Panoramic Tour: Popeye Village, Blue Grotto and Cliffs. This tour is focused on panoramic and rural highlights of Malta: Coast Road, Anchor Bay and Popeye Village, Mellieha Bay & Village, Manikata, Ghajn Tuffieha/Golden Bay, Mgarr Village, Rabat & Mdina (outskirts), Buskett Gardens, Dingli Cliffs & Blue Grotto.
We start with a scenic drive along the coast road, en route you will pass St. Paul’s and Xemxija Bay. Our first stop will be Ghajn Tuffieha & Golden Bay. Two beautiful beaches separated by a natural rock formation on which a 17th century tower stands. Here you can enjoy some fabulous panoramas of both bays. We continue through the tiny hamlet of Manikata and drive through some beautiful rural countryside until we arrive at Anchor Bay.
Anchor Bay or better known as Popeye Village. This is the actual location where the movie ‘Popeye‘ was filmed in 1980 and starred the late Robin Williams. Here we will time for a quick photo stop.
We then driver past the popular beach of Mellieha, which is the longest beach in Malta and onto our next stop in the hilltop village of Mellieha. Here you can visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady which is said to have the oldest icon of Our Lady and Baby Jesus and also said to be miraculous. Pope John Paul II paid it a visit in 1990.
We proceed with our tour passing through the valley of Mizieb. During this part of the tour we will pass farmer’s tending to their fields before we start our ascent towards the village of Zebbieh, en route we pass ‘Il-Grotta ta’ San Martin’, a small sacred cave which local farmers still to this very visit to pray. Next is the farmers town of Mgarr and here we will stop for a lunch break.
If you would like to try some local cuisine this is the ideal opportunity! Mgarr is home to the best restaurants that offer local meat dishes including braggioli (beef rolls), majjal (pork), quail (game) and of course the nations favourite, rabbit which can be baked, fried or stewed…. Other cuisine is available such as chicken, beef, pasta etc….
The second part of the tour will take us past the ancient city of Mdina, Rabat and Verdala Palace which is located overlooking Buskett Gardens. We drive through the gardens and onto Dingli Cliffs.
These cliffs are characterised by vertical or near-vertical rock faces rising from the sea to heights of up to 70-130m above sea level. Some of the steep slopes are terraced and this unique feature together with the expanse of the deep blue Mediterranean sea provide stunning views.
The final part of the tour includes a scenic drive through the area known as Girgenti. Girgenti is a shaded fertile valley renowned for its orchards and cultivated fields. Eco system here is Maquis so it is green all year round. Citrus and other fruit trees thrive in the valley beneath the surrounding ridge. This route will also take us via typical local villages before we reach the Blue Grotto.
Blue Grotto. This picturesque grotto and its neighboring system of sea caverns mirrors the brilliant phosphorescent colors of underwater flora. Boat trips, which take around 25 minutes allow you to explore these grottoes and sea caverns along this stretch of coast (the boat trip is not included in the overall price as it operates subject to weather conditions, allow €8).
At this stage our tour comes to an end and we make our way back.