Malta and Gozo: Walking the Maltese Archipelago 2017

Malta and Gozo: Walking the Maltese Archipelago 2017
October 6 - 16, 2017 - with Charles Whitlock

Malta and Gozo: Walking the Maltese Archipelago 2017
...including: Marsascala, Mellieha Bay to Xemxija, Valetta, Dingle Cliffs to Mnajdra/Hagar Qim Temples, Golden Bay to Cirkewwa, Mdina, Xewkija to Xlendi and Gharb (Chapel of Madonna Taz-Zejt) to Marsalforn Bay

The Island of Malta, lying 95 kilometres south off Sicily is a true gem for walkers. The island offers walkers some of the most breathtaking views anywhere in the Mediterranean. The 150 kilometres of coast-line includes spectacular cliffs overlooking the azure sea and sometimes broad coastal shelves with intensely farmed terraced land. The coast includes sandy beaches in places but also has surreal rock formations.

The island has been inhabited since 4000 BC and the remains of the multiple civilizations include prehistoric, Punic, Phoenician and Roman structures and more recently the churches and fortifications built by the Knights of St. John. Malta was a strategic centre in World War II and remnants of this period have marked the island. Despite being heavily populated the island has pastoral rural areas and quaint fishing villages.

Malta is the birthplace of our hike leader Charles Whitlock. He has recently spent three months walking the island and has put together a trip to showcase Malta and the smaller sister island of Gozo.

This trip will appeal to those:

  • comfortable walking 12 to 14 kilometres daily at a medium pace
  • comfortable walking on uneven rocky terrain as well as paved promenades
  • able to negotiate both uphill and downhill walking; Malta is seldom flat
  • interested in historic sites or places of exceptional beauty and who are willing to pause their walk to appreciate these.

Itinerary

October 6: Arrival at Luqa Airport, Malta.
Transfer to our hotel in Mellieha. Hotel check-in and a few hours to rest and relax. Before dinner, a short introductory walk through the town will familiarize us with our immediate surroundings. Our accommodation for the next seven nights will be at the Solana Hotel & Spa. Dinner at 19:00 (D)

October 7: Depart hotel: 08:45.
Visit to Mosta Church, the 3rd latest dome in the world. (40 minutes). Our first walk features Marsascala to the fishing Village of Marsaxloxx Bay. Malta and Gozo: Walking the Maltese Archipelago 2017Distance 14 kilometres allowing 4.5 hours walking. This coastal walk from the town of Marsascala to Marsaxloxx is a wonderful introduction to walking in Malta along her picturesque coastal path-ways. From ancient salt pans to sculptured cliff faces we marvel at the turquoise waters that pound Malta’s shorelines. In the fishing village of Marsaxloxx (weather providing) we could dine at one of the many cafes that face the harbour where fresh fish for lunch may mean fish that was caught that morning. We bring our packed lunch as a back-up and there are places to sit and enjoy the activities of this busy harbour. On this walk you will have a longer break period as lunch will be served at a later time. Bring snacks. Return in the late afternoon to our hotel for the dinner and evening. (B, L, D)

October 8: Depart 08:45.
Xemxija to Mellieha Bay (Solana Hotel), via Mistra Bay. Distance is 15 kilometres allowing 5-6 hours walking. Walking along the Xemxija Heritage Trail we will start our day in a intense area of historic sites walking on a Roman road, visiting Roman baths, walking by Punic tomb-sites and finally placing our feet in the distinctive stone age cart ruts. This is a remote hike that will lead us to Mgiebah Bay where a reddish sandy beach will greet us. Bring a swimsuit. Along the trail we will pass by an active but ancient (probably Roman) apiary and walk by the historic St. Paul’s Island. We will walk past Selmun Palace, a Knights hunting lodge. Packed lunch included. Return to our hotel and an open evening for individual exploration. (B, L)

October 9: Depart hotel: 08:45.
Tour of Valletta, Malta’s capital city. Sightseeing 4-hour walking tour conducted by a Maltese Certified Tourist Guide. Valletta is Europe’s first planned city built during the 16th century under the guidance and rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Valletta houses many fine museums; baroque buildings and massive fortifications surround the city. Tour members may choose to remain in Valletta for additional sightseeing, shopping or dinner. Your tour manager will assist you in arranging a return by taxi, mini-bus taxi, or public transportation. Maltese public buses are an interesting cultural experience. An open evening. (B)

October 10: Depart hotel: 08:45.
Dingle Cliffs to Mnajdra/Hagar Qim Temples. Distance of 14 kilometres over a gentle descent. 4/5 hours walking. Packed lunch included. Tickets included for prehistoric sites. Stunning and mesmerizing cliff faces welcome our group today. We start the walk from the chapel of Saint Mary Magdalene, close to the highest point in Malta and end at the Neolithic temples of Mnajdra and Hagar Qim. At the end of the walk, up to 2 hours is allotted for us to visit the temples. After the temples we will be driven to the Blue Grotto. As an option and time permitting you may wish to take a 20-minute boat tour to visit the fascinating sea caves that dot this coastline. (B, L)

October 11: Depart hotel: 08:45.
Golden Bay to Cirkewwa. Distance: 12 kilometers, 5 hours walking time. Packed lunch. This West Coast Trail of Malta is the favourite of our tour manger Charles. The walk starts from the sandy beach of Golden Bay and winds through one of Malta’s nature reserves, Majjistral National Park. We will see wonderful views of Gozo, cliff faces, panoramic vistas, and hand built stone huts dotting the trail. We will also visit a Roman apiary. On the lighter side of things, we will eat lunch at the top of Popeye Village, a stage village constructed for the 1980 movie Popeye. Return by bus at 15:30 from the parking lot at Paradise Bay. Participants will be encouraged to have all of their packing completed by end of day for baggage transfer to Gozo on Tuesday. (B, L, D) Farewell dinner at Tosca on the hotel premises.

October 12: This is the day we will move from the main Island of Malta to the smaller sister Island, Gozo. All baggage is to be prepared prior to the morning departure. Bring your bags to the lobby and they will be held in a secure area for pickup after the final days’ tour on the main island.
Depart hotel: 08:45 to Rabat and Mdina. In Rabat we will visit St. Paul’s Catacombs. The Apostle Paul was shipwrecked in Malta on his way to Rome. Mdina, the old capital of Malta is an architectural dream. We cross into Mdina on a bridge through a classical archway with a magnificent mantle perched on its top. It is a medieval walled town built on a high ridge in the centre of Malta. Participants will have six (6) hours to explore this city and to have lunch. After Mdina and collecting our luggage from the hotel, the bus will take us to the Port of Cirkewwa for the 30-minute ferry crossing to Mgarr Harbour, Gozo. The Grand Hotel, our home for the next four nights, is about one kilometre uphill from the port. We will be met at the ferry for the short “up-hill” transfer OR walk to the hotel. Luggage will be transported. (B, D)

October 13: Depart hotel: 08:45. Xewkija to Xlendi (Gozo). Distance: 12 kilometers 4 to 5 hours walking.
Packed lunch is provided by the hotel. Today we will start our walk by the majestic church of St. John the Baptist in the main square of Xewkija. Shortly we will arrive and walk beside the picturesque, deep and unspoiled valley of Mgarr ix-Xini (Valley of the Sow). Panoramic views and pre-histories features surround our walk along the exhilarating, breath-taking, high cliffs of Ta’Saguna. We will end our walk in Xlendi where we will enjoy a local brew of beverage. Transfer back to our hotel with a stop-over at the Azure Window and Inland Sea at Dwejra. Transportation from Xlendi at about 15:30. Travel to the Azure Window for a 30 to 40 minute stop and then back to hotel. (B, L, D)

October 14: This is a day of exploration and sightseeing and not a hiking day. Depart hotel 0845. Ggantija Temples and Victoria.
The Ggantija Temples are considered to be Malta’s oldest freestanding pre-historic structures dating back to 3600 BC. The largest of the megaliths are more than five metres in length and weigh over fifty tons. We will allocate 90 minutes to visit this site. Transfer to the capital Victoria/Rabat. All roads in Gozo lead to Victoria. We will visit the recently, 2016, renovated Citadel. For centuries the Citadel served as a sanctuary from attacks by Barbary corsairs and Saracens. At several times during Gozo's history these raiders enslaved the local people. Our tour ends in Victoria. Victoria is a great medieval town to explore. Visit its markets, churches, narrow streets, shops and cafes. Public transportation to the hotel. (B, D)

October 15: Depart hotel: 08:45. Gharb (Chapel of Madonna Taz-Zejt) to Marsalforn Bay. Distance: 12 kilometers 5 hours walking.
Packed lunch is provided by the hotel. Highlights today include the 1805 St. Dimitri Chapel, yellow wind-sculpted landscapes, a rock window forming a bridge over a fjord like inlet, active salt-pans, and the holiday town of Marsalforn. Bus back to our hotel with a pick-up at 15:00. (B, L, D)

October 16: Depart hotel for the return ferry to Malta.
We will be met and have transport (with our luggage) down the hill to the ferry. Upon arrival in Malta a mini-bus will transport us to Luqa Airport for our final departure home OR individual extensions are available (B)


Cost

Strictly Limited Availability:
Our program is strictly limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to ensure the quality of our tour, this program is limited
to a maximum of 19 travellers. As with the tour itself, wait lists will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Total Tour Cost
  • Based on DB /Twin Occ pp: $3,325 Canadian
  • Single Surcharge: $325 Canadian – request basis

    Single occupancy is limited on this tour and on a request basis only. We also offer the opportunity of share single. In this case we will attempt to provide suitable share accommodation for single requests however this is not guaranteed.
Land ONLY Cost*
  • Based on DB /Twin Occ pp: $2,275 Canadian
Payment Requirements
  • Per Passenger deposit requirements:
    $750 Canadian per person
  • Final Payment Due: July 31, 2017
Cancellation Penalties
Penalties will vary based on the time at that the cancellation is received by Frederick Travel Waterloo:
  • From date of booking to July 30, 2016:
    Loss of deposit paid
  • From final payment date to departure:
    100% Non-refundable
In the event that we are able to find a replacement from wait-lists or other requests received for the land tour between date of booking and 31-days prior to date of departure, a flat $50.00 p.p. administration charge will be accessed.

Within 31-days prior, we regret that all payments become non-refundable with or without a replacement. We cannot guarantee a replacement for any cancelled passenger regardless of the date the cancellation is received in our office.


Air Arrangements / Land Only Pricing
The tour includes air transportation Toronto. * Transfers to / from the start and end of the tour are provided as group transfers only. We are happy to provide competitive air quotes from any departure city. Should individuals wish to make their own air arrangements to and from the start of the tour a land only cost will be provided to them upon request. In the event that clients make their own way to the start and end of the tour, transfers are only provided based on the group arrivals / departures or on arrival and departure at a similar time.

Insurance
We strongly recommend adequate travel insurance and provide details of OPTIONAL insurance coverage at the time of initial booking.

Price Includes:

  • A) Tour manager and escort Charles Whitlock
  • B) Return air to / from Malta including all air taxes as at November 2016
  • C) Private transfers for all included walks, airports, ferry etc. based on our schedule of events
  • D) Accommodation at the Solana Hotel for 6 nights October 6 arrival includes breakfast (B) and dinner (D) as indicated
  • E) Accommodation at the Grand Superior room sea view October 12 x 4 nights - Breakfast (B) and dinner (D) as indicated
  • F) Packed lunches as indicated in the itinerary by (L) Packed lunches
  • G) Special farewell dinner
  • H) Guide fees
  • I) Ferry return from Malta to / from Gozo
  • J) tickets for Mnajdra /Hagar Qim Temples and Ggantija Temples

Price does NOT include:

  • Meals not indicated, Drinks except tea/coffee with dinner and Gratuities
  • Personal costs (i.e. phone calls, pay TV, etc)
  • Medical or other travel insurance


Flights

Toronto - October 5
Frankfurt - October 6
LH 471 L
Depart: 18:25
Arrive: 08:00
Franfurt - October 6
Malta
LH 1276 L
Depart: 09:20
Arrive: 11:45

Malta - October 16
Munich
LH 1977 K
Depart: 12:20
Arrive: 14:40
Munich - October 16
Toronto
LH 494 K
Depart: 15:55
Arrive: 18:55

Travellers may elect to return with the group or extend and travel independently following the tour. To adhere to the requirements of the group contract, a limited number of extensions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Accommodations

Solana Hotel
Mellieha
Solana Hotel & Spa
Set 1 km from Mellieha Bay and the beach, this elegant hotel in a stately pillared building is 12 km from the Rotunda of Mosta and 14 km from San Anton Palace. The warmly decorated, straightforward rooms feature free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, minibars, and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Some rooms offer balconies. Suites and apartments add dining tables and kitchenettes. Amenities include a deluxe spa with a hot tub, a relaxation area and a garden. There's also a rooftop terrace, along with an indoor and an outdoor pool. Other amenities include a fitness room.
Grand Hotel
Gozo

Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel is ideally situated on top of the gateway to Gozo, Mgarr Harbour. The hotel enjoys panoramic views of Malta and Comino across the Gozo channel. The to and fro of the fishing boats and the incomparable vistas add a unique touch to the excellent hospitality offered at the hotel, where truly everyone knows your name. The expertly furnished rooms have all the services and amenities that the hotel’s guest could possibly expect: air-condition, mini-bar, television with satellite reception, safe, wireless internet, direct dial telephone, hairdryer, etc.

Meet Charles Whitlock, Walkaway Treks

Charles is a passionate hiker who shares his love of hiking with both new and experienced walkers.

In 2003 Charles established Walkaway Treks to better serve his hiking adventures and to provide a variety of hiking services.

Charles Whitlock is the owner/operator of Walkaway Treks.

Qualifications and Experience

  • 30+ years outdoor leadership experience
  • Certified Wilderness First Responder
  • Certified hike leader with the Toronto Bruce
  • Trail Club and the Grand Valley Trails Association
  • Tour Manager for tours in the United Kingdom, France, Guernsey, Canada and the United States
  • Member of the Board of Directors, GVT Association

Contact Scott to reserve your spot!



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Exclusive Reservations:
We are delighted to have the Charles Whitlock of Walkaway Treks team up with Frederick Travel Waterloo on exploring Malta and Gozo: Walking the Maltese Archipelago 2017.

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