Publications that are designed for the specific purpose of guiding ramblers along some of the most beautiful countryside in Malta are unfortunately not thick on the ground and this unique low season tourist niche market remains largely untapped, not least because quite large stretches of our majestic sea cliff side areas remain a dubious no-go area at best. The Ramblers Association of Malta has started exploring ways and means of finding and utilising pathways in some of the most dramatic sea cliff areas in the South and West of the Island and has in fact organised walks in several parts of this extensive belt of cliffs.
The few publications in circulation however deserve mention here.
The Malta Tourism Authority has produced a series of ten Countryside Walks, five in Malta and five in Gozo. Ten light coloured pamphlets that show ramblers how to get to the respective location, and from a start point indicate which way to follow and what to look out for on the way. Archaeological remains, geological features, endemic flora of the area, niches, plaques and landmarks of historical or traditional interest and a lot more are combined with panoramic landscapes and sea views that are unique to the Maltese archipelago. Included in every booklet is an easy-to-read map that not only indicates the path to follow but also gives useful information regarding services, eating places, transport, etc.
Nature Trust (Malta) has a publication called Malta, Gozo and Comino – Off the beaten track. A handy little book that gives a sweeping description of another ten walks over the three main islands, again with clear maps delineating each walk as it is described in turn, this time with more emphasis on ecological features encountered on the way. The book is more technical but always addressed to the layman and starts with an overview of the Maltese natural environment. Every walk is graded for difficulty and length, and salient features denoted at the outset.
The publication is a remarkable effort worthy of the beauty that it describes and a feather in the cap of Nature Trust (Malta), who had the support of the Malta Tourism Authority.
A third publication is written by Douglas Lockhart and published by Sunflower Books, a UK publishing house. This pocket book includes 27 long and short walks. The walks are well explained and graded with excellent maps included but there is rather scant information on specific sights en route. This useful little publication is now running into its fourth updated edition.
A fourth source of guided walks limited to the Nadur area in Gozo is found on Wikipedia Online Encyclopaedia. This last was a private initiative of Dr. Mario Saliba from Nadur. The Nadur Local Council has also published the walks in the link provided here in booklet form. It is hoped that other Local Councils take up this interesting initiative.
All publications are obtainable at leading stationers or from the publishers’ offices. The Countryside Walks can be downloaded as well from the Malta Tourism Authority website: www.visitmalta.com