Malta is a small island country. It is situated in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea, around 90 km south of Sicily, Italy. It occupies an area of 316 sq.km. and has a population of more than 400 000 people. Although among the smallest, Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Official languages are Maltese and English. The capital of the island is the city of La Valletta. It is known for its astonishing palaces, cathedrals, museums and its unbelievable architecture as a whole. For this reason, the capital of Malta is one of the most attractive places in Europe to visit if you are interested in history and old historical buildings.
Although geographically belongs to Africa, Malta has always been considered to be a part of Europe, and since 2004 it is a member of the European Union.
La Valletta, the capital of the country, is situated on the southeast coast of the big island. The weather in Malta is very hot and dry throughout most of the year.
For this reason the archipelago is devoid of lakes and rivers, and it is covered by scarce and dry loving vegetation. The landscape is dominated by citrus and olive trees and different species of palms.
If you are looking for a place with wild and unspoiled natural landscapes, lush forests and a lot of greenness as a whole, Malta is not the best destination for you.
The island, however, may looks like a Paradise on Earth if you want to discover a place with truly cultural and historical atmosphere. In every corner of the island you can feel the spirit of the remote past.
The landscape is diversified by numerous medieval or even older remains of ancient buildings and fortifications. The large number of hours of sunshine attracts sun-seeking northern visitors, especially tourists from Scandinavia.
Maybe the missing of forests is a little disappointing, but don’t forget that you are just a few steps from the sea, no matter where on the islands you are. The beaches of Malta are mainly small coves, covered by light sand or small pebbles.
The seawater along the shore is incredible limpid and clean with sapphire nuances. If you are a lover of diving, this small archipelago will be a real paradise for you.
Because of the great underwater visibility, you will have the chance to enjoy the thousands of colourful fish inhabiting the shallow coastal waters of Malta. If you are lucky or use the services of an experienced guide, you can find some of the wrecked ships around the island.
Taking a walk through the narrow streets of Malta, you will have an amazing cultural experience. The biggest treasure is, of course, the capital La Valetta.
The first thing you will see while walking around is the combination of yellow and beige nuances of the traditional Maltese houses with louvred windows.
These light and pleasant colours make the Maltese streets to be more shining, welcoming and friendly. Wandering around, you will be surprised to see typical British red telephone boxes, and this is not an accident.
Until September 21, 1964, the Islands were under the control of Great Britain. The British influence can be felt everywhere, and this is the reason why the vast majority of local buildings look so majestic.
Similar to Great Britain, Malta is also very proud with its old buses. Some of them date back to the 50s of the 20th century. According to the majority of local residents, these buses are an old tradition that should not be forgotten.
Lifestyle. The pace of life here is very slow. During the hottest midday hours the streets of the islands are empty and quiet. This time of the day is usually used for a long lunch break.
If you want to see a lot of people, you have to go out early in the morning or in the late afternoon hours when the sun’s rays are not so strong.
The best way for a tourist to feel the lifestyle of Malta is to ends his/her day with a prolonged and delicious diner in some of the traditional Mediterranean restaurants along the coast.
Food. The cuisine of Malta is strongly dominated by the great variety of sea specialities.
Crabs, shrimp, clams, octopus, squid and numerous species of fish are the main part of the everyday menu on the archipelago. Seafood is usually garnished by fresh Mediterranean vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, olives and others.
Because of the close proximity of Italy, popular foods such as spaghetti and pizza are considered to be a part of the traditional cuisine of the islands.
Despite the vast popularity of seafood, the national dish of Malta is rabbit meat with wine and garlic. One of the most typical specialities in the country is the famous Maltese bread.
It is known for its variety of flavours and fillings (including vegetables, tuna etc.). If you love to consume sweets, it is recommended to try Maltese honey rings.
They are the most traditional dessert in the country and are prepared with honey, citrus fruits, white flour, sugar and other ingredients.
What not to miss? If you are planning to travel to Malta, don’t miss the chance to visit the Anglican cathedral of Saint John that was completed in 1844.
This is an amazing architectural masterpiece and undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful cathedrals on the Mediterranean coast. The Grandmasters’ Palace is one of the most important local architectural sights.
Today this is the seat of the Maltese Parliament and the President of Malta. This imposing and massive beige-stone-made building is one of the most beautiful in the capital of La Valletta.
It has a square form and boasts a truly beautiful inner garden. One of the most memorable things to see inside are the numerous armours that create an authentic medieval feeling.
Visit also the Marsaxlokk Harbor. It is situated in the southernmost tip of the island and is known for its interesting blue Maltese boats. Take a short trip to the medieval fortified town of Mdina, situated in the central part of the island.
It is known as the Silent City and is famous for its lovely Saint Paul Cathedral. Do not miss to visit also the island of Gozo, the town of Il-Mellieha and, of course, the Blue lagoon, the biggest attraction of the archipelago and one of Europe’s top dive sites.
How to get there? Malta International Airport handles flights from and to destinations across Europe and all over the world. You can reach the island also by ferry from Sicily.