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10 reasons why you should visit Malta

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.

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Beaches and Bays to Enjoy on the Maltese Coast

Like any fine group of islands in the Mediterranean, those making up the Malta archipelago have gone from being coveted by their neighbours for their strategic location to becoming the “apple of the eye” of tourists, on account of both their historic heritage and particularly their magnificent beaches and bays. Today we focus on this more idyllic aspect of these fantastic isles by touring some of the key enclaves along the coast.

Malta has beaches for all tastes and all types of use. There are large, easily accessible ones with a plethora of services which are perfect for families or those who want to holiday hassle-free. There are more secluded, less crowded coves where you can just relax and enjoy the views, spots where you can do sports like surfing, bays which can only be reached by boat and areas which are ideal for diving. Here, then, is a brief selection of some of the best beaches and bays you will encounter in Malta, Gozo and Comino, the three islands making up Malta.

Ghajn Tuffieha (Malta)

Situated next to the popular and crowded Golden Bay, in the north of the island, this beach of fine sand is much quieter and less crowded than its neighbour. The reason for this is that you have to walk down two hundred steps to get to the beach, which is a challenge for visitors. However, the effort is worth your while and you can always cool off by having a pleasant dip in the sea.

Mgiebah Bay (Malta)

Also located in the island’s north, very near a spot called Selmun, this bay has a beach of golden sand. Here the seaside is quiet and surrounded by nature in the raw. Getting there is a bit complicated but, as with the previous place, the circuitous approach is rewarded by diving you can do in stunning water, while the surrounding landscape is ideal for switching off.

Blue Grotto (Malta)

Although not a beach in the strict sense, this spot on the Malta coast is a must-visit for diving enthusiasts. The Blue Grotto is made up of six sea caves which nestle under cliffs in the south of Malta, some 13 kilometres fromValletta.You can’t fail to marvel at the crystal-clear water and coral-coated rocks. The best way to get there is by boat – the ride costs 7 euros, which is well worth paying to behold such a magnificent sight. The best time to visit the grotto is first thing in the morning, as daybreak brings shafts of sunlight that set up light effects which enhance the beauty of the spot even more.

Ramla il-Hamra (Gozo)

In the north of Gozo lies virtually the only sandy beach on this island. It is also the most popular one among locals and tourists. One of its peculiarities is the reddish coloured sand, which is quite striking when you first see it. Interestingly, the caves in this very same bay are where Odysseus is said to have been held captive for seven years by Calypso, the daughter of Atlas.

Dwejra and Azure Window (Gozo)

This beautiful gulf is located on the west coast of Gozo. It is characteristic for its stunning limestone arch, which visitors simply cannot resist photographing and sharing on social networks. It is an ideal spot for diving or boating, while enjoying the views of the coastline.

Blue Lagoon (Comino)

The island of Comino, which occupies an area of just 3.5 square kilometres, has a hidden paradise in the guide of its Blue Lagoon, a splendid bay with magnificent views which can only be reached by boat and which has crystal-clear waters that really tempt you to dive in and have a swim.

Get your Vueling and be sure to have a dip and recharge your batteries on some of the wonderful beaches and bays in the Malta archipelago.

 

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Malcolm Debono, Bs0u10e0, William Shewring, Jennifer Morrow, Robert Pittman, Flavio Ensiki

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The ocher jewel of the Mediterranean

Despite being a small redoubt in the middle of the Mediterranean consisting of the inhabited islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino and three uninhabited, Cominotto, Filfla and St. Paul, the Maltese archipelago concentrates a great historical and cultural wealth. Some of their spots are part of the World’s Heritage Site, such as the city of Valletta, the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni (the only underground temple in the world) and the Megalithic Temples.

One of its universal symbol is the Cross of Malta, that with its eight points represents the eight different nationalities of the Malta’s Order of the Knights and its eight principles to be respected: spirituality, simplicity, humility, compassion, justice, mercy, sincerity and endurance.

Valletta, its capital, is named in honor of Jean Parísto of Vallette, Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John, who managed the reconstruction after the Turks expulsion in 1565.

If there is one Malta can boast about, it is the large number of churches built mainly in the XVII and XVII centuries. There are more than 300 but the most outstanding one is St. John of Valetta. It houses in its interior one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, The Beheading of Saint John.

An island that is a real movie set. Here have been shot great epic movies like Troy, Ágora or Gladiator. Amenábar chose Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara to represent Ágora’s Alejandria, which also served as a stage set for Gladiator’s Roman Colosseum. Another highlight for the filming of this movie is the Grand Harbour of Velletta, Mediterranean's largest natural harbor.

Next to Spinola Bay in St Julians and in the port of Marsaxlokk there are the best places to enjoy one of Malta’s most characteristic images: the harbor with its traditional colorful boats, the djhajsa and the luzzu, flooding its banks. Traditionally painted in bright colors you will notice in that in the sides they have the ornaments of Osiris Eye, a charm to bring good luck.

Among the straight streets of the old town, Republic Street clearly stands out, it is the main shopping street and thoroughfare in the city, named to commemorate Malta's independence from Britain in 1964. It was Exactly on the 21st of September, a day celebrated with great festivities.

The street combines great palaces like the Gran Maestre, Casa Rocca Piccola and the Museum of Archaeology. Its ancient ocher buildings also stand out at night when lit to bring out its beauty.

You can also enjoy their outdoor markets, like the one set up every day on Merchants Street. And on Sunday, the big market at the gates of the city of Saint James' Ditch. In the fishing village of Marsaxlokk they have one of the most traditional ones, where you discover the authentic taste of Malta. They are the best places to get an idea of the Maltese way of life.

Some of the tours you can do in Malta

Delve into the underground cave of Ghar Dalam

The underground cave of Ghar Dalam (the dark cave) was the home, 6,000 years ago, of the Neolithic inhabitants. Now you can see the remainings of some prehistoric animal ossuaries like hippos, deers and elephants showing that the island was sometime part of the continent.

Dingli Cliffs

Found on the west coast of the island. Its impressive cliffs are ideal for lovers of mountain climbing and rappelling, especially in Ghar Lapsi under the Dingli cliffs.

Mdina

About 10 miles from Veletta there is the town known as "The city of Silence" with medieval narrow streets that draw a maze. It was once the capital of the country and still retainins many spectacular churches and palaces in which to read the history of the island.

Looking for peace: Gozo and Camino

The other two islands of the Maltese archipelago are the ideal destination to enjoy peaceful days in a natural setting. Islands in the hills and valleys where you can walk through their rural trails and creeks leading into the sea. Its crystal clear waters are ideal for water sports such as windsurfing and diving.

In Comino, a small island that actually lives up to its name, you will find exotic beaches, including the famous Blue Lagoon.

Makes you want to go, right? Do it! Check out our prices here!

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The 4 top diving sites in Europe

You don't need to travel to Southeast Asia or the Caribbean to find the best sea beds: taking a plane to any of these destinations will suffice. Discover the best diving sites in Europe!

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