A Weekend Trip to Malta

So I’ve finally got settled in and adjusted to life in Italy, so it was time to head out and explore.

My friends found a good deal on flights and an Airbnb, so my first international stop would be Malta.

This tiny island is just south of Italy, and as a former British colony, their official languages are Maltese and English. They also happen to drive on the left side of the road, which I only realized when I hopped in the cab after arriving at the airport.

 

Headed to Malta on Turkish

For the outbound flight from Naples, I decided to take the scenic route and fly via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines in business class for only 25,000 miles and $35.80 in taxes. This ticket would have ordinarily been over $900, so my miles were worth 3.5 cents each!

My friends on the other hand, were arriving in Malta a day earlier via Ryanair, and as much I wanted to try that airline, there were no Ryanair flights to Malta on the day I was departing Naples, so I was stuck with Turkish. Oh well! 😉

Turkish Airlines flight 1880
NAP [Naples] to IST [Istanbul]
May 25, 2018
Depart: 10:55 AM
Arrive: 2:05 PM
Duration: 2hr10min
Aircraft: 737-800
Seat: 3A

Before my flight departed, I grabbed breakfast at the VIP lounge in Naples

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VIP lounge buffet
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Cappuccino and sandwiches

Boarding began on time and we headed through the gate and down the stairs to board our plane from the ground level.

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Boarding from the front door
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Business class seating on the 737-800

Once situated, the flight attendants came by to offer some pre-departure drinks.

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Turkish Airlines pre-departure drinks

After a smooth takeoff, breakfast was served. We (me and the one other business class passenger) had a choice of a Turkish style cheese pastry or a “Kasar” cheese omelette.

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Turkish Airlines breakfast menu
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First course
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Breakfast omelette

Every aspect of the meal was of high quality, as I have come to expect with Turkish Airlines’ catering.

Shortly after the meal was over, we began our descent into Istanbul. Once on the ground, myself and the other business class passenger were driven to the terminal in a private bus.

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Once there, I spent the next two hours at the Turkish Airlines lounge.

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Pool table at the Turkish Airlines Lounge
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One of the many food spreads at the lounge

The two hours went by lightning fast and I made my way to the gate for my next flight. For more pictures of the Turkish Airlines lounge, head on over to this post.

 

Turkish Airlines flight 1371
IST [Istanbul] to MLA [Malta]
May 25, 2018
Depart: 4:35 PM
Arrive: 6:00 PM
Duration: 2hr25min
Aircraft: A321
Seat: 4A

Once we reached our cruising altitude, it was time for lunch.

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Turkish Airlines lunch menu
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Appetizers
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Grilled chicken brochette

Once again, the food was absolutely fantastic. On a plane, chicken is often too bland or covered in sauce, but this was neither.

After the meal, I indulged in a glass of scotch while I gazed out the window and watched the scenery until we landed.

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A glass of scotch and a beautiful view

 

Gozo Quad Tour

The next morning, we all boarded a van and then a ferry to take us to the island of Gozo. Just north of the main island, Gozo features many gorgeous cliffs, caves, and multiple coves filled with visiting yachts.

We decided to see the island by quad and booked a tour through Gozo Pride Tours. The tour included pickup near our Airbnb, lunch, insurance, and a powerboat ride back to the main island. For only $108, we all found it to be a pretty good deal.

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Driving by one of the coves
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The saltpans
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Checking out the cliffs

After eating lunch and seeing most of the island, we had the chance to explore another village or pay a few euro and take a boat ride through the nearby caves and grottoes.

We obviously had to pick the boat ride.

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Cruising through one of the caves

Once we completed our tour and parked the quads, we made our way down to the marina for our powerboat ride back to the main island with a quick stop at the Blue Lagoon.

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The Blue Lagoon

 

The Blue Lagoon

Fortunately, we would see more of the Blue Lagoon and actually get the chance to swim in it the next day.

We booked a boat trip with Captain Morgan Cruises with lunch and beer included.

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Captain Morgan Atlantis

After a somewhat chaotic boarding process (a few members of the staff had no clue which boat we were supposed to be on), we made our way to Comino and then on to the Blue Lagoon.

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The Blue Lagoon
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Some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen

We took the liberty of ordering some piña coladas and scouted out a good spot on the rocks to sunbathe.

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Fancy pineapple drink
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Heading into the water

The water was crystal clear and not too cold, and although there were a few small jellyfish, they were easy to spot.

After a couple short hours in the Blue Lagoon, we headed back on the boat for our ride back to the main island. Overall, the Captain Morgan cruise wasn’t bad, but I wish we could have booked something a bit smaller that allowed us to have more time in the lagoon and perhaps a better buffet for lunch.

 

 

Heading back to Naples

The next morning, we awoke at a leisurely hour and made our way to the airport for our flight out.

Erinn, Ryan, and myself all had access to the La Valette Club via our Priority Pass memberships, so we had breakfast in the lounge while we waited for our flights to board.

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Entrance into the La Valette Club

The buffet had a nice selection of breakfast items along with substantial variety of liquors and soft drinks.

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La Valette Club breakfast buffet
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La Valette Club breakfast buffet
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La Valette Club alcohol selection

They even had a nice outdoor area where you could watch the planes take off.

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This time, I would be flying on Alitalia and trying them out for the first time.

Alitalia flight 885
MLA [Malta] to FCO [Rome]
May 28, 2018
Depart: 11:40 AM
Arrive: 1:05 PM
Duration: 1hr25min
Aircraft: A320
Seat: 12D

I booked a regular seat, but saw that the exit row was open on Expertflyer and asked the gate agent if I could change my seat. He quickly updated my ticket and sent me onboard.

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Alitalia A320 exit row
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A decent looking cabin

As you can see, there was no IFE, but I was happy to watch some TV shows I had downloaded to my phone and spend the rest of the time gazing out the window. To my surprise, the flight even had a light meal service, which I hadn’t expected, since I was riding in economy.

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Wing view on the Alitalia A320

 

Upon landing in Rome, I made my way over to a lounge known only as the Passenger Lounge, which I got into by using my Priority Pass membership.

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Entrance to the Passenger Lounge
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Passenger Lounge seating area

It was rather busy during my stay, but I had no problem finding a seat by the windows while I waited for my flight.

The food spread was quite good, definitely enough to make a good dinner out of it. It was all pasta and other Italian fare, which was certainly acceptable in my book.

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Lounge buffet

They also had a fairly decent liquor selection.

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Passenger Lounge liquor selection

After a few enjoyable hours, it was time to board my flight home.

Alitalia flight 885
FCO [Rome] to NAP [Naples]
May 28, 2018
Depart: 6:00 PM
Arrive: 6:50 PM
Duration: 50min
Aircraft: A320
Seat: 12A

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Alitalia planes all lined up

The final flight was on par with the first, with snacks and a beverage service during the short, fifty minute flight.

The flight arrived into Napoli on time, and although I was a bit nervous from what I had heard from friends, I was happy to see my bag arrive on the belt after I deplaned.

Overall, Malta was a freaking blast and I definitely intend on going back and exploring the island on a longer visit.

Cheers!

-Matt

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