In praise of Malta - with Map & parking spots

Mar 25, 2020
109
456
Funster No
69,618
MH
SWIFT KONTIKI 649
Exp
SINCE 1980
Hello Funster Community,

For those of you who read the earlier post ''And so to Malta......" here is the follow-up with the list of parking spots I mentioned that we were making. (Apologies for the delay). The attachments includes a page of info about Malta, a list of the spots we stayed at (with co-ordinates), a bit of info about each spot and a numbered map to relate to all of the spots. You will find these attachments at the end. If anyone wants the Excel copy of the list so they can add their own sites later on, let me know and I'll post it on the site.

Covid allowing, our plan is to sell up here in Australia and return to Malta in late July to collect our van and stay in Malta for a while before wending our way back through Europe to the UK for Xmas.

Here's the original post for those who didn't see it first time round................

Further to a couple of earlier posts, I've been meaning to let the Funster community know that we made it to Malta, and to put to bed some of the negative myths we all tend to hear about motorhoming in Malta........................in short, we heartily recommend it for a visit.

We left the UK in September 2020 when COVID was somewhat in abeyance and spent a leisurely eight weeks or so meandering down through central France (swerved Paris) to Southern France, then along the French and Italian Rivieras. Had some glorious stops along the way, with one highlight of many being our scooter drive along the sunny Amalfi coast. We were keeping a weather eye on COVID advancing behind us, so rather than get locked down in Italy, decided to cut and run for Malta from Salerno, instead of our original plan of continuing on down through Sicily before hopping the ferry to Malta. The ferry ride from Salerno to Valletta was great - about 30 hours or so and cost £200+ with an extra £100 for a nice double cabin (not allowed to stay in vehicle). Arrival in Malta was just after midnight, so we drove off the ferry and just parked on a quiet street for the night before heading up the next day to the island's one and only ''official'' campsite. This is one of the things that puts people off coming here, only the one campsite, but despite the owner of the camp and other doomsayers saying you can only park there, THIS IS NOT TRUE. Yes, caravans can't park as they please (unless the car stays attached to them) but motorhomes CAN. Transport Malta's viewpoint is that ''if a vehicle is licensed, it has the right to park on the roads." The only exceptions are where by-laws forbid parking in busy towns directly outside people's houses or in certain car parks, taking valuable parking space from the residents. But in reality, most of us want to park on the coast anyway, and not be overlooked by houses. Of course, I don't know how it will change after Brexit, but I'm sure the pragmatic Maltese will welcome British visitors as much as they always have. The only reason for staying at the one campsite (in Mellieha) would be for ready water and electricity, but if you invest in a small genny and simply contact one of the many water bowser drivers on Malta to come and fill you up, then you can be as free as a bird. We empty our toilet cassettes in public toilets with no problem, slipping the attendant (if there is one) a couple of euros; also, dotted all over Malta are portaloos for tourists, to augment the domestic sewage system, and we use these at no charge. For power, in our case, we had a 200-amp alternator fitted in the UK, so we just run the engine for a couple of hours a day to re-supply our power needs and haven't used our genny once, as it happens. Filling up our 93-litre water tank costs 5-10 euros, depending which bowser you use and how far he has to drive to fill you up. Also, the Water Authority gave us access to a tap at their yard in exchange for us making a donation to HospiceMalta, a very worthy cause, so if we're near them, we top up at no cost. You can of course opt to stay at the campsite, but it's 24 euros per night for a couple and is nowhere near the standard you'd have been used to in France (or even Italy, for that matter), and with very poor access roads. So, in our case, we move all about the island, stopping in places for about three days before moving on. We make our choices based mainly on wind direction and snorkelling/kayak-launching facility - heh, we were snorkelling only yesterday (the 19th December!) - but really, there are scores of places to park conveniently and comfortably for a motorhome, where you will feel welcome and happy. In fact, we are compiling a list of spots, complete with co-ordinates, which we'll later post for those interested.

For those who don't know much about Malta - it is a fascinating place. Very accessible in the sense that they drive on the left, everyone speaks English (ex British colony) and it's only 17 miles long by nine miles wide. Super-interesting, too - it is chocka-block with history due to its strategic position at the ''crossroads'' of the Mediterranean Sea it has been invested at some point by all the great powers of the day - Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Knights of St. John, France and Britain. All have left their mark here and it has helped create a very interesting mix. Apart from all the gorgeous buildings, there are even tombs here that pre-date the pyramids by thousands of years. If you fly in, it just looks like a big limestone rock as you approach; but, once landed, it really is like that old cliche of the onion - you can just keep peeling back layer after layer of good stuff. The high point, though, is surely the people - they are friendly and helpful to the point of unbelievability. It is humbling how lovely they are to us. We first discovered this back in the nineties when we lived here for a couple of years due to my work. And, in truth, we were a bit worried to come back, 20+ years on, lest time (and EU membership) had changed its character for the worse. But no. In fact, to more easily illustrate this, let me post in an e-mail here that I recently sent to my eldest son in answer to his own question/worry at how the years may have treated Malta........

''The short answer, son, is that we actually prefer the new Malta.

As you know, I was a bit worried coming back here. Sometimes it's best not to mess with the past. We had so many happy memories of our time living here that it was a bit of a ''risk'' to come back. It sort of reminded me of the school reunion I had in my late thirties with my little core of best mates from school, some of whom I'd not seen for 24 years - would I still like/love them? They, me? But that, too, turned out great and I remembered anew why we were all such great pals as kids.

But back to Malta...........yes, there is a downside in that the EU is undeniably weaving it's bureacratic fabric about the place. Where once the Maltese would just have raised a dismissive chin to the ''rules,'' they are now a bit more inclined to follow them. But it's mainly the younger folks this applies to. The essential Maltese pragmatism, friendliness, helpfulness and live-and-let-live ethos are all still very much in evidence.

But the material improvements are undeniable. Yes, perhaps Malta had to be dragged into the 21st century, but it does seem a happier, more accessible place for it. You won't be disappointed when you return.

The biggest material change is the roads. They are FANTASTIC compared to what they were before. Some massive thought, science and engineering has gone into not only improving the existing roads, but also enhancing the network with new roads and routes. Yes, some sacrifice of character and history has been made in achieving this, but not complainably so, if that is even a word.

It's not just the roads though - the buildings, the transport, the shops, the communication infrastructure, just life in general - it's all more navigable. Life here, although still rife with endearing anachronisms, is not frustratingly so, which it could be before. Another bonus is that (depending where you go) you can dip in and out of the ''new'' and ''old'' Maltas as you wish, it seems.......''


I'd better shove off before I start to sound even more like a Maltese travel agent, but really, I wanted to share with you all what is a fantastic place to visit. Please God COVID will recede next year, and when it does, try to put Malta on your itinerary. You won't be disappointed. Cheers! Mick & Lisa.

Mick Kennedy
 

Attachments

  • Malta map, numbered.pdf
    2.4 MB · Views: 95
  • Malta info & parking spots.pdf
    700.1 KB · Views: 86
Feb 22, 2011
6,043
8,805
Newcastle under Lyme
Funster No
15,397
MH
Hymer B544 A Class
Exp
Since 2015
I too love Malta but only ever flown there, remember those days ?
It's a bit of a trail to get a motorhome there but yes, I'm sure it would be worthwhile once there.
Is your van in storage there ?
 
OP
Mick Kennedy
Mar 25, 2020
109
456
Funster No
69,618
MH
SWIFT KONTIKI 649
Exp
SINCE 1980
Yes, left it on a friend’s farm

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