""The island has the highest density of historic sites of any country on earth."
Everything from blissful beaches and engrossing outdoor adventures to captivating culture and engaging history will define holidays in Malta, ensuring that all manner of visitors will be left satisfied and rejuvenated by the prospect of a sun-filled, adventurous Malta holiday. This Mediterranean island might be small but what it lacks in size it makes up for in culture and things to do, with a holiday defined by immense variety and offerings. As well as its vibrant year-round festivals and parties, holidaymakers will be enticed by a range of traditional architectural themes and rich history, apparent through its many museums and ancient harbours. Others will undoubtedly flock to the great range of beaches, following the philosophy that a holiday in Malta is not complete until a paradisiacal stretch of sand has been lapped up, whether you discover that on the sedate and soft Mellieha Bay or around a more bustling and resort-driven destination like St Paul’s Bay. Food will also play a pivotal role during your time on the island, primarily in the form of authentic restaurants serving up Arabic, Sicilian and Greek cuisine, always showcasing a melting pot of cultures and influences.
Sun, sand and sea
If you’ve packed your swim gear and sun cream for your holiday, loveholidays won’t delay your foray to the coast, you’ll have countless locations to choose from, so start ticking them off early. Style and sophistication characterises the seaside escape of St Paul’s Bay, perfect for those after all inclusive getaways with everything on their doorstep – most notably the sun, sand and sea. Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha are two more of the island’s most desirable beach spots, boasting the softest sand in the country, while the tiny neighbouring island of Gozo is home to many secluded strips of perfection. Even if it is a vibe of tranquillity you seek from your holiday in 2015, Malta will also give you the opportunity to embrace the more vibrant beach resort trend across the island, especially in the colourful Bugibba area, backed by bars and clubs and fronted by a wonderful beach and glitzy harbour. Another favourite for those looking for infrastructure over isolation, a great shopping scene can be enjoyed in the vibrant resort of Sliema if it is retail therapy you’re after.
History, culture and indulgence
If you’re drawn to holidays which are defined by rich cultural and historical themes, Malta is blessed by a long and engrossing history awaiting your discovery. Naturally, begin your exploration of the country’s legacy in the capital of Valletta, full of sites and attractions worth visiting, including St. John’s Cathedral, built in the 16th-century. Also located in the capital city is the majestic Manoel Theatre, revered as one of the most important arts venues on the island with performances including operas, poetry recitals and pantomimes. Mdina is another fascinating destination to cram into your holiday in Malta, an ancient city, but still thriving in 2015, you’ll encounter a wealth of cultural attractions here including St. Paul’s Cathedral dating back to the 12th-century, the Medieval Museum and the Natural History Museum. It also plays host to a stunning beach, ideal for families and picturesque in its setting. Indulgence is another key attribute of all trips to the island, something that comes tenfold in the form of the island’s nightlife. The summer is primetime for those looking to experience a dynamic and animated nightlife. Many of the island’s clubs and bars are located in Bugibba and Paceville, with musical tastes ranging from house to hip-hop, played by some of the world’s top DJs. If you’re suited to something more sophisticated, there are numerous cultural festivals. The Malta Arts Festival, Valletta Baroque and the International Jazz Festival all take place over the course of a few months.
Surrounded by the glittering Mediterranean Sea, the compact island of Malta offers no shortage of secluded coves and golden, sun-soaked beaches to help you soak up the sun. The capital city of Valletta is best explored on foot so you can appreciate the well preserved walls and sights like St. John's Co-Cathedral resplendent with rich artistic treasures. Resort areas like St. Julian's and Sliema offer a thriving modern nightlife scene and relaxed outdoor cafes, while prehistoric temples like the Hypogeum will thrill history buffs. Round out your tour of Malta attractions with a visit to the Blue Lagoon, hidden away on the island of Comino.
Wine and Dine
In popular resort areas like Sliema and St. Julian's, you'll find an abundance of restaurants and pubs serving European fare so visitors feel right at home. If you’re after an authentic Maltese dining experience, take a stroll along St. Julian's waterfront to sample the excellent fresh seafood in historic 18th century buildings or sunny terraces. The narrow streets of Valletta are worth exploring so you can taste delicacies like stewed rabbit, savoury pastries called pastizzis and fresh vegetable soups.
Action and Adventure
Malta's Hypogeum is a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to 3300 BC, constructed in several stages during the Bronze Age. You'll feel like Indiana Jones exploring its dark hidden recesses, ancient snake pits and prehistoric tombs. For an adventurous activity of a different nature, try your hand at diving at sites like the Inland Sea in Gozo. There you'll spot colourful seahorses, mysterious caves, soft coral and even a shipwreck or two. Golden Bay is a hotspot for those seeking adventurous things to do in Malta, whether you fancy exploring the countryside by horseback or kayaking in the crystal clear waters.
Malta's soft beaches and adventure parks are tailor-made for family holidays. Pack up the bucket and spade and head straight for the pristine beach at Mellieha Bay, which is the longest stretch of sandy beach on the main island. With clean, shallow and warm waters, the beach is ideal for children. Other popular beaches include Golden Bay and Paradise Bay, where older children can enjoy water sports including jet skiing and snorkelling. There are a number of theme parks to choose from for an epic family day out, including the whimsical charm of Popeye Village and the dolphin shows at the Mediterraneo Marine Park. The Splash and Fun Water Park features a maze of slides and swimming pools, along with a dinosaur park for little ones. If your children are animal lovers, don't miss a trip to the LWS Animal Park for a glimpse of free-roaming mountain goats and rabbits.
Many of the best things to do in Malta also help to place the island in its historical context. In addition to the ancient Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Malta and Gozo are home to some of the world's most perfectly preserved prehistoric temples overlooking the islet of Filfa, along with underground tunnels left over from WWII. You can get a sense of Malta's history in its ancient capital of Mdina, also known as the Silent City. The 17th century capital, Valletta, with its narrow streets and world class museums, offers a dose of Malta's more recent past and also its future. St. John's Co-Cathedral is one of the prime cultural destinations, featuring elaborate tapestries and masterpieces from artists such as Caravaggio. Yet modern architecture also abounds in Valletta, with the new gateway designed by Renzo Piano and the modern Parliament buildings. The National Museum of Archaeology showcases the island's ancient history, as does the fascinating ancient temple complex of Hagar Qin.
Festivals and Parties
Malta plays host to a series of vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. One of the highlights is Carnival, which features several days of dancing, live music, parades and grotesquely exotic masks. Jazz musicians from across the globe descend on the rocky island in July for the annual Malta Jazz Festival, which takes place in Valletta's picturesque Grand Harbour. The arts are an important part of the daily lifestyle in Malta and they are given their due during the month of July when the Malta Arts Festival brings the island alive with theatre, music and dance performances.