The Maltese Archipelago, in the middle of the Mediterranean south of Sicily, consists of Malta and Gozo with tiny Comino lying between them. There are four other uninhabited islands. Malta, the largest, is an extremely beautiful place full of old churches and baroque edifices. The beaches are renowned for their diversity catering for both families and surfers. With twelve hours of sunshine daily, stunning scenery and magnificent architecture it is no surprise to find that Malta is an extremely popular holiday destination.
Why Go To Malta?
The splendour of Malta draws many people back to its shores year after year. It seems that one visit is not enough. The unspoiled beauty of its towns and cities bathed in sunshine, the beaches and sparkling waters, the shopping in the narrow picturesque streets all combine to make Malta a most attractive holiday destination.
Who Is Malta Popular With?
Malta has something for everyone from families with small children to young adults and also to the older members of society. With its wide ranging sightseeing opportunities, its varied nightlife and its beaches offering many water sporting facilities, it can truly be said that Malta provides for all tastes.
When To Go To Malta
Malta has mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. Although the temperature in spring is pleasant it can often be windy which makes it feel fresher. The holiday season lasts from April until October when the temperature ranges from mid- twenty to early thirty degrees. Summer remains the most popular time to visit the islands when dawn to dusk sunshine is guaranteed.
Malta - The Place
The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English and driving is on the left so visitors would immediately feel at home if it wasn’t for the glorious sunshine that greets you as you step off the plane.
The history of the islands is long and there are many ancient remains to remind you of this. In the south of the island are the massive stone remains of the temple of Mnajdra which date back to three thousand years before Christ.
Valletta has been granted the status of a World Heritage City and when you visit here you will understand why this is so. With its wealth of churches, baroque palaces, beautiful gardens and the quaint narrow streets with their wooden balconies and iron railings it is can certainly be called the jewel of Malta. Caravaggio’s painting, The Beheading of Saint John The Baptist can be seen in St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral.
The sandy beach at Mellieha Bay slopes gently into the sea and is ideal for families with young children. The rocky bay at Saint Julians offers a wide range of water sports as does neighbouring Sliema.
There are many small villages, bays and coves to explore throughout the island and all are delightful.
Malta is a devoutly Catholic country with over 50% its people attending Mass weekly. Feast days, particularly those associated with the patron saints of the island, are celebrated with gusto. The biggest festival, apart from Easter, is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on 29th June. After the church service there are processions with bands, fireworks and bare back horse racing.
Many Folklore Festivals take place during the summer months.
The nightlife in the towns is vibrant with lively bars, pubs and clubs that remain open until the early hours of the morning. Wine bars serving both local and international wine are becoming popular with the young. There are also very many places, such as Mellieha Bay, that offer an oasis of calm for those who like to wind down at the end of the day over a glass of wine and a tasty meal.
In Malta you will find many opportunities to buy souvenirs and gifts in the various boutiques, shops and markets. Malta is famous for its lace and many fine examples can be found, the Maltese Cross being a favourite motif. Another local craft is the making of very pretty gold and silver filigree jewellery which makes a perfect holiday memento.
Warm evenings are perfect for dining out on the sea front watching the moon rise and Malta gives such opportunities daily. The influence of the various occupiers of the island is evident in its cuisine, from Italian to Moorish, dishes can be recognised. Fish dishes abound, the most popular being the lampuka or dolphin fish. Brogjoli, (we would call them beef olives) cooked in red wine and served with rice is a culinary delight and should not be missed.
Local Malta Customs
The Maltese are a very warm and friendly people making excellent hosts for the holiday maker.
There is great respect for the Church and care should be taken so as not to cause offence when visiting these places of worship.