Photographer Stuart Forster discusses travel photography in Malta and some of the locations and subjects that he enjoyed photographing.
A year-round travel destination in the Mediterranean, Malta is a great place to enjoy travel photography. In addition to the climate, Malta’s relatively compact size and long history are factors which help make it easy to explore with a camera.
Travel photography in Malta
It’s relatively easy to get between points of interest, including megalithic temples that are older than historic sites such as the Great Pyramid of Giza and Stonehenge. After visiting the Ġgantija Temples on Gozo, I enjoyed pausing in Xagħra for refreshment and photographed inside the beautiful Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lady.
The exterior of the church was impressive but heading inside provided a wealth of images that helped depict the strong Roman Catholic culture of Malta.
At Citadella, the fortress in Victoria, I enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch on the parapets. It was supplied by Gozo Picnic.
Even on an uncharacteristically overcast day, I was able to get some memorable travel photos while exploring the island of Gozo.
Festas in Malta
Parishes across Malta host festivals known as ‘festas’. Featuring marching bands, parades of saints and colourful banners, they are a joy to photograph.
With people at ease and consequently receptive to conversation, I found that the festa proved a great occasion for street photography and documenting traditions.
And while photographing in the village of Rabat, a short walk from Mdina, the popular destination known as ‘the silent city’, I found much else to photograph.
In addition to traditional stone houses with colourful shutters and flowers in window boxes, I found the ornate door knockers worthy of attention.
With doors of all colours and metallic knockers, it was possible to undertake a study depicting the details.
The Three Cities in Malta
Across the Grand Harbour from Valletta, Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua are together known as ‘the Three Cities’. Their history and architecture mean that there’s much to photograph while underway.
Participating in a Rolling Geeks self-drive tour proved a great way of discovering aspects of their history and pausing at key landmarks.
Boat journeys are a way of crossing the harbour to visit attractions on the far side.
During lunch at Malta Maritime Museum, I took the opportunity to engage in portrait photography in front of historic paintings.
A photo tour of Valletta
Clive Cortis proved an amiable and insightful tour guide in Valletta. As we walked between points of interest, he outlined the city’s history and suggested places to pause for shots.
We drove from St Julian’s and parked at the Malta Stock Exchange…a great place to start shooting stock photography, you might argue.
Our early start meant we were in place to see the first rays of sunshine strike the Grand Harbour.
Interestingly, a Bollywood movie began filming shortly after we arrived.
Street photography in Malta
From there we strolled through the still-empty streets of Valletta. By 9.00 am they were busy, so for photos, the early start was warranted.
Clive pointed out locations such as Strait Street, an area formerly frequented by sailors and known for its bar culture.
He also ensured we saw key locations and heard stories associated with them.
That included pointing out the slightly twisted pedestal of the Queen Victoria statue outside of the national library. A bomb blast during World War Two lifted and twisted the statue of the monarch, which retained a stiff upper lip and did not fall.
Prior to taking us to see the Caravaggio paintings in St John’s Co-Cathedral, Clive led us through the ornate place of worship.
You can read more about the photography experience in Valletta in issue 91 of Northern Insight magazine. Pausing for a traditional pastry and a cup of coffee provided an energy boost that kept me going well into the afternoon.
St Julian’s in Malta
My base for the duration of my stay in Malta was St Julian’s. It’s a relatively short Uber or taxi journey from the airport and Valletta. Malta’s bus network means it’s easy to get between destinations elsewhere on the island.
It was a relaxing base and my hotel room overlooked the coastline, which provided a series of sunset shots.
If you appreciate beautiful sunsets, you may want to visit Golden Bay late in the afternoon to get ready for the evening colours.
Malta travel information
See the visitmalta.com website for information about attractions in Malta, including monthly events.
Jet2 (jet2.com) operates flights between Newcastle and Malta International Airport on Thursdays from May until the end of November.
Direct flights to Valletta depart from a number of airports around the UK, including easyJet (easyjet.com) from Manchester, Ryanair (ryanair.com) from Edinburgh and Air Malta (airmalta.com) from Gatwick and London Heathrow.
Hotels in Malta
I always appreciate a good, secure hotel when travelling with valuable photography equipment.
The Radisson Blu Resort Malta (radissonhotels.com; St George’s Bay, St Julian’s; Tel: +356 21 374 894) is a 252-room hotel by the seashore. It is a 25-minute drive from Valletta, so well placed for exploring the Maltese capital and other destinations. Its in- and outdoor pools and sizable spa area are ideal for unwinding between photo shoots.
The Hotel Phoenicia (phoeniciamalta.com; The Mall, Valletta; Tel: 0800 862 0025) is a luxury property with sizable gardens just beyond the Maltese capital’s city walls. It’s ideally placed if you want an early start to photograph the capital or want to pop back to pick up a tripod for low-light photography. Afternoon tea in the Palm Court Lounge or a cocktail in The Club Bar are options, even if you choose to stay elsewhere.
Commission travel photography
Looking for an experienced travel photographer for an editorial or commercial assignment? Why Eye Photography is based in North East England and available for commissions in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
Like what you see in this post about travel photography in Malta? View further work by Stuart Forster in this post focusing on travel photography in New Brunswick, Canada and elsewhere on this website.
Feel free to call +44 (0) 7947 587136 to discuss your photography requirements. Why Eye Photography specialises in food, travel and portraiture, and has undertaken commissions across the UK and beyond.
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