightful spot for young children where young children can entertain themselves in a safe playground area and learn about the plant nursery itself. The beauty of these localities
DAY THREE North Malta After leaving your place of stay, make your way to St. Paulâ€™s Bay town, from where this tour starts. A short drive further north, leads to towards St Paulâ€™s Bay and Bumarrad and close to a Roman olive estate where ancient olive oil presses and vats are still evident here along with a tiny church dedicated to St Publius, it is reputed that Publius the Roman Governor in 60 AD greeted St Paul, when he was shipwrecked on the neighboring islands of St Pauls.Here close by to the Roman country house is a an estate where local olive oil producer Sammy Cremona grows harvests and produces olive oils .A visit to this olive estate could also be arranged. More and more exciting for the younger and older alike is the beautiful bird park in Salina. Here one can visit a bird sanctuary where part of the coastal valley has been screened off for this beautiful park where flamingoes, owls, ducks, vultures, eagles and various bird and animal species are kept. In the winter months canoeing with kayaks is possi-
ble all the way downstream to Salina Bay from further up the valley. End of walk / tour. WEST MALTA & GOZO DAY ONE After leaving your place of stay, make your way to West of the island, taking one of the outer roads further west, the drive takes you to the west for a beautiful sunset to end the day. Lush valleys in Pwales lead
onto Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay and Gnejna Bay. In most of these beautiful golden sandy beaches, one can have a swim in azure blue waters or enjoy in a variety of water sport activites that are available including paragliding for a truly scenic view of the North West. Situated here is the Majjistral Nature Park, the largest Nature Park on the Islands. After a swim on these idyllic beaches, one can enjoy a great meal or barbeque that take place every evening on the sandy beaches. Or else if one is more in line with a traditional meal, a drive to the nearby village square
of Mgarr, where dotted around the church parvis are several wine bars and restaurants that are renowned for typical rabbit dishes. When in season, this agricultural village is a paradise for strawberry lovers, as numerous farmers cultivate strawberries and in spring, a festival of this fruit harvest attracts thousands of people to flock to the village to see the spectacular sweets these farmers prepare for the festival. End of walk / tour.
veral parks for younger children to enjoy. Typically with MelNorth Malta enroute to Gozo lieha Bay as a backdrop close and Comino to the Sanctuary of Our Lady, the park overlooks the Mellieha Valley whilst another park is After leaving your place of stay, found in the area on entering make an early start and drive close to Selmun. towards Mellieha. There are a number of good roads that lead End of walk / tour. to Mellieha. If driving along the beautiful northern coast towards the village of Mellieha, one would notice the Palace DAY THREE of Selmun up on the hill. The locality of Selmun is the spot Island of Gozo for any person keen on country walks to explore the countrysi- After leaving your place of stay, de and if more adventurous make your way to Cirkewwa to a visit to the beautiful bay catch the ferry to Gozo, of Selmun on the enchanfrom where this tour starts. ting North Coast where more Making ones way to the Gozo beautiful salt pans are nestled ferry boat in Cirkewwa www. if possible (if one has time) a gozochannel.com This boat visit to this locality should be trip will about twenty minutes included in your itinenary. If across to Malta’s sister island one had to carry on through and spend a memorable day Mellieha village the panoramic there if time is not an issue. drive downhill towards the bay Asmallar boat trip can take you and beyond offers such beauty to Comino island, which is faall year round there is the mious for the blue lagoon and possibility to walk and trek the the Santa Marija bay. countryside with various rock cut cave dwellings or explore Comino is only available by the marshlands at the Nature boat and after reaching only on Reserve where a bird sanctuary foot, since no cars are authois present. rised to travel on the island’s path except for a few jeeps. The village of Mellieha has seThis is more of a trekking
holiday, the islands population apart from the visitors and hotel employees, number to five persons, who enjoy having a tiny chapel and a one man police station in the tiny bay of St Marija. It is composed of a small agricultural community that carrys out their activity including honey collecting from the apiaries situated on the wild thyme covered garrage. If one has taken the ferry onto Gozo www.gozo.gov.mt within twenty minutes one arrives in the beautiful harbour of Mgarr.
Following a short break, one starts to acknowledge the slower pace of life activity in the capital, when compared to that of the island of Malta, a walk up to the ancient city of the Citadella will make you understand and view the island better. Wine bars within the city walls serve authentic platters of fresh goat’s cheese and salads followed by typical homemade ravioli made full of goat’s cheese or a roast rack of lamb, pork and other rabbit dishes to
Here one can also discover the beauty of a large rock cut open window formed similar to the one at Dwejra. Before driving down to this bay for a swim one should ideally visit Calypso’s cave which hangs on the face of the cliffs overlooking the bay on the outskirts of Xaghra. Gozo is known as the Island of Calypso and in Homer’s Odyssey Greek mythology relates that Calypso the nymph gave shelter to Ulysses on his shipwreck out at sea in this script Gozo is referred to as Ogygia.
be enjoyed with some potent homemade Gozo wines. Buses www.arriva.com.mt are available, travelling by bus offers a unique Gozo experiance. One may travel by car, taxi, hop on/off buses or for those preferring to cycle and explore more rural off the beaten track sites a beautiful adventure is ahead as the countryside is dotted with majestic cliffs, lush valleys and beautiful beaches that will surely mesmerize the visitor. At a slower pace, walks and treks are necessary
to rejuvenate oneself. The most beautiful and renowned spots are Dwejra Bay and the Inland Sea on the West, Xlendi Bay and Hondoq ir Rummien along with Xatt l -Ahmar on the South . Further North is San Blas, Dahlet Qorrot ,Xwieni Bay and Marsalforn then continuing further North towards the North West are the fjord like Bays of Ghasri and the bay at the far end of Wied Il –Mielah in Gharb.
The villages of Nadur, Xaghra, Qala and Xewkija situated between the North East to the South East of the Island in most cases overlook the beautiful vista of the straits between Malta and Gozo so much so that both Qala and Nadur have beautiful terraces facing the sea called Belvedere. These villages offer traditional practices like Cheese making, Olive Pressing and Wine and Honey Making either in small farming establishments that even give you the possibility of doing and learning the traditions from milking a goat to making the cheeseley, from picking fresh eggs from chickens
allowed to roam around the farmhouse and other unique experiences that one should make the time to visit and do. The traditional unleavened bread called Ftira is also made here however Gozitan bakeries produce their own type of ftira that is a hearty meal in itself since it is served with tempting toppings like tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs, local sausages and potatoes are added to these ftiras. The road leading down to Marsalforn from Xaghra can take you to an Agro Estate typical of Gozo where for many years in the valley between Xaghra and Victoria on the road to Marsalforn a family has been working and tilling its land and selling its produce to passers by today this estate called Ta’ Mena has grown into a larger estate offering vineyards and wine tasting, olive pressing and various fresh produce of fruits and vegetables cheeses, honey marinades and homemade meals. The shore extends from Il Qolla Is- Safra and Xwieni Bay to il Ghar Qawqla referring to two beautiful seascapes adorning the beaches here. One must surely leave Marsal-
forn by taking the road West as here you have the most beautiful Salt Pans you can set eyes on , beautifully maintained by their careful owners to produce the purest of salt from the purest of waters. From the Xwieni Salt Pans one can either take a drive up to the village of Zebbug. The panorama from this quietest of villages is a beauty to be cherished the lush green valleys that surround this hilltop village are Ghasri Valley to the West and the valley facing Victoria on the east where slopes of greenery especially in the winter months are a true beauty to behold. If one remains on the cost in Xwieni one can stroll the coast or trek up the hilltop in Ghasri valley and surprise himself with the beauty of Fjord like Bay in Ghasri here the sea washes up into the valley bed. This valley sits side by side to Wied Il Mielah referred to earlier, this beautiful part of the Island overlooks the most Northwestern part of the Island here one finds the Jordan Lighthouse peering over the coast acting as a beacon of safe haven to those out at sea of
this remote coast. The coast off the village of Gharb www.gharbnet.com is cliff high. This does not deter long line fishing from the cliff top down to the coast, a passionate past time for those familiar with the region. For those having the possibility to extend some tome on Gozo the best in agro eco sustainable living can be truly enjoyed in these beautiful country homes. This same village also houses the pretty crafts village called Ta â€˜Dbiegi Local crafts include tha making of lace, pottery, glass, silver filigree and woven cloth. These crafts can be bought in a truly just in time production mode. Leaving Gharb and continuing further South west to the beautiful Inland Sea and Azure Window should be the start to a late afternoon finishing to a beautiful sunset where the the crystal waters of the Inland Sea can offer a paddle or a swim a great spot to stop and relax . Here these large land locked pools give way onto the outer seas through a tunnel like grotto where boats wade their way out to the open water and
out onto the open seas where the marvelous large rock cut window opening of the Azure Window and the Fungus rock are found. The ferry crossings to Malta www.gozochannel.com are run regularly every 45 minutes day and night so one has no rush if travelling if the journey is by car or even by bus as the islands are very well connected by sea and by land. After a relaxing meal here one can drive back through the piazzas of Victoria the capital and admire the beautiful bastion walls of the Citadella that are lit up at night and then drive down back to the beautiful scenic Imgarr Harbour www.gozochannel.com for a safe journey home on the next boat leaving the island.