Sketching & Painting in Malta



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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Coastal
  • Value
From £749.00 - 7 nights


Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

The island of Malta offers a variety of subjects to paint; colourful fishing boats in picturesque harbours, archaeological sites, palaces and beautiful gardens. We'll walk up to 1 mile (1.5km) each day, carrying our equipment. Suitable for all abilities

Holiday Highlights:

  • Spend most of the day outdoors seeking out the best light, colours and landscapes
  • Our professional artist leader will guide and encourage
  • Visit inspirational vistas of beautiful Malta
  • Enjoy the sociable atmosphere of painting in a group

Great Reasons to Join Us

  • Great value: all prices include ensuite Half Board accommodation, plus all transport to painting sites and tuition
  • Expert leader: all our leaders are experts in their field and will ensure that you get the most out of your holiday
  • Accommodation: enjoy good quality accommodation and excellent food
  • Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together, relax together


Solana Hotel

Malta hotel exterior

The friendly 4-star Solana Hotel is situated in the centre of Mellieha village, one of Malta's few traditional villages, away from the hustle and bustle of the main resorts. Its central location means shops and amenities are close by, making it an ideal base for exploring Malta. This hotel has been selected as 'Best Value' as it is considered value for money without compromising on comfort.

Malta indoor pool Malta bedroom Malta restraurant

HF Holidays Europe Partner Hotel Awards 2016

Gold Award for Great Hotel Staff.

Silver Award for Overall Hotel.      

Gold Trophy Silver Trophy

The Solana Hotel has 81 en-suite bedrooms each with a balcony or terrace. The modern, spacious rooms are comfortable and have a relaxing feel to them.

All bedrooms have a hairdryer, safe (small extra charge), telephone, fridge, satellite television, air conditioning/heating, WiFi (small extra charge)


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The Solana Hotel has a range of facilities where you can indulge yourself after a day out. Enjoy the indoor heated pool and spa pool or take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool with good views of Mellieha bay. There is also a spa offering a wide range of treatments (payable locally).  

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Our holidays at the Solana Hotel are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and your evening meal.


Breakfast is served in the Tosca Restaurant and is a self-service buffet. You can choose from a selection of cereals, fruit juice, yoghurt, fruit, cold cooked meat and cheese, eggs, sausages, bacon, tomatoes.

Evening meal

A buffet style evening meal is served in the Bellini restaurant on five evenings, where you can choose from a good selection of international and local dishes, There is usually antipasta, salads and soup for starters, followed by a selection of hot savoury meals. Desserts tend to be pies and pastries, followed by tea and coffee. On the other two evenings you will eat in the Tosca restaurant, where it is table service. Here you will be served a three course meal with choices available at each course. The hotel does cater for most dietary requirements; we advise you to discuss your requirements with the restaurant staff on arrival. Jugs of tap water are served at dinner.


The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wines and spirits.

Lunch (payable locally)

There are several shops and bakeries in Mellieha village, where you can buy ingredients to make your picnic lunch. It may also be possible to eat in a café during the day; your leaders will advise you of all the options.

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The friendly atmosphere of our holidays continues into the evening.

Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before hearing about the next day's activities. On most evenings there will be some kind of entertainment: an excursion to Mdina to see it by moonlight - the effect is amazing; listening to a local speaker on the human history of the Maltese people or relaxing in the hotel bar, where you will find live entertainment on some evenings.

Alternatively, take a stroll around Mellieha and visit one of the local bars, or relax with a drink and chat to your fellow guests. Your leader will inform you of what options are available.


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This holiday is full of practical sessions with considerable time spent outside on location, sketching and painting. Please note, there are no indoor studio sessions planned. You will be able to draw upon your own experience and personal aspirations on how you approach the wonderful and challenging process of creating art en plein air, outside the studio environment. Charles’ philosophy is to regard our physical open air painting location as being our studio; the various locations on the Island of Malta act as an open air museum of, for example, Valletta, Old Mdina, the Three Cities and Marsaxlokk.  
If you do not fancy sitting down to paint at any time, you can always take some photos for your sketchbook or just immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the island while having a cappuccino in a local cafe.

Sunday: Valletta - Baroque sketching and architecture
The capital city of Valletta was built by the Christian Knights of St John during 1600 and is only one square mile, but offers the artist a wonderful “open air museum” to sketch and paint en plein air. We find plenty of opportunities for architecture drawing and painting landmarks, all within easy walking distance.  

Monday: Mdina - The Silent City
Today’s landscape painting centres on the old Medieval city of Mdina, the old capital of Malta and nicknamed The Silent City. Initially we view and paint the walled city from a “below ground” perspective. Later we enter the city itself and use the interior for our sketching and painting.

Tuesday: Malta’s sister island - Gozo
We find plenty of images to sketch and paint at Gozo, amongst them the port of Mgarr, the citadel town of Rabat, and the Fungus Rock and Azure Window. 

Wednesday: a free day to relax and enjoy the facilities at the Hotel or explore the island independently. 

Thursday: The unique boats of Marsaxlokk
Today we devote to sketching and painting the unique and colourful boats of the historic fishing village of Marsxlokk. Nowhere in the world can surpass the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, with all its colourful boats, for such a splendid display of colour!

Friday: Valletta Harbour and a different perspective
This morning we spend a little time at Valletta Harbour to view the Three Cities from a different perspective. Later we drive to Sliema where we can sketch and paint Valletta, now a mile away from us across the harbour, offering us yet another very different perspective.

Saturday: Departure day

What to bring

Guests will need to bring the following items. Please remember that you will have to bring these on painting excursions and possibly also pay extra if you exceed your luggage allowance.

  • Appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear (eg walking boots) and a wide-brimmed hat / plastic eye shade 
  • A rucksack or small case on wheels to transport art materials to and from painting locations – remember that you will have to carry your equipment, spare clothing, lunch, drinking water, sunscreen etc from the coach to the place where you are to paint or sketch.  
  • We strongly advise against bringing shopping bags or bags with long shoulder straps, which can swing and dangle, causing imbalance and possible trips and falls.
  • A lightweight folding chair/stool if you have one, alternatively a cushion, garden kneeler or plastic seat pad

Paints: Guests are invited to bring their own preferred medium (although Charles suggests that watercolours are very suitable, as this medium does dry quickly). Suggested colours might include: Cadmium Yellow, Winsor Yellow, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine blue, Cobalt blue, Indigo, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Dioxazine Violet, Raw Sienna, Winsor Blue, Pthalo Blue, Yellow Ochre

Brushes - The most expensive you can afford. Sizes 4, 8 and 12 round will be sufficient. Sable/synthetic mix are fine

Palette – a folding palette, with wells for colour and mixing

Paper - We normally recommend 140lbs/300gms watercolour paper - 38 x 28cms size sheets, or any other paper you are used to using. Some papers have a textured surface so choose the surface you prefer. You could bring a ‘blocked’ pad – that is one where all the sheets are gummed together on all four edges. These pads are expensive but save you having to use a board as you leave the paper on the pad whilst you paint.

Other smaller items:

  • Sketchpad, pencils, sharpener, eraser
  • 2 small water pots (non-tip pots best) 
  • 1 water bottle (for clean water) 
  • Paper towels / rag
  • Coloured watercolour pencils (entirely optional and only if you have them, but they can be useful for quick colour reference and enhancing) 

Please note, on European holidays we are unable to provide A3 painting boards for guests to borrow.

Local area

An introduction to the area

The landscape of Malta is one of low hills with terraced green and brown fields. The coastline, although only 85 miles in circumference, is extremely varied, with cliffs, harbours, bays, creeks, sandy beaches and rocky coves. There are many interesting remains of Malta's ancient heritage including Neolithic temples, 4th century catacombs, Roman ruins and churches built by the Knights of St John. Our base on Malta is the village of Mellieha, situated on the hilltop above Mellieha Bay. It covers two sides of the valley, the newer part of the village is to the east and the older residential part is to the west. 

Gozo is about one third of Malta’s size and has a character quite distinct from its neighbouring island. It is more rural, with an extensive farming community and the countryside is greener and more scenic. Controls over building developments enabled Gozo to keep its rural charm. Flat-topped hills and intensely cultivated fields characterize the landscape whilst the coast has rugged cliffs, steep valleys and beautiful inlets. Baroque churches and old stone farmhouses dot the countryside. The islands also come complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago’s best-preserved prehistoric temples, Ggantija. The strong religious beliefs of the Maltese people are evident in the numerous churches and other religious attractions are also abundant on the island.

Local highlights

Valletta - Although we visit Valletta on day 3, it is impossible to explore this World Heritage City in one day. The city is home to the National Museum of Archaeology, where a fascinating collection of artefacts from Malta's prehistoric sites are housed; the War Museum, which tells the story of the Siege of Malta during the Second World War; the Manoel Theatre (a beautiful old theatre), and an inhabited 16th century patrician town house.

Mdina & Rabat -Mdina is an important UNESCO heritage site. It is the oldest city on the island and derives its name from the Arabic word 'medina' meaning walled city. Mdina is lamp-lit by night and often referred to as the “silent city”. The cathedral and cathedral museum are worth a visit. It is a fascinating place with its rich cultural and religious treasures. The impressive palaces are still home to some of Malta’s aristocratic families. Rabat is home to the famous catacombs of St Paul and St Agatha and the impressive St Paul’s Church which stands above a grotto where St Paul is said to have taken refuge after his shipwreck on Malta

Comino: Named after the cumin seed that once flourished in the Maltese islands, Comino is noted for its tranquility and isolation. It has a permanent population of only four residents. One priest and one policeman commute from the nearby island of Gozo, to render their services to the local population and summertime visitors. Today, Comino is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve and can be reached by boat from Mgarr.

Shops & facilities:

Malta: As the village of Mellieha is situated on the through route to the Gozo ferry, bus services to the capital Valletta are frequent. There are several bars and cafes on the main street and a variety of small shops. The Post Office and banks can also be found here.


We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.



Travel by plane


‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option

Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Heathrow, Manchester and Newcastle flights to Malta airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 45 minutes to the Solana Hotel.

Air Malta plane




Driving to us

‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option

Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.

If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:

  • We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Malta airport. This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £15.50.
  • Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £50 per single taxi journey?

Transfers must be pre-booked.  Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details

* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach

 Coach heading to Glen Coe


Charles Bezzina

As a painter, Charles loves landscapes and buildings – especially old buildings and churches. He also loves the wilderness.  One could say his artistic life takes a twist towards the nomadic artist, as he has painted in the most wild and desolate landscapes in the Northern hemisphere: the high Arctic of Norway and Greenland. In contrast to this remote landscape, Charles has also painted in the southern landscapes of the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Malta, where he was born and raised and still maintains a small studio. Whatever the  landscape, Charles always rises to the challenge to interpret this through his art.

Charles also teaches and shares his knowledge of art on a regular basis with people of all ages as he believes that art should have no boundaries.  He is a firm believer that art is a journey, no matter what level you are at.  Charles’ main media are watercolours, acrylics and oils.


Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
13 Nov 2015, 7:11 p.m.

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Service review:

Always good value.

Product review:

A lovely holiday, a shame it was too hot for me! The leader was very good, always ready with advice if one asked, but relaxed enough not to force his ideas on people.
13 Oct 2015, 5:37 p.m.

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Service review:

Nothing really went wrong but information was very minimal. The holiday was excellent.My travel documents only arrived a few days before departure

Product review:

The holiday was most enjoyable with a varied programme and good hotel.
13 Oct 2015, 11:53 a.m.

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Service review:

Everything seemed to go to plan as regards booking and information given. Also liked that we were checked at Malta that we had arrived and gathered together by other leaders of HF, other than our leader who was new to HF.

Product review:

I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, but would have liked a bit of tuition as it was a painting holiday and had assumed that this was the case.

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
23 Sep 2017 MWPLA - Sketching & Painting Malta - Without Flights 7 £749.00 Book Now


  • Double room for sole occupancy: £14 per night
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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