Yep, it’s been AGES. I need to crack on with this walk as I’m only halfway round the island. This walk from the Blue Grotto to the Dingli cliffs was a long one and a hot one. It was the end of May when I did the walk and the weather had actually been unseasonably cool. However, the day I choose to walk was, of course, hot.
For this walk, I did some forward planning with the taxis. I decided to drive to the end of the walk and jump straight in a cab to take me to the start of the walk. Then I’d be walking back to my car so no stress at the end (I hope). I decided not to walk from the exact last end location of Zurrieq just because it was slightly inland and this was already a long walk. Instead, I started at the coast just in from Zurrieq at the Blue Grotto.
This walk is described in my Malta book as “probably the most beautiful section of coastline in Malta“. Sounded good. I drove to the end location – the Dingli cliffs, parked the car, hopped in my cab and off we went to the Blue Grotto. The taxi dropped me right at the bottom of the Blue Grotto which meant I started the walk with quite a big climb. And I soon discovered this wasn’t going to be the only climb of the walk. I took a few pictures then up we headed up. By the time we reached the road at the top Taco looked exhausted and this was just the start!
There’s a great viewing platform at the top where you can watch the boats going around the Blue Grotto cave. I’ve been on the boat trip before (standard tourist to-do list activity). The sea is usually blue (so it does justify the name) and it is a very pretty, easy 30-minute boat trip to do. Not an absolute must on a trip to Malta but well worth it (if it’s not too busy).
From the top Taco and I set off strolling along the main road for a while before diverting off the main road on to a clifftop path. After a short while, we reached the visitor centre for Hagar Qim and the Mnajdra temples. I’ve been to the temples before and of all the temples here in Malta (and there are a few) I think they are the most impressive just because of the location on the cliffs above the sea. Both the Hagar Quim and the Mnajdra temples are UNESCO World Heritage sites. They are OLD – built between 3000 BC and 2500BC and are kind of like Malta’s Stonehenge made from huge freestanding limestone blocks.
We were casually passing by the visitor centre when suddenly Taco was jumped on by a band of stray cats. One jumped on her back and then four others attacked from the sides (kind of like velociraptors)! She squealed and I screamed. I managed to shoo them off but poor Taco was shaking like crazy. Evil cats! Presumably, they were just defending their patch and the food that had been put down for them BUT STILL!
With Taco still recovering from the ambush we started to make our way out towards the temples on a pathway. It was getting hot.
From here the book said I could either take the easy high road to Ghar Lapsi or scramble down quite a steep rock face to take the more beautiful lower coastal road. Well, what’s the fun of making it easy? Off we went. Taco looked very doubtful when we looked down. But it would be worth it Taco! It was quite a decent and I had to slide on my bum in places and lift Taco down parts (honestly that dog is such a wuss sometimes). But it was worth it as we had the most amazing walk along to Ghar Lapsi.
I’ve partially walked this stretch before and I love it. It’s so beautiful. On the really steep bits of rock above me were rock climbers as it’s a popular place to rock climb. (Maybe I should try that next time).
It was approaching midday and getting really hot now. Taco was literally running ahead to search for shade. When we got to Ghar Lapsi we went down to the water and she jumped in straight away and I soaked my feet. Bliss. There is an amazing swimming spot here and I regretted not bringing my cozy. There’s also an amazing seafood restaurant, Carmen’s Bar.
We chilled there for a bit and watched some girls taking selfies of themselves whilst pouting in their low cut swimwear. (what is that all about?).
We’d actually only walked 5km at this point but it had taken a while due to the initial uphill climb and then the scrambling down the mountain. As we set off again Taco looked at me as if to say “seriously? Can’t we just chill here?” Sorry Taco! We set off up the road. After a while, I got bored of the road so headed onto a pathway running closer to the coast which was great for a while. We came across a cool little bundle of houses where a bunch of dogs greeted us (so much nicer than the cats!). Nobody was around so we carried on past a sign that said ‘no entry’ because I was too hot to turn back. And then the path just came to an end which meant more scrambling – this time up some fields.
Taco was getting super pissed off by this point and just kept lying down in protest. So we stopped and ate lunch and I gave her half my tuna sandwich to cheer her up. After a while, we were back on a road and this one led all the way to Dingli. Finally, we were on the sealed road and now racing along. We passed some fabulous hideaway retreats. (Note to self: great spot to purchase a luxury holiday house in the future).
Finally, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the layered Dingli cliffs. Over 200 metres above sea level this is one of the highest parts of Malta. We stop at the chapel of Saint Mary Magdalene which has fantastic views of the cliffs. Taco literally collapsed outside the door to this 17th Century chapel.
We then continued along to ‘The Cliffs’ interpretation centre and restaurant where I’d left the car. (Love this option of arriving at the car at the end). I had a coffee, Taco had a bowl of water and lay down exhausted. Great walk all in all but think we have to put the walking on pause over the summer. Too hot!