We round up what makes this beautiful Mediterranean island the perfect holiday destination with our essential list of top 10 reasons to love Malta!
1. Year-round sunshine
It’s no surprise that the Mediterranean island of Malta boasts year-round sunshine, but did you know it also has the warmest average sea temperatures in Europe? And twice the annual number of hours of sunshine of London? Or that Valletta is the warmest capital city in Europe in winter? This all adds up to a fantastic destination that is warm and sunny whenever you choose to visit!
2. Beaches and bays
From the picturesque sands of Golden Bay to the azure waters of the Blue Lagoon on Gozo, Malta has a wealth of gorgeous beaches and coves whether you want to be in the heart of the action or escape the crowds. You can sun yourself on quiet sandy beaches like Paradise Bay or Ramla Bay on Gozo or enjoy the watersports and facilities at popular beaches such as St George’s Bay in St. Julian’s. Leap into the crystal-clear waters of St Peter’s Pool at the tip of the Delimara Peninsula or potter about the rock pools of Bugibba and Sliema.
3. Fantastic food
The traditional cuisine of the Maltese islands is a delicious mixture of influences from across the Mediterranean and further afield. It reflects the culinary traditions of the waves of settlers who have left their mark on the island over many centuries. Bragioli, braised parcels of beef stuffed with vegetables and herbs, and hobz biz-zejt, chunks of bread topped with chopped tomatoes and onions, have their roots in Italian cuisine, while the tasty nougat-like sweet, qubbajt, was introduced by the Arabs. Other popular dishes include the rich, rabbit stews often served at festivals and the famous torta tal-lampuki, a tasty fish pie. Enjoy!
4. Diving and snorkelling
The Maltese islands boast some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean, with excellent visibility up to 30 metres. As a result, they have become a world-famous diving destination, with reefs, underwater caves and wrecks that provide a range of underwater experiences for divers of all levels. The rocky coast is a wonderful place to snorkel; the water is delightfully warm and the sea is full of colourful marine life.
5. Mysterious ancient sites
Several thousand years ago, the inhabitants of the Maltese islands were building magnificent temples. These are now recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, and display an extraordinary level of technological expertise and artistry. The Ggantija temples on Gozo are considered the oldest free-standing structures on earth – older than Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. The Hypogeum is the most celebrated ancient site on the island, a vast underground necropolis with curious paintings and carvings, which dates back to 3000–3,300 BC and is still shrouded in mystery.
The Maltese capital of Valletta is perched on a slender peninsula, almost completely surrounded by the sea and ringed by defensive walls. Built for the Order of St John in the 16th century, it’s a beautiful little city of golden stone, full of charming lanes and elegant squares. Visit the magnificent palace of the Grand Masters or the resplendent Co-Cathedral to get an insight into the wealth and power of the Knights of St John.
7. Fabulous nightlife
The Maltese like to party, whether it’s hanging out at a seafront bar in St. Julian’s. or taking part in a traditional festival. You can join them and dress up and swank around the smart nightclubs in Paceville, take in some jazz at an intimate bar in Valletta, or enjoy the lively pubs in the resorts around St Paul’s Bay.
8. A paradise for nature-lovers
For all its lively resorts and bustling coastline, there are plenty of remote corners in Malta where you can get lost and soak up the gorgeous scenery. Take a picnic to the Buskett Gardens, an expanse of shady woodland, or hike across the remote Marfa Ridge. Even the most celebrated beauty spots – including the Blue Lagoon on Comino and the Blue Grotto on the south east coast – can be relatively tourist-free if you time it right.
The ancient island capital of Mdina sits on a hilltop and is still ringed by ancient walls. Time seems to stand still in this immaculate, miniature city, which is filled with Norman and Baroque mansions, many of which are still the ancestral homes of the local aristocracy. Although Mdina has become a very popular attraction, it is still a peaceful and enticing city that makes for a fascinating day out.
10. The Mediterranean Hollywood
Malta, perhaps surprisingly, is a major destination in the Mediterranean for filming movies, TV series and adverts. The film set used to film Popeye in 1980 has now become a major tourist attraction in its own right. Most famously, Malta was one of the primary locations used during the shooting of the first series of Game of Thrones (Valletta and Mdina were both used to depict King’s Landing), but you might also recognise some of the locations in films like Gladiator, Troy and Assassin’s Creed.