Explore the Mediterranean waters of Filfla

Fifla island in Malta

A mere 0.06 km2 large, the isle of Filfla - located 5km south of Malta - may be tiny, but it is packed with a wealth of history and unique natural beauty.

Its name is believed to derive from the Arabic word felfel (meaning peppercorn), and was possibly sacred to the neolithic inhabitants of Malta, who built the temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra on the Maltese coast opposite the islet. The only known permanent structure on the island was a chapel built inside a cave in 1343, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1856 that also sank part of the island. A map of Malta dating back to 1798 shows a fort, a lighthouse and a monastery with a chapel on Filfla.

Until 1971 the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force used the island for target practice, and spent cartridges from these bombardments can still be found on Filfla today.

Access to Filfla is only possible for educational or scientific purposes, however this month, on the 4th and 26th, Heritage Malta will be organizing a round Filfla boat cruise, departing from Sliema Ferry at 14.00hrs.

Experienced Heritage Malta officials will be with you to point out special features found along the coast, such as fortifications and heritage sites. There will also be time for a swim at one of the sheltered coves.

For further details and to purchase tickets, visit http://shop.heritagemalta.org/index.asp?eventid=405. Tickets are also available at all Heritage Malta museums and sites.

Summer Solstice at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temple

Summer Solstice Hagar Qim

The Solstice occurs on the 21st June every year, and what better way to experience the Equinox than at the Mnajdra Temples and Hagar Qim. The infamous UNESCO heritage sites are neolithic temples used by the worshipers to communicate with the gods.

The south temple is aligned with the position of the sun as it rises over the horizon on the first day of each of the four seasons of the year. It was purposely built in such a position so that the sun shines in between the stone at the Equinox and the Solstice. This used to help the people of the time to know when the seasons change and they need to harvest their crop.

More information and ticketing can be found on Heritage Malta's website here

Remembering The Great Siege of 1565 with a guided tour hosted by FAA

The Great Siege of Birgu 1565

As the sun rose on the morning of the 19th May 1565, this tiny Mediterranean isle began preparations for the first of many battles that would signal one of the most important victories of its history - The Great Siege. Until 11 September of that year, the Knights staunchly defended Malta against the invasion of the Ottoman Turks, signalling the climax of an escalating contest between a Christian alliance and the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

To celebrate the anniversary of this very first battle, the cultural organization FAA is set to take you right back in time to where it all began with an exploration of Birgu with Vince Zammit. Join him as he takes you to the historic heart of the Knights of St. John in Malta, and re-live one of the greatest sieges in all of history.

For further details and tickets, please visit https://ticketengine.faa.org.mt/. 19 and 20 May. 6:30pm to 8:15pm. Meeting at Birgu's Couvre Porte by The War Museum.


Ringing in apricot season with Maria Shebets : Chocolate Ravioli with Apricot Filling

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

With apricot season upon us, these delicious little nuggets of sweetness are filling baskets across local markets island-wide. As huge fans of both seasonal local produce and dark chocolate, you can imagine our sheer delight when we came across Maria Shebets' recipe for Chocolate Ravioli with Apricot Filling

Combining the bitterness of chocolate with the sweetness of apricots, Maria's deep-fried ravioli are a celebration of contrasts that blend perfectly once combined. Sprinkled with a dash of icing sugar and accompanied by a fragrant cup of caffè latte, they are the perfect way to savour Spring afternoons soaking up the season's flavours.

The Great Spring Horticultural Show is set to bloom across San Anton Gardens

kelly-jean-189004 (1).jpg

As Spring blooms across this magical little isle, The Malta Horticulture Society is set to launch its latest edition of The Great Spring Horticultural Show that will take place in San Anton Gardens in Attard on May 6 and 7.

An annual festival of floral arrangements, plants, fruit, vegetables and crafts displayed in a historic garden setting, this year's edition shall also see The Russian Chapel especially adorned with flowers for the occasion. The event will also play host to an extensive programme of dancing exhibitions, folk music and presentations designed to embrace and celebrate the season.

For further details and for a full outline of the programme, visit the Society's website here.

Celebrating Easter the Maltese way

Easter marks one of the most important festivities in the Christian calendar, and in Malta, locals embrace age-old traditions and customs which are distinct and unique to these isles.

Holy Week officially begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On the evening of Maundy Thursday, churches are stripped of their silver and damask in sign of mourning and thousands of people visit seven churches to pay their respects at the Altar of Repose. The following day - Good Friday - processions are held across differing villages and hamlets across Malta, including in Birgu, which commence at 5:30pm and see numerous life-size statues being carried by pall bearers. The mood is subdued and reflective, as Christians in Malta and across the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

Spirits are lifted on Easter Sunday, as joyful church bells ring and fireworks are heard throughout villages. The feast is known in Maltese as Kristu Rxoxt (the Risen Christ), and following exuberant processions in the streets with the statue of the Risen Christ, families gather to enjoy a rich Easter Sunday lunch, which typically includes lamb and is topped off by traditional figolli almond pastries.

Valletta Concours D'Elegance 2017

valletta concours hotel

2017 marks the launch of the first edition of the Valletta Concours D'Elegance, which will take place on Sunday, April 23. Set within the walls of the historic Baroque city of Valletta, the capital will host a selection of Malta's finest historic automobiles. Internationally renowned judges shall decide on the best car entrant in each category whilst celebrating a love of vintage and classic cars.

In occasion of this event's debut, we're offering our guests a bottle of prosecco and return water-taxi tickets to Valletta on the day. Valid only for bookings between 21/04 and 23/04 using promotional code "IHEARTCC".

Celebrating authentic Maltese food with Maria Shebets: Sardines Escabeche with tomatoes

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

Our hospitality ethos reflects a deep-rooted passion for this magical, Mediterranean isle, and we love collaborating with Malta-based brands and people that share our passion across differing fields.

We are delighted to launch a monthly collaboration with the talented food influencer Maria Shebets, who loves sharing the richness of Malta's food heritage through her articles, recipes and insights published on her digital platform. Each month, we'll be sharing her latest recipes that combine the best of seasonal ingredients with her unique culinary creativity and flair.

Our first entry features the humble sardine, which is not only packed with nutrients that are essential for your health (protein,calcium, iron and potassium, vitamin B12, along with omega-3 fats) but is also a sustainable fish, as recommended by Fish 4 Tomorrow. Paired with juicy Malta-grown tomatoes, this dish perfectly encapsulates the Mediterranean spirit. To read the full receipe by Maria, visit her page here.

Introducing private culinary tours in Malta

Throughout our travels across the world, we have always loved experiencing a country through its food. The sight, smell and taste of local dish evoke distinct sensations that we believe capture a country’s cultural nuances perfectly.

The latest addition to our private tours offered in collaboration with Malta Private Guide, a balanced and curated gastronomical experience has been crafted so as to offer our guests a unique insight into the traditional elements that characterize authentic Maltese food. 

From honey to pastizzi, organic farms to internationally-acclaimed wine estates, guests will be treated to a full day of culinary delights that will reveal lesser-known aspects of Maltese cuisine through a unique experience.

The 8-hour tour comes complete with a private chauffeur-driven car and a personal guide. For further information and/or bookings, please email info@locandalagelsomina.com

Spring Equinox at the Mystical Mnajdra Temples

Spring Equinox Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra Temples

Malta is home to some of the world's oldest known Neolithic temples, and later this month, as Winter unfolds into Spring, Heritage Malta is set to organize unique guided tours in celebration of the Spring Equinox at the Mnajdra Temples.

Located on the southern coast of our isle and just a 20-minute drive from Locanda La Gelsomina, the Mnajdra Temples are believe to have been constructed around 3600 years BC. During the Spring Equinox (20-21 March) the sun rises in line with the main doorway of the South Temple, passing through the central corridor to the innermost apse.

Although there are no written records to indicate the purpose of these temples, recent research indicates that they were primarily a solar year calendar and an astronomical observatory.

This is the perfect opportunity to book a suite at Locanda La Gelsomina and use the promotional code 'HIS' when booking direct to benefit from a unique package. Tickets to the Spring Equinox event may be purchased from Heritage Malta here.


Sensing Spaces at Birgu's Inquisitor's Palace

Sensing Spaces - the architecture of perception. The idea is to immerse ourselves in spaces within the city in order to absorb its atmosphere. How does knowledge of spatial experience inform design and planning?

Happening a stone's throw away from Locanda La Gelsomina at the Inquisitor's Palace this week organised by SACES Malta, discover architecture and the interpretation of spaces with this inspiring event.

Locanda La Gelsomina joins the world of Frette luxury linens

Image courtesy of Frette

Image courtesy of Frette

Since Frette's founder - Edmond Frette - began manufacturing luxury textiles in northern Italy in 1865, the brand has become synonymous with distinguishable style and curated quality designed to induce a restful sleep. Edmond was one of the first linen merchants to produce jacquard - intricate designs achieved by a mechanical loom that used punch cards to control the weave - and the Italian royal family soon fell for Frette's luxurious fabrics emblazoned with their monograms and crests.

Having dressed everything from the dining tables of the Orient Express to the altar table of St. Peter's Basilica, today Frette is found in the finest hotels across the world. From the Raffles to the Ritz, the Danieli to the Savoy, Frette's refined bedlinens have been loved by hoteliers for decades. 

Today, Locanda La Gelsomina joins Frette's portfolio of international niche and luxury hotels that have embraced the Frette hospitality, making it the sole hotel on the isle of Malta to offer this unique touch of luxury.

Splashes of carnival colour set to dazzle Malta and Gozo in February

Carnival is one of the most highly-anticipated and oldest annual festivals that takes place across Malta and Gozo, bringing with it boundless high-spiritedness, food and colours that anticipate the warmth of Spring ahead.

Valletta in Malta and Nadur in Gozo play host to the largest of Carnival's celebrations, with each city interpreting the festival in its own unique way. Over 4 days in Valletta, the streets fill with parades, marching bands and costumed dancers, culminating in a spectacular float parade that brings out the largest of crowds. In Nadur, Carnival takes on more of a macabre yet quirky mood, as sunset invites a multitude of masked and hooded creatures to throng the streets of the town.

This year, Carnival is set to take place between 24 - 27 February. With the isle's mild, late winter temperatures, it's the perfect time to book yourself into one of Locanda La Gelsomina's suites to remain close to the action yet far from the maddening crowds. Take advantage of our latest promotions that shall be running throughout this period by visiting our Packages + Deals page.

Palazzo Falson steps into the magical world of snuff boxes

Palazzo Falson Snuff Boxes Boutique Hotel

Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum is one of Mdina's oldest buildings (its roots may be traced back to the 13th century), and one of our favourite little corners of the historical hamlet. You can therefore imagine our sheer delight when it recently unveiled its latest exhibition, which shines a spotlight on the history and magical world of snuff boxes.

Featuring an array of 200 boxes sourced from private, museum and ecclesiastical collections on the isle, the exhibition takes visitors on an insightful historical journey that saw this little accessory rise from being a simple snuff container to an elaborate expression of 16th century, upper-class wealth. 

Silver, enamel, ivory, glass and gold have been masterfully transformed into exquisite pieces of miniature art, and this eye-opening exhibition is certain to thrill history and culture buffs alike.

Until 26 February 2017. Free entrance. For further details, visit http://www.palazzofalson.com/

National Geographic picks Malta as one of its Best Trips for 2017

National Geographic picks Malta as Best Trip for 2017

As travellers look to the new year ahead with calendars at hand and start planning adventures to new places of exploration, National Geographic has compiled its list of Best Trips for 2017 brimming with travel inspiration. The tiny island nation of Malta has topped its list as one of the Culture destinations to head to in 2017, and with its rich historical heritage, clear Mediterranean waters and warm Maltese smiles, it comes as no surprise.

With its mild temperatures throughout the year and an annual calendar packed with events that include Carnival in February, traditional village festas throughout summer, and musical festivals that range from the Valletta International Baroque Festival (January) to the Isle of MTV mega-concert (June), this little rock is bursting with offerings for all tastes and preferences.

Book your flights, settle into one of Locanda La Gelsomina's tranquil suites, and set off on Maltese adventures that are sure to delight and astound.

Valletta International Baroque Festival set to take center stage in January 2017

Valletta International Baroque Festival 2017 Hotel

As Malta prepares to take over the EU Presidency in 2017, Valletta is set to play host to the 4th edition of the International Baroque Festival next January.

Highlighting the authentic baroque spirit of the isle's capital, the festival shall run across two weeks between 12 and 28 January in differing locations across town, including in Europe's third-oldest running theatre Manoel Theatre and the majestic National Library.

Since its inception, the festival has attracted the likes of Mahan Esfahani, Philippe Herreweghe, Jordi Savall, Iestyn Davies and Christophe Rousset. The local Valletta International Baroque Ensemble (VIBE) shall also be performing in a historically-sensitive manner archived ‘Maltese’ music, which was composed by resident and Italian masters for the Order of St John and the Church.

On the doorstep of Valletta and just a 5-minute sail across the Grand Harbour from Birgu, boutique hotel Locanda La Gelsomina is the ideal base from which to savour the festival's musical highlights and the perfect haven to retreat to for some quiet reflection afterwards.

For further details and programme, visit the official Valletta International Baroque Festival website.

October highlights - From sun-down yoga to 17th century ice-cream

Image courtesy of Sahana41

Image courtesy of Sahana41

As the torrid summer season gave way to a balmy Autumn this month, Birgu exploded into a flurry of cultural events and activities that brought visitors from all corners of the isle and from across the world to the historical hamlet.

On 8 October, Birgu was alight with the glow of thousands of candles as electric lights were switched off for the annual BirguFest that has become an annual highlight on both local and international calendars. 

Later on in the month, the Inquisitor's Palace played host to an insightful educational journey into the ice-cream making techniques of the Knights of Malta. Led by Dr. Noel Buttigieg, visitors caught a glimpse into secret 17th century ice-cream recipes while they were treated to samples whipped up by chef Josef Baldacchino.

Finally, our very own Yoga and Sound retreat led by Szilvia Gardian hit international news as the 4-day event culminated in a unique sun-down session that was set against the magical back-drop of Fort St. Angelo and Valletta's fortifications in the distance.

Celebrating the Mediterranean spirit with Carla Grima Atelier

Image courtesy of Carla Grima Atelier

Image courtesy of Carla Grima Atelier

Our team at Locanda La Gelsomina loves all things local, and we are delighted to unveil the latest brand to hit the shelves of our jewel-box retail space - Carla Grima Atelier.

Founded by the talented, grounded and open-hearted Maltese designer Carla Grima, her niche resort wear label is soaked in the colours and spirit of the Mediterranean.  Each piece is carefully crafted in high-quality silk, cotton and wool fibres, and is the unique fusion of watercolour techniques, photography and textile printing.

A curated selection of kaftans and headscarves are now available in-store. Celebrate the inspiring creativity of our isle's designers and revel in nature's luxury captured by Carla Grima Atelier.

Launching scenic walking tours at Dingli Cliffs - Summer 2016

Locanda La Gelsomina The Cliffs

As the Maltese summer unfolds beneath cloudless skies and limpid Mediterranean waters, Locanda La Gelsomina is delighted to offer its esteemed guests the opportunity to explore the scenic beauty of the isle's highest point - Dingli Cliffs.

Partnering with The Cliffs Interpretation Centre - an educational and gastronomical centre with historical roots in the local village of Dingli - guests will be offered the opportunity to indulge in a sensory experience through differing walking tours across this breathtaking corner of Malta.

From 1 July until 30 September 2016, guests who book their stay at Locanda La Gelsomina will be treated to a Crusoe package walking tour that includes an audiovisual presentation, a trail map and a drink. A minimum stay of 2 nights is required and tickets will be subject to availability. E-mail info@locandalagelsomina.com for further details.