For those who prefer a touch of adrenaline to museums, holidays in Malta and Gozo are a fantastic opportunity to indulge in sports. The agreeable Mediterranean climate and the variety of sporting activities from which to choose make the Maltese Islands ideal for active holidays at any time of the year. Both land lovers and water babies will not be disappointed.
The heart of Malta sparkles a watery blue and, as Malta’s source of energy and enjoyment, water sports are extremely popular. Malta’s fine weather means that not only do water sports abound, but they also do so all year round. A holiday in Malta and Gozo can easily be spent alternating between relaxing on the beach and diving in and out of the warm blue waters. Many beaches across the Maltese Islands have beach concessions that offer typical holiday water sports, including jet skiing, water skiing, wakeboarding, paragliding, and kayaking. Children will also enjoy the wide variety of boat-towed rides on offer, such as tubing and banana boat rides.
Winter in Malta sees the local windsurfers and kitesurfers unpack their surfing equipment to enjoy the breezier seasons outside of the summer months. That said, summer in Malta is an ideal time for visitors to try windsurfing and sailing for the first time. Some of the bigger beach concessions across the Islands, such as those in Mellieha Bay, offer windsurfing and sailing classes. You can also charter a yacht to explore all the nooks and crannies along the Maltese coastline.
The best way to truly understand the Maltese connection with the sea, however, is to dive down into the depths of the Maltese Mediterranean. While it is at its hottest in the summer, the sea is warm enough to enjoy scuba diving at any time of the year. Diving in Malta is excellent due to the clarity of the water, ensuring a visibility of over twenty metres. The sunken wrecks, reminiscent of Malta’s maritime past, are another reason why so many people from all over the world spend their diving holidays in Malta and Gozo every year.
Malta’s climate, terrain and scenery are perfect for exploration. In fact, walking and rambling across the Maltese countryside are particularly enjoyable in spring and autumn when the temperatures are slightly cooler than in the summer months. In more recent years there has been an increase in the amount of publications that include walking routes in Malta, which are particularly useful for visitors wanting to explore the peacefulness of the Islands for themselves. And, for those with a keen adventurous spirit, there are many crags accross Malta and Gozo that are ideal for rock climbing accross all grades.
Cycling has enjoyed a distinct increase in popularity in recent years in both Malta and Gozo – but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart! Both Malta and Gozo are very hilly islands and the heat of the summer is enough to shake even the most avid cyclist. That said, the landscape offers spectacular views and there is no better way to experience the tranquillity of sleepy Maltese villages and winding country lanes. And, thanks to an EU-funded project, three new cycling routes have been created in Malta and Gozo with both country and sea views along the way.
The Royal Malta Golf Club is another popular retreat for visitors wanting to spend a large part of the day enjoying the temperate climate. The Club is Malta’s largest sports centre with an eighteen-hole golf course, miniature golf, tennis courts, squash courts, cricket grounds, and even a swimming pool. Another popular activity that is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike is horse riding, with some stables offering special days out for families.
Besides trying out and practising new sports, Malta also has a fair amount of professional-level sports that are definitely worth watching. Football is the national sport and the Maltese are very passionate about any sort of football game. It is played at various pitches across the Islands, including the National Stadium in Ta’ Qali. Malta is also a great place to enjoy the Italian and English premier leagues as the Maltese are very keen on these two foreign leagues in particular, with a lot of bars showing a consistent live stream of matches.
Followed by loyal crowds, water polo is also an intensely contested sport in Malta. The major competition is the National Championships held during the summer months. The competitive spirit is very high and a water polo match is always an exciting way to spend an afternoon, even for those with no prior knowledge of the game.
Other exciting water-based activities to watch are the various sailing races and regattas that are held throughout the year by the Royal Malta Yacht Club. The highlight of the yachting race calendar in Malta is the Rolex Middle Sea Race, which takes place every October. Competing boats and their crews come to Malta from all over the world vying for sailing glory. The start of the race takes place in the beautiful and historic Grand Harbour and draws large crowds, making it one of the most photographed sporting events of the year.