© Photos, Courtesy of viewingmalta.com
6 days – 5 nights
Besides all its legendary historical, artistic and diversion attractions, Malta boasts a very long tradition of parks and gardens. Pretty small but finely preserved, they are hidden treasures immersed into the island daily rush, absolutely worth to be discovered.
Numerous and characteristic, they inherited a wide story of Malta’s green lung, still perfectly conserved to enjoy an unmissable moment of evasion from the city chaos.
From historical gardens born as palazzos and noble residences attachment of XVI century, to the modern ones are to unearth unusual highlights of an island that never sleeps:
Sitting on a bench, listening to the wind swirling through the leaves, admire commanding landscapes and experience how these haven corners can perfectly coexist in such a frenetic little island.
Day 1: St. Julien, Sliema and Belluta Bay.
Day 2: Argotti Gardens, Sa Maison Gardens, Hastings Garden, St John’s Cathedral, Grand Masters’ Palace, Baracca Gardens
Day 3: Chinese Garden of Serenity, Hypogeum, Marsaxlokk, Victoriosa/Cospicua/Sanglea
Day 4: Hagar Qim, Buskett Gardens, Mdina
Day 5: Palazzo Parisio, President’s Kitchen Garden, Villa Bologna, San Anton
Day 6: Gozo: Kenuna Garden, winery, Victoria
ITINERARY & PROGRAM
Day 1: Welcome to Malta – St Juliens
Arrival at Luqa International Airport. Meet & greet with your driver and English-speaking guide and transfer by private deluxe Mercedes to The Westing Dragonara Resort located in the lively area of St Julian’s. On your way to the hotel, you will enjoy a scenic drive along Sliema and Balluta Bay.
Check-in and accommodation at the hotel. Balance of the day at leisure to discover the area on your own.
Day 2: Argotti Gardens – Sa Maison – Hastings Gardens – Barracca Gardens
Breakfast at the hotel. Initiate your tour from the public green beating heart of the island: Floriana and La Valletta. Argotti Gardens is the third most ancient Botanic Ort of the Commonwealth dating back to XVI century. Firstly divided into two properties, it was unified by the Bailiff Ignatius de Argote y Gusman, who is probably owed for its current name. In 1805 it became a Botanic Ort, where medicinal herbs and plants were already growing. From 1855 on, the garden has been headed by Malta University administration, becoming a very important center of education and scientific research.
Nowadays the garden hosts oaks, oleanders shrubs, potted plants and cacti, both indigenous and foreign together with fountains, ponds and water towers. Due to its high location on Floriana bastions, the surprising spot of this green area is its unexpected view right over Marsamxett Harbour, Mdina and Verdala Castle.
Built by Chevalier Caille Maison in the mid-18th century, Sa Maison Gardens shows a fantastic view over Marsamxetto Port. Once a shooting lodge, its military heritage is still visibly incised into the walls surrounding the garden. Small but pretty and pleasantly adorned, it extends over five levels, hosting several varieties of local ﬂora, tall palm trees and several potted plants.
A curious legend, outcome of the “hard worker” Maltese stereotype, is about the 4-hour-construction of Hastings Gardens. Dedicated to Lord Hastings, a former British Governor of Malta, the garden is situated on the bastions, in a neoclassical structure. The estate offers a suggestive view on the Manoel Island and Mside Creek.
While walking along Valletta take a glimpse of St John’s Co-Cathedral, adorned in riches that date back to the Knights of Malta including the world famous Caravaggio painting that is on display in the Oratory of this Cathedral. Don’t miss the Church Museum that is adorned with Flemish tapestries and also the view from the outside the Grand Master’s Palace and other buildings of historical importance.
Have your time to visit Barracca Gardens, the most famous gardens in Valletta. Who can blame it? Just imagine how suggestive the panoramic landscapes of the Grand Port and the Three Cities may be, especially at sunset, when thousands of color shades will inebriate your eyes. (B)
Day 3: Chinese Garden of Serenity – Hypogeum – Marsaxlokk – Victoriosa/Cospicua/Sanglea
Breakfast at the hotel. Today live your day in the pursuit of relax and “serenity”.
Inaugurated at the end of ‘90s, Chinese Garden of Serenity in Santa Lucija is one of the most modern gardens in Malta.
Enjoy a quiet oasis that for a moment will lead you far away from hustle and bustle. Here, little Chinese gardens communicate through zig-zag paths, with stones and bodies of water conferring a peaceful sensation.
Continue your tour to the silent Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, an incredible structure more than 5 thousands year-old. It is an underground complex built between 3600 and 2400 b.C.
Rooms, corridors and dwellings entirely excavated in the rock whit different époques interlacing. The extraordinary characteristic of the building is the magnificent result obtained only by using rudimental and ancient tools.
Proceed to a typical lunch in the idyllic fishing village of Marsaxlokk to admire the waterfront lined with luzzus painted in traditional colors that add color to this serene bay once site of landings by both the Turkish and French troops during Malta’s heroic past. Here we are in the less touristic part of the island, a perfect requisite to get aware of real inhabitants’ life. No traffic, no malls, only rurality and an incredible perfume of authenticity. Celebrity for its autochthonous fish market, taste the freshness of products in one of the local restaurants right near the port, to experience the tradition of food from the sea right to your table.
On your way to the hotel, you will also have an orientation tour of the historical area known as the three cities: Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea.
Discover the maritime history of the island. You will find little alley with windows, doors and colorful terraces alternating with older corners all to be admired, where you can find out real local traditions. Breathe the history of these streets. The mystery will embrace you and the curiosity of exploring will become an impellent desire. (B)
Day 4: Hagar Qim – Buskett Gardens – Mdina
Breakfast at the hotel. For those who love prehistory, Malta is a real paradise.
Hagar Qim temples have always been a mystery, both for its origins and function. Located in a very unusual position, quite close to the sea, it overlooks the nearby Filfla island. The particularity of this site is that during solstice and equinox it is crossed by sunrays beaming through a hole on the temple wall, known as the “Oracle Hole”.
The Buskett Gardens in Siggiewi are a real wood in Malta where conifers and fruit trees interchange.
Deeply loved by Maltese, Buskett Gardens were the first public garden of the island. Lascaris Great Master projected them near the Verdala Place, conceiving these gardens as a hunting field.
Abundant in trees species like Mediterranean pine, they also host vines, orange groves, olive trees hectares and lemon trees.
To end properly this “past tour” day, experience an excursion to Mdina. Erected on the top of the rough hill in the center of Malta, since at first sight, this ancient capital of Malta reveals itself in all its beauty, majesty and elegance. Well-known as the “Silent city”, due to its quiet and solitary atmosphere, it is impossible not be fascinated by the surreal peace of this antique city, full of traditions and guardian of legends, secrets and endless memories. (B)
Day 5: Palazzo Parisio – President’s Kitchen Garden – Villa Bologna – San Anton
Breakfast at the hotel. Dedicate this day to visit the most prominent historical gardens in Malta.
Palazzo Parisio is a beautiful private palazzo of XIX century situated in Naxxar, boasting a delicious Italian style garden. Here exotic and Mediterranean plants, citrus groves, hibiscus and Bougainville dominate.
Classically baroque in style, palazzo Parisio shows up like a singular beauty, testimony of the aspirations of a noble Maltese family in XIX century.
Bright, colorful, good smelling, the gardens are an excellent evidence of Italian garden combined with fruitful cultural trade between Malta and South Italy.
San Anton Gardens once used as a harvest area by the Knights of Malta, it is now part of San Anton Palace, the official residence of The President of Malta Republic.
San Anton Gardens boast the title as the most beautiful gardens in Malta, edified in XVII century as a Baroque masterpiece and green sanctuary of tranquility. They are located right in the core of the island, combining a fascinating and unmissable mix of arts and natural beauties. The gardens host palm trees, cypresses, araucaria and conifers.
The President’s Kitchen Garden in Attard also belongs to San Anton Palace providing it with vegetables since the 16th century. House for animals such as donkeys, ponies, goats and other smaller animals, the garden now is a fanciful setting for relaxing getaways, mostly when magic warm shades blaze the entire garden late in the afternoon.
The entrance to the Kitchen Garden is sited just a stone’s throw to Villa Bologna, one of the most remarkable examples of a historic Maltese garden. The ‘old garden’, known also as ‘baroque garden’ was erected beside the main house in the 18th century. Its striking landscapes have astonished visitors since 1747, when it was created following a regular and symmetrical structure. (B)
Day 6: Gozo: Kenuna Garden – winery – Victoria
Breakfast at the hotel. The last day holds a special visit to the smaller sister of Malta: Gozo.
Once disembarked, the first stop is Kenuna Garden, the small botanical garden surrounding the namesake tower. It was built up in Nadur hill in 1848, with the aim to telegraphically connect Gozo and Malta and transmit signals and messages to boats sailing its waters. Proceed to lunch at a local winery to stroll around the estate and tour the vineyard, finding out autochthonous methods of wine production.
In the afternoon don’t miss the visit to the Ggantija Temples, the citadel in Victoria, the bay of Xlendi, and the Azur Window at Dwejra. Proceed to Victoria, the capital of Gozo officially known as Ir-Rabat. It embraces both the citadel, ancient fortified town at the center of the island and the surrounding old Rabat town and its modern integrations. A visit to the citadel is a must: its impressive fortifications offer a superb view on the whole island, boasting many historical sites. (B, L)
Day 7: Departure – Saħħa!
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for departure. (B)
Meal legend: B (breakfast) L (lunch) D (dinner)
General info: “Beautiful gardens and landscapes of Malta” is an escorted trip for a group of travel companions, designed to create a good comfort and let participants enjoy the experience at best. Accommodation provided is first-class, strategically located. The food is always typically local, with a blend of regional delicacies and top wines. Transportation is top quality. Your tour escort is qualified, pleasant and with a long experience in the field.
Departures & Prices: all year-round, upon request
Flights: we generally recommend that our travellers to arrive one day before the trip starts in order to get their bearings and ease in to the new surroundings.
Travel Services: we would be happy to assist travellers in case of any further services: i.e. pre-post nights in Malta. Do not hesitate to ask for info.
Reservation & Payment: a deposit of 30% per person is required at the time of reservation. Final payment of the tour is due 60 days prior to departure.
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