"For an island so small, Malta has a great selection of affordable Luxury Hotels scattered across Malta and Gozo Island, with perfect weather all-year-round."
A majestic island nestled amidst the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a holiday destination that offers something for everyone. From architectural masterpieces like the walled cities of Valletta and Mdina, to vibrant party destinations like St Julian’s and everything in between you name it and Malta has it. Regardless of which region you decide to stay in, the whole island of Malta is easily and quickly accessible, allowing visitors to experience all of the very best that the country has to offer, from the history and grandeur of the capital city of Valletta, the world famous scuba diving in Cirkewwa, the sandy beaches of Mellieha and Golden Bay and the rustic landscapes of Gozo.
It is home to a vast array of stunning beaches including, the red sands of Ramla Bay on Gozo Island, the shallow family friendly waters of Mellieha Bay, and the creamy white sands of Golden Bay, making it perfect for a traditional beach holiday. This combined with the alluring baroque majesty of Valletta, which UNESCO described as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world, coupled with a plethora of Stone Age ruins, ensures that it has plenty for people who love to learn during their time away. Put simply, Malta, has everything you could ever ask for, making it one of the finest holiday destinations in Europe and the world.
Check out Air Malta's feature on the Cyplon Fam trip to Malta here.
Malta Travel Guide
At A Glance:
A small archipelago, it lies between Sicily and North Africa. It was first populated by Sicilian invaders over 5000 years ago and has since had a succession of different rulers, who valued its strategic importance as a naval base. The capital Valletta was built in 1566 after a massive battle between the Knights of St John and the Ottoman Empire and is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in the entire world. Today the island is famous for its vibrant tourist scene, with plenty of destinations that will excite and delight visitors. The island has a population of around 450,000 and its main airport is situated in Valletta.
The gorgeous Mediterranean climate gives it hot dry summers and mild winters. It has a yearly average temperature of 20 degrees, with the lowest temperature of 13 degrees in January and the highest of 27 degrees in July. Malta receives just 600mm of annual rainfall, which almost all falls during the late autumn and winter, meaning that anyone who visits at any other time of year is almost assured a dry holiday. The best time to visit is during the hot summer months of June, July and August, although it is pleasant from April all the way through to October.
History and Culture
The country has a rich and colourful history that begins around 4500 years ago, when it was colonized by people from the nearby island of Sicily. These early pioneers led a simple agrarian lifestyle for their first 1000 years on the island, until their culture suddenly exploded in around 3500 BC and they began building massive structures that can still be seen today, such as the temples of Hagar Qi, Manjra and Tarxien. This period came to a sudden close around 1800 BC, with Malta descending into a main Dark Age. It became a part of the mighty Phoenician empire in around 1200 BC and was established as a crucial trading post and subsequently Cartages empire. This ended when Malta was conquered by the Romans during the second Punic War and the island was dominated by Rome for the next 700 years. St. Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on the island during this time in the aptly named St Paul’s Bay and legend has it that he was the person to introduce Christianity to the island. Rome’s decline marked a turbulent period in Maltese history, with the island switching between the Arabs, Byzantines and Normans, who built many of the fortifications on the island. Malta then swapped between various European monarchies during the dynastic struggles of the late Medieval period. It was awarded to the Knights of the Order of St. John, by the pope, in 1530, who had been heroic during the Crusades, which led to the most famous event in Maltese history. The Ottoman Empire was at the zenith of its power at that time, with most of Europe genuinely scared that they would be overrun by Arab invaders. The Ottomans attacked numerous times between 1550 and 1566, culminating in a massive siege, which the Knights repelled, leading to huge celebrations, throughout Christendom. This led to a massive influx of money into the island and the construction of the fortified city of Valletta, named after the Grandmaster who beat the Ottomans back. After the order declined, Malta was briefly owned by the French, before becoming British after the defeat of Napoleon and gaining independence in 1964.
Maltese cuisine is full of rustic character, colours and flavour as you would expect from a central Mediterranean island and given its geographical position, it takes great influence and inspiration from North African, Spanish and Sicilian cuisines whilst there is also a small trace of British influence left by the Knights of St John. The unofficial national dish of Malta is widely considered to be rabbit stew “fenkata”. Other Maltese delights include; Widow’s Soup “Soppa tal-Armla”, a soup that was traditionally made by poor widows using the cheapest vegetables including potatoes, carrots and beans mixed with a tomato paste, “Pastizzi” are the island’s most popular savoury snack consisting of croissant-like pastries filled with salty ricotta. If you find yourself on Malta’s island of Gozo, be sure to try the local cheese called ġbejniet cooked in a delectable little pastry. Sweets play a big part in Maltese cuisine and there can be regional differences in the desserts found on the Maltese islands.
The Bird Park (Salina) has more than 200 different species of birds and animals that ensure an educational and fun day out for people of all ages. The BOV adventure park (Ta’Qali) offers fun for children of all ages, with climbing frames and swings. The Popeye Village was originally built as the set for a 1980 musical, which starred Robin Williamsm, today, it has play areas and a swimming pool. Playmobil originates from the island of Malta and visitors to the island can explore the factory where it is produced in Hal Far. Finally, the Mediterraneo Marine Park, offers the chance to see a vast array of marine life, including dolphins, sea lions and reptiles.
Tours and Attractions
When in Malta visit the many beautiful beaches, including the red sands of Ramla beach on Gozo island, Golden Bay and Mellieha Bay, among others. The island is also rich in history with the ancient walled city of Mdina a highlight. No trip to Malta would be complete without seeing the magnificent fortified capital, Valletta, known for being one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in the world, with locations like the Grand Harbour and the Grandmaster’s Palace totally unforgettable.
Events and Festivities
With village “festas” being celebrated practically every weekend during the summer, there is never a bad time to visit Malta and get in on the fun. The local festas are held in honour of the local parish patron saint and guarantee delicious food, dancing and music. The mid-august feast of Santa Marija is a lovely time to visit any part of the archipelago, as is the Mnarja harvest festival near the end of June. Grab a good seat near the Grand Harbour during the Malta Fireworks Festival in late spring, and be sure to head to Valletta for the most exuberant nocturnal celebrations of Notte Bianca. Proud Gozitans will welcome you to the island-wide Festival Mediterranea in mid-autumn for concerts, exhibitions, and top-notch local food and drink.
The nightlife is renowned across Europe for being some of the very best on offer, with many major international artists visiting during the summer months. The big party destinations are Paceville and the coastal area of St. Julian’s, where clubs and bars abound. The island is also home to a number of casinos, ensuring that visitors can sate their gambling desires. Live music is common throughout Malta, with Valletta, Paceville and many other destinations all hosting regular live acts.
Shopping on the island is especially good at Republic and Merchant’s Street in the capital, Valletta; Tower Road and Bisazza Street particularly good in Sliema; whilst the Strand being famous in St Julian’s and Paceville. Malta is also famous for the quality of its jewellery, with the iconic Maltese Cross common throughout the island. Other things like knitwear, baskets and lace all abound throughout the country. There are also many open-air markets dotted around the towns and villages that populate the island; the ideal place for people who want to seek out a bargain or purchase fresh produce.