I wanted to share some Maltese language resources in case anyone felt like learning some Maltese this weekend. I’ve included a list of phrases and greetings, along with videos to guide you through the pronunciation.
The Maltese language has a beautiful ring to it, I think. Although Maltese is a Semitic language, it has Arabic and Italian roots. About 40% of Maltese vocabulary comes from Italian.
In the videos, you can hear traces of both languages. For instance, the word ġrazzi, for “thank you,” sounds like grazie in Italian. Some Maltese words also come from English. For example, “hello” is the same in Maltese and English.
Malta is a bilingual country, but almost all citizens speak Maltese at home. According to Malta Today, 97% of citizens cited Maltese as their primary language, with 75% speaking Maltese and 5% speaking English to their children. The remaining 20% reported speaking Maltese and English or another language to their children.
Maltese Phrases and Greetings
Learn Maltese greetings in this video.
This video teaches you how to conjugate “to be” in Maltese.
The Maltese alphabet has 29 letters:
As in English, Maltese vowels take long or short sounds:
A: Long “a” – pronounced “a” as in “car” / Short “a” pronounced “u” as in “mud”
E: Long “e” – pronounced “e” as in “bed” / Short “e” – pronounced “ai” as in “pair”
I: Long “i” – pronounced “ee” as in “seen” / Short “i” – pronounced “i” as in “bit”
O: Long “o” – pronounced “aw” as in “claw” / Short “o” – pronounced “o” as in “not”
U: Long “u” – pronounced like “oo” in “fool” / Short “u” – pronounced “u” as in “full”
That’s all for now. I hope you learn something, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Whether you’re traveling to Valletta, Gozo, or Qawra, Malta offers a hotel for every traveler. Here are a few of Malta’s top-rated hotels. See the video tour at the bottom of the page as well.
The Phoenicia Hotel
Experience paradise at the Phoenicia Hotel in Valletta. Located steps away from the City Gate, the Phoenicia sits at the heart of Valletta within walking distance of most tourist spots.
Built in the 1930s, the Phoenicia has become a tourist favorite, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year. When you step inside, lush plants greet you in the lobby, and the leather and dark-wood interior create a cozy vibe that makes you feel at home.
According to the Phoenicia’s website, you can visit the Palm Court Lounge, adorned with beachy blue and white décor and glass doors that stretch from floor to ceiling. Then, sip coffee under the kumquat trees on the terrace while you savor the sea view. Afterward, swim in the infinity pool or relax on the pool deck overlooking the Harbor.
During your stay, you will also enjoy the complimentary parking and laundry service, along with the 24-hour fitness center, according to the hotel’s website. Most guest rooms have balconies, with some overlooking the harbor. Before bedtime, you can even order a pillow from the pillow menu.
In the morning, order smoked salmon with beetroot for breakfast, or sample the Maltese cheeses. For lunch and dinner, order the tabbouleh, harissa, and aubergine or the Lamb Provençal with raspberry and caramel soufflé for dessert.
Standard room prices range from $238 (€200) to $357 (€300), which includes Wi-Fi and minibar service.
And remember to stop by the spa before you leave. Le Deep Nature offers spa rooms filled with ambient light and nature sounds, promising the perfect escape after a long day.
According to the hotel’s website, the spa offers an array of skin, nail, and massage services. So, enjoy that sea kelp facial while you listen to rushing streams, singing sparrows, and drums. The spa’s signature facial uses red-light therapy to blast wrinkles and even skin tone. The spa also offers a customized facial tailored to your skin’s needs.
Northern Malta Hotels
Seashells Resort in Qawra, Malta
If you’d like, turn your trip into a road trip, and head 30 minutes north from Valletta toward Northern Malta. Book a room at the Seashells Resort in Qawra, a scenic city by St. Paul’s Bay. Qawra draws crowds of tourists each year with its action-packed entertainment, hotels, and nightlife, according to the Holiday Hypermarket website.
At Seashells, you’ll enjoy the relaxed vibe and the sweeping sea views. Most guest rooms overlook the coast and promenade, and all rooms offer complimentary toiletries, according to the resort’s website.
Spend the afternoon at the pool or take kids to the children’s pool. You can soak up the sun while the pool boys serve you Mai Tais or lattes, too. If you’re feeling lazy, hang out at the hotel lounge, bar, or restaurant, or venture into town to try out the local restaurants and shops.
But whatever you do, don’t leave Seashells without booking a spa day at Carisma.
Carisma Spa at Seashells Resort
Book your massage or facial at Carisma, and let the pampering begin. According to the website, this award-winning spa offers “the only authentic Hammam in Malta.” The Hammam is an ancient Turkish bathing ritual known to calm the mind and body.
So, step into the spa, and surrender to the healing powers of the Hammam. Scrub away dead skin to reveal the most radiant you. After you exfoliate, kick back and enjoy your massage and bubble bath. The best part? You don’t even have to lift a loofah. The aesthetician does it all for you.
The Hammam soothes muscles and boosts circulation to give skin a healthy glow. Plus, the spa room supplies a steady stream of warm air to open pores and help skin absorb the healing minerals. Your skin will feel like silk by the time you leave.
However, if you’d prefer another option, check out Carisma’s salt sauna, ice fountain, and anti-aging facials that will make you feel like royalty. You can also buy spa packages for individuals, couples, and groups. So, book that Hammam and live a little!
See the video (not filmed at Seashells or Carisma) to see the Hammam in action.
Gozo, Malta Hotels
The Hotel Ta’ Cenc and Spa
Located in Sannat, the Hotel Ta’ Cenc and Spa is an oasis for adult travelers looking for a relaxing getaway. This hotel sits within walking distance of most tourist sights, and all guest rooms come with free TV, Wi-Fi, and flat screens.
At Ta’ Cenc, you can also enjoy the complimentary parking, breakfast, and room service, along with the quiet pool and spa. For dinner, stop by the in-house restaurant, Beppe, to enjoy savory seafood and lobster, a local favorite.
The Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, Malta
But if the Hotel Ta’ Cenc is booked, try the Kempinski Hotel instead. This charming hotel is located within walking distance from most tourists sights and offers a relaxing place to unwind. You’ll also find a luxury spa, a tennis court, and a fitness room here.
During your stay, stop by one of the in-house restaurants for lunch: the Il-Baldakkin Bistro, the Ortolan, or the Gazebo Café. Then, after lunch, relax by the pool before you head into town for your Stuffat tal-Qarnita dinner.
Duke Boutique Hotel, Gozo
If those hotels aren’t your style, then why not give the Duke Boutique Hotel a try? Surrounded by gardens on a hilltop, the Duke overlooks Gozo island, with views of the city and sea. This hotel sits two or three miles from the Gozo Museum of Archaeology, the temples at Ġgantija, and the ferry station, where you can catch a ride and whisk off to a neighboring island.
Then later, enjoy the complimentary TV, internet, minibar, and coffee maker when you return to your room. You’ll enjoy the bathroom stocked with free toiletries and scented bath soaps, too.
Or, if you prefer, upgrade to a suite and enjoy the extra space. Sprawl out in the living room, or sit on the terrace to enjoy the sea view. But don’t forget to stop by the shops before you leave.
Whether you’re traveling to Valletta, Northern Malta, or Gozo, you are sure to find a hotel suited to your needs. And whenever you visit Malta, you’re sure to find a hotel suited to your needs. So, enjoy your trip, and book your hotel early to get the best deals.
A picturesque archipelago nation in the central Mediterranean, Malta enchants and intrigues. Around every corner, a photo opportunity awaits.
In Valletta, antique sandstone houses line rambling alleyways. The scent of fresh pastries fills the air, flooding the streets with the smell of cinnamon and sugar plum. And at Golden Bay, sun glints on cyan waters as waves sigh like tired angels. Malta captivates and delights.
Whether you’re traveling to Malta solo or with your family and friends, Malta offers something for everyone.
Malta is the world’s tenth smallest country, with an area of roughly 120 square miles (316 square km) and a population of 500,000, according to the Encyclopedia of the Nations. Malta’s population is scattered across three islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo. But most residents live on Malta, the nation’s largest island.
According to the Encyclopedia of the Nations, Malta lies about 60 miles (93 km) south of Sicily and 180 miles (290 km) northeast of Tunisia. Though once recognized as a North African island, today, Malta belongs to Southern Europe. St. Paul is Malta’s largest city, but Valletta is the capital, according to the encyclopedia and Wikipedia.
Dubbed the “walled city,” Valletta was founded by the Catholic Knights of St. John in the 1500s. Today in Valletta, you’ll find legions of Baroque cathedrals, palaces, and churches, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral, home to Caravaggio’s Beheading of Saint John.
Other Attractions in Malta
Tourists flock to Malta to enjoy an array of attractions. The Baroque cathedrals, Popeye Village, Mdina, and Blue Lagoon are just a few favorite spots.
After you visit Valletta, jump in the car and head 15 miles (25 km) northwest to spend the day at Popeye Village, Malta’s favorite theme park. Popeye Village offers plenty of family fun.
Kids will feel like stars for the day, stepping on stage to sing, dance, and join in a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience. Children can also play at Santa’s toy town, ride boats, or jump on trampolines.
Meanwhile, parents can savor the calmer pleasures of life and sip wine — or water — on the terrace. At Popeye Village, a unique family adventure awaits.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
In Valletta, you also won’t want to miss St. Paul’s Pro-Cathedral. Designed by William Scamp in the mid-1800s, St. Paul’s Pro-Cathedral is one of Europe’s three Anglican cathedrals. Built from Maltese limestone, the historic cathedral is a local landmark.
After you tour the cathedrals, visit Gozo island, Malta’s second largest island.
Gozo Island, Malta
The island, Gozo, also promises adventure, with its bevy of camera-worthy attractions.
The Azure Window
Once hailed as the gem of Gozo island, The Azure Window was a limestone arch that drew crowds each year. Unfortunately, the famous arch stands no more.
Centuries of erosion and inclement weather weakened the structure, leading to its demise. When a storm tore through the region in 2017, the arch collapsed into the ravenous sea.
The arch appeared in a slew of international films for decades. Today, memories of the limestone wonder live on through photographs.
Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta
Like Iceland, Malta also has a Blue Lagoon, but Malta’s lagoon is located in Comino, the nation’s smallest inhabited island. The lagoon’s rugged cliffs and translucent waters draw thousands of swimmers and photographers from places near and far. Since the Azure Window collapsed, tourism at the Blue Lagoon has soared.
Twenty minutes west of Valletta lies Mdina, known for its sandstone buildings and serpentine streets. While you’re visiting Mdina, book a stay at the Xara Palace Relais and Chateaux, a luxury resort with an understated elegance and medieval vibe.
Modeled after an ancient palace, Xara is a five-star luxury resort that promises a decadent vacation. It offers a full-service spa and a 24-hour fitness room to satisfy indulgent and health-conscious travelers. Room prices start at $213 (€ 178) a night.
Less than a five-minute walk from most tourist sites, Xara has become Mdina’s favorite luxury resort and guarantees adventure.
But if the Xara isn’t your style, don’t worry; Malta offers an assortment of hotels for every traveler.
Maltese Language and Culture
Your travels to Mdina, Valletta, Gozo, and the Blue Lagoon will also introduce you to Maltese culture. You will find hints of Arab, British, and Italian influences in Maltese culture and cuisine.
The Maltese language also borrows from Italian and Arabic. Today, Maltese and English are Malta’s official languages, and all TV and radio shows appear in both languages. Many Maltese citizens also speak Italian as a third language.
Most of all, tourists rave about the Maltese people. The locals are renowned for their hospitality.
“Everyone was so nice,” says Marcia Keller, a 32-year-old jewelry designer from Utah who visited Malta with her husband and seven children pre-pandemic. “At one coffee shop, the barista offered to show us around Gozo. I couldn’t believe it. In some U.S. cities, people grunt at you if you ask them a question, but not in Malta!”
Marcus Fletcher, a 30-year-old graduate student from Baltimore, shares Marcia’s sentiment.
“I traveled to Malta solo in 2018,” Marcus says, “and the Maltese people were super sweet! Some of the locals took me sightseeing. One older couple even invited me to their home to have stuffat tal-fenek for dinner.”
For the Epicurious travelers who may be wondering, stuffat tal-fenek is a Maltese specialty dish made with rabbit, vegetables, bay leaves, and garlic. The rabbit meat cooks on low heat for several hours, creating meat so tender, Marcus says, that it melts on your tongue like whipped butter.
“It’s delectable,” Marcus says. “I like mine with a dash of mint or barbecue sauce.”
How to Cook Stuffat Tal-Fenek
Marcus also shares a recipe he brought home from Malta, which has become his favorite.
“Just find a rabbit,” he says. “Then, take a few bay leaves, two carrots, a celery stick, and four or five cloves of garlic. Make a tomato sauce, then add wine and some bay leaves. Let the rabbit simmer for a couple hours. Some people marinate the rabbit in red wine overnight, but that’s up to you.”
Meatless Dining in Malta
On the other hand, for those who prefer tofu and pinto beans to brisket and rabbit, you’re also in luck. Many Maltese restaurants offer vegan and vegetarian dishes. The Grassy Hopper was one local favorite, but the café closed last year.
So now, diners are flocking to Ortygia, a festive diner nestled in the cozy sandstones of Valletta. Ortygia plays energizing house music from noon to midnight and serves savory meat and veggie dishes sure to sate every palate.
“The Syraka is to die for,” says Ivan Thomas, a 27-year-old cheese-lover and self-described digital nomad who hopes to start a blog soon.
Malta: COVID Travel Restrictions
Malta is worth a visit, but it’s also essential to stay safe while traveling. Here is the latest on traveling to Malta during the pandemic.
Malta is the first European country to acquire herd immunity against the virus, according to an article in Travel + Leisure published June 17 of this year. The Visit Malta website, which provides daily travel updates, says Malta now welcomes U.S. tourists from all states except these 12:
Malta also welcomes tourists from D.C. and Puerto Rico. All travelers must take a COVID test upon arrival, the travel website says. See the Visit Malta website to learn more about the countries on Malta’s green, amber, and red list.
Traveling by Ferry
So what else can you do while you’re visiting Malta? Take a ferry to Sicily for the day. The Valletta Pozzallo ferry travels between Malta and Sicily 10 times per week, with a travel time of 1 hour and 45 minutes each way. Ferry schedules vary by season, so check online for updates.
Whether you visit Valletta, Comino, Mdina, or Gozo, you will want to take plenty of pictures during your trip. Malta is a beautiful country, with plenty to do and see.
So, rent a car and head to Qawra, take a ferry to Sicily, or swim and snorkel in the Blue Lagoon. But whatever you do, enjoy your trip. Bring your sunscreen and your masks. Be safe and well.
Hi, everyone! Just a quick announcement: I’ve added a new page with language learning videos in case anyone feels like learning something new this weekend. I will add videos over time, but there are several now to get you started.
I’m creating a section for language learning to help people who are traveling to the destinations I’ve blogged about.
In this video, YouTuber “AgnesUpNorth” teaches a few Icelandic phrases and greetings to get you started. I’ll admit, Agnes lost me after “takk,” and “hæ,” but I won’t give up just yet!
Icelandic is supposed to be one of the toughest languages for English speakers, but I’ve been wanting to take a class for years. It does look intimidating, but I’m determined to learn a few phrases before summer ends.
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with learning Icelandic. If you have any tips for how to learn the language, please share!
Iceland is known for its surreal beauty, but did you know Iceland is known for its skin care practices? It might surprise you to learn that Icelandic skin care involves some of the world’s best-kept beauty secrets, making Iceland a hotspot for skin care connoisseurs worldwide.
Many people know about the Blue Lagoon, the acclaimed geothermal spa that carries the same-name skin care line, but fewer people know Iceland is also home to some of the world’s smartest skin care habits.
I’ve met Icelandic women whose skin glowed well into their 50s, and I wondered how they maintained such flawless complexions. I even wondered if there was some mystery mineral in the water. Whatever their secret was, I had to know. So, I did some research to find out. Here is what I learned.
1. Icelandic skin care is a science.
Icelandic skin care is rooted in both tradition and science. For instance, Bioeffect, a top-selling Icelandic skin care line, has the data to back it.
Developed by scientists, Bioeffect EGF serum transforms skin in a flash. For $165 per bottle, youthful skin can be yours in two to three months. This award-winning serum isn’t cheap, but it’s packed with seven natural ingredients your skin will love.
For instance, Bioeffect contains Barley EGF, a potent natural compound that plumps skin, boosts collagen production, smooths wrinkles, and helps skin retain its moisture. In addition, this serum rewinds the clock, erasing up to five years from your face, some say.
The serum isn’t cheap, but long-time fans swear it’s worth the splurge.
“It’s worth every penny!” says Gina Sinclair, a 45-year-old substitute teacher from Denver who began using this serum after a trip to Iceland in 2019. “Seeing how [Icelandic women] took care of their skin inspired me to take care of my own.”
And Gina’s skin inspires me. Seriously. Her skin has visibly transformed since I saw her four months ago. Unlike before, Gina’s skin looks lit from within, as though she just returned from a wellness spa or a ski trip.
2. There really is something in the water. Icelandic skin care includes geothermal baths to rejuvenate skin and relax the mind.
Blue Lagoon and Mývatn are two geothermal spas with skin care lines that have amassed a cult following in recent years. Praised for their skin-healing powers, geothermal baths contain minerals that calm inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin ailments. Sulfur and other minerals revive lackluster skin, improve texture and tone, smooth fine lines, and hydrate.
Now, you can enjoy the Blue Lagoon at home. The Silica Mud Mask and Lava Scrub Mask are two top-sellers from the Blue Lagoon line. Unfortunately, both masks fly off shelves, so don’t be surprised if they’re out of stock.
The silica mask has become one of my favorites. It’s safe for sensitive skin, so you can use it as often as you’d like. Some weeks, I use it daily, but I recommend following the instructions and waiting a few weeks to determine what works best for your skin.
One of my favorite tricks is to prep the skin with steam first. Before you apply the mask, drape a warm washcloth over your face for a few minutes. The heat opens the pores, helping skin soak up the ingredients. Next, apply the silica mask and wait 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water or a washcloth and, voilà. Your skin will amaze you.
The lava scrub comes straight from the Icelandic volcanoes, with gentle exfoliants to slough off dead skin and reveal a younger, fresher you.
The Mývatn skin care line offers affordable products to suit all skin types. The facial cream contains Icelandic herbs and nutrients to moisturize skin, smooth fine lines, and even skin tone in just four weeks.
Soley Organics and Skyn Iceland are two Icelandic skin care lines made with homegrown plants and herbs to improve skin clarity, texture, and radiance.
Soley Organics is a family-run operation whose recipes have been passed down for generations. Unfortunately, Soley no longer ships overseas. Now, U.S. customers must purchase products from Soley’s Amazon shop, which only sells hair care products.
In the U.S., however, Skyn Iceland has gone mainstream. The Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels are a best-seller at just $18. Made with hexapeptide technology, Hydro Cool Gels are easy to use and work best when chilled.
The cold blasts tired eyes awake, making you look alert no matter how sleep-deprived you are.
So there you have it. Glowing skin comes from science, nature, and the Blue Lagoon. Better yet, geothermal spas heal the mind and body. If anyone has tried these products or visited a geothermal spa, feel free to share your experience.
To learn about Northern Iceland’s latest spa-resort hotspot, see here.
Or check out these stunning spas in Malta to get ideas for your next vacation.
Iceland’s Troll Peninsula belongs to a region of enchantment and rugged beauty. Once a rare travel destination, the Troll Peninsula has become Northern Iceland’s latest hotspot. Now everyone is flocking to Deplar Farm, the new five-star resort in the north, to enjoy a week of heli-skiing, horseback riding, and five-course dining under the northern lights.
In this mythical storybook land, nothing is off limits, it seems. For travelers who can supply proof of COVID vaccination or antibodies, a captivating journey awaits.
With its preternatural beauty and fairytale landscapes, Iceland ranks at the top of many bucket lists. Tangerine-flamed volcanoes stand against black sand beaches. Majestic waterfalls cascade from basalt cliffs. Every snapshot mesmerizes. From Skógafoss and Goðafoss to Jökulsárlón and the Blue Lagoon, each one of these natural wonders tells a story.
Hidden in a remote corner of the Fljót Valley, Deplar Farm offers a vast selection of services and amenities sure to satisfy discerning tourists. Deplar Farm is equipped with a helipad and a full-service spa fit for the glamorous and skin-conscious globetrotter.
The resort also offers kayaking, heli-skiing, mountain biking, cycling, and other adventures for intrepid travelers, according to the Deplar Farm website. On the other hand, if you identify as more of an “indoors person,” you might prefer the spa, which offers an array of services, including hot stone facials, magic mud wraps, and Icelandic kelp masks delivered daily from nature straight to you.
Traveling to Iceland During COVID-19
But wait. Don’t book your trip just yet. As of June 2021, Iceland follows strict protocol to control the pandemic, according to the Guide to Iceland travel group.
With just over 300,000 residents, Iceland is a small country, but it has done impressive work, using tracking apps and other procedures to contain the virus, according to the Guide to Iceland.
So, before you jet off to this Nordic wonderland, make sure you can supply proof of COVID-19 antibodies, testing, or vaccination when you arrive. Otherwise, you will need to take a COVID test and quarantine or stay home. According to the Guide of Iceland website, you must show one of the following when you arrive:
Option 1: Provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to health officials when you arrive.
Option 2: Present a certificate from the EEA/EFTA to prove previous COVID-19 diagnosis and antibody test.
Present a COVID-19 PCR test that is at least 14 days old or show proof of antibodies. Rapid diagnostic tests are not allowed. Visit the Directorate of Health’s website to view the detailed requirements of the certificate.
Option 3: Take two COVID tests and quarantine.
Take one COVID test when you arrive, quarantine for five days, and then take a second COVID test. Most travelers must take a COVID test when they arrive. Children aged 16 and younger must quarantine with their parents, according to the Guide to Iceland. In addition, many hotels have changed their policies to improve quarantine safety. See this list to find a safe place to quarantine.
Weather in Iceland
Now that you’re ready for quarantine, you probably wonder what you should pack. Although Iceland enjoys cool weather year-round, the Gulf Stream air keeps cool temperatures in check, according to Trip Savvy.
So, prepare for cool air and gusty winds if you travel during spring. April to early-June temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees (4 to 10 degrees Celsius). This isn’t the season for tank tops and sandals, so you might want to bring some sweaters and a jacket to stay warm.
From June to August, prepare for hotel and flight prices to soar as tourist season peaks. Daytime temperatures range from 46 to 57 degrees (8 to 14 degrees Celsius), but the nights get cool. So, bring a jacket and leave your sundresses at home.
But you’ll need your umbrella if you travel to Iceland during fall. Prepare for clouds, more cool weather, and rain. Fall temperatures drop to the 30s and 40s (1 to 7 degrees Celsius), and most tourists head home.
Winter temperatures dip to the 30s (minus 2 degrees Celsius) as the days grow shorter and darker. The Polar Nights also begin mid-winter, the best time to see the northern lights, according to Trip Savvy. But you’ll find lower prices if you travel during winter. Prices rise again during the holidays, though.
The Troll Peninsula promises an adventure that will leave you with stories and memories for years. You’ll also return with plenty of photos to add to your album. However, you’ll want to pack warm clothing and leave your sundresses at home. If you do travel, travel safely.
Happy travels, and stay well!
To learn about Icelandic skincare lines, see this post.