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The Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily, comprises three inhabited islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. The largest of the three, Malta, has developed into a popular tourist destination since the eighties, not least because it enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, summers and mild, albeit rainy, winters. In fact Malta experiences a maximum daily temperature of nearly 29°C on average during the hottest months of the year, June, July, August and September.
Malta is situated 60 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles north of Africa. It is well connected by sea and by air to Sicily, mainland Italy, the rest of Europe and North Africa. Malta International Airport is situated just 3 miles from the capital city, Valletta. The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English. Driving is on the left and the electricity supply is 230V, 50Hz and uses a three-pin plug as in Britain.
St. George's Bay or "San Gorg" is a narrow picturesque bay on the north eastern coast of Malta. The small, sandy beach at the head of the bay is the only one of its kind in the area, but its potential was recognised by the Maltese Tourist Authority (MTA) more than a decade ago.
The MTA embarked upon a programme that included not only replenishment of the heavily eroded beach itself, but also construction of a promenade, landscaping and monitoring of water quality in St. George's Bay, with the intention of creating a clean, welcoming site equipped with modern amenities. It would be fair to say that the MTA programme was successful because St. George's Bay, today, is popular with holidaymakers and local people alike. Not only that, but it has the honour of being the first Maltese beach to be awarded Blue Flag status under the Blue Flag Scheme operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and its local representative Nature Trust.
St. George's Bay is actually the most northern area of St. Julian's, situated less than 5 miles from Valletta and which, together with the nearby district of Paceville, forms the main nightlife area on Malta. That said, St. George's Bay is quite well removed from the general hubbub of the lively cafés, bars and restaurants in the area.
Paceville can, nevertheless, be reached by a 15 minute walk along the seafront, or by bus or taxi. Similarly, there are bus stops outside the hotels in St. George's Bay where you can catch a bus to any of the major destinations on Malta, including Valletta Grand Harbour and St. John's Cathedral.
In fact, with a bus travel ticket you can travel on all the routes around Malta between 5.30 a.m. and 11.00 p.m. for one day or anything up to seven days. A seven-day ticket costs just 14, or Lm6.00 and can be bought from a ticket booth, a ticket machine or from a bus driver. The public buses on Malta go almost everywhere and the longest bus journey takes less than an hour, with an average of half of that.
Overall, St. George's Bay is a quite, relaxing location, perfectly situated for access to the rest of Malta. There may not be anything of outstanding natural beauty or historical interest in St. George's Bay itself, but facilities for water sports, such as wind surfing, jet skiing and SCUBA diving are available for more active holidaymakers. Many different boats, including local fishing boats, anchor in St. George's Bay and it is easy to hire a yacht or a cruiser for the day and head off to explore, say, the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon on the tiny island of Comino is only a short boat ride away and is renowned for its crystal clear waters which are safe for swimmers and bathers of all ages.
Blue is a recurring theme on Malta hardly surprising given its Mediterranean location but for a different eating experience, visitors should try the Blue Elephant restaurant which is just 20 minutes away from St. George's Bay on foot. The name in this case has more to do with blue being the royal colour of the Thai flag and the elephant being the national animal of Thailand. The Thai restaurant, within the confines of the Hilton Malta hotel, is renowned for the quality of its food, a warm, inviting atmosphere and the attentiveness of its staff. The Blue Elephant is a little more expensive than the majority of eating establishments on Malta, but for a treat is definitely worth a visit.