- Location: In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea
- Attraction Type: Historic heritage and water sport destination
- Significance: Human habitation dated back to 3500 BC
- Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
- Visiting hours: Daytime and evening
- How to Reach: By air to Valetta, and thereafter by boats or roadways
- Nearest International Airport: Malta International Airport, Valetta
Malta, a group of seven islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is an ethereal destination for tourists during all months of a year. Its culturally eclectic sites coupled with its magnificent history of over thousands of years make Malta an automatic choice for motivated travelers. Malta in the Mediterranean has something to offer for each and everybody that sets foot on this island country.
Remnants from the Neolithic age testify the existence of human life in Malta about seven thousand years ago. Huge stone temples of more than 3500 years have been found in Gozo, Tarxien, Mnajdra, and Hagar Qim. After the Neolithic Age, Malta was conquered and occupied by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans in succession. St. Paul after getting shipwrecked in present-day St. Paul’s Bay took refuge in Malta and converted the local inhabitants to Christians. During the Arab occupation of Malta in the 9th century AD Maltese language developed. From 11th to 16th centuries Malta Island was under the occupation of Norman Sicilians.
Subsequently, Malta was handed over to the Order of Knights by Charles V in 1530. The Knights vastly improved the living conditions of the local people by building hospitals, strong fortifications, and set up commerce and trade with European and African cities. After 288 years of rule by the Knights, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Malta and made significant changes in the country’s social and educational spheres. Slavery was abolished and an elaborate primary and secondary education system put in place. The French were however driven out by Maltese forces helped by the British Navy.
During World War II, Malta heroically put up against relentless bombing by German forces and never surrendered. As a mark of respect to the fighting spirit, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the island fortress of Malta which is proudly displayed in the top left-hand corner of its national flag.
Malta being in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is the perfect place for varied water sports. Bugibba overlooking St. Paul’s Bay in north Malta, is famous for snorkeling and scuba diving. Cirkewwa on the northern end of Malta is ideal for its beaches, boat rides, and water skiing.
Malta is a historical place, and a visit to these places is a must while touring this island. Fort St. Elmo in Valletta the capital city of Malta, was among the earlier forts built by the Knights. Another important fort you must not miss is Fort St. Angelo in Vittoriosa. While Vittorriosa goes on a walking tour to Gate of Provence, Armory, Bishop’s House, Poste de Castile, Victory Square, St. Joseph’s Chapel, Collegiate Church of St. Lawrence, Freedom Monument, Maritime Museum, and Inquisitor’s Palace.
Travel to Gozo Island north of Malta to visit the Place of Giants in Xaghra. You would be bewildered by the fact that this impressive Neolithic temple of massive stones was built around 3600 BC. The craggy hilltop town of Mellieha is another fabulous site to discover. Cave dwellings and houses, clung to rock faces are exceedingly amazing. Also, explore the Red Tower or St. Agatha Tower in Mellieha.
Accommodation and Dining
Malta is full of tourists all year round has hotels of all categories to select from. If you prefer to stay in St. Julian’s or Sliema area you could choose between the Bayview Hotel, Hotel Roma, Imperial Hotel or Preluna Hotel and Spa. For staying in the northern region like St. Paul’s Bay, Cirkewwa, Mellieha or Bugibba your choice of accommodation could be made from Primera Hotel, or Barcelo Riviera Resort & Spa. You might also put up in Hotel Serena Beach Club, Grand Hotel or Hotel San Andrea if planning to stay in Gozo Island.
In Malta, you would bless yourself to taste the best Mediterranean cuisine. Peperoncini in Balutta Bay serves you the best wines. Its chicken with lemon and sage and seafood pasta are beyond description. Paparazzi Restaurant in Julian’s Bay is renowned for its mouth-watering seafood delicacies and unforgettable desserts. Wiji’s Kitchen also in Julian’s Bay is the best place to have fillet steak and red mullet.