Top 5 Maltese Crafts

1- A craft that flourished under the Knights of Malta was gold and silver smithing. Today, Maltese goldsmiths continue to thrive, with the graphic Maltese cross being the most often requested item for purchase.

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2- The unmistakeable and universal scent of wood shavings appeals to nearly every traditionalist. Wood carving is a thriving industry in Malta with traditional pieces often receiving a layer of gilding before they make their way to the shop floor.

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3- Tole painting, the art of adding elaborate designs to tin and metal serving pieces, is another thriving artform.

Dabble Savvy: Items that lay flat and are non-breakable qualify as ideal suitcase splurges. Save room when you pack.

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4- Traditional weaving crafts such as lacemaking, basketry and wicker furniture production are widely visible on the islands.

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5- A relatively new craft in Malta, glass blowing was introduced in the 1960s. Shops typically sport hand and mouth blown vases and bowls in bright Mediterranean colours.

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3 Days in Malta

DAY ONE:

MORNING: There is plenty to see in and around the pedestrian town of Valletta. Take in St. John’s Cathedral and the Upper Gardens at Barrakka with views over the bay and front seats to the daily cannon firing. Home enthusiasts will appreciate Casa Rocca Piccola, a living museum and Valletta’s only privately owned palace.

12 NOON: Spot some celebs in St. Julian’s, just a short 45 minute walk away. Or, take the ferry and enjoy some ocean time.

EVENING: Book ahead to ensure you’ll get a table at either Guze Bistro or Michael’s. Either one will make an occasion out of the moment.

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Lower Barrakka Gardens – Photography by Simon Burn

DAY TWO:

MORNING: After a carb-dense breakfast (it’s ok, you’ll be walking today) head south to Marsaxlokk (on Sundays, don’t miss the Marsaxlokk Market). Explore the coastal area on foot and work up an appetite for fresh seafood at lunch.

AFTERNOON: Save some energy for the medieval cities of Mdina and Rabat. Take in the 360 degree views from the top of the hill in Mdina, and just try to put your camera down.

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Mdina – Photography by Simon Burn

DAY THREE:

AFTERNOON: Make sure to visit the 350-year-old Gozo Salt Pans. Sign up for a Jeep safari and you can make a day of touring the tiny island’s many sights.

EVENING: When the sun sets, casting its pink glow on everything in sight, everyone (and we mean everyone) is thinking about where to eat. If you meet a friendly local (and you will) ask for a recommendation.

Dabble Does Malta

Gozo Salt Pans – Photography by Simon Burn

Top 5 Malta Musts

1- If you like your seafood fresh (and really, who doesn’t?) a side trip to the southern end of the main island lands you in Marsaxlokk, a sleepy little fishing village. Visitors delight in the bounty of colourful, bobbing fishing boats in the harbour.

Dabble Savvy: The fishing boats, called luzzu, sport a painted eye on the hull, protecting them from watery danger.

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Photography by Simon Burn

2- Valletta, Malta’s capital city has many charms. Spend a few days in the pedestrian town to see the sights and enjoy the beaches.

Dabble Savvy: The Upper Barracca Gardens are a bit of a climb (the elevator no longer works) unless you enter via Victoria Gate, then turn left onto St. Ursula Street, go the end of the street and you’ll see the entrance.

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Photography by Simon Burn

3- No trip to Malta is complete without a trek to the top of Mdina. This is the oldest part of the island and the 360 degree views are worth the climb.

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Photography by Simon Burn

4- When you’re ready for some pampering, set out for St. Julian’s, where the chic go to be seen. Picture St. Tropez without the hourdes. A short ferry ride from Valletta brings you there in style.

5- Sure, it’s a bumpy ride, but a Jeep safari in Gozo is a fiendishly fun way to see the island’s main sights. Bring a camera to capture the Salt Pans, Xewkija Rotunda and the megalithic Ġgantija Temples.

Dabble Does Malta

Gozo Salt Pans – Photography by Simon Burn