Destination

Traveling this summer: Italy, Spain, Malta

Camille

Let's continue our journey together to discover Europe and this summer's must-see destinations.

In the previous article we told you about the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria, this trilogy takes you this time to a warmer and sunnier climate to discover the most beautiful natural landscapes and cultural histories of Spain, Italy and Malta. All these countries are covered by the European Health Insurance Card and with the YUPWEGO travel insurance you will be perfectly covered (from 1 euro per day and per person).

Italy

Italy, what a beautiful destination! Magnificent landscapes, excellent gastronomy, colourful cities, beaches each one more beautiful than the other... Ready for a trip to the land of the "Dolce Vita"? Let's go !

Land side

Italy is full of beautiful cities to visit, starting with its unmissable capital, Rome, known as "the eternal city". If your path crosses that of Rome, it will inevitably cross that of the Vatican City State, of which the pope is the sovereign. The Vatican has a very rich culture, so you will find many museums and religious monuments such as St. Peter's Basilica, which dates back to the 16th century.

If you want to keep your feet on the ground (but only half), if you like to visit historical monuments with Gothic architecture and colourful neighbourhoods, we advise you to continue on your way to Venice. Short or long stays, you can also take the opportunity to visit the islands of the lagoon, such as the island of Burano, famous for its lacework and small colourful houses along the canals.

If you like open-air museums and you are passionate about Art History, go to the heart of the land, to Florence, the city of the Renaissance. There you can also admire the beautiful Medici villas, dating back to the 15th century, when the rich Medici family ruled the city. 

After visiting the most beautiful cities of Italy such as Rome, Venice, Florence, the Cinque Terre or Portofino, we take you to the heart of nature in Northern Italy, hiking through the majestic mountains of the Dolomites chain, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We guarantee you a total change of scenery and grandiose and surreal landscapes. 

High view of the Vatican City

Island side

If you prefer the scenery of sandy beaches or cliffs falling into the Mediterranean, you should love Sardinia and its beautiful, secluded coves. The Costa Paradiso, will offer you beautiful coves on the coast, such as Li Cossi, accessible by small paths.

If you prefer small islands with little traffic, you will fall in love with the island of Ischia, a paradise for its natural rock-hewn baths like the one at Cava Scura. Mount Epomeo is also the highest peak of the island and will make you discover an unspoilt and splendid nature by following a path that will take you to the top with the most beautiful view of the island of Ischia but also of Capri and the other islands of the Bay of Naples as a reward.

"Capri is over..." a charming little island where life is good with its secret coves, its grandiose mountainous landscapes and its alleys always lively in the evening. Before leaving Capri, you must absolutely taste the typical cuisine of the island: the Caprese salad or the Capresi ravioli. If you prefer to remain traditional, you will easily find a good pizza al taglio or succulent gnocchi di ricotta and di potato accompanied by a fresh Spritz. What more could you ask for?

view over Capri

Between high touristic places and small intimate corners, the "boot" remains a must for any traveller.  

Romantic, cultural or artistic destination, one can only fall under the charm of this country. Let's not forget that Italian cuisine is delicious and renowned. You will discover new recipes according to the regions and from one city to another. It makes you want to, right ?

Spain

Spain is the land of sun and celebration! But the sun and the warm-hearted people are not the only reasons to go there, quite the contrary! With family, couple or friends, don't hesitate to pack your luggage to visit this magnificent country.

On the wine route

After seeing the wine route of Hungary, we take you to the other side of the Mediterranean Sea to visit the most beautiful wine estates of the Iberian Peninsula: the "bodegas". Tastings and visits are organized in one of the most famous bodegas in Spain, the "Ciudad del Vino" (Wine City). This bodega is one of the oldest, dating from 1858, with futuristic architecture. Spain is full of wine-growing regions, from Rioja to Catalonia, you will be able to discover the incredible richness of taste of Spanish wines (in moderation of course).

bodega Marques de Riscal Hiribidea Spain

Cultural side

Spain is a true crossroads of civilizations, with a rich heritage, due to the historical cohabitation between Catholics, Jews and Muslims.

Heading to the North of Spain to (re)discover the Pilgrim's Way to Compostela, a mixture of cultural discovery, a moment of meditation and the charm of the small villages crossed and the splendour of nature. Once you arrive in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, you can visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which was once a church with Romanesque architecture that was later enlarged and modified in another style.

And if you are a lover of surrealist painting, visit the museums of Figueres, Salvador Dali's birthplace, where many of his works are on display.

In addition, each city has magnificent monuments such as the Alhambra in Granada, a palatial complex located on the Sabika Plateau. A major monument of Islamic architecture with the Great Mosque of Córdoba, together they represent the most prestigious witnesses of the Muslim presence in Spain from the 8th to the 15th century.

The Prado Museum in Madrid, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or the Sagrada Familia should also be on your list of must-see attractions.

View of the Alhambra in Granada

Party side

If you're planning to go to Spain with friends, you've found the right place to party! This country has no shortage of bars, restaurants, clubs and rooftops, starting with Madrid and its huge 7-storey Kapital discotheque.

Of course Ibiza is without a doubt THE most festive city in Spain. Many Djs often go there throughout the summer to animate the clubs such as Martin Garrix for example. 

If you're more of a bohemian type, sipping sangria with your feet in the sand, go to the Kumharas, a bar-restaurant, to enjoy the sunset in Sant Antoni de Portmany. 

For quieter evenings, tapas/cocktails with background music, you'll love the city of San Sebastián and the Ondarra bar, one of the city's best bars serving delicious pintxos (tapas). 

In fact, you'll find places to party and enjoy good mojitos in many Spanish cities, and even those on a tight budget will find something to suit them !

Party in Ibiza by the beach

Nature side

This country is full of natural beauties: lakes, mountains, beaches and natural parks. You will find many fine sandy beaches from the Costa Brava to Andalusia via the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands, with a relaxing atmosphere!

If you like the beautiful cliff landscapes overlooking the sea, go to the Playa de las Catedrales, known for its cliffs that look like the buttresses of a cathedral and its magnificent caves (don't forget to check the tides).

To relax on a white sandy beach with a crystal-clear sea and precious red corals, you can also visit Ses Illetes Beach, on the island of Formentera.

Of course one of the must-sees on your list must be a visit to the Güell Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

However, if you want to get away from the city and the crowds for a breath of fresh air, visit the Parque Nacional Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. This 40,000-hectare park in the province of Lleida has more than 200 ponds and small lost waterfalls. This protected gold mine will allow you to walk at the foot of the mountains and will take you to meet a wide variety of animal species such as large birds of prey, imperial eagles and black storks.

There are also 14 other national parks on the Spanish peninsula, in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

Parque Nacional Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici

Young or old, Spain will remain a beautiful country for everyone and a holiday rich in culture, sunshine and discovery. Also considered one of the cheapest destinations, you can easily find a cheap hotel and delicious food without breaking the bank.

So let's go, Vamos a la playa !

Malta

Malta is a country full of wealth, simple and easy to access. This tiny archipelago composed of 8 islands (only 4 of which are inhabited) is worth a visit. Malta is located just below Sicily, about 100km to the south. This country has a great historical heritage, between prehistoric temples, baroque churches and palaces, you will be able to learn its fascinating history. And good news, you will only have to fly from Lyon in 2 hours to get there! Let's go and discover this magnificent little country.

City side

Mdina

Malta has no shortage of places to visit with its many historic towns such as Mdina, one of the ancient walled cities dating back 4000 years. This architectural jewel is also the ancient capital of Malta, nicknamed the "silent city" (because it has only 300 inhabitants), it is a quiet and pedestrian city made up of small streets from the 16th century. On the central hill of Malta, you will be able to admire the ramparts of Mdina. You should not leave Mdina before visiting The Moat Garden, a magnificent garden with a panoramic view of the entrance and the fortifications of the city as well as St. Paul's Cathedral, a true masterpiece of architecture.

Small alley of Mdina with a horse-drawn carriage in walk

Valletta

Then continue your discovery with Valletta, the capital of Malta, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There you can discover the Upper Baracca Gardens, a park with a beautiful view of the port and the Three Cities, or the Palace of the Grand Masters, which will take you into the daily political life of the Maltese in 1572.

Upper Barcca Gardens

Marsaxlokk

Direction Marsaxlokk, a picturesque fishing village known for its atypical charm and its multitude of colourful gondolas. If you take a little higher up the town, you can also discover the remains of the Temple of Tas Silg, successively occupied by the Romans and then by the Christians. And if you like seafood, you've come to the right place! Marsaxlokk is home to many restaurants renowned throughout Malta for the quality and freshness of their seafood.

Coloured condos in the village of Marsaxlokk

The Three Cities

You will also be able to immerse yourself in a timeless atmosphere in the Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea. Each city has its own identity, all three rich in history and culture. Vittoriosa, also known as Birgu, is where the knights of the Order of Malta lived to protect St. Angelo, the island's strongest fortification. Cospicua, the largest of the Three Cities, was mostly destroyed during the Second World War but still offers a fascinating historical coastline. As for the last one, Senglea, it is also home to magnificent cultural treasures such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victories or the Church of the Visitation.

Aerial view of the Three Cities

Nature side

The island of Gozo

4 times smaller than Malta, the island of Gozo is also greener and the atmosphere is quieter with its small picturesque villages scattered in the hills and its natural landscapes.

The island's largest city, Victoria, is home to a magnificent citadel. A true fortified city, it offers a 360° panorama of the rest of the island from its ramparts. You can also visit the baroque Cathedral of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, built in the 18th century. 

North-west of Gozo, in Dwejra, was the Azure Window, which collapsed in 2017 after a storm. Nevertheless, this town remains a veritable nest of natural curiosities, including the Inland Sea, a natural "pool" of seawater surrounded by high cliffs and connected to the sea by an 80-metre tunnel under the cliffs. You can also go to the Blue Hole if you want to explore the seabed. 

Among Gozo's must-sees, you must visit the basilica of Ta'Pinu, the Marsalforn salt marshes, or Ramla Bay, the largest sandy beach in Gozo also known for its red sand.

Ta'Pinu Basilica

Comino

From Gozo, you can reach the smallest inhabited town in Malta: Comino, Malta's paradise. To our great delight, there are no cars in this nature reserve, which is a great way to recharge your batteries. 

With its Maldivian air, Blue Lagoon is one of the most beautiful places on the island. The lagoon has a translucent water that will allow you to see the fish in some shallow places. Once you've lazed around, get a good pair of sneakers and head off on a hike around the cliffs. A real animal sanctuary, you will be able to meet wild rabbits and Maltese lizards from the walls but also a wide variety of trees: olive trees, pines, fig trees, acacias and tamarisk trees. Lovers of nature photography, this island is made for you !

Blue Lagoon Comino

Blue grotto

Located 2 kilometres from the town of Zurrieq, the Blue Cave is a huge natural arch 43 metres long and plunging up to 40 metres under the sea. This cave and its 6 neighbouring caves can be visited by frejgatina, small traditional Maltese boats. In the morning, when the light is natural, the mirror effects with the azure water are impressive. This is also the resting place of the ship Um Eld Faroud, 115 meters long, which you can discover if you like scuba diving.

View on blue grotto

The cliffs of Dingli

To the north of the blue cave, its cliffs rise 250 metres above the sea. It is the opportunity to take a walk along these immense cliffs on a road with several viewpoints. You will be able to see the small island of Filfla in the distance and discover the terraced crops. If you are lucky enough to get there in the early evening, the sunsets are splendid.

Dingli cliffs and sunset

With 300 days of sunshine a year, Malta is a captivating and dynamic archipelago that can be discovered all year round. This country is full of heritage wonders and natural landscapes. A perfect destination for a short or long 100% sunny trip.

This completes our 4th trilogy of must-see destinations in Europe for this summer. As you can see, Spain, Italy and Malta are countries that cannot be ignored for their beauty, history and the diversity of their landscapes. Don't hesitate to share your favorites and adventures on our Facebook group !

If you missed the previous trilogy on the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria, find it here.