WANDERWOMAN® WOMEN-ONLY SMALL GROUP TOUR TO HISTORIC MALTA
The Maltese Islands: Positively Mythic
Malta’s countryside is strewn with megalithic temples, which pre-date the pyramids of Egypt and are believed to have been built to venerate the Great Mother Goddess. Discover Malta’s intriguing ancient past as we explore local lore, Homeric epics, ancient temples, and a Roman villa. Meander narrow streets of villages and medieval citadels crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces, which tell of Malta’s fascinating history from the Fatimid conquest & the rule of the Knights of St. John to British colonial times.
Dates: TBA September 2020
This tour begins and ends at Malta International Airport (MLA)
Join us on this exclusive journey, limited to 10 participants, with a private visit to the Hypogeum.
Price is per person based on double occupancy.
Single Supplement: TBA or NO single supplement if you prefer to share accommodations with another solo traveler.
ROOMMATES ARRANGED FOR SOLO TRAVELERS WISH TO SHARE ACCOMMODATIONS
Malta travel itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival at the Malta International Airport in Valletta
Upon arrival at Valetta Airport (MLA) you will be met by your WanderWoman® tour escort and transferred to our hotel, a historic Maltese 5-star property, located just outside the city walls of Valletta and within walking distance to points of interest and wonderful local restaurants. After an opportunity to rest and freshen up, we will venture out with our local guide for an introduction to Maltese cuisine & culture and to get acquainted with fellow travelers. Travel by boat, aboard a ‘Dghajsa’, a small traditional Maltese boat, across the harbor to Vittoriosa. At the tip of this city is the oldest fortification on the Island, Fort St. Angelo. A walking tour of the city brings us through narrow streets with typical Maltese houses, band clubs, and churches that make up this ‘Victorious’ city. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (D)
Day 2: Walking Tour of Valletta
Explore Valletta, Malta’s capital city, founded by the Knights of St. John Order of Malta in 1566. Visit the National Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts from Malta’s prehistoric past. Here we find the famed “Sleeping Goddess” figurine dating back 5,000 years. Enjoy views of the harbor from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Tour St. John’s Cathedral, where the floor is paved with marble slabs, each the tomb of a knight, bearing his coat of arms in intricate inlay. Visit the Cathedral’s Oratory to view Caravaggio’s masterpiece “The Beheading of St. John.” Tour the Grand Master’s Palace, once the headquarters of the Order of St. John, as well as the formal court of the Grand Master. Plaques and paintings, decoration and furnishings give us a glimpse into the history of the Order, British colonial rule, and the Republic of Malta. Today it is the office of the President and home of Parliament. Enjoy lunch at one of Valletta’s lively piazzas. Afternoon at leisure to rest or to explore. (B, L)
Day 3: Unveiling Malta’s Neolithic Temples
The prehistoric temples of the islands of Malta are the oldest man-made freestanding stone structures in the world and are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Many of these megalithic temples and Malta’s subterranean complexes pre-date the Great Pyramid of Giza by 1000 years! Scholars believe Malta’s temple complexes to have been built as sanctuaries for the worship of an ancient Great Mother Goddess.
We begin our exploration of these fascinating temple sites with an exclusive private visit (limited to 10 people) to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. This unique subterranean complex has been given an individual UNESCO World Heritage Site listing. It consists of three levels, the oldest of which dates to 3600 BCE. Originally the site was a sanctuary, perhaps an oracle, then it appears to have been transformed into an ossuary, as is evident by the remains of more than 7,000 individuals discovered during excavation. Next we will walk to the nearby Tarxien Temple Complex. This freestanding megalithic temple was built between 3000 and 2500 BCE. It is known for its elaborate spiral carvings, which resemble those at New Grange in Ireland (3100 to 2900 BCE). After lunch at a typical village restaurant, visit the Hagar Qim Temples on the southern coast. These temples were built around the fourth millennium. Less than 1km downhill from the Hagar Qim Temples lie the Mnajdra Temples. Thanks to its good state of preservation and spectacular location, the Mnajdra is the most atmospheric of Malta’s many ancient sites and consists of three temples that radiate from an oval forecourt. (B, L)
Day 4 : Explore the Southern Coast
Enjoy a hike along the island’s dramatic western coast along the Dingli cliffs perched 250 meters above the sea. Our hiking route offers stunning views of the sea and panoramic vistas of Malta as we walk through fields of wildflowers and small farms. We’ll stop in a small village to purchase lunch before returning to our hotel. Evening at leisure. (B)
Day 5: Gozo’s Ancient Past
Morning transfer to Cirkewwa from where we travel by ferry (approx 20 minutes) to Gozo harbor. Gozo is an island rich with myths, folklore, and traditional crafts.
We begin our adventure on Gozo with a tour of the Ggantija Temples, which consist of two megalithic temples surrounded by a massive common boundary wall and dating to between 3600 and 3200 BCE. Archaeologists believe the temples to have been the site of a fertility cult. According to local folklore, these temples were constructed by a giantess as places of worship. Next visit the site of “Calyso’s Cave.” This cave is alleged to be the cave referred to by Homer in “The Odyssey” and Gozo to be the island of Ogygia where the beautiful nymph Calypso kept Odysseus as a “prisoner of love” for seven years. Drive to the sweet coastal town of Xlendi and check in at our hotel overlooking the sea. Enjoy an optional late afternoon hike with our local guide. (B)
Day 6: Jeep Safari and Wine Tasting
Discover hidden Gozo by 4 x 4 Jeeps and explore places which are even unknown to the people of Gozo themselves. Highlights of places to be visited include the capital city Victoria with its walled city citadel, driving dirt roads through small towns, and the Salt Pans.
We will have lunch and a wine-tasting at a local restaurant specializing in fresh local products such as ‘Gbejniet’, Gozitan cheeslets. After lunch enjoy a fun hands one lesson in how to prepare the Gozitan ‘Gbejniet’. (B, L)
Day 7: Medieval Mdina, the First Capital of Malta
Morning transfer to the ferry and back to the island of Malta and to her first capital city, Mdina. Our hotel is 5-star boutique property, which was built in the 17th Century as a residence for the noble family Moscati Parisio. After a chance to have lunch, we will tour this beautifully preserved fortified medieval city on foot with our local guide. Just outside the city walls in Rabat, visit the Catacombs of St Paul, where we find Christian, Jewish and pagan burials side by side. In the evening, we will gather for a farewell gala dinner at one the island’s finest restaurants. (B, D)
Day 8: Bid Farewell to Malta
After breakfast transfer to the airport
Combine with A Slice of Sicily September 2020–-Visit Catania, known as the black city, which is built of lava; Ortygia, an ancient Greek city; enchanting Taormina, a resort town since ancient Greek times; explore Mount Etna on a jeep adventure.
Note: there is one night in between the 2 tours, which is additional.
See tour details.
Malta offers a wonderful alternative to Egypt and other turbulent destinations in the Middle East for travelers who are interested in ancient cultures, archaeology and history. Malta has been inhabited for over 7,000 years and has been a crossroads of cultures since ancient times with influences by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs.
Malta is a republic, gaining independence from Britain in 1964 and is a member of the European Union. Malta consists of three islands and is situated just 50 miles south of Sicily, Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.
Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.
The weather in Malta during the month of September has cooled off after the hot summer. Average temperatures range from lows in the mid-60s F to highs in the upper 70s F and low 80s F with mostly sunny skies.
The population of Malta is estimated to be 408,300.
Maltese cuisine is delicious and healthy with influences from Sicily, Spain, France, England and Northern Africa.
The tour price includes privately guided tours with official Maltese tourist board guides as per itinerary including an exclusive private visit to the Hal Safieni Hypogeum. Also included are all admission fees to included sites and meals as per itinerary. Our women-only travel groups are NOT motor coach tours, although we use minibuses for locally guided tours that are included in our itineraries. Transfers are by air-conditioned minibus and ferry. Guided tours of the major attractions are included as well as some of the lesser known treasures of Malta. The best way to experience Malta’s medieval towns and megalithic sites is on foot, so bring comfortable walking shoes. The pace of the itinerary is leisurely with ample time for relaxing or for exploring more. The tour group size is limited to 10 women. A knowledgeable WanderWoman® tour organizer will accompany the group to ensure a stress-free vacation. So whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned veteran we invite you to join us on our adventure to the Maltese Islands this coming fall.
GETTING TO MALTA
The group will meet at Malta International Airport (MLA) in Luga, Malta and transfer as a group to our hotel. Although airfare is NOT included we will gladly help with making your flight arrangements. Also we can assist you with any pre or post tour arrangements in Malta and beyond. Alitalia, Lufthansa, Ryan Air, and Air Malta offer flights to Malta. If flying Alitalia you may want to consider staying a couple of nights in Rome.
We avoid the typical large group tour-oriented hotels and stay at smaller historic properties and smaller local-style inns with local ambiance. In Valletta & Mdina we stay at lovely properties rich in history. On Gozo our hotel is a smaller, basic seafront property with lovely water views from the rooms. We have a limited number of upgrades to harbor view rooms with small balconies in Valletta and top floor rooms in Gozo with terraces. The hotels are within walking distance to restaurants, shops, and points of interest – giving you freedom to explore right out the door! All the rooms have private baths, direct dial telephones, and TVs.
EARLY BOOKING PRICE: $TBA
Price is per person based on double occupancy.
Single supplement: TBA (Solo travelers, we have a roommate opportunity on this trip-NO single supplement)
Pre-tour additional nights: Rate available upon request
We may be able to arrange for a triple room if three are traveling together.
NOTE: should the group be less than 8 travelers, a small group supplement of $150 per person applies.
Price includes: Accommodations, transfers by minibus/taxi/shuttle service and ferry. Also includes breakfast daily, welcome and farewell dinners, and 3 lunches and a wine tasting. Dinner drinks and alcoholic beverages are not included unless specified above. Guided tours as above, admissions fees as per itinerary, suggested activities, restaurant recommendations, and services of WanderWoman® tour director to attend to details.
Combine with A SLICE OF SICILY – September 2020
To reserve your space call or email Eurynome Journeys for an application form and terms and conditions. We will hold your space for up to ONE week at which time a $900 deposit per person is due. Within 90 days of departure, payment in full is due. Travel insurance should be purchased within 14 days of your first payment.
NOTE: Early booking is recommended.
Please email us if you would like to join us.
For a free quote from TRAVEL GUARD insurance click here or call us at 207.236.0110
NOTE: This is an active vacation involving walking and climbing stairs and thus requires a certain degree of physical fitness. This tour is NOT suitable for those with limited mobility. All group activities are NON-SMOKING. Eurynome Journeys and its representatives reserve the right to change the itinerary and make substitutions as necessitated by local circumstances and/or deemed necessary by the tour leader to ensure the safety and comfort of the tour participants.
Helpful Links & Suggested Reading
A non-profit organization dedicated to the study and preservation of rock art around the world, including Malta. The foundation works in collaboration with UNESCO, National Geographic Society and others.
CIA World Fact Book Malta
Information and facts about Malta compiled by the U.S. government
Heritage Malta is the national agency for museums, conservation practice and cultural heritage. Heritage Malta was created by the Cultural Heritage Act, which was enacted in 2002. Originally Heritage Malta was entrusted with the management of museums, sites and their collections but in 2005, the agency was also charged with taking over of the former Malta Centre for Restoration to become the national agency responsible for conservation.
The World Heritage Centre is at the forefront of the international community’s efforts to protect and preserve culturally significant buildings and sites.
Omniglot: Maltese Language
Visit Omniglot to learn about this interesting language spoken by 350,000 people.
Books that examine the ancient goddess civilization of Malta:
Evans, J.D., The Prehistoric Antiquities of the Maltese Islands, 1971, University of London
Gimbutas, Marija, The Language of the Goddess, 1989, Harper San Francisco
Gimbutas, Marija, The Civilization of the Goddess, 1991, Harper San Francisco
Neumann, Erich, The Great Mother, 1974, Princeton University Press Princeton, NJ
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