Malta is not just one island. In fact, it’s configured of three separate islands, the main one being Malta, but also the neighbouring islands of Comino and Gozo. If you are staying on the mainland of Malta, the other two are definitely worth a visit. There are plenty of boat tours from island to island to ensure you see the very best the archipelago has to offer. Despite being relatively small in geographical size – there is tremendous amount to see and do in Malta – so make sure you give yourself enough time to see as much as possible. Valletta is the capital, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a location worth a visit for history buffs…
With remnants from the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Byzantines and the Romans, the Maltese islands have a colourful history. It was the knights from the Order of St John who ruled Malta for many years, before the French and then the British came to rule. Malta broke away and became a republic in 1974, but the influences from this eventful history can be observed all around. Learn more about the legacy of the knights at the St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta and wander through the walled city of Mdina to discover Malta’s medieval past.
A week spent lying horizontally on a sun-lounger may be your initial plan, however once you discover the wealth of culture Malta has to offer, we are sure you will choose to venture out and explore. Everyone travels by car here, meaning there can be a lot of traffic. Avoid the rush hours of 7-9am and 15:30-6pm – especially when you have somewhere you need to be, like the airport. You won’t necessarily need to hire a car to explore the island though, hopping on a bus is a great way to get around. You can get a two-hour ticket for just €1.50, so it’s economical too. Then of course there are conventional taxis and the app Bolt operates across the island.
With gastronomic influences from all over the Mediterranean, there is a rich mix of gastronomy to experience in Malta. For an authentic experience, try pastizzi, a savoury pastry filled with cheese or mushy peas – and do not be surprised if you spy rabbit on the menu as it is a very popular dish on the island. And, of course, the fresh seafood is divine. As with many European countries, it’s usual to eat out quite late, so book a table for 8pm onwards to experience a great atmosphere. While Malta isn’t necessarily the cheapest European destination for dining, if you are used to eating out in the UK, you will find the island pleasantly affordable.
Making the most of the great outdoors is a prerequisite of any Mediterranean island visit. For a leisurely approach to activities, the island of Malta has many walking routes – and this is also a great way to drink in the beauty of the landscape. However, thrill-seekers will rejoice at the array of activities and watersports available here. There’s rock climbing, water skiing, sailing and wake boarding to name a few. Diving is another popular pastime here with unique dive sites including wrecks and caves.
Of course, Malta is a popular destination come summertime - the lure of the clear blue skies, slow heat and golden sands is enough to tempt anyone. However, thanks to its positioning, it benefits from a Mediterranean climate, which means relatively warm temperatures even during the winter months. In November, you can expect an average temperature of 17°c, for example.
If an alfresco bar for sundowner cocktails is what you’re seeking, then you can take your pick of wonderful locations perched by the sea. Not only do you get to soak up the final warming rays of the day, it’s the most beautiful way to watch the sun set over the island. But if your heart is set on a night to remember then head to Paceville: the epicentre of the island’s party scene. Here you will discover a different side to the island – expect lively clubs and late-night bars.
Are you an art lover or culture vulture holidaying in Malta? Well, you’ll be pleased to find that this Mediterranean island may be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to art and culture. Here are six recommended destinations to add to your itinerary to experience the best of Malta’s art scene.