Rambling around Malta
The island of Malta, with its mild temperate climate and its long spring and summers, not to mention its predominantly sunny weather, is perfect for those who love nature and the countryside. Apart from the benevolent weather, the fact that this small island in the Mediterranean is chock-full of beautiful lush sites and evergreen flora, makes it a real haven for those who like to walk, exercise, and enjoy the atmosphere.
‘Rambling’, which literally defines someone who likes to walk and explore the countryside for pleasure, is deemed to be a sport by many. Its benefits are diverse, however the main two are those of promoting healthy exercise, while at the same time encouraging an appreciation and enjoyment of the nature around us.
Malta has various Ramblers’ organisations, both professional and amateur. Perhaps the most well-known of these is the Rambler’s Association of Malta, which is an Environmental NGO which is actively involved in the protection of the Maltese countryside, as well as regularly organising different walks to promote the public’s awareness of the natural heritage of our islands. These walks are usually determined by season, weather, as well as difficulty, since there are different kinds of walking routes ranging from easy, to moderate, hard, and also very hard for more experienced or athletic ramblers. Each group of ramblers is usually guided by a ‘walk leader’ who scouts the land beforehand. It is always important to wear comfortable walking shoes when going for a ramble, as well as hold onto a backpack containing water, food, a towel, and other essentials.
Some scenic popular walks around Malta include:
Wied il-Għasel, Mosta – Literally meaning ‘Valley of Honey’, this scenic walk is not too complicated, however may be deemed as ‘hard’ by those who have movement difficulties. Being just a stone’s throw away from Mosta city centre, this area includes the escarpment off Wied Filep, which is resplendent with a number of old sandarac gum trees, as well as protected herbs such as great sage. This site is a tree protected area and nature reserve. The Chapel of Saint Paul the Hermit, built in 1656 inside a small natural cave, is one of the site’s most picturesque locations.
Buskett Gardens, Siġġiewi – Graded ‘easy to moderate’, this location offers an enjoyable ramble for everyone, be they young or old alike. Buskett, meaning ‘small forest’, is one of the few remaining wooded areas in Malta. It contains many different types of trees, as well as groves of fruit trees, and shrub-land. Verdala Palace, the official residence of the President of Malta, can also be found here. It is open to the public only during specific designated days.
Dingli Cliffs, Dingli – Another easy to moderate route, the panoramic Dingli Cliffs are the perfect setting for those who want to truly capture the enchanting atmosphere of the Maltese islands. Set in the northern region of Malta, Dingli lies on a high plateau and offers wide open sea views. This is also a great vantage point to admire the tiny islet of Filfa. Two points of reference include the Chapel of Saint Mary Magdalen and the Dingli Aviation Radar.
There are countless other rambling routes which one can explore around Malta, as well as around Gozo, both with the guidance of a rambling association and alone. For more information about the Rambler’s Association of Malta, kindly visit http://www.ramblersmalta.org/resources/who-are-we/