Pre-pandemic Malta was the perfect holiday destination: sandy beaches, fascinating culture and just a short flight for Europeans. Now it’s even more appealing thanks to its handling of the pandemic.
Malta was the first European country to reach herd immunity and has some of the most relaxed entry requirements for visitors. It is taking part in the EUDCC gateway and does not require quarantine for countries on its green list.
An archipelago stretching out into the glistening Mediterranean off the coast of Italy, Malta enjoys 3000 hours of sunshine a year. But sandwiched between ever-popular Italy and Greece it often gets forgotten.
Malta lacks instantly recognisable icons like the Venice canals or the Acropolis, it doesn’t even have a signature food...or does it?
Allow us to introduce you to the ‘pastizzi’, a Maltese snack so popular that there is a ‘pastizzi’ shop in every village. Once you’ve tasted one, you’ll be planning your entire Maltese getaway around them.
What is a ‘pastizzi’, Malta’s most popular snack?
A bitesize baked good, a ‘pastizzi’ is made from phyllo pastry and has a number of different fillings, most commonly this can be ricotta or peas but more risque options like anchovy are available. They are eaten as snacks at any time of day, but they’re the day - especially popular as a late morning snack.
‘Pastizzi’ are available at bakeries but also usually served in cafes, bars, on the go - basically everywhere in Malta. Frozen ‘pastizzi’ can even be bought frozen from supermarkets, although they are usually considered best when baked fresh and eaten warm straight out of the oven.
‘Pastizzi’ are considered integral to daily life and have been transported all over the world by the Maltese diaspora. So passionate are the Maltese people about their beloved pastries that when the most famous pastizerria in Malta known as is-Serkin (Crystal Palace) was almost closed down there was national outcry. To the relief of everyone in Malta after the sale is-Serkin is still in business.
Things to do in Malta after you’ve eaten your ‘pastizzi’
Malta is welcoming vaccinated tourists and there is no shortage of things to see and do on the Mediterranean island once you’ve arrived.
It’s split into three main islands; Malta, Gozo and Comino. The capital, Valletta, on Malta which is the largest and hosts most of the country’s commerce and urban life, Gozo is more rural and home to ‘pastizzi’ hotspot is-Serkin, Comino is the smallest and only has one hotel, it is largely uninhabited. Most visitors begin in Valletta to enjoy food and nightlife before heading on to visit the landmark citadel in Gozo and a relaxing day trip to Comino. The islands are a 20 - 25 minute boat ride apart and travel costs are low.
Known for its sites of significance Malta is home to the Ġgantija temples which predate the Egyptian pyramids.hose wishing to explore more recent history can visit the historic capital of Mdina or go snorkelling to see shipwrecks sunk in the second world war.
Underwater cave exploration is possible for those wanting to go beneath the azure mediterranean waters, and for a cosmopolitan break a trip to the clubs and restaurants of the Valletta Waterfront is ideal.
Malta is considered to have the best scuba diving in Europe so there are lots of dive shops where you can do a Discover Scuba Diving course, or go out with a dive guide if you are an experienced diver.
For more information, go to Visit Malta.
What other national dishes or snacks is it worth planning a holiday around? Let us know over on Instagram.