Tag Archives: mediterranean

10 Archaeological Wonders of Malta

malta archaeology travel

The Maltese Islands, floating in the deep sapphire waters of the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, are a treasure-trove of history. Over the 3 islands—Malta, Gozo, and Comino—lies a wealth of prehistoric ruins, cathedrals, palaces, catacombs, ancient temples and more to make the history buff squeal with delight. The capital of Valletta is in of itself an exquisite seaport—and much more lies beyond!

WIT Travel Agent Pam traveled to Malta last year and absolutely loved it. Did you catch her feedback? We created a report of her trip so you could get a firsthand taste of Malta. And don’t forget to check out her photos in the Gallery!

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1. Ħaġar Qim

This prehistoric megalithic site dates back to around 3600 b.c.e.! Declared a UNESCO site, with 7-meter megaliths weighing around 20 tons each, the ancient site was obscured until its discovery in 1839. Here a number of feminine idols were found, including a nude Venus of Malta. 

2. Mnajdra

A short 500 meters from Hagar Qim, Mnajdra is another megalithic site with different temples that date back to 3600-2200 b.c.e. Visitors to the site can witness firsthand developing architecture during the Ggantija Phase, the Maltese Bronze Age. The chief attraction of the Mnajdra temples is the Solstices and Equinoxes doorway, which marks the first day of each season.

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3. Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum

The Hypogeum is a multi-level underground crypt that dates to around 4000 b.c.e. A UNESCO archaeology site, it’s a complex series of catacombs and. Connected chambers. At the center is the chamber of Holy of Holies, and is an amazing state of preservation, with beautiful carvings and paintings in red ochre. Open to the public, but tickets must be reserved well in advance as there’s a limit of 10 visitors every hour. Artifacts from the site can be seen at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.

4. Tarxien Temples

The ruins of four temples, recounting the story of a once-glorious civilization among the dilapidated columns, statues, altars and reliefs. The site expands over 5400 square meters and is an impressed display of Late Neolithic art from the time period between 3600-2500 b.c.e. The Tarxien Temples archaeology site within easy walking distance of Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.

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5. St. Paul’s Catacombs

This ancient Roman underground cemetery complex is a delight to behold. Dating back to the 4th-century c.e., it is comprised of labyrinthine passages and tombs over an area of 2000 square meters. When the Saracens took over in the 9th century, the site was abandoned and made inaccessible until its excavation in 1894.

6. Fort St. Angelo

This medieval fort is a marvelous bastioned fort and castle built during the medieval ages. As it stretches out over the peninsula, it’s an ideal location for panoramic views of the harbor and surrounding seas.

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7. Saint John’s Co-Cathedral

This elegant cathedral was built by the Order of St. John in the 16th-century. Dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, it’s truly a gem of Baroque architecture. The Knights of St. John wanted to rival the great churches of Rome and commissioned art and decorations from grand masters from France, Spain and Italy.

8. Casa Rocca Piccola

This gorgeous 16th-c baroque palace was once home to a noble Maltese family. Another relic from the Knights of St. John, the palace boasts over 50 rooms, Malta’s the largest private collection of antique costumes, two libraries, a chapel and stables. It was called La casa con giardino, the house with a garden, as typically Valletta houses were not allowed. 

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9. Rotunda of Mosta

The 17th-century Catholic Church is a marvel of neoclassical architecture, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. Designed to rival the Pantheon in Rome, with Ionic columns, two bell towers and an ornamental circular dome. In 1942, a German aerial bomb fell on the church during mass but didn’t explode—a true miracle to the onlookers. A replica of the bomb is on display to visitors.

10. Inquisitor’s Palace

Colloquially known as tal-Inkisitur, the palace was the seat of the Maltese Inquisition from 1574 to 1798. Originally intended to be a courthouse, it was renovated over the centuries to become the elegant and stunning architectural gem of today. It is the only palace of its kind in the world that’s open to the general public.

Thinking of Malta? Why not book a Mediterranean Cruise? Ask our Willamette Intl Travel agents to curate a trip that’s perfectly tailored to you and your family’s needs and budget. 

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Filed under Europe, malta, mediterranean

Acclaimed Golf Voyages with Azamara Club Cruises

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Does your perfect day involve playing a round of golf at the most prestigious courses in the world?

If it does, you’ve come to the right place! Azamara Club Cruises and Perry Golf have teamed up to bring you worldwide golf voyages to some of the most acclaimed courses on the planet.

Call your agent at Wittravel for more details: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com Let us plan your perfect holiday from start to finish, so you can enjoy a vacation without any hassles!

The golf packages on Azamara’s 2016 & 2017 British Open voyages feature venues such as Royal Birkdale, Gleneagles, and Turnberry, and also include attendance at the final round of the British Open Championship to watch the world’s finest players compete for the coveted Claret Jug.

Their voyages to Australia & New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic Sea offer golf packages as well, with an outstanding collection of courses including Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Kidnappers, Bro Hof Slott, Continental Europe’s #1 Valderrama, and many others.

AND if you book selected voyages by June 30, 2015, you’ll receive 50% OFF the cruise fare of the second guest!

Hurry! PerryGolf packages sell out quickly.

Sample 11-Night Golf Cruise: Screen shot 2015-06-24 at 2.30.37 PM

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Filed under Australia, Azamara, Cruises, Europe, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel by Ship, Travel by Sport

Exclusive Offer with Azamara!

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Willamette Intl Travel has paired up with Azamara Club Cruises to provide our clients with an exclusive offer on select sailings! Sail with Azamara’s Journey or Quest through the seven seas, and earn onboard credit of up to $500 per stateroom! Call us now to find out which voyages are eligible.

> Oceanview Cabins receive a $300 credit. All oceanview staterooms feature a picture window providing natural light, two lower beds convertible to queen, flat-screen TV, refrigerator with mini-bar, A/C, phone, desk, safe, and hair dryer.

> Veranda Cabins receive a $400 credit. All veranda staterooms feature similar amenities to oceanviews, plus floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, a sitting area, and private veranda.

> Suites receive a whopping $500 credit. Choose from Continent, Ocean, and World Owner’s Suites. All suites feature the basic amenities of each cabin onboard, plus floor-to-ceiling glass doors, outdoor veranda, specialty dining and dedicated English butler services.

> Singles receive the full amount for the stateroom in which they are booked.

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Terms & Conditions: Onboard credit is in USD, valid for new bookings only, and based on double occupancy. It is not redeemable for cash, not transferable and will expire at 10PM on the last evening of the voyage.

Hurry — offer expires April 20! Contact your agent at Willamette Intl Travel to book this exclusive offer today or to find out more. Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Beyond Barcelona

It’s hard to beat Barcelona’s cosmopolitan air, tasty seafood dishes and playful Gaudi architecture. However, when you’ve explored the city for a few days, it may be time to hit the road and check out nearby locales. Simple daytrips are just a brief drive/train away—don’t leave Northern Spain without a trip to the countryside!

Our friends at Spanish Trails do a remarkable job taking our clients on day trips in and around Barcelona. Our clients always come back with great feedback. Call Wittravel to arrange a fun excursion hiking, wining, dining, and more.

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Montserrat by oseillo, Creative Commons

Montserrat. For almost 1000 years, monks have lived atop the serrated peak of Montserrat. Legends have it that shepherds witnessed an image of the black Madonna, La Moreneta, in a cave on the mountain. Since then, the site, church and monastery have been a pilgrim magnet. You can take a train from the city or combine it with a day tour around the Penedes wine region.

Girona. Explore the walled and Roman city of Girona, which still has one of the best preserved old Jewish quarters. Check out the world-famous Gothic Cathedral and the Jewish heritage center of Bonastruc ça Porta. Get a feel for Mediterranean lifestyle and delicious cuisine.

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Dali Museum in Figueres by Fifth World Art, Creative Commons

Figueres and Salvador Dali. Take a personalized day trip to Figueres, and visit the memorable museum of the surrealist painter Salvador Dali. The museum was designed by Dali himself and houses a number of his works: paintings, sculptures, furniture and jewelry. Don’t miss the labyrinthine Dali House museum in nearby Port Lligat, and the picturesque Cadaques, the historic home to many of Catalan’s famous artists including Picasso.

La Garriga. Just 20-40 minutes from Barcelona lies a village with beautiful medieval buildings and hot springs, the latter whose curative properties have been in use since Roman times. You can stay at a local villa spa and enjoy these amazing natural springs with tea and a massage.

Costa Brava. Follow a guide out along the Northern Spanish coast and explore high winding cliffs and hidden coves. Check out unforgettable views, snorkeling opportunities off of secluded beaches and beach front dining. Guides will enrich your knowledge of the history and traditions of Catalunya. Like water sports? Book a family kayak trip with professional guides!

Pyrenees. Always dreamed of a Pyrenees adventure? Now you can hike up through these panoramic trails, explore charming medieval villages and enjoy beautiful streams and waterfalls and country dining.

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Sitges on the Costa Brava by jsmuns, Creative Commons

Sitges. Looking for a spot of sand to stretch out on? Head to Sitges for some summer sun, just 45 minutes south of the city. Despite crowds on the nicest days, it’s still a great place to check out.

Many of these excursions are available through our partners at Spanish Trails, so give us a call and we’d love to set one up for you. We can also arrange flights, accommodation, car rental, and trains.

Several WIT Clients have traveled around Spain and would love to give you their firsthand tips and recommendations! Call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Art & Architecture, Europe, Family Travel, Spain, Vendors