With the increasing popularity of experiential travel, people are looking for more creative ways to get involved with the local culture and heritage of the places they visit. Offering the opportunity to get a hands-on experience of a destination and a working understanding of local markets and produce, agritourism is the next step for many active travellers looking for something new from their holiday. There are plenty of opportunities to discover agritourism in Malta, from interactive experiences at picturesque farms and shopping at Ta’ Qali Farmers Market to wine tasting at Ta’ Mena Estate and olive oil sampling at Wardija Olive Estate. Jump on board this growing trend on your next visit to Malta and you’ll never travel in the same way again.
Ta’ Mena Estate
Ta’ Mena Estate is a family-run vineyard and farm in Gozo, Malta’s second island, named after the late Carmela Spiteri, the mother of the family lovingly known as “Mena”. Opened with the intention of combining tourism with agriculture, the estate was one of the pioneers of agritourism in Malta and today invites visitors to explore the land and discover how local produce is made.
Ta’ Mena specialises in wine and produces 12 red and white varieties. It also owns a fruit and vegetable farm that grows ingredients used in traditional recipes, making jams, pickles, chutneys, olives, liquors and more.
The best way to appreciate the estate is to book a guided tour, followed by a tasting session during which participants can enjoy an array of antipasti from the farm and sample four wines from the estate. At certain times of the year, strawberry and orange picking is also available on request.
Ta’ Qali Farmers Market
If you’re interested in agritourism, don’t miss the opportunity to sample local produce and interact with the Maltese community at the Ta’ Qali Farmers Market. Taking place in Ta’ Qali Crafts Village every Tuesday and Saturday, the colourful market brings together farms and producers from across the Maltese islands.
Foodies can discover a variety of Maltese produce that’s come straight from the fields to the stalls, such as seasonal fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, condiments and preserves, and must-try local delicacies such as Bigilla (paste made from beans) and Ġbejna (goat’s cheese).
Wardija Olive Estate
This farm in Wardija produces some of the best olive oil in Malta, under the label Wardija Premium Pure Maltese Olive Oil. The owner, Sam Cremona, was once referred to as “The ‘Godfather’ of Maltese olive oil” on Jamie Oliver’s blog – an example of just how far his international reputation extends.
Sam offers agritourism visits by appointment only, during which he takes eager culinary enthusiasts on a tour of the farm, which grows rare white olive trees known as bajda. Visitors will also learn about the olive oil production process and enjoy some sampling along the way.
Those who are interested in agritourism in Malta but don’t know where to start, should book a tour. There are a number of tour companies offering immersive experiences on farms and estates not usually open to the public.
Merill Eco Tours hosts a variety of “Rural Tours”, giving visitors the chance to sample local food and wine and meet with regional producers and makers, or try their hand at activities such as strawberry picking and sea salt harvesting.
Malta Sunripe takes visitors on agriculture tours through the village of Mgarr and to farmers’ holdings in the surrounding valley, which produce cheese, olives, wine and fruits. Elsewhere, Malta Rural Tourism takes participants on a long walk through the Maltese farmlands, followed by a traditional Maltese lunch.
Whichever local produce you’re interested in exploring, there’s a company that can organise your agritourism adventure.
Article by Corinthia Hotels, home of The Budapest Times and its sister publication Budapester Zeitung