Malta is certainly an all year round destination and if you are the type who likes to spend your free time outdoor exploring places and enjoying life then Malta is your place to be! Our staff always encourage students to make the most of their free time, not only studying English in their school library or bedrooms, but also practising the language with fellow students outside the classroom as this gives them the chance to use what they learn in class in everyday language when communicating with international friends. By speaking with other students from all over the world students will not only practise the language but also broaden their knowledge about countries’ traditions and cultures as well as share their experiences with other peers.
Even though summer remains the most popular period of travel among students and tourists who visit Malta, the Maltese islands are not only a summer destination. There are so many activities which students can do in autumn, winter or spring. Summers are hot and dry, winters are mild, autumn is warm and spring is colourful and mostly dry. Apart from the beautiful rocky and sandy beaches Malta has a lot of historical and cultural attractions within close proximity thus enabling students to visit a lot of places in a relatively short time, besides the many annual events which take place all year round and are part of Malta’s cultural calendar.
Spinola Bay or St Julian’s Bay – also Malta’s most popular tourist spot is only 12 minutes’ walk from the school. Whether it’s a simple walk along the promenade or a chat with fellow students in a restaurant or a cafe in St Julian’s or Sliema, it will help students unwind and relax after morning or afternoon English classes.
Spinola Bay or St Julians Bay Live Cam: https://www.skylinewebcams.com/en/webcam/malta/malta/st-julians/spinola-bay.html
Also, apart from the regular trips organized by the school, that usually take place every week including weekends, we also organise other activities such as five-a-side football games, archery, sightseeing flights by plane over the Maltese islands, beach trips to picturesque and sometimes less accessible beaches, and countryside walks “off the beaten track”, in further flung places such as Dingli Cliffs, Buskett Forest, Verdala Palace, Girgenti etc.
In addition, we make it a point to include local annual events, especially those particular to Maltese traditional and popular culture, which are well-attended by locals and tourists alike. These give students the opportunity to experience Malta up-close and at its best, whether it is food, entertainment or history that is on offer; there will always be something of value (tangible or not!) to take away with you.
One example is Easter Week, renowned for its unique customs such as the Good Friday street processions, the lavishly decorated church interiors and related Easter artwork handcrafted by skilled local artisans, and the sweets and snacks typical at this time of the year. Easter Sunday celebrations are also a must see in Malta and a trip to the Three Cities, where the most popular Easter Sunday celebrations and parades with statues take place, has become an annual activity attended by a lot of Gateway students who study with us during Easter.
Good Friday celebrations Malta:
Easter at the Three Cities:
Similarly, in summer there is more than one village feast every single weekend, in different towns and villages, with a full-fledged fireworks display, live entertainment, open parish church and corresponding band club/s (usually old buildings of significant architectural value), and plenty of food stalls all over.
Traditional Maltese Festa in Summer:
Among the best-known yearly events are: the Notte Bianca, Birgu by Candlelight, BirguFest, the Rolex Middlesea Yachting Race, the International Fireworks Festival at the Grand Harbour, the Delicata and Marsovin Wine Festivals, the Strawberry Festival at Mgarr, Casal Fornaro Bread Festival in Qormi, the Medieval Mdina Festival in the old capital city of Mdina (also known as the Silent City), the internationally famous Isle of MTV concert, the Senglea Maritime Festival and others.
The annual Malta International Fireworks Festival:
Christmas is also a great time to be in Malta and Gateway School of English is also open over the Christmas holidays. At Gateway we always make Christmas a special one for our students. Our annual Christmas party is well attended by a lot of our international students and teachers alike and our annual visit by Santa Claus (one of Gateway’s students dresses up as Santa and visits classrooms) has also become a tradition. Students also practise their English through singing Christmas carols welcoming Santa to Gateway. No wonder Malta was voted by CNN as the top destination to spend Christmas in: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/06/travel/christmas-destinations-2015/
Christmas at Gateway School of English:
If students would like to visit places on their own and not on school organised activities our staff is readily available to provide them with information regarding bus numbers, timetables, directions how to reach the place, as well as historical facts or tips about the place they wish to visit.
6 places to visit when you’re in Malta
If you’re the type of student who visits places on your own or can only spend a week in Malta then these are the places which would be worth visiting recommended by Gateway School of English:
- Valletta (Malta’s Capital City) especially St John’s Co Cathedral (one of the most beautiful churches in the world built during the times of the Knights of the Order of St John, last admission at 4pm), the Grand Master’s Palace, St Paul’s Church (free entrance), the Manoel Theatre (listed among the 15 of the world’s most spectacular theaters by CNN), Upper Barrakka gardens , St James Cavalier in Castille Square & The National Library of Malta in Republic Square. You definitely need at least an afternoon to visit Valletta.
- Mdina (Malta’s old capital city also known as the Silent City) & Rabat (the neighbouring historical town with two beautiful churches dedicated to St Joseph and St Paul and famous for St Paul’s grotto and St Agatha’s catacombs as well as the beautiful Roman Villa)
- The Three Cities especially Vittoriosa (in English) or Birgu (in Maltese; declared by the Knights as the Capital City of Malta on their arrival in 1530, even older than Valletta) and Senglea founded by the French Grand Master Claude de la Sengle.
- Marsaxlokk on a Sunday famous for its flea market and Malta’s most popular fishing village
- the Blue Grotto, another fishing village with picturesque views of the tiny island of Filfla and not far from the world’s oldest free standing religious structures: Hagar Qim & Mnajdra prehistoric temples.
- and finally the Three Villages of Lija, Balzan (stop at San Anton Gardens at the President’s Palace) & Attard
There are a total of 359 churches (313 in Malta and 46 in Gozo) in Malta, very rich and beautiful from the inside, some however plain and simple from the outside. We recommend that whenever you see a church in Malta, simply drop in as all churches in Malta are worth a visit especially if you’re interested in arts.
If you have enough time (you will need a day or two) you certainly have to visit the two sister islands of Gozo & Comino however the school organizes trips to the two islands in one day every weekend, all the year round.