If you read Winter Blues you will know that although initially dreading winter, I intend to embrace the season. Previous wintry days here in Malta were short lived, but last weekend saw winter arrive. Temperatures plummeted to a cool 7 degrees celsius with high winds and torrential downpours. The decline in good weather would have been the perfect excuse to stay indoors and curl up with a good book. Unfortunately, (or fortunately with hindsight) we had to venture out for a planned Sunday family lunch in Mgarr.
Mgarr is a small rural village in the northern region of Malta. The village is rich in agriculture and surrounded by farmlands and vineyards. Mgarr is quiet, peaceful and largely tucked away from urban life. It is known for it’s vast countryside and is home to some of the best sandy beaches on the island.
The best rabbit on the island
Mgarr is also known to serve up the some of the best rabbit or fenkata which is one of Malta’s traditional dishes. Rabbit here is what the Sunday Roast is to Brits. A dish of rabbit is more than just mindless eating, it is a meal which binds people together and forms an integral part of Maltese culture. Mgarr is the locality with an array of authentic Maltese restaurants and incidentally why a visit was planed here.
Now I have a small confession. I love traditions and cosy family dinners. I’m all for integration and embracing different cultures. But. Something inside me just cannot digest rabbit. It’s nothing to do with the taste, from the tid-bit I have tried here and there slow-cooked rabbit is pretty tasty (and no, it doesn’t taste like chicken) Each time I attempt to partake in this Maltese tradition, my brain fills with thoughts of my childhood pet rabbits and the guilt sets in. When Malcolm informed me we would be going to Mgarr for a traditional family lunch, I immediately asked if the family would mind if we dined at United Restaurant. Why? We have been here before and aside from it being a quirky looking restaurant with a cosy atmosphere. They have a good variety of tasty dishes on their menu. There’s one Maltese dish I absolutely cannot get enough of and that is imquaret. They are simply to die for here!
It had been raining heavily all morning even whilst we made the short trip to Mgarr. The rain continued as we tucked into lunch and looked like it wasn’t going to stop. Thankfully, it did just as we finished up dessert. Despite the ominous looking clouds we decided to go for a stroll in the lush countryside. It is from the winter months that the green hues become vibrant. And literally a case of the hills are alive. The lands are fertile with thyme, flora and many different species of plants. All our senses were engaged as we breathed in the fragrant scents filling the air. In many ways, the richness of the countryside could fool you into believing it was already spring.
I have visited Mgarr previously but other than a day spent by the beaches or a trip to the restaurant I hadn’t given much thought into exploring this tranquil village. We walked this way and that encountering hidden valleys and pretty country lanes.
I noticed whichever way we seemed to walk, we were spoilt with panoramic views. With the charming Mediterranean sea, seeming never to leave our side.
The clouds grew darker and darker but the rain continued to hold off allowing us to explore more of rural Mgarr. The roads in the village were empty and it felt as if we had it to ourselves. Our walk took us further into the countryside and we found ourselves nestled in amongst the trees with views overlooking Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay. The views in itself were breathtaking. Luckily, we had arrived in time to witness the onset of a stunning sunset.
We ended our walk here, both satisfied and enamoured from our afternoon in Mgarr.
There’s more to explore in this remote and tranquil village and will definitely return. As a lover of the great outdoors, natural landscapes and magical views. Mgarr ticked all these boxes and more.
Already looking forward to our next adventure here.
Love and light,