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When you’re partied and pokered out, there’s still plenty to do on the beautiful island of Malta…
1. What a dive…
Malta offers some of the best diving anywhere in the Mediterranean. There are dive centres everywhere and the incredibly clear waters (and wrecks) make for a stunning experience. If you haven’t gone diving before you can take a quick beginner’s course or just go snorkelling instead. Head up to the small island of Gozo, which is a short ferry ride from Cirkewwa in North Malta. There you’ll find the stunning Azure Window, a natural arch in the sea cliffs, and the Blue Hole, a vertical drop 25m deep. You might recognise it. The location has been used in films like Clash of the Titans as well as HBO’s Game of Thrones.
2. Find the fish
If you can’t find the fish in the poker room head to Barracuda in St Julians. the restaurant offers some of the very best fish and seafood in Malta, including chargrilled lobster and octopus carpaccio. If you don’t like fish there are plenty of meat dishes. and if you don’t like either you might be impressed by the fact that Arnie has eaten here.
3. Caffeine boost
If you prefer drinking coffee and letting the local sights wash past you, Caffe Cordina is one of the best places to perch. It opened in Valletta, the historical capital of Malta, in 1994 in a beautiful palazzo, and it’s been drawing in a mix of locals and tourists ever since. Not a bad place to take stock before you tackle the day’s poker action.
4. Sporting chance
Can’t miss your dose of sport while you’re away? Budding Fantasy Football manager who needs to keep track of his team? Saddles is a pretty lively pub that offers big-screen sports and table football,with ice-cold Guinness on tap. there’s also a wine bar on the first floor that offers a bit of respite and a range of cocktails.
5. Knight life
You can’t go to somewhere as historic as Malta and not visit at least one of its incredible buildings. St John’s Co- Cathedral in Valletta might not look all that from the outside, but inside is one of the most salubrious sights you’ll ever see unless you’re Steve wynn. Built by the Knights of Malta 1573-1578, think gold, gold and more gold.
6. Cliff notes
If you’ve suffered a horrendous beat in BOM and want to scream to the poker gods, the Dingli Cliffs offer a suitably impressive vantage point. You can get a good view over the whole of Malta here and if walking’s not your thing then go to www.segwaymalta.com and after a quick orientation you can zip around to your heart’s content.
7. Whisky nights
If you take all our Maltese recommendations, do them in order. Streat Whisky & Bistro in Valletta offers a selection of 70 whiskies, along with other drinks, and can get pretty crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.You can get bar snacks or retire to the bistro next door for whisky-inspired cuisine. Just don’t go near the Dingli Cliffs after.
8. Worship the sun
With the temperatures dropping to a rather chilly 21 degrees, November in Malta gives you one last opportunity to show off your beach-ready- body to the world. It’s a small island so there are beaches everywhere you point, but without moving too far from St Julian’s, St George’s Bay is the place for sunbathing and Sliema beach for snorkelling.
9. Dock of the bay
Spinola Bay in St Julian’s is one of the best places to spend an evening. The traditional fishing bay offers fantastic views, with more restaurants and bars than you can visit in the week you’ll be in Malta. If you can’t decide, The Dubliner offers pretty much everything under one roof, including live music if you’re lucky.
Head up to the Northern town of Mellieha (about 15km from St Julian’s) and you’ll find all the watersports you can handle at BlueWaves Watersports. You can hire self-drive boats (€140-€255 per day) and jet-skis(€33for 15 minutes) or charter a yacht or cabin cruiser if that’s the way you roll (€500 per day plus fuel).
Cathedrals… cliffs… Pah! We know why you’re going to the Battle of Malta and they both begin with the letter ‘P’. With any luck the poker will take up all of your waking time, but when you’re not playing BOM offers some amazing parties and VIP events. Click here for the info and get ready to shake it like a Polaroid picture.
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