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Serious hikers think nothing of covering 16 to 20km or more in a day while some also incorporate some fairly serious hills along the way. They might reasonably wonder what opportunities could there be for some serious walking on Malta? After all, this is not a big island. How much walking can you do here?
Well, the answer is ‘enough’! OK so it’s not like the Alps, or the Highlands of Scotland but you’ll find enough countryside and footpaths with things to see along the way to make it well worth packing your walking boots before you set off.
Parts of Malta may resemble a building site as the relentless development forges ahead, but there’s still ample protected land to wander around on and explore. The Maltese countryside has its own unique characteristics and is home to some rare and indigenous specimens of wild flowers, butterflies, animals and birds.
Despite its barren appearance there are many species of wild flowers here, more than you’ll find in much larger and greener countries like Holland, for example. So that’s just one more thing to look out for as you make your way through the countryside on Malta or Gozo.
The southern edges of Malta are much less developed than the north so here there are plenty of possibilities. The area around Dingli Cliffs affords some stunning sea views, for example. But before you set out anywhere to walk on Malta, remember that the weather here is very hot. You’ll need to take lots of fluids with you, so wear a hat, take plenty of water and slap on plenty of sunscreen.
Various ramblers' associations from across the world have already stumbled across the fairly well kept secret of Malta walking and have been coming over for years. To help them out, Malta Tourism has produced a series of eight countryside walking routes, which should be available from Tourist Information offices.
Each route is mapped out on eight full-colour booklets, showing walkers how to find the appropriate start point. They then clearly indicate the path you need to follow, any turn you have to take plus points of interest to look out for on the way. These might include archaeological remains, geological features and interesting native plant-life along with niches, plaques and landmarks of historical or traditional interest.
But it’s just as much fun to work out your own route through the countryside. Pick a spot and set off. The beauty of Malta is that you’ll stumble across civilisation before too long so it’s never possibly to get seriously lost. Alternatively, ask some of the locals for ideas of favourite walks, they’ll be happy to oblige!
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