Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta is small but beautiful, with total area of just 316 square kilometres. Its position in the Med, bridging the gap between southern Europe and north Africa, means it is
no stranger to visitors, both in terms of present day tourists and colonial settlers.
Inhabited at various points within its lifetimes by settlers including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and the British among others, the island’s eclectic architecture has been sculpted accordingly and features a blend of styles from varied cultures. Magnificent baroque castles exist alongside religious sites, with evidence suggesting the island’s history stretches back to at least 3,500 BC.
A trip to Malta will not leave lovers of the great outdoors disappointed. Comino, one of the seven islands comprising the Maltese archipelago, offers completely vehicle-free rugged terrain ideal for rambling, as well as spectacular views over the Mediterranean.
Neighbouring island of Gozo is a popular destination among divers, keen to explore its hidden depths.
Mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers give the island an enviable climate, with locals organising outdoor concerts, carnivals and festivals throughout the summer months. The feast of Santa Marija is celebrated in mid August, with harvest festival, L’Imnarja at the end of June, with copious amounts of food and drink offered to everyone, including visitors.
Gastronomes are also certain to enjoy Malta’s varied culinary offerings. The nation’s colonial past has had an enormous impact on its food with a marriage of tastes – typical Mediterranean fare cleverly mixed with African and British influences.
The country’s official languages are Maltese and English and the country is the only in the world that has collectively been awarded the George Cross for conspicuous gallantry in World War II as a part of the British
Empire. The island regained its independence in 1964, becoming a member of the European Union forty years later in 2004.
A truly unique place successfully merging many cultures, Malta now attracts over 45,000 British holidaymakers a year. Several airlines fly to Malta and this is good news for people travelling on a shoestring budget.