*FEATURES GIFTED TRIP VIA ONTHEBEACH HOLIDAYS
Festivals abroad are becoming just as important to us Brits as our regular holidays. Millions of Brits every year escape to warmer (and cooler) climates in search for the unique festival experience. Well, back in May, On The Beach Holidays took me to Malta to experience a totally new one – Lost & Found. Lost & Found festival is by Annie Mac and this was it’s fifth year. It’s an unusual festival in the sense of how spread out it is. Comparably it’s more like SXSW or Camden Rocks, as it runs across several different venues at any one time. There’s beach parties, pool parties, boat parties, castle raves and an evening festival venue with five stages. Sound good? Read on.
Lost & Found is primarily a dance and grime festival, featuring a diverse and split lineup between genres. How it works is, you buy your regular ticket which gets you access to a bunch of the stuff, and then you can add on things like the beach party or the boat party. We spent our first day at the Cafe Del Mar pool party, our second at the Castle Rave, and our third at the evening all night venue. How cool is that? It means you can have a totally unique festival experience not only to you, but to the other festivals you’ll see this Summer too. I absolutely loved the freedom of that, and I loved being able to experience a different thing each day. You can do multiple areas in one day too – as Malta is one of the easiest countries to get around in terms of distance. More on Malta later.
If you’re after a really different Summer experience, that doesn’t cost as much as Ibiza or Croatia, you’re definitely going to enjoy Lost & Found. The crowd is mostly British, but it’s a fun atmosphere with likeminded people, and it’s small intimacy feels like you’re really close to the music. It’s rare to find that at a festival abroad these days at the current rate of expansion. I think Annie Mac and her team have done an amazing job with this festival and i’d love to return – if not DJ myself one day! Just call me, Annie..
Now, where to stay? The festival takes place all over Malta, so you can really stay anywhere. Ideally the best place to stay is St. Paul’s Bay, as there’s a wealth of hotels in the area, and it’s close to the hub of Cafe Del Mar – which has music all day and most evenings too. Perfect. On The Beach hooked us up with an All Inclusive room at the Hotel db San Antonio, and it was perfect for the festival. It’s a family hotel, but it’s lively enough to please festival goers. It’s got a large pool on the ground floor which overlooks the sea, and a rooftop infinity pool for adults only. It also has several restaurants to choose from, and the food is good. No really, it’s very good. Often you find with all inclusive the food can sometimes be a bit subpar, but not at db San Antonio. Jess and I went to their Indian buffet restaurant and my god, it was amazing. It was so good we went twice!!
Booking through On The Beach means you get the best deal, and this is a super affordable hotel. With an infinity pool. I mean, come on? Win. I know often it feels like you scroll through a sea of unobtainable holidays on instagram, but this is a pure affordable holiday. The rooms range in size, Jess and I had one of the nicer ones with a lounge area and a bedroom and two bathrooms – it’s worth noting one of our bathrooms had a drain problem and smelt bad, which took a little bit of a slow time to be fixed – but on the whole it was clean, everything worked, and it was a pleasant stay. We also had a lovely balcony with two sun loungers and a table set to enjoy the sunset in the evening. For the price this hotel costs, you can’t go wrong with it and I would recommend it for a stay during Lost & Found festival.
In terms of what there is to see in Malta, well there’s a wealth of culture and history. This was actually my third time in Malta, and I think it’s a truly beautiful country, with rich architecture and wonderful people. Everyone is friendly, knowledgeable and wants to talk about their home. Make a stop in the historic old capital city of Mdina and feel like you’re in Game of Thrones – which was shot here! – as you wander around the beautiful old castle grounds. Valletta, the country’s capital, is as vibrant and beautiful down it’s cobbled hilly streets as you can imagine. Eat at Rubino, one of the oldest restaurants in Malta, and really soak up the atmosphere. The food is absolutely to die for. There’s a lot of war history in Malta, and you can find a lot to see and do in Valletta. We even watched the ceremonial firing of the cannons – something they do every day in the square.
While we were in Malta we also chose to take a red bus sightseeing tour over to Gozo, the smaller neighbouring island. It really feels like a film set! It’s peaceful, stunning yellow brick architecture will make for a picture postcard unlike any others in your collection. I really think a lot of Malta and Gozo is unexplored by tourists, and it will definitely start to get busier. Now is the time to visit!
Have you ever been to Malta? Or would you head there?