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Memories from Malta – from an old and former Horsted Keynes resident Malta and Gozo always rising in popularity as a tourist venue – particularly in summer

By Albert Fenech 

Is it “the Apple’s Eye” or “the Well of Apples”?

Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

The Islands of Malta and Gozo entered the tourism sector in the late 50s and early 60s, times when I was resident in the UK. The first visitors were mainly British servicemen and their families wishing to once more enjoy the sea and sunshine of their military stay by British Forces before Malta’s Independence.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s when I was resident in Plumpton and Horsted Keynes, the annual figures arrivals started off with a few thousands, increased to hundreds of thousands and has now surpassed over one million annual visitors and has now become one of the country’s main economic pillars – and likely to increase even further!

Ariel view

Without hesitation I have to state that during all these years I missed the wonderful blue sea and the dazzling sunshine, restricted to indoor activities during an unpredictable British summer often of rains and murky weather – and thinking, is this really summer? 

Now, with summer approaching, Malta has received a tremendous boost from no less than a latest issue of the internationally famed and influential Forbes Review.

This reported that in a classification published by the European Best Destinations based on 103,000 tourist votes from 116 countries, Malta’s GHAJN TUFFIEHA BAY has been voted as the most beautiful swimming bay in Europe from among the most selected 15 bays. 

A small explanation of the bay’s name – TUFFIEHA in Maltese means Apple. The forename GHAJN has two explanations. Thus Ghajn Tuffieha can be translated as “The Apple’s Eye” and this is what I believed as a young boy.

Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

HOWEVER, the word Ghajn can also mean, a well, a water well and thus “The Well of Apples” and today I acknowledge this in fact is the original meaning of the bay. 

The EBD justified its choice on the basis of a bay with the highest level of cleanliness and provided services, also recognised by the EU Commission for its sustainability.

Adjoining Golden Bay

Two other Maltese sea localities, St Paul’s Bay and Golden Bay, were also classified in the top 15, together with sandy bays in Greece, Spain and Portugal. 

Further honour for Malta was also classified by the EBD with the island being voted as the third best popular holiday destination in Europe – after Marbella and Monaco, a great honour for the Maltese Islands being among the elite in the best of elites. 

For this, one million tourists from 172 countries voted and in all 500 destinations were listed to be voted for, on the basis of their quality of life, their culture, their hospitality and their heritage against a background of social welfare facilities. 

In its description of Malta, the EBD described it as “the sunny one” and an ideal locality for romance, families and friends and was most popular among those aged 25 to 45 with facilities of beaches, blue seas, the climate and its facilities for deep sea diving.

Besides these two great honours, Forbes also emphasised that Malta is declared as the top best destination for LGBTQ+ persons!

Little wonder therefore, that Malta’s holiday spot destination is growing and growing and this is predicte