What do we know about Malta? We know it's one of the smallest countries in Europe, that it's an island with a pleasant Mediterranean climate all year round... Malta is an attractive and fascinating destination waiting to be discovered. A country with many hidden gems in its tiny surface area of just 316 square kilometres. What gems? Ok, here are 10 reasons to visit Malta.
1. Explore Valletta
With an area of barely two square kilometres, Valletta, the capital city of Malta and nominated European Capital of Culture in 2018, is the tiniest capital in the European Union. That also explains why it has one of the world's most densely packed historic centres, home to more than 300 splendid monuments that have made it a world heritage site. Stroll through the narrow, stone-paved streets and visit the magnificent old churches and gardens.
2. Go diving
Malta is a paradise for scuba diving enthusiasts. In the depth of its waters you'll not only find sunken ships but a rich variety of marine life. Whether you're new to scuba diving or you want to continue exploring the mysteries of the Mediterranean, there's no better place than Malta.
3. An exciting Nightlife and a jam-packed Calendar of Events
When we mentioned the things we know about Malta, we forgot one of its most important legendary qualities: the nightlife. And there's a reason why it's so famous. Paceville, in Saint Julian's, is the main hub of nightlife on the Mediterranean island. Think Ibiza or Mykonos but with a Maltese flavour. Not only that, but the Maltese Islands offer a wide selection of events throughout the year.
4. Visit Gozo and Comino
Now for a short geography lesson! Malta is made up of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. The island of Malta is the largest and busiest, home to Valetta and the country's only airport. Gozo is greener with cliffs and hiking trails, while Comino is famous for its crystal-clear waters, like some of the best areas in the Balearics. It's also where you'll find the next must-see place...
5. Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most breath-taking places in the Maltese Islands. This is the island of Comino’s main attraction. In summer, this sheltered inlet of shimmering aquamarine water over white sand is very popular with day-trippers.
6. Discover the country's fine food
So what's to eat in Malta? Maltese cuisine is the result of a long relationship between the Islanders and the many civilisations who occupied the Maltese Islands over the centuries. This marriage of tastes has given Malta an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. In fact, there's an excellent variety of that nation's restaurants on the island, but the star local dishes are rabbit stew (stuffat tal fenek), perhaps the most famous one, and ‘Ġbejniet’ (made from goat’s milk) from the island of Gozo.
7. Popeye Village
Yep, Popeye! What's he doing here? At Anchor Bay in the north-west of the island of Malta you'll find Popeye Village, a life-size film set built in 1980 for the film starring Robin Williams. The film was a flop, but the village is still standing and in excellent condition. In fact, today it's a major tourist attraction.
8. Explore Mdina
Mdina, in the centre of the island of Malta, is a lovely medieval town which centuries ago was the country's capital. It might seem familiar if you're a fan of Game of Thrones: this idyllic little town was King's Landing. You'll no doubt remember some of the legendary scenes that were filmed there...
9. The megalithic temples and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
We've already said that Malta has a vast heritage, but it's not only Valleta that has world heritage status. The same distinction has been granted to the megalithic temples of Malta, a series of clover-leaf shaped constructions that are older than the Egyptian pyramids, and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, another amazing temple but this time underground.
10. Visit Marsaxlokk
Our tour ends with a visit to this almost unpronounceable Maltese fishing village, home to another iconic image of Malta: the colourful fishing boats in the harbour. You'll find them in one of the most stunning places on the island, which also boasts the busiest and liveliest streets: markets, ports, squares, seafood restaurants... For this and so many other reasons, Malta is well worth a visit.