Tuesday, November 27, 2012

San Anton Gardens, Malta

san anton gardens peacocks malta

I've been to a few gardens and parks: Versailles; Paris' Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens; London's Royal Parks; Valencia's Jardins del Real; Marrakech's Cyber Parc; Rome's Villa Borghese Gardens; Florence's Boboli Gardens; Barcelona's Parc Guell; Dublin's Pheonix Park (are you still with me?)

Visiting parks and gardens is often my favourite part of travelling. What is lovelier than enjoying a good book or board game or chat over a picnic or a hot drink in the middle of a park? Mike and I got engaged in a park of sorts, and dreamed up another crazy idea in our hometown's public gardens.

I have a thing for parks. And my favourite park in the whole world is right here in Malta.

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens malta

San Anton Gardens is located in the village of Attard, Malta. Just a stone's throw from the University of Malta's student residence, where we stayed during Mike's 2008 exchange to UM. While Mike was at school, I would often come to this garden with the complete works of Jane Austen and read on a bench for hours. Or, we would both visit with peach ice tea and a backgammon board.

Now that we live in a different village trips to San Anton are fewer, but just as special.

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens peacock malta

This park is actually the President of Malta's back yard. Its history stretches back to the seventeenth century, and over the years it has housed the National Assembly of France, the Govenor General of Malta, and the Queen of England.

The Palace's gardens were opened to the public in the late nineteenth century, and today are divided into a private and public section. The private section is mostly comprised of citrus groves and manicured lawns, and is the domain of the President and his staff. It's open to the public for special events, like the Citrus Festival in January.

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens peacock malta

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens malta

The public side of the park has a small aviary, a resident population of friendly stray cats, and geese, ducks and peacocks that wander around at their leisure.

San Anton Gardens are planted with the most diverse trees and flowers I've seen on the island, most bearing dedication plaques from this or that head of state or public figure (like the Dalai Lama!) Its gurgling ponds are filled with koi and turtles, and lizards dart across the stone pathways during the hot summer months.

san anton gardens cat peacocksmalta

san anton gardens fountain malta

san anton gardens malta

san anton gardens peacock cat malta


san anton gardens geese malta

San Anton is a bit of a journey from Malta's main tourist areas so a lot of visitors don't make it here. Perhaps that is what makes the gardens so nice - during the week they are practically deserted, and they only fill up with Maltese families on weekends. But if you're a traveller who is drawn to parks and gardens, make an effort to see this one. Because there's something quite magical about settling down with a good book on a park bench, surrounded by palm trees, only to be disturbed by a peacock or flock of goslings.

- Jess


p.s. If you get hungry while you're there, wander over to Melita Gardens restaurant for a meal or afternoon tea (it's lovely) or grab a snack from the confectionary stand outside the garden's gates.

san anton gardens peacocks malta

san anton gardens malta

our favourite
PARKS & GARDENS IN MALTA
Hastings Gardens, Valletta
Chadwick Lakes, Rabat
Lower Barrakka Gardens, Valletta
The Strand and seaside promenade
(Ta x'biex - St. Julian's)
Argotti Botanical Gardens, Floriana
Howard Gardens, Mdina (just outside the city gate)
Kennedy Grove (named after JFK!), St. Paul's Bay

9 comments :

  1. What a great post! I used to live in Attard when I was younger so trips to San Anton were a staple part of life. It's lovely to see it through a foreigner's eyes though because you appreciate it more (I think). The photos are gorgeous too!

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  2. All of the pictures of peacocks freak me out. (I'm terrified of birds and was once chased down a path in Mexico by a large peacock.)

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    Replies
    1. Sorry! When one of them started ruffling its feathers out I squealed and ran away. I think bird phobias (or a dislike of birds) is fairly common.

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  3. Yet another reason I need to go to Malta! What I rate as my favorite gardens is probably cheating as it is more like a pivate zoo, but I love Pairi Daiza in Belgium. They also have peacocks running free everywhere. http://www.pairidaiza.eu/en

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    Replies
    1. Wow, Pairi Daiza looks incredible! Definitely added to our list of things to do when we finally make it to Belgium. (On a side note, love the park's web site!)

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  4. Wow, how gorgeous! I love those peacock pics.

    Just discovered this blog - what an interesting peek into life in a place I knew nothing about!

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