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.

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Gozo Salt Pans – Photography by Simon Burn

 

Ottawa’s Top 5 Travel Experiences

Tourist attractions are plentiful in the capital city; the problem is fitting them all in.

First time visitors will want to allow several days for exploring the many museums and historical sites. Make sure to save time for a skate on the Rideau Canal.

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ABOVE: The stunning glass structure of the National Gallery of Canada is most easily identified by the ‘Maman’ spider statue in front.

1. The National Gallery of Canada and The Canadian Mint are just northwest of the bustling restaurant and shopping district known as Byward Market. The gallery focuses on Canadian art featuring works by the Group of Seven, Emily Carr and Alex Colville, but also showcases an impressive display of American and European pieces. Pick up a newly minted or treasured souvenir after a tour at the Royal Canadian Mint.

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2. It’s hard to miss the castle-like structure that houses the Canadian Museum of Nature. Kids of every age will enjoy the natural disasters exhibits.

3. New skate chalets, found at varying intervals, make changing and resting much easier on the 7.8 km outdoor skating rink known as the Rideau Canal. After a brisk workout on the ice you’ll be able to enjoy (practically guilt free) an iconic Canadian pastry known as the beavertail. Best enjoyed with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

4. Rideau Hall is home to the Governor General of Canada and, in turn, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when she’s in town. It’s the only official residence open to the public and it’s worth a visit, especially if you’re prone to royal fever.

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5. On the edge of the Rideau Canal, in the downtown core, the National Arts Centre attracts prominent theatre including Broadway productions and notable performances in a variety of mediums. Annual tickets to shows like The Nutcracker or Handel’s Messiah are a family tradition for many local residents.

Ottawa’s Top 5 Restaurants

For a small city Ottawa features an abundance of first class dining options, though many are a well-kept secret as far as the locals are concerned.

Follow Dabble’s picks for a memorable week of meals in the capital city.

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1. The Wellington Gastropub has an infectious vibe that makes it one of the most sought-after places to book a table. Busy every night of the week with success that can be attributed to dedicated owners Chris Deraiche and Shane Waldron and their attention to an ever-changing menu.

2. A lively neighbourhood hotspot Fraser Café is on the edge of upscale Rockcliffe Park. Brothers Ross and Simon Fraser offer fresh, local food served simply in a casual setting. Their brunch menu has earned them a solid reputation with the weekend crowd.

3. Town owners, Marc Doiron and Lori Wojcik, are a married couple that combine their passion for art and food beautifully in a bustling, atmospheric restaurant in the Golden Triangle neighbourhood. Featuring locally grown food, the commitment to fresh deliciousness is evident in every dish served.

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4. Perhaps the most sophisticated of the top five spots, Beckta makes Ottawa proud. A world-class sommelier owner Stephen Beckta and his partner, award winning executive chef Michael Moffatt, can take on Manhattan. In typical Ottawa style there are no pretensions just haute cuisine served in elegant simplicity.

5. Atelier’s celebrated owner/chef Marc Lepine artfully creates food worth savouring in an atmosphere that encourages lingering. The innovative tasting menu at Atelier is considered molecular. Diners come for an experience and are never disappointed in a restaurant known as one of Canada’s finest.

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Welcome to Ottawa

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In Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, politics play a leading role. The parliament buildings take centre stage downtown while the Prime Minister and Governor Generals’ residences face off on Sussex Drive. For a small city, architecture makes a big statement and yet, it’s the capital’s natural setting that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

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With four season offerings for the outdoor enthusiast Ottawa is a year-round destination. But none can deny the magical charms of winter in the capital. Christmas lights emblazen the downtown core as temperatures drop, turning the lively Rideau Canal into the world’s longest outdoor skating rink.

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Welcome to Budapest

Before politics compromised Hungary’s influence, its capital twin cities—Buda and Pestrivalled Paris as a centre for fine art and artistic and intellectual achievement. Though evidence of Budapest’s post-Nazi, post-Communist restoration is abundant, the process is by no means complete, leaving an opportunity for the curious traveller to witness the past while watching the future emerge.

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ABOVE: Romantically described as the Pearl of the Danube, Budapest is a city of extremes. Pest’s dramatic skyline features St. Stephen’s Basilica at its centre.

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Twin cities, Buda and Pest are divided by the Danube River.

ABOVE: The Gothic spires of the Hungarian Parliament building in Pest.

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ABOVE: Baroque sculpture on Buda’s Castle Hill.