The island of Malta is rich in history, culture and tradition- elements which are found at the heart of every typical Maltese village, no less the tranquil village of Mellieħa. Mellieħa is a village situated on a hill, in the Northern region of Malta, and it is known for being one of the most tourist-friendly areas on the island. It is home to beaches, hotels, resorts and restaurants alike. This village has remained authentically and charmingly Maltese throughout the years, one can admire the hustle and bustle of the everyday life of the Mellieħa villagers, despite the large population of tourists residing in the area.
The name “Mellieħa” comes from the Maltese word “melħ”, which in turn means salt. It is names after the ancient Roman salt pans found in Mellieħa Bay. However, this site is now occupied by the Għadira Nature Reserve; a bird sanctuary which temporarily homes over of 140 species of migrating birds which visit annually.
It is a historically sacred village, as the area has been inhabited since the Neolithic times. One can spot several caves in the area, as well as tombs, and it is also home to the temple of Għajn Żejtuna, found closer to the coast. In addition, it is said that when St. Paul was shipwrecked in Malta, St. Luke, who was with St. Paul at the time, whilst exploring his surroundings, found himself in one of Mellieħa’s caves and painted the figure of the Madonna on one of the cave’s walls. Thus, this cave became a church, and it has since been known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa.
The sandy beaches are a definite attraction in this small town- Għadira is one of the most popular beaches in Malta, loved by locals and tourists alike. This is probably because of its vast area, consisting of a total of three beaches, separated by rocky areas, ideal for those who despise the sand. It has been awarded the Blue Flag Status, due to the fact that its waters are some of the cleanest in the island, and visibly so! The water is crystal clear, which is a definite advantage when it comes to spotting jellyfish. The beach ranges from shallow waters, providing safety for the kids, to deeper seas, great for snorkeling adventures. The beach is laden with quality restaurants, kiosks, sunbeds and umbrellas, and all the amenities one might need to enjoy a relaxing day by the beach with family and friends. There are also lifeguards on site, making it one of the safest beaches on the island. Apart from Għadira, Mellieħa is also home to many other beaches: Paradise Bay, Armier and Little Armier, Golden Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa, Slugs Bay, and also Imġiebaħ Bay. The choices are endless!
St. Agatha’s Tower, or better known as The Red Tower, is visible from Għadira bay, due to its vibrant red colour. The watchtower’s main purpose was to be used as a signalling post for communication between Malta and Gozo, and in the past, it was capable of housing over thirty soldiers. A visit is surely required, as the top of the tower offers spectacular views of the Mellieħa countryside, the beaches and can even offer a peak at Gozo. St. Agatha’s tower was the last large bastioned tower to be built in the Maltese islands.
Another great feature of Mellieħa is Popeye Village, a filmset used in the 1980’s Popeye movie, starring Robin Williams, that was kept after the production of the film ended. It has since become an entertainment park, great for an afternoon for families. It also offers all the facilities needed to make a day out of your visit- an on-site restaurant, beach facilities to swim in Anchor Bay, re-enactments by actors dressed up as Popeye characters and even a cinema!
Naturally this village offers so much more- renowned restaurants, bars, pubs and karaoke bars, parks, gardens and even museums. It is a village that is treasured by all, and it is one which is worth the visit, and the stay. Look for lodging through Shortlets Malta ( follow the link here- http://shortletsmalta.com) to find your perfect home, away from home.