Surrounded by the majestic Mediterranean Sea Malta stands as the midpoint between Europe and Africa. We will have the opportunity to be here during the spectacular Carnival! Carnival in Malta is an important event on the cultural calendar. This annual event is shared by many with the main center of attraction being the large and brightly colored floats passing through the streets of Floriana and Valletta.
Join us on AACI’s 4 night kosher and friendly tour while absorbing the architecture, history and beauty of this vibrant island.
Day One: Sunday February 23-Valetta Morning departure from Israel on Malta Air. On arrival we start our tour of Valletta with a visit to the Barraka Gardens where you can admire views over the magnificent fortified Grand Harbour. We continue our tour through the heart of Valletta; en route admire the beautiful architecture and large open piazza’s. See from the outside St. John’s Co-Cathedral which was historically the most important building built by the Knights and the magnificent Grand-masters Palace State Rooms and Armory. We end our tour of the city with the Malta Experience. The Malta Experience is a superb 45-minute show illustrating the history of the Maltese Islands – from Neolithic to modern times. The show features 3000 color slides displayed by 39 projectors and outstanding audio effects. Our tour ends here and we make our way back to our hotel. Check into to the hotel and make our way to dinner. Dinner at a kosher restaurant.
Day Two Monday February 24–Mdina, Rabat, San Anton Gardens & Artisans Our first stop in this tour we is the medieval city of Mdina. Mdina is built on a plateau in the center of the island. The cities’ old Baroque buildings, cathedral and magnificent bastion walls dominate the rural skyline. Mdina, once the capital of Malta until the modern city of Valletta was built in 1565 has had many names, including Melita (Roman occupation), Mdina (Arabic occupation), Cita Notabile (Knights of St. John) and Cita Vecchia (after Valletta was built). Today it is also referred to as the Silent City since it inspires tranquility at any time of the day or night. The only way to really experience and enjoy this city is on foot; explore the quaint alleys, narrow streets, ancient buildings and magnificent far reaching views from the high bastion walls.
Our tour will then continue to the old town of Rabat. Here we will make our way through the narrow streets to the center. Rabat can claim the origins of Maltese Christianity and good examples of the Roman period are also found here. Our visit to Rabat features the Roman Domus. In 1881 remains of a Roman townhouse where discovered on this site. There are some excellent exhibits and the museum houses the principle remains of Malta’s Roman period (218 BCE – 870 BCE) and encloses the Roman Villa, notable for its fine mosaics. After a lunch break we proceed to San Anton Gardens. These magnificent gardens are located in the grounds of the San Anton Palace – the official residence of the President of Malta. Probably the best known of our public gardens, San Anton was first laid out by Grand Master Antoine de Paule between 1623 and 1636. You can wander along paths and terraces which are lined with enormous trees, hedges, flower beds and old stone pots full of plants to any of five ponds with ducks, fountains and water lilies. Our final stop includes a visit to an artisans center. Here you can view the local crafts and it is also the ideal place to purchase some gift from a good selection of locally made pottery and ceramics, filigree and jewelry, cane works, wrought iron and much more. Do not miss out on the glassblowers – decorative glass made in the traditional manner by hand and mouth; also etching and crystal cutting. Our tour comes to an end and we make our way back to our hotel and dinner. Dinner at a kosher restaurant.
Day Three: Tuesday February 25- Three Cities Traditional Boat Trip This tour visits the oldest part of the Grand Harbor. Our first stop includes the Gardjola Gardens; here you can admire the magnificent view from the Vedette (watch tower used by the Knights). We continue with the tour of this area visiting Birgu. Birgu is the oldest city of the Grand Harbor. In 1530 the Knights of St. John first settled in this area, and we will give you an insight into an era dominated by the Knights of St. John. Our walking tour will take us to the heart of the city, the narrow streets and quaint alleys known as the ‘collachio’, an area of old Palazzo’s which is where the original Auberge’ s occupied by the Knights. We finish this tour with a trip around the harbor on a traditional Dghajsa (type of gondola) or motor boat (weather permitting). We return to Valetta to explore the city and some free time. Dinner at a kosher restaurant.
Tonight we venture out as a group to the center of Valetta to experience the finale of the Carnival. Be a part of the festivities and enjoy an unforgettable experience!
Day Four: Wednesday February 26- Gozo Island
Breakfast. We start our tour to Gozo with a pleasant 25 minute ferry crossing. The charm of Gozo is apparent the moment you arrive there. It is greener, more rural and smaller than Malta. Our tour is a combination of scenic spots, historical sites and local culture. We feature most of the main highlights during our tour including the oldest free standing temples in the world, known as Ggantija Temples, we will pass through quaint sleepy villages that characterize Gozo’ s unique charm, visit stunning sites such as Calypso Cave which offers magnificent view
s over the red sands of Ramla Bay. We will also stop at the Fontana Cottage where you can buy locally made goods; you will also have some time for a spot of shopping for popular buys such as lace. Free time for lunch will be at the pretty bay of Xlendi. After lunch we continue our tour with visits to one of the most photographed sites in Gozo, the Azure Window and Inland Sea. Here you can take a boat trip (depends on the weather) around the sea-locked lake. Our final stop before we head back to the ferry for Malta includes a visit to the main town on Gozo, Victoria and The Citadel. The Citadel is a small fortified city that dominates the heights above Victoria. The history of The Citadel dates back to an early period when Gozo was under Roman and Arab occupation. The views from its fortified walls offer panoramas of the whole island. Our tour comes to an end and we make our way back to the ferry terminal for our return to the main island to our hotel and dinner. Dinner at a kosher restaurant.
Day Five: Thursday February 27-Ghar Dalam, Tarxien, Hagar Qim, Grotto & Marsaxlokk Breakfast at a kosher restaurant. We will be touring the south of the island during this tour, starting at the Blue Grotto. This picturesque grotto and its neighboring system of sea caverns mirror the brilliant phosphorescent colors of underwater flora. Boat trips, which take around 25 minutes, allow you to explore these grottoes and sea caverns along this stretch of coast. We continue with our tour to the Hagar Qim temple site. Set in a rural area this ancient temple is particularly interesting as it has the largest and heaviest megaliths of all the temple sites around the Maltese Islands, some slabs weighing a staggering 20 tons. Our guide will unfold the history related to this temple which dates back to 3300BC, an era dominated by Neolithic man. Our next stop includes a visit to Marsaxlokk. This quaint fishing village on the south coast is characterized by low lying buildings and the colorful traditional fishing boats known as the ‘luzzu’. A small local market lines the seafront. You will have free time for lunch. In the afternoon we continue with our tour and our first stop includes a visit to Tarxien. Tarxien was the first temple site to be excavated and it offers a unique collection of circa. 3000 BC sanctuaries. Stone idols and tablets, domestic animals carved in relief, altars and screens decorated with spiral designs and other patterns, oracular chambers and niches enhance the attractions of these temples.
Our tour continues to Ghar Dalam. The Ghar Dalam Cave is a highly important site as it was here that the earliest evidence of human settlement on Malta, some 7,400 years ago, was discovered. This huge cavern is some 144 meters deep, but only the first 50 meters are open to visitors. The lowermost layers, more than 500,000 years old, contained the fossil bones of dwarf elephants, hippopotami, micro-mammals and birds. Our tour ends here and we make our way back to St. Paul’s Bay and dinner before we proceed to the airport for our return flight home.
Price: AACI members 1,790 Euro per person in a double room currency converter Non-AACI member 1,865 Euro per person in a double room Single supplement 300 Euro / Credit for not taking the flights: $150
Flights on Air Malta from Israel
4 nights 5-star hotel
All entrances listed above
Kosher Breakfast and dinner, packed lunches
Transportation in air conditioned coach
Local guides for the excursions and visits
Porterage at hotels and tips for drivers and guides