Bay Street Shopping Complex (Bay Street, St. Julian’s) — Bay Street Shopping Complex provides a great mix of major international brands, quality independent shops, restaurants, services, family entertainment and even a four star hotel. Located in the heart of Malta’s premier tourist destination, St. George’s Bay, its blend of indoor & outdoor shopping, dining and leisure is complemented with a regular events & entertainment program — generating a lively atmosphere for families and shoppers all year round.
Aria (limits of Tal-Balal, San Gwann) — located on the outskirts of Malta’s dubbing nightlife scene, in the quiet surroundings of San Ġwann, Club Aria represents everything cosmopolitan and debonair – spending the day by the pool, an evening dine out or an unforgettable club night. From trend setters carousing for the weekend, to the mix of local and foreign bather, Club Aria is the ultimate entertainment complex in the heart of the Maltese Islands.
Dubbed as “the sexiest hangout in the heart of the Med”, Club Aria is the place to spend lavish and deluxe afternoons in the sun; with the hottest crowds and coolest parties, all against a soothing backdrop of lush palms and the shimmering Mediterranean sun. Club Aria is where Malta’s cosmopolitan crowd can be found sipping premium brands on verdant sun beds, nibbling on mouthwatering finger food, and dancing to the grooves of first class DJs and live musicians. Not surprisingly, the complex has nowadays established itself as The playground for jet setters, local VIPs, and comparable visitors. Club Aria’s famous Olympia Pool Party Sundays are not to be missed! Attracting well over 1,000 weekly patrons throughout the summer months, this is the ultimate pool party experience in Malta.
Alliance Cruising (61 Marina Court, 13/15, Abate Rigord Street, Ta’ Xbiex) — Cruise around the Maltese Islands, sail the sparkling, blue Mediterranean in comfort, style and safety with Alliance Cruises – and enjoy a day to remember! Take a historic Harbour Cruise, and re-live the heroic defense of Malta by the Knights of St John – Sail to Comino, and swim in the crystal clear enchanting waters of the Blue Lagoon – or choose a Round Malta boat trip, the cruise that will enable you to take in Malta’s rugged and spectacular coastline, and see Malta as you have never seen her before. See its website for rates and other info: www.alliancecruises.com
Al Molo (Level 5, Portomaso Marina, St. Julian’s) — Al Molo is situated right on the water’s edge at the lovely Portomaso Marina in St. Julian’s. The restaurant brings together the best possible ingredients for a memorable dining experience…great location, beautiful decor, and inspired food by a multi award-winning chef (serving Siclian-influenced dishes, such as pan-roasted fillet of sea bass; and grilled Charolais beef rib-eye, pan-fried vegetables with lemon & thyme, and potato puree). This, along with the impeccable service helps make Al Molo a special restaurant.
Casa Rocca Piccola (74 Republic Street, Valletta) – this is a 16th century palace and home of the noble de Piro family. This is the only private palazzo that’s open to the public in Valletta. Casa Rocca Piccola has over 50 rooms, the majority of which are open for viewing. Over the years it has opened new rooms to the tours and are continuing to do so. The World War II Air Raid Shelters (a network of underground tunnels) have provided a dramatic and exciting addition to the tours of the house. There’s also a newly opened Gallery, where local painters and artisans can exhibit their works.
The value of Casa Rocca Piccola lies in its ability to provide unique historical evidence into the customs and traditions of the Maltese nobility over the last 400 years. You can also see a collection of furniture, silver and paintings that add to the aesthetic riches of this country.
Hours: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (daily, except for Sundays and holidays). Tours: €9 (adult), €5 (students). Free for children under 14 years.
The island republic of Malta is an archipelago of several islands located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea (the main islands being Malta, Gozo, and Comino). It’s 80 km. south of Sicily, 284 km. east of Tunisia, and 333 km. north of Libya. Because of its location, it has been occupied in one time or another by a foreign power – from the Phoenicians, to the Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Habsburg Spain, the Knights of St. John (the Crusaders), the French, and the British (the last foreign occupier of these islands).
Tourists visiting Malta will come across sites from these historic periods. No doubt, the country is perhaps best remembered as a stronghold of Catholicism, personified in its occupation by the military religious order that became known as the Knights of Malta during the 16th century. The capital city of Valletta was named after the Frenchman who led the Knights at the time (Jean Parisot de Valette) and successfully withstood a siege by the Ottomans in 1565. The Knights’ presence on these islands was responsible for many of the fortifications still found there, along with many of the buildings constructed during that period.
In fact, the reign of these Knights continued until 1798, when Napoleon took over Malta – ending medieval rule there. However, due to abuses alleged committed by the French during their time in Malta, locals forced them out and invited the British to take over in 1800. Malta remained under British rule well into the 20th century, given its strategic value (even enduring intense German & Italian bombings during World War II). Malta became independent in 1964, and became part of the European Union in 2004.
Because of its longtime association with Great Britain, English is one of Malta’s current official languages. The other official language is Maltese (a mixture of Arabic, Italian, English and French – reflecting the previous groups that occupied the country).
Given Malta’s Mediterranean location, it’s no surprise that tourism plays an important role in its economy (contributing about 15% of the country’s GDP). In 2012, 1.4 million tourists visited Malta. Along with visitors from various EU countries, Malta also took advantage of tensions between Israel and Turkey by marketing its tourism to the Israelis as a viable Mediterranean alternative (resulting in as many as 30,800 visitors from that country in 2011). In addition, more recent marketing efforts have resulted in more American visitors (around 19,052 in 2013).