It was probably the cheapest trip in the world. You may find that a visit to Malta, taking into account the classic middle-class expenses in Warsaw, is cheaper than not visiting Malta. Especially when you use a lot of electricity and water. Because:
Flights to Malta in December cost less than Uber from Prague to the center. In fact, a return flight is even cheaper than taking a taxi from Prague to Okęcie. It is possible to get a connection for PLN 44 in both directions with Wizz.
For 3 days in Porto Azzurro Aparthotel I paid less than PLN 200. It was not a great luxury, but a 24-hour reception, 2 rooms, fully equipped, private kitchen, large terrace overlooking the sea (a bit obscured, but for the stubborn instagram photo with two sausages in the foreground will work out) is more than enough.
If you are going alone, you can skip such trivial activities as eating and focus on cycling. Why I spent 3 days on microwave sausages and Chinese soups - I do not know. Besides, there is Lidl, and the prices are a bit higher than ours, so you will survive. Nothing warms your heart more than when you hear from strangers at the airport: "what, first to Lidl?".
Is it worth reading a text about Malta from a guest who has never visited a restaurant, has not been to any public place in the style of a museum, and has not even entered the very center of the capital? I don't know that either, but I can guess ...
In 3 days I traveled down a lot of roads. It means numerically little, but quite a lot as a percentage. Normally I would say my legs hate me after I leave, but I've noticed that since I'm out of shape, I can't get tired as much as I used to. Profit! I do not recommend half of these roads, the rest of the way.
I'm going experimentally packed. I put the bike into the bag, which is already legendary in the Brompton world DIMPA from IKEA. It turns out to be the perfect size. At the airport, such luggage causes some anxiety, but mainly because the service does not know how to check it in. The brazen lie that I fly so regularly and that I always put such luggage normally on the conveyor belt works perfectly. The bike leaves with the suitcases. There were no losses, but I have the impression that the net will be enough for a maximum of several flights if I do not start wrapping the bike in rags. Brompton is made in such a way that the luggage compartment will collapse sooner than he will be hurt. So I recommend that you take out insurance to repair holes in the plane if you want to drive it like I do. From the moment of picking up the bike from the belt, to the moment when I am riding with all my belongings, a few minutes pass - including the pee. And I admit honestly, peeing after arriving was the logistically most difficult moment of the whole trip. However, 11 years of experience in IT helped me find a solution in the form of: exit the airport and enter it again. Everything else in Malta is easy because the people are very nice and speak English.
I made a bold assumption that no navigation is needed on such a small island, so I don't take Karoo (although I probably don't take it also because he died and didn't live again). This is a big mistake - navigating in Maltese cities is a terrible ordeal. One-way roads, heavy traffic, uphill everywhere… The fact that you can see the sea from all sides sometimes doesn't help either.
This is what 380km of my trip looks like in 3 days, starting at dawn and ending after dark:
If I were to recommend the route, the whole thing should be located near the coast of both islands, and the center should be cut out and checked with a car or with the feet.
Due to the fact that it is Christmas and some do not have time to write much, and others do not have time to read it all, I summarize:
Now explaining: there is not much greenery, the landscape is not very varied, there are no animals, everything is made of stone and somehow unpleasant. When a plant hits it, it is more prickly than looking. I recommend the bike there only to masochists who like to ride more vertically than horizontally, although looking from the plane - you cannot see any hills. The island looks as if someone played Transport Tycoon, started on a board covered in 100% by the water and instead of picking up 9 tiles, he picked up 3, but three times. I don't know if it's understandable, but it's such an allusion to the ubiquitous cliffs. The survivors, who saw Malta on the horizon and decided to reach it with the last of their strength, certainly appreciated it. The cliffs look something like this:
Of course, you can be lucky and find Popeye's village from the sea. One of the biggest attractions of the island when it comes to the "family" category. Entry is paid, so you understand for yourself - I'm limited to Cebulacki view from behind the sign "please do not go behind this sign". I will not say aloud how long I waited for the sun to illuminate it in colorful colors, but as you can easily guess, I did not return to the hotel before dark.
But you can also get unlucky being shipwrecked and hit the weather like me. Every day, the wind below 30km / h was considered by me to be no wind. And, of course, he knows the principle that you always blow in such a way that the cyclist is in the mouth. As I'm probably the only cyclist to the horizon, he focuses on me and adjusts the shot vector accordingly. Apart from the fact that thanks to this I have 2x farther away, there are some pluses (photos below). Except, of course, that sometimes I go up the hill without pedaling, and sometimes I do not go down, despite being on the slide.
Important information here, Malta is small, so everything is close. The two most distant points that can be connected by a road are 36 km. The whole area in Komoot was about 80 km, but it quickly turned out that it is neither 80 km nor too little. Because first: contrary to what the map says, there is no such thing as a road around, and secondly, my average net speed does not exceed 15km / h. I know that a folding box and small wheels, but trust me - normally I drive a little faster. When setting out a landscape route, you should count about 1500-2000m for every 100 kilometers, and this already sounds like normal mountains. I can't take pictures of the word "steep" but I can try. Who knows, this one knows.
It is worth adding that if you check the surface on Google Street View, it has nothing to do with reality. Bitumen is usually very good, with short breaks for bad. I would go 32mm and more so as not to lose the best.
Bicycle paths are pathology and they look as if someone has run paint on selected parts of streets that were not suitable for cars: garbage, glass, sewage drains, curbs. Car traffic in the north is pathological, while in the south and on dirt roads it is completely zero. As if that was not enough, they all drive against the flow and have the steering wheel on the wrong side. We are talking about an island with 500,000 inhabitants and over 400,000 cars. I had exactly zero dangerous situations and I was honked the same number of times.
It must be admitted, however, that once you get used to the speeds of the average corporate runner, you can more or less accidentally find exceptionally nice roads:
And now seriously: is it worth going to Malta with your bike?
I answer: You can.
Maybe not necessarily to drive around the island, but to loop around (as much as possible), you can do as much as possible. Especially, when it is set up for 2 days, Gozo will join and from time to time go down to a beach. It will give just 200 km. Adding two ferries, sometimes a stop, an overnight stay along the way, vertical walls and random attractions should give you an optimal weekend. The third day should be spent walking around Valletta. However, you won't lose much without a bike.
I do not believe what I am writing myself - it is worth visiting Malta if only to visit this northern part. How is it that everyone has heard about such Dubrovnik, everyone was in such Lisbon, and nobody talks about the city of Valletta? As for me, it's a museum city. Walk the promenade along the coast and then wander between caricaturely huge churches - pretty cool. I say this knowing that I sound like an old man. But it's worth it, it's really nice. Maybe not necessarily in summer, when there are probably infinitely many steps and people, but it's worth it.
What else to see? The island is so small that basically everything they describe in the guidebooks. None of these places are anything but unforgettable, but as a whole they make for a pleasant trip. Exactly what tourists 93% does here. Cliff to cliff, beach to beach, town to town, church to church.
My referrals? The most popular seat reservation it's probably Blue Grotto. Speaking like a simpleton: a hole in the rock that you can swim across in a boat:
Then, going clockwise there are different cliffs. Klify, like cliffs - it is not Orzechowo, Orłowo or Darłowo, but also quite good. It is a pity that there are no trees anywhere on the island. Somehow the numbness without them. Somewhere at the end you get to the greatest classics for watching the sunset and some pretty cool specer routes along the sea, where walking with a folding arm on your shoulder is not very comfortable: Golden Beach and Riviera Beach.
Then the island ends and you can take the ferry to Gozo. Is it worth it? If you have one day, it is not necessary, if more - you can. If you come for 3 or more days, you even have to. Gozo is even smaller and slightly more compressed. As an island, I would say prettier because it is greener. And of course the hills are closer together. From places worth recommending? Certainly the salt "pools" in the north. But it doesn't matter what I say, because if you're on Gozo for more than 3 hours, you'll probably see enough pretty. Both at the destination and along the way. You can bike if we circled the main island on the first day or if we have a 2-day trip with an overnight stay along the way. Can you swallow it all at once? Well, if it were not possible, God would have created them differently, but I do not recommend it. And they have a statue of the (default) Pope at the Papa bus stop.
A nice patent is that when you take the ferry from Malta to Gozo (20 minutes), you only pay on the way back. This means that if you go without your wallet and phone, you won't come back.
So to sum up: yes, I definitely recommend Malta. Especially for people who like to wander around nice old towns. Not necessarily on a bike, unless it's a slow adventure, with numerous stops to wander the narrow streets and perhaps pitch a tent on the cliff. I think Instagram will like pictures of the bivouac with sunrise and sunset over the Mediterranean Sea in the background. I allow the possibility of a weekend return to move around aimlessly. In the category of cities to be laid, the north of Malta lands with me ahead of Lisbon, Barcelona, Dubrovnik and other classics.
I recommend. For two-day bikepacking plus one day of walking. Or without a bicycle, you can too.Maciej Hop