With the summer holidays drawing closer it was time for my husband and I to put on our thinking caps and plan where to go with the kids. An exercise not quite as easy as it sounds.
Learning the hard way in earlier years, as parents in their infancy, we made ‘huge’ fundamental mistakes. With many a disapproving look from fellow holidaymakers and a desperate wish to be teleported back home to safety, so began our archive of holiday disasters, never to be repeated. Idyllic remote destinations with not much to do except swing in hammocks and frolic in the sun, in times gone past would have been picture perfect, but soon dissolved into holiday nightmares, with screaming over tired children that had been trapped on flights that seemed to go on forever.
Fortunately, with enough journeys travelled, I can now attest that we have become the Jedi family holiday masters! Lessons learnt, needing no repetition, a deep-rooted understanding that ‘summer breaks with the children’ need not be the oxymoron it would appear to be.
The criteria set was quite simple, no long flights, no intricate travel to the destination once landed. A diversity of options that catered for the kids as well as ourselves and make sure daily excursions to the beaches or attractions did not to take a life time to get there, simple.
Interestingly, no sooner had the search begun; we both came back with the same top runner, Malta. As a holiday destination, it ticked all the right boxes and as joint leader, the decision was made and the vacation booked.
The villa we stayed in was close to the beach, which enabled each day to be jump started by a morning swim, well received by the kids. Confidence in the water, was soon followed by snorkeling in the breathtakingly clear Mediterranean Sea, discovering the underwater life and all its magic, the children were captivated.
This new intrigue into the secrets of the deep also inspired a family excursion to Mediterraneo Marine Park greeted with much happiness and excitement. The marine park has an incredible array of underwater species with a long-standing reputation for being one of the leading attractions in Malta. It provides “edutainment” that inspires intrigue and understanding for some of these magnificent mammals. The Dolphin Presentation is a must, both interesting and entertaining, with the children sitting hooked with huge smiles eagerly digesting all the well-presented information. The opportunity to then swim with the Dolphins, a holiday high, is a totally unique and unforgettable experience. All of us, resembling excited infants, adorned wet suits and jumped into the pool for what can only be described as one of the most special moments in my life, incredible.
Adjacent to the Marine Park, is the ideally located and named “Splash and Fun”. With the excitement and energy still coursing trough our veins, the sight of the slides and squeals of delight from the kids sliding down them, was too tempting for all of us to just walk past. The raging rapids, twister and tube slides and the largest wave pool in Europe were such good fun, hours passed like minutes with endless laughter and enjoyment.
Working on a more relaxed idea, with a little less expenditure, we followed a top tip from a local and headed one morning to Mellieha Bay. A stunning long beach with crystal clear sea, sun loungers, umbrellas and little restaurants along the promenade, just perfect for some much desired parent down time. Combine this with an array of water inflatable’s for the kids and you’ve definitely got that essential bit of holiday balance.
Chomping at the bit, the kids headed off to pay for a session on the inflatable’s, leaving us perfectly located on the shore able to see everything clearly from our incredibly comfy sun beds. They must have been out there for hours, utter water babies, climbing the ice berg mountain only to slide swiftly down the other side, bouncing madly atop the water trampoline, could somersaulting into the sea be more fun! It really was the ultimate beach day.
The next day, heading to the other side of the island on a short drive across stunning landscapes steeped in history, we took the kids to Popeye Village. Established as a film set for the 1980’s filming of the musical Popeye starring Robin Williams, the village has now grown into a fun and colourful attraction full of activities for the young at heart. Cartoon characters meet and greet you, evoking a feeling of being part of the spectacular set. The short boat ride around Anchor Village is fun and entertaining and there’s a large lido to cool down in surrounded by restaurants and some interesting inflatable’s unique to the village. A great day out with a twist of something different.
Each day, Malta presented another little gem, and kept us as a family, fine tuned in summer holiday delight, a truly exhilarating yet relaxing and indulgent family holiday and one for the ‘winner’ archive.
For endless family fun, Malta more than steps up to the mark:
- Mediterraneo Marine Park: Tel: +356 21372218, Marineland Ltd, Bahar Ic-Caghaq, Malta. www.mediterraneo.com.mt
- Splash and Fun Water Park: Tel: +356 2137 5021, Coast Road, Bahar Ic-Caghaq, Malta. www.splashandfun.com.mt
- Popeye Village: Tel: +356 2152 4782, Anchor Bay, Mellieha, Malta. www.popeyemalta.com
- Golden Bay Horse Riding: Tel: +356 2157 3360, Golden Bay, Malta