Arrived at Luqa airport at 10pm late in the evening, dark, but still warm, not far from Valetta. Short walk to coach and the start of 45 min journey to Mellieha Bay Hotel. Route seemed to be largely through built up areas with limestone/concrete frontages to the street. Nice view of harbour at Xemxija Bay. Arriving Mellieha very nice view across the bay to church on hill opposite to the hotel. Good welcome at hotel and being rather tired soon asleep in our room on ground floor B36. Could have had something to eat at snack bar which had been kept open till midnight.
Review of Mellieha Bay Hotel:
Friendly staff, good food, fantastic views over the bay.
Swimming, diving and snorkelling direct from in front of the hotel. Sailing available with 3 Hobie cats and 10 Laser Pico type dinghies in season and on request in October. Getting about inside the hotel and in the front grounds down to the sea is a bit tricky for disabled people. There are unusual steps and steep ramps in some corridors and the lift goes to half levels, requiring you to go up or down some stairs at every occasion. Outside down to the pool, and to the diving, sailing, beach there are a significant number of steps.
The background music at meals was the same at many meals and we did suggest the they might increase the variety. Evening entertainment was provided every night and included singers, magician, Cabaret acts. A number of the guests were proficient at the dances, including line dancing. A pity there was no Scottish dancing. On one evening the first half of the entertainment was music videos, fortunately well chosen and really rather enjoyable. Regarding evening meals the timing was good. Those that wanted to could start their meal at 6pm, so attractive to families with young children. Both wines and soft drinks were available.
A good start is a short climb up to the Red Tower. Leave the hotel and cross the fast main road, having looked carefully for clear traffic both ways. Go up the slope for 50m and enter a "Foresta 2000" conservation area via metal gate. Read the notice on the right. A big effort has been made to restore nature with newly planted conifers and other native bushes.
Follow the path up the
hill, look for the wooden steps. Once you get to the ridge road turn left,
west, towards Red Tower, also called St Agatha's Tower. There are steep steps up to the entrance.
Alternatively walk a little further round the back and meet the steps half
View to south is a Nature reserve and the bay, towards the east is the White Tower, and to the north is the port for the ferry to Gozo. On the east end of Comino island you can see the Blue Lagoon between Comino and the tiny island of Cominotto. This is a stopping point for snorkelling trips.
Note the harbour and ferry route across to Gozo. The ridge road to
the west leads to a WW2 gun position and, much further on, to several bays
where snorkelling and diving are reported to be good. Access is possible
by boat. I'm not sure about the possibility of climbing down. To the south you look down on the
marshy area which is a nature reserve, where 200 varieties of bird have
On the subject of birds, note the many stone shelters used by gunmen to shoot
migrating birds. We heard several gunshots while on our walks. This is a
Walk to Armier Bay
From the hotel go up the hill to the roundabout. Turn right onto the ridge road to the east. This is nice and level. Go along till you find the road down to Armier bay, to the north, note that this follows the 37 bus route. If you get tired, get the bus. Read the timetable at the bus stops.
Go down the hill to Armier bay and turn right at the junction where the shanty town, to the left, starts. The road on the right leads to the harbour and a cafe, also the point where the 37 bus terminates and turns round. The cafe, by the boat landing slipway, is a good place to stop for refreshments, in the shade.
Oh Yeah boat trip
Oh Yeah boat trip, starting 11am at Tunny Net dock, to see Camino Island, Gozo, Blue Lagoon, Gozo harbour and Crystal Cave etc. The boat took us past the tuna fish farm pens, past the Madonna statue and White Tower at the end of the peninsula, then round past a smugglers cave in the limestone cliff and Coral Lagoon and then across to Camino Island. Past further caves and then on to the Blue Lagoon where a number of boat were tied up to the rocks.
This "Blue lagoon" is a commercial operation with many food and deck chair vendors, toilets etc. The swimming/snorkelling area was clearly delineated but rather crowded. There was an opportunity to take a ride in a high power speed boat.
After three hours at the lagoon we went across to Gozo harbour for a brief view, then back across to the tiny Cominotto island and a second snorkelling stop at the Crystal Cave and Lovers Cave, a sheltered lagoon surrounded by high, rather dangerous looking, limestone cliffs.
Finally back across the straight between Camino and Malta, to the Oh Yeah Tunny Net jetty. This all day trip is good value for money, priced at 12.5 euros, but expect to spend more on food and drink on the boat, and more still hiring deck chairs and snorkel mask and food at the Blue Lagoon stopping point.
Visit to St Andrews Church Valetta
We used the number 42 bus to get into Valetta. The important thing to note is that these busses get very crowded so it is important to get on the bus at or very close to the terminus at either end of the journey. In Valetta you really must get on at the terminus, where the bus fills completely.
To get to the St Andrews Church from the bus station go east using the bridge over the moat and into the walled city. South Street is about two roads ahead on the left. The church is about 100m down South St, on the right hand side. We were made very welcome by the church organist and minister's wife. We had lunch at a cafe opposite. We heard how they were helping the refugees from Africa who had arrived illegally by boat and were now stuck in detention. The church was helping a great deal by teaching them English. Also a micro finance scheme has been set up to help enterprising individuals set themselves up in business.
We tried snorkelling in three places places, at the resort itself and two places about 4km south. In front of the hotel was quite good with a large conger eel sited. To the east, via a walk along the cliff top, led to a disused jetty where we found some colourful starfish. The sea water was very clear with excellent visibility.
Page created 24 Oct 2013, amended 14 Sept 2015 ECJ (c) 2013 Copyright Satellite Signals Limited, All rights reserved.