This is Malta
Located in the Mediterranean, just south of Sicily, is one of the smallest countries in the world; Malta, a series of seven tiny islets that for 150 years were a British colony. Long since independent, Malta offers a wonderful all-year-round holiday experience, it’s easy to travel to and is bursting with history and culture, dating back to 4,000 BC, and benefitting from up to 300 days of sunshine each year.
But what makes this island country so intriguing and special to visit?
Main Reasons and Places to Visit Malta
From the ancient fortresses, megalithic temples, and Neolithic burial chambers, to hiking the limestone cliffs, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, and scuba diving through incredible underwater caves, this friendly and warm destination has so much to offer.
Here are our top picks and must-see highlights:
This small fortress city is the capital of Malta, located on the south-eastern coast and filled with grand historical buildings, open public squares, gardens, and churches. Valetta was an important seaport dating back to the 16th century. Today it is the administration and commercial heart of the island where you will find a thriving café culture and exciting nightlife.
Mdina, also known as the ‘Silent City’, is a beautiful fortified city located in the Northern region of the island, with just 300 people living within the city walls. A popular hotspot on the island with over 750,000 tourists visiting every year. One of the reasons for its nickname, ‘Silent City’ is that no cars are allowed within the city walls apart from those of residents or emergency vehicles.
Hagar Qim and Mnajdra
Hagar Qim and Mnajdra are some of the most ancient religious sites in the world. These megalithic temples are set approximately 500 metres apart and offer an interesting insight into the history of the island. It is believed these temples were used for fertility rituals, animal sacrifice, and even astronomy.
A beautiful, authentic Maltese fishing village with a stunning harbour lined with colourful fishing boats that are still used today. Located on the South-east of the island this quiet village is well equipped for tourism, holding regular markets, and having a wide selection of bars and restaurants to choose from, all offering freshly caught fish and other local cuisines.
Mellieha is a quaint village in the Northern region of Malta, set on a hilltop above Mellieha Bay, the largest sandy beach on the island. A charming spot where you can experience both the traditions of a Maltese village alongside a sun-kissed beach getaway. This area is popular with families and close to the family-friendly Popeye Village entertainment park.
Visiting the other Islands
Smaller and less developed than the island of Malta, Gozo is the second largest inhabited island and well known for its excellent beaches, scenic hills, and long countryside walks. Gozo is also a popular spot for diving. Like Malta, there is an abundance of cathedrals, churches, and chapels making it worthwhile to travel to. Plus it has many of its own unique charms such as the Azure Window. While this collapsed in 2017, visitors still flock to see what is left of this fascinating natural attraction.
Comino is the smallest inhabited island in Malta, and its biggest draw is the Blue Lagoon. A bucket-list destination which is known for its crystal clear turquoise blue waters and vast cliffs, perfect for swimming and hiking. You can travel to Comino from Malta via ferry or via a boat cruise and if you wish to visit the Blue Lagoon, you should aim to get there early in the day to avoid the crowds, especially in peak season.
When to visit?
While Malta is a year-round destination, the best time to visit is April, May, and June when the weather is warm, but visitor numbers are fewer. July is the warmest month with temperatures averaging 27 °C and January is the coldest month with temperatures averaging 13°C.
Where to stay?
If you are looking for a beach or family holiday you would be best staying in the Mellieha Bay area or Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay. If you are looking to explore and see the sights, Sliema is a good option, especially on a budget. For a city break, Valetta would make the perfect base for your trip with Gozo being a great option if you are looking for something a little more laid back and relaxing.
Hiring a car is a great way to see Malta and, because of its time as a British colony, they still drive on the same side of the road as us, making travel around the country simple. However, if you prefer to let someone else drive you, the hop-on-hop-off buses cover the vast majority of the island’s tourist highlights, and the local service buses are a cost effective and easy way to see the sights.
Malta is a fantastic destination to visit and really does offer something for everyone. Why not take a break from your usual routine and plan your next holiday to Malta, where the fresh sea breeze, the warm and much-needed sun, and a friendly and diverse culture will welcome you with open arms.
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