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Flights have restarted with British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet and

AirMalta. Find out more about Malta’s reopening at the Travel Weekly

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CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: David undergoes a temperature check at a restaurant near Mdina; Valletta waterfront; Maltese pastizzi; Mdina at sunrise PICTURES: Shutterstock; Malta Tourism Authority; David Golledge

interior of St John’s Co-Cathedral could not be more different. Its stone walls are engraved and inlaid with 24-carat gold, while the painted ceiling is quite literally a work of art, and worth clambering up the tall spiral stairs for a closer view. Just a short stroll away, the Upper Barrakka Gardens

feature rare greenery and striking arches, but the star attraction is the panoramic view across the wide expanse of the Grand Harbour. The terrace overlooks ceremonial cannons with a backdrop of billionaires’ mega-yachts and fortifications rising from the prongs of Vittoriosa and Senglea, two of the neighbouring Three Cities. During the Second World War, Malta was one of the most heavily bombed places on Earth. The harbour bore the brunt, making this pristine view over the city’s medieval fortifications all the more remarkable. For a different angle, head out on a dgħajsa, the

traditional ferry boats painted in bright colours. Originally rowing boats, these days motors do the work and will zip you across the harbour to Vittoriosa in a few minutes for €2. Normally, Valletta’s Grand Harbour is popular with cruise visitors, with summer bringing in around three ships a day and many of their thousands of passengers accessing the city via the 58m-high Upper Barrakka Lift. It was similarly quiet when we visited Mdina, a medieval

hilltop fortress familiar to Game of Thrones fans. Narrow old streets that would normally be thronged saw only a trickle of visitors. “It’s great to come over without all the hustle and bustle of queueing for attractions,” said Darrell.

24 30 JULY 2020 TRIED & TESTED the westin dragonara resort

The Westin Dragonara is an oasis in bustling St Julian’s, situated on a spacious natural peninsula, with many of its 412 rooms enjoying spectacular views. The well-established property emerged from lockdown with a refreshed contemporary-style lobby bar, a new terrace and refurbished suites, thanks to a €40m renovation. Guests can expect temperature checks on arrival, plenty of sanitiser stations

and Perspex screens, and to see cleaners frequently disinfecting touchpoints such as lift buttons. If the rooms are a little sparse, it’s because non-essential items such as ironing boards and hairdryers have been removed, but are still available from reception. Access restrictions make for a slightly longer walk to the pool and beach

terraces, but there is plenty of space for loungers around the shoreline, and a choice of waterfront restaurants, including an original 19th-century boathouse. The hotel’s casino is housed in a former palace complete with ornate columns, plus there’s a dive centre on-site and the shops and nightlife of Paceville nearby. Book it: Double rooms start at £190 per night with breakfast.


With fewer tourists to dodge, it was a good time to have a go at some outdoor activities, starting with a Segway tour to the island’s highest point, the Dingli Cliffs. As Malta is well-developed, it made a refreshing change to start our adventure from the lush greenery of the Buskett Gardens. The machines are controlled by shifting your body position and it took no time to get the hang of darting around, the fat tyres making light work of any bumpy surfaces – although leaning²

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