Meditation in Malta

with Lisa Alexander

2024 Daily Itinerary

Day 1 – Wednesday, May 15

Arrival, tour registration, hotel check-in, introductions, welcome dinner

Arrive on your own into Malta International Airport. (Please inquire if you would like details for a private transfer from the airport to your hotel or if you plan to arrive a day early.) Plan to arrive at the hotel no later than 4:00pm. Welcome dinner with introductions and overview of the week/experience ahead.

AX Odycy pool
Photo credit: AX Odycy

Group welcome dinner included.

Day 2 – Thursday, May 16

Breakfast, Three Cities, Grand Harbour, & Valletta: Order of St. John/Knights of St. John, lunch, dinner

Auberge De Castille
Auberge De Castille, Photo credit: id23

Our journey commences with an exploration of the maritime city of Vittoriosa/Birgu, the original stronghold occupied by the esteemed Order of St. John/Knights of St. John. We'll then cross over by boat from the Cospicua waterfront, passing through Senglea, and arrive in the splendid city of Valletta.

In Valletta, we'll marvel at the breathtaking 'Upper Barrakka Gardens,' offering a panoramic and mesmerizing view of Malta's Grand Harbor and the Three Cities.

Next, we'll visit the remarkable St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a captivating display of art, awe-inspiring architecture, and exquisite sculptures. The cathedral houses some of Europe’s greatest art works, most notably Caravaggio’s famous painting "Beheading of St. John the Baptist." The floor itself is a magnificent exhibition of tombstones crafted from elaborate marble, serving as the final resting place for many sons of Europe’s noble families from the 16th to the 18th centuries, as well as the esteemed founder of Valletta, Jean Parisot De La Vallette. The Cathedral further astounds with its eight remarkable chapels, each dedicated to a patron saint.

Valletta - Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Our journey will also take us to Castille Place, where we can admire Auberge de Castille, a splendid structure dating back to the 1570s. We'll have the opportunity to explore Palace Square and the charming Merchants/Republic Streets. Lunch will be a delightful experience at the iconic Is-Suq.

Join us on this enriching expedition, as we delve into the historical and cultural treasures of Malta's most revered sites.

Valletta - Photo credit: Gina Groß

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 3 – Friday, May 17

Free day, breakfast, lunch, traditional Maltese dinner

Enjoy a free day to relax at leisure and enjoy the stunning seascapes from your hotel. Indulge in the peaceful spa facilities offering relaxing and rejuvenating treatments to help you recharge. For those who want to keep active, there is a well-equipped gym, together with a water sports center. Evening dinner while you enjoy a traditional Maltese Folklore Night.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

AX Odycy Spa
AX Odycy Spa - Photo credit: AX Odycy

Day 4 – Saturday, May 18

Breakfast, Mdina & Central Highlights: Roman & Medieval periods. ‘Field-to-fork lunch’, dinner

Mdina - Photo credit: Mishka Inna

Our day begins with a visit to the Sanctuary of our Lady in Mellieha, a place of profound serenity and spiritual significance. In Rabat, we'll explore the historic St. Paul’s Grotto, a place of great historical importance associated with the apostle Paul. Afterwards, we'll head to Mdina, an exceptional example of an ancient walled city, renowned for its enchanting blend of medieval and baroque architecture. The city's cathedral stands as a magnificent centerpiece, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and artistry.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa - Photo credit: Nick Fewings

For lunch, we'll delight in the flavors of Diar il-Bniet (House of the Girls), a 'field to fork' concept that promises a delectable culinary experience.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Field to Fork
Field to Fork - Photo credit: Diar il-Bniet

Day 5 – Sunday, May 19

Breakfast, Gozo & Comino Islands, lunch, dinner

Xewkija Church
Xewkija Church - Photo credit: Joshua Kettle

Embark on an uplifting journey as we explore the Ggantija Temples, Xewkija Church, Ta’ Pinu Shrine, and The Citadel/Victoria. We'll begin with a quick mid-morning snack to keep our energy high. In the afternoon, a private boat awaits us for a picturesque trip around Comino Island, where we'll marvel at the beauty of stunning bays and caves, including the renowned Blue Lagoon.

Next, we'll take a ferry to the magical island of Gozo, renowned as the legendary home of Calypso. Prepare to experience the captivating vortex of Xewkija Church, famous for its exquisite Rotunda dedicated to St. John The Baptist. Inside, you'll be mesmerized by the fine works of art, sculptures, and paintings adorning the interior.

Gozo Harbour
Gozo Harbour - Photo credit: Marcin Czerniawski

Following a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, we'll continue our adventure to the Ggantija prehistoric temples in Xaghra. These extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage sites predate the famous standing stones of Stonehenge. With a history dating back to 3600 to 3200 B.C, these two temples, forming an intriguing complex, remained hidden until the nineteenth century. The name Ġgantija, derived from the Maltese word for "giant," reflects the local belief that these temples were constructed by a race of giants. The sheer size of the limestone blocks used in their construction, some exceeding five meters in length and weighing over fifty tons, lends credence to this fascinating notion. In ancient times, the Ggantija temples were reputed to draw pilgrims from across the island, as well as from North Africa and Sicily, adding to their historical significance.

Ggantija prehistoric temples in Xaghra
Ggantija prehistoric temples in Xaghra - Photo credit: Eva Darron

We'll then visit the sacred Ta' Pinu Sanctuary, a site of profound pilgrimage since resident Karmela Grima claimed to have heard the voice of the Virgin Mary in 1883.

Our journey continues to Cittadella/Victoria, an awe-inspiring fortified town that rises majestically above Gozo's capital city. Perched on a steep hill with cliff faces on multiple sides, the Cittadella offers breathtaking panoramic views of the entire island. Most of what stands today of the Cittadella originates from medieval times when it was transformed into a formidable castle. During ancient days, in the face of common pirate raids, the massive walls provided shelter for every citizen of Gozo before nightfall. Today, these fortifications house three museums where you can immerse yourself in the rich history of the island, spanning an impressive 5,000 years.

Cittadella - Photo credit: Reuben Farrugia

A little time has been thoughtfully reserved for local shopping, a great opportunity for everyone to savor the charm and treasures of Gozo.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 6 – Monday, May 20

Breakfast, Ancient Temples & West Coast: Ancient temples - part 1. Lunch, dinner

Terracotta Mother Goddess found at Skorba
Terracotta Mother Goddess found at Skorba
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Set off on an extraordinary journey to the ancient Temples of Mnajdra, a megalithic wonder dating back 6,000 years. These remarkable structures, constructed around the fourth millennium BCE, hold the distinction of being among the world's most ancient religious sites. Notably, Mnajdra features an astronomically aligned solar temple, ingeniously designed to capture the sun's rays in a captivating manner during equinoxes and solstices. The site's remote and isolated location, coupled with its mystical architecture, imbues Mnajdra with a palpable energy and spirituality that seems almost tangible.

Temples of Mnajdra
Temples of Mnajdra - Photo credit: Efraimstochter

Next on our itinerary is the nearby ancient temple of Hagar Qim, Malta's oldest temple, steeped in history and cultural significance.

Our exploration continues to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ta' Hagrat and Skorba Temples. Ta’ Hagrat, comprised of two adjacent temples, holds great sacred importance as a place where energies were believed to be anchored and transmitted. Similarly, the Korba temple stands as one of Malta's most ancient and revered structures.

Hagar Qim
Hagar Qim - Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

As we head back to our hotel, we'll make a stop at the Dingli Cliffs, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Malta and featuring a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Globigerina limestone - slab with spiral and drilled decoration
Globigerina limestone - slab with spiral and drilled decoration - Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Tonight, a special gathering with Lisa to prepare for the Hypogeum experience tomorrow. Lisa will share some of her tuning forks that are set to the frequency 110 Hz which is the hypogeum’s frequency and talk about the health and wellness aspect and what the ancients may have used this amazing site for… and how we can incorporate it into our daily lives.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 7 – Tuesday, May 21

Breakfast, Tarxien Temples, Hypogeum & Ghar Dalam Cave: Ancient temples - part 2. Lunch, local Maltese dinner

Today's excursion takes us to the Tarxien Temple complex, an astonishing array of megalithic temples, considered Malta's most significant antiquities. The highlight of our journey will be the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, an awe-inspiring underground structure. Constructed between 3600 and 2500 BC, this expansive complex stands as the largest prehistoric site in the region, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among its treasures, you'll find remarkable prehistoric art, including a portion of a grand statue believed to symbolize the goddess of fertility, along with iconic spiral motifs.

Tarxien Temples
Tarxien Temples - Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum artwork
Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum artwork - Photo credit: Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

We'll also explore the historical site of Għar Dalam, aptly named "cave of darkness." This fascinating location holds the earliest evidence of human presence in Malta, boasting artifacts that date back 7,400 years to the Neolithic Period. Divided into two sections, the cave itself and an accompanying museum, Għar Dalam displays an assortment of remains, ranging from animal bones to captivating human works of art. Notably, this site also revealed two teeth belonging to a Neanderthal man.

ĦĦal Saflieni Hypogeum
Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum - Photo credit: Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum holds an air of mystery, being possibly the world's oldest prehistoric underground temple. Its enigmatic nature includes tales of elongated skulls and paranormal phenomena. However, the primary allure lies in its unique acoustic properties, which have drawn experts from all corners of the globe. A particular chamber, named the "Oracle Chamber," carved out of solid limestone, possesses incredible acoustic capabilities. A spoken word in this chamber resonates a hundredfold and can be heard throughout the entire structure, creating an awe-inspiring experience likened to being inside a giant bell.

Through extensive studies, sound within the Oracle Chamber has been found to resonate at 110 Hz, a frequency that echoes similar ancient chambers worldwide, such as Ireland's Newgrange. The Hypogeum's acoustic qualities have been a subject of thorough investigation, culminating in the Archaeo-acoustics Conference held in early 2023. Although many questions persist, researchers are progressively unraveling some of the mysteries concealed within this ancient marvel.

Ghar Dalam
Ghar Dalam - Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Following our enlightening visit, we will savor a relaxing lunch at the charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk, known for its picturesque ambiance and historical charm. Then, we'll return to our hotel, allowing time to relax and contemplate the profound experience of the Hypogeum. To conclude this memorable day, a final celebration dinner awaits us at a lovely local Maltese restaurant.

Marsaxlokk - Photo credit: Calin Stan

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Day 8 – Wednesday, May 22

Breakfast, hotel check-out, departure

After breakfast, check-out on your own and depart this mesmerizing and beautiful island.

Breakfast included.


Note: Itinerary subject to change.
© Itinerary property of Gathering Light Journeys