With no snow, low amounts of rainfall and temperatures averaging around 12°C, January in Malta can be very pleasant and enjoyable for nature walks and hikes! This particular journey begins in front of the Żebbiegħ Church.
Words by Denise Cassar (Tour Guide at Colour My Travel) | Extract taken from January's 2022 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here
The area can be reached by private vehicle (plenty of parking available) or by public transport via bus number 238 from the Valletta terminus. It is recommended to start off by crossing the street so as to immediately immerse yourself into the rich heritage the islands have to offer by witnessing Skorba. These Neolithic temples date back to around 5000BC and are believed to have been made by Malta’s first inhabitants as places of worship to the fertility cult.
You can then proceed towards Triq il-Wardija and make your way to St Martin’s Cave. The name of this cave derived from the locality in which it is found and has nothing to do with the actual Saint himself - as wrongly thought by many. It was cleaned up in 1931 and converted into a grotto for our Lady of Lourdes in order to attract the devotion of passer-byers. After visiting the cave, you’d want to continue along the opposite-facing path, making your way up to the Wardija Ridge.
At the top of the plateau, you will be quite rewarded with some views of the surrounding area - as far as Xemxija and also parts of Għajn Tuffieħa Bay – one of Malta’s most popular beaches! Over here you will also find some of the mysterious cart-ruts, whose origins are unknown and their purpose too, although they are widely assumed to be associated with the transportation of the temple stones during Neolithic times. From here you should probably double back around the ridge and go all the way down the same road, Triq il-Wardija, until the path forks off towards Triq Sagara Familja.
The next part of the walk will take you around the Żebbiegħ/Imselliet Valley, where you will be able to enjoy a variety of flora. It is important to mention that these flowers are to be marvelled at by those who choose to do the same trek after you, therefore, kindly refrain from picking and/or trampling. After exploring the valley, it is highly recommended that you head on over to Vincent’s Eco Estate. Over here you can learn about sustainable and organic farming practices used by the organisation. You might also have the opportunity to lend a hand by engaging in olive picking, honey collecting and vegetable harvesting! The produce can then be bought from the O-Veg Eco kiosk to enjoy at home or gift to friends.
Before deciding what to buy however, you will even be offered the opportunity to taste most of the products; so go ahead and dip that ftira (traditional Maltese bread) in the olive oil before picking up a bottle and allow the pesticide-free strawberries to burst on your tongue before hastily grabbing a box or five! Open Monday to Sunday from 09:00am to 17:00pm, this eco farm provides the perfect atmosphere to unwind after your walk.
After loading yourself with local, organic and fresh produce, you’d want to keep following Triq Ħżejjen upon exiting the farm and turn onto Triq il-Fuħħar to find yourself climbing up the last bit of road toward your vehicle or bus stop. Depending on your length of stay enjoying the views on Wardija Ridge and your visit to the eco farm, you should complete this walk in around two-and-a-half hours. So, put on a good pair of trail shoes, pack some water and make this part of your off the beaten track visit to Malta!
Colour my Travel organises various tours and the full schedule is available on www.colourmytravel.com