OutUK's Adrian Gillan is mesmerised by those melt-in-your-mouth manly
Small islands can offer big surprises. In fact, of the Maltese Republic's
three small islands, even the largest - eponymous Malta - is only 18 miles by 9!|
Yet, with a population of around half a million - half of whom are men, nearly
all of whom can speak English - the possibilities soon seem endless!
smallest member certainly pumps up and punches above its weight. Throughout
history, it has withstood a right old ramming - from Roman and Ottoman invasions
to British rule and Nazi bombardments - and emerged with one of the proudest,
most colourful cultures anywhere in the region. A right Med mix!
WHERE TO STAY
St. Julian's is the best place for a gay to stay in Malta, merging - as it does -
into neighbouring coastal towns of Sliema and capital Valletta; yet boasting a
more vibrant nightlife than both.
And there's nowhere better to lodge than
Le Méridien St. Julian's, right on the seafront, overlooking shimmering Balluta Bay (pictured right).
Check out the hotel's luxurious Lotus Spa!|
You can book this hotel at special
online rates through our hotel partner
WHAT TO SEE
It's amazing what riches are crammed into Malta's tiny capital, Valletta!
Check out the St James Cavalier Arts Centre; The National Museum of Archaeology,
containing important finds like the famous 5000+ years old "fat lady" statuettes;
St. John's Cathedral, with its richly carved interior and Caravaggio paintings; the
sumptuous Grandmaster's Palace, today the seat of the President and Parliament of the
Republic of Malta; the Palace Armoury, with fine examples of mediaeval armour and weapons,
many used by the Knights of St. John; the peaceful vantage-point of the Upper Barrakka
Gardens; and the narrow grid of ancient balconied sloping streets throughout,
that almost seem to scream out their "World Heritage" status!
Then, head inland to Malta's former, ancient capital of Mdina - an immaculate
mediaeval, walled city situated in the centre of the main island. Also known as
the "Silent City", the lofty citadel commands magnificent vistas all-round.
Take a 30 minute boat ride from the southern coast, on a typical Maltese Luzzu, to
the Blue Grotto.
This is an unspoilt beauty spot consisting of a natural rock arch and a
deep sea cave. A short distance inland from the Blue Grotto, the 5500+ years old Hagar
Qim Temples stand on a hilltop, overlooking the sea and the islet of Filfla. Important
items found here include a gloryhole-resembling oracle and the famous "fat ladies" -
now on display in Valletta.|
And don't forget "The Three Cities"! The streets of
clustered Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa - just across the Grand Harbour from
Valletta - take on a glorious warm orange ochre glow in Malta's dazzling sunshine.
WHERE TO EAT
Gay-frequented Luciano's on Valletta's main artery, Merchant Street, offers
delicious food in ambient surroundings, in an old site built by the Order of
St. John, right next to the Cathedral. Or, in vibrant St. Julian's, pop into
Peppino's - a busy, authentic Italian affair, overlooking Spinola Bay, and
visited by the likes of Madonna, Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe! And - for
especially fine fish dishes - you must try bright and cheerful, great-value
Ta Peppi, along the front of Malta's main fishing village, Marsaxlokk, just south of Valletta.
WHERE TO BOOZE, DANCE 'N CRUISE
Stylish club-bar for the young, right on the Sliema front, Long Island stays
busy Wednesday to Sunday nights. Small but perfectly-formed Paceville nightclub, Closet,
gets crammed with young cuties cum weekends - many of whom climax here after
Long Island. And, a short walk from Valletta's City Gate and the Grand Harbour,
Tom Bar hosts visiting sailors and a slightly older crowd.
City of London bar, on Balluta Bay, near Le Méridien hotel, gets packed with
lesbians and their gay male pals, especially at weekends. Saints Bar, in
Hamrun, near Valetta, is popular with TVs. And OBar & Spa is a discreet, modern and
stylish "men's health complex" in Paceville, near Closet.
Cruising is pretty safe in Malta, if kept discreet. Good spots include the
Port de Bombes, a lightly wooded park near capital Valletta's old gates; and
the Gzira Marina Gardens just north of Valletta.
Air Malta, Lufthansa and Easyjet all operate flights to Malta. You can check out the best fares at .
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
City of London (Balluta Street, St Julian's; no phone)
Closet (Paceville, St. Julian's; no phone)
Le Méridien St. Julian's (39 Main Street, St Julian's; T: (+356) 2311 0000)
Long Island (138 Tower Road, Sliema - next to Europa Hotel; T: (+356) 2133 4070)
O Bar & Spa (St. Augustine's Street, St. Julian's; T: (+356) 9940 5861; www.omalta.com)
Saints Bar (New Street, off Notabile Road, Mriehel, Hamrun; no phone)
Tom Bar (1 Crucifix Hill, Floriana, Valletta; T: (+356) 2125 0780)
Revised February 2015.