Last Modified: 02 Jan 2014
Family - Malta and Gozo Adventure
Trip code: FMA
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2015
With a lovely year-round climate, warm Mediterranean waters and a fascinating culture, Malta is a great place for active families to explore. Travel back in time and stroll through the historic streets of Valletta. Cycle past domed churches and freewheel across Gozo’s undulating coastline. Head out to sea and don a mask and snorkel to view the underwater world around Comino. While the islands each have their own unique charm, this easygoing adventure combines all three to deliver a memorable holiday that will entertain young and big kids alike.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Xlendi
Your trip starts at Valetta airport, from where you'll need to transfer by ferry to Gozo – a journey of approximately 8km – for your first night’s accommodation.
San Andrea Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Xlendi
The diminutive island of Gozo, 14km across at its widest point, is a world away from the hustle and bustle of home. Populated with tiny villages and pretty hills this is a delightful place to begin our Mediterranean adventure. Xlendi, our base in Gozo was once a quiet fishing village. Our hotel is only meters from the beautiful bay where we can swim or snorkel. In the morning we take a jeep safari around Gozo, a much more rural island than its neighbour to the south.
In the morning you take a jeep safari around Gozo. Gozo is known as the fruit basket of Malta, and we will see much of the flora and fauna of the island as you are taken to the more remote parts of the island. The safari begins with a drive to Dwejra Bay where we can see the Azure Window, a spectacular arch formed out of the rock by thousands of years of wind and waves and the Inland Sea, a landlocked seawater lake, sheltered from the sea by an archway entrance. Weather permitting we might be able to take a boat trip from the Inland Sea to the Azure Window (optional).
From here we continue to the village of Xaghra and visit Calypso’s Cave. Gozo is revered as the legendary island of Ogygia, home of Calypso In The Odyssey, and it is this cave that is believed to have been her home. Here we will be greeted with panoramic views across the Mediterranean and the fertile Ramla Valley. From here it’s a short drive to Ramla il’Hamra (Red Sandy Beach) where there is time to swim in the warm sea. Our drive continues along the fertile valley enjoying views of the surrounding hills and the Citadel as we head back to Xlendi.
The afternoon is free so we can get to know the area a little better. A wander through the countryside, along countless trails is a great way both to relax and to discover Gozo. We may like to swim in the clear, warm waters of the Mediterranean. All activities are optional, allowing us to see and do as much or as little as we choose.
San Andrea Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Xlendi
Changing to two wheeled transport today, we can make our way around the trails and paths of Gozo by bicycle. We cycle up to panoramic peaks and along trails seldom visited by tourists, let alone any other sort of vehicle, as well as descending into valleys filled with fruit trees. Again the afternoon is free for us to enjoy the delightful harbour around Xlendi. Xlendi has a variety of well known sights that we can visit, including the famous tower, with great views of the town.
You and your family will be able to relax on the hotel’s roof terrace, or search out a secluded spot along the bay where you can make the most of the sunshine.
San Andrea Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Xlendi
Today we will have a pretty unique experience by experiencing a day in the tranquil life of a local shepherd at the Ager Foundation, a pioneer and promoter of eco tourism in Gozo. Gozitan shepherds still tend their sheep and goats in pristine countryside, accompanied by dogs guiding the herd on its way. Hands on involvement in the feeding and milking of the sheep as well as our valued participation in the process of Gozitan cheese-making enable us to experience it too. The processing of Gozitan cheeselets, which are consumed fresh, sundried, salted or peppered is a fun experience. We will also enjoy an authentic traditional lunch with our host featuring Gozitan cheese, olives, sundried tomatoes and crusty oven baked bread - delicious!
San Andrea Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Sliema
Today we leave Gozo and take a short boat ride out to Comino, a tiny speck a kilometre or so off the coast of Malta which today is a wildlife sanctuary. Named after the cumin herb that once grew so prevalently among the wild reaches of the island, there are only four permanent residents, so on our visit you can help to increase the population immensely! Our boat trip takes us around the island to one of the secluded bays that mark the coastline against the clear blue water.
From our boat you and the kids can have a go at snorkelling in the Mediterranean and marvel at the fish and other marine life around the island. Should you not wish to snorkel, why not just take a swim in the sea, and let the sun’s rays wash over us while we unwind in this peaceful haven. In the afternoon, after a short boat trip around the island, we leave Gozo behind and transfer back to Malta, the most cosmopolitan of these islands. Our accommodation here is in Sliema and a 5-10 minute stroll down to the promenade where we can experience good views of Valletta and stroll along the waterfront where we will encounter promenading families out for their daily passeggiata (evening stroll) amongst joggers and dog walking.
Plevna hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Sliema
Today has been left free so we can choose from a variety of activities to make the most of your time in this Mediterranean jewel. There are many activities that can be enjoyed here, from chilling out in the Splash and Fun Water Park, visiting pretty Marsaloxx and historic Mdina, horse riding along the Golden Bay area or visiting Popeye village.
Plevna hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Valletta
This morning, we will enjoy a walking tour around Valletta with some free time to explore before heading back to Sliema. Valletta, the capital city of Malta, was founded by the French Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette in 1566. Designed with wide, straight streets along a rectangular grid, the city is Malta’s main port, and the island’s capital city. During our tour of the city we can see the churches and palaces that once saw Valetta compared to Venice or Cadiz.
From the Upper Barrakka Gardens, we can enjoy superb views of the Grand harbour with its natural creeks and the fortified cities of Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua. Passing by Palazzo Pariso where Napoleon Bonaparte spent seven days in 1798, we will arrive at St John's cathedral - a masterpiece of Baroque and Rococo architecture. The Grand Master's Palace, nowadays the official residence of the President of the Republic is famous for the Gobelin, tapestries and its armoury. In the afternoon, we can go on an optional harbour cruise before the tour soon comes to an end.
Plevna hotel (1 nt)
Day 8 Valetta
The trip ends after breakfasts this morning as we say goodbye to our new friends.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- Malta and Gozo Adventure - Single supplement (ZJFM)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all the main cities. Check with your bank for information on ATM international fees.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money as there are many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in EUR, GBP and USD dollars are favoured for exchange.
Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it is not recommended to rely on this.
While some banks and 5 star hotels will change Travellers' Cheques the process is time consuming and commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays. The easiest cheques to change are Thomas Cook or American Express in USD, EUR or GBP.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 2
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
San Andrea Hotel (4 nts), Plevna hotel (3 nts)
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
7 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch
Budget for meals not included:
Jeep, Private Bus, Boat
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point description
A modern, quaint 28 twin bedroomed, family run, seafront hotel located on the Xlendi promenade just a few steps away from the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.Hotel San Andrea’s whole existence is linked to a core philosophy of providing its guests with an intimate, comfortable and above all friendly atmosphere to enjoy a relaxing stay in Gozo.
Joining point instructions
You will arrive into Malta airport on the mainland and the trip starts on the island of Gozo. For those who have pre-booked an airport arrival transfer, please look out for your representative who will be waiting in the arrival hall holding a placard bearing The Adventure Company logo. You will then be guided to the waiting vehicle. If you cannot locate your representative or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour number:00356 (9944) 4082
For clients who have not booked a transfer and want to make their own way to the start hotel, your best option is to take a taxi to Cirkewwa harbour which costs approximately 32 Euros in order to get the Ferry boat to Gozo where the crossing is 5 Euros per person. On arrival at Mgarr Harbour in Gozo we suggested a taxi to the San Andrea hotel in Gozo which will take a few minutes and cost approximately 10 Euros.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point description
This charming traditional 100 room hotel is situated in a quiet residential area in Sliema, yet is only a short 5 minute walk away from the lively Sliema centre with its shops, restaurants and cafes.The hotel has a swimming pool and rooms have air-conditioning, satellite TV and a hairdryer.
Finish point instructions
For those of you who have pre-booked your transfer your Adventure Company representative will be waiting after breakfast to take you to the airport. if not, the hotel will book a taxi for you which will cost approximately 20 euros and take 20 minutes.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.