Why Malta is the perfect multi-generational destination
It’s finally time to reunite with family, and where better for the post-lockdown gathering than a country blessed with year-round sunshine and activities to suit all ages? With crystal-clear waters, a fascinating history and a stunning landscape, Malta guarantees good times and adventure for every generation, from little ones to grandparents
In the heart of the Med, the Maltese archipelago is a grouping of three tiny islands – Malta, Gozo and barely inhabited Comino – with a large and welcoming heart that embraces families of all shapes and sizes. Just a three-hour flight from the UK, its dramatic coastline of limestone cliffs punctuated by pretty marinas and golden bays is best viewed by boat, and oldest to youngest are sure to love a sailing trip round the isles.
Those keen to get beneath the waves rather than just floating upon them can snorkel in the warm, clear waters, or go deeper by learning how to scuba dive. Voted the second-best dive destination in the world, Malta is unique in that lessons are open to kids aged from just ten, so the whole family can have an underwater adventure. There’s also windsurfing, paddle-boarding and jet skiing on offer at specialist centres such as Borg Water Sports or Joyride over on Gozo.
Back on dry land, there’s so much to see on foot. For such a small country, Malta has a rich history, with no fewer than three Unesco World Heritage sites. Visit ancient temples, traverse the winding stone streets of the capital, Valletta, and explore the fortified Three Cities and old capital of Mdina. Those who would rather not walk can always hop on a Segway or book a tour for the oldest and youngest members of your party with Rolling Geeks, which provides electric cars with a pre-programmed GPS and the ability to take selfies for you – just the thing for any Insta-addicts in your crew.
You could also visit Malta 5D, an immersive theatre bringing the country’s vibrant past to life. And youngsters can enjoy endless adventures at the Playmobil FunPark, while everyone can join in the game at Scavenger Escape Malta, the island’s first escape rooms.
When it’s time to dine, the options run the full gamut from casual outdoor eateries to Michelin-starred restaurants such as Noni, located in a smart stonewalled cellar in Valletta. The local cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean-style cooking with Arabic influences but British classics are also on the menu thanks to Malta’s long-held relationship with the UK (a fact that also makes ordering particularly easy, given that English is a dual national language).
Little and big kids alike will love the latest addition to Malta’s restaurant scene – Rainforest Café, which offers a menu of family favourites from burgers and nachos to steaks and salads, served in jungle-themed surroundings complete with waterfalls, lightning storms and wild animals.
Wherever you choose to eat, you can be confident about your family’s safety – just look out for Covid-19 compliance stickers, follow the rules by wearing your mask in all public areas, and bear in mind that, in order to comply with social distancing regulations, restaurants will be operating at a reduced capacity so it’s wise to book ahead.
There’s no shortage of family-friendly accommodation on Malta and Gozo – in fact, you’ll be spoiled for choice. For large, self-contained clan gatherings, there’s a plethora of self-catering villas and rural farmhouses to rent or, if it’s full-service luxury you seek, choose from one of the many five-star hotels and resorts.
The magnificent Intercontinental is hard to beat, offering stunning rooms, gorgeous views of St George’s Bay, a comprehensive health and fitness club, plus private boat and yacht rental. For endless diversions, the recently refurbished Hilton in lively St Julian’s Bay has four outdoor pools, no fewer than seven eateries, a state-of the-art gym and spa, plus entertainment on regular themed nights.
If there are any little ones in your flock, be sure to choose one of the resorts offering a babysitting service, such as Gozo's super-stylish Kempinski Hotel, which is nestled in sprawling tropical gardens ensuring that you feel a world away from it all. And isn’t that what family holidays are all about?