Malta & Gozo: The Mediterranean’s diamond in the rough
Few places in Europe approach the idea of true paradise as candidly as the still untapped tourist destination of Malta, where a burgeoning party scene, illustrious history, and awe-inspiring landscapes come together to make one of the Mediterranean’s finest uncut gems.
Those familiar will likely regard Malta as the feet-up seaside getaway that it is, where your greatest worries amount to having sand in your shoes or deciding between pants and shorts, but each February the small island country attracts thousands for a more revelrous reason: Carnival. For a week straight, clubs, parades, and impromptu city-square celebrations permeate the otherwise hushed hills of Malta, and particularly its sister island, Gozo, with its people’s gushing pride of its rich and unavoidably beautiful culture. It’s here that Malta’s Carnival distances itself as a unique and worthy destination among others in its class, as Maltese history and culture simply ooze from every facet of the annual event.
Similar to how a Gozian party isn’t just a party (but a cultural celebration), Gozo’s premier nightclub, La Grotta, is so much more than just a club. To get into La Grotta, for example, partiers have to traverse a path down the bamboo-lined corridor of the protected Lunzjata Valley before turning into a literal cave that houses the venue’s main dancefloor. Over the course of Carnival week, La Grotta offered a little bit of everything, utilizing local all-stars Pocci and Nikki VP for an R&B and hip-hop inspired evening, importing Britain’s Secondcity for a cave-dwelling house, and offering more underground techno and house sounds in a more intimate, tucked away club atmosphere. Add that drinks at La Grotta clock in at under 3 dollars and there’s little not to like.
Nightlife and celebrations aside, Malta remains abundant in what it offers, between the cuisine that brilliantly fuzes Italian and African palettes, and the lush landscapes and biodiversity that have made it the iconic setting of shows like Game of Thrones and the upcoming Jurassic World 3. Whether it’s for one of the many international festivals, such as Annie Mac‘s Lost & Found, or just to experience the scenic sights, sounds and flavors, Malta may be a detour, but one well worth taking.
Photo Credit: Malta.Intercontinental