Malta, a magnificent coastal kingdom of glorious weather, stunning scenery and mouthwatering cuisine. Though its the smallest country in Europe, Malta packs a punch when it comes to holiday offerings. Think stunning beaches and glorious azure waters, diverse landscapes and towns steeped in history, and tasty snacks that'll make you want to fill your suitcase to the brim.
Malta is an archipelago made up of multiple islands in the Meditteranean. Three are inhabited the main island of Malta, along with Gozo, and Comino. The dry landscapes are distinguished by terraced fields inland, and either beaches or rocky limestone coasts. On each of the islands, the North and South coasts are opposites in topography. The North is primarily crowned with stunning sandy beaches such as Golden Bay and Mellieha Bay in Malta. Whereas the South is all rocky coastline and vertical cliffs like the striking Dingli Cliffs in Malta and Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs in Gozo.
Traditional Maltese food usually centres around the season and is often very rustic. Tantalise your tastebuds with lots of hearty pies and stews. Along with a lot of fish-based dishes from the treasures of the Mediterranean. You'll also find popular kiosks and 'pastizzi' on the street. Where locals will happily stop a bus to hop off and grab a bite. They're a delicious savoury pastry filled with anything from ricotta to mushy peas.
Though it seems all sunshine and beaches on the surface, Malta has a complex history waiting to be discovered. You'll find peculiar temples and ruins, some of which pre-date the Egyptian pyramids. You might even stumble on a film set, as the alluring and timeless beauty of Malta is a regular choice for film and TV productions such as Game of Thrones. The islands are packed with museums exploring the many mysteries of Maltese culture. Valletta, the Maltese capital, has entered an epoch of rejuvenation. The charming but once neglected city is rising from the ruins, slowly, but surely. The Maltese are a relaxed bunch. They're never in a hurry, and always up for a chat. They truly beat to the sound of their own drum. It's the Maltese way, and if you embrace it, you just might find you like it.
Shopping in Malta
Malta has an eclectic mix of shopping malls, stalls, boutiques and markets that would please any shopaholic. The main thing to remember is to give yourself extra time when popping to the shops. The Maltese are super friendly and can chat until the sun goes down, even if there's a queue a mile long.
Know Before You Go
If you attract bugs like a buffet, be sure to pack the repellant. When the weather warms up, the mosquitos come in throngs. The mosquitos in Malta do not carry disease but the intense itching can beat the strongest of wills.
If you are a Brit and are feeling a little under the weather, don't stress about the healthcare in Malta. Consultation is free due to a reciprocal agreement medical agreement between Malta and Britain.
Malta has a LOT of stray cats. The friendly furry beasts are everywhere, from abandoned buildings to the floorboards under your hotel. The locals are very fond of them, and while there are not enough resources to rescue them all, they're well looked after and you'll often spot bowls of food and water put out for them.
Bus travel is popular in Malta, albeit unpredictable. You can get around the island for as little as 2EUR, tickets are valid for two hours journeys. It's also probably the wisest option. Choosing to drive in Malta is much like agreeing to a game of Russian Roulette. Sure, the Maltese have a way of deciphering the constant horn beeping, careering through stop signs and a general sense of chaos. As a foreigner, your guess is as good as ours.
Best Time To Visit
April to June (spring to early summer) is the best time to visit the archipelago. The weather is flawless and there a fewer people before the summer holidays hit. The water also begins to warm up.
Malta is generally a noisy place. If it's not the constant car horn honking, touts yelling through megaphones, and marching bands trooping through the streets, it's most likely the banging and popping of fireworks. The Maltese adore their celebrations and festivals and Festa (or village feast) is the biggest of them all. Each village celebrates their chosen patron saint. Timing your visit with one of them is a guarantee of fun, frolics, and of course fireworks.
The peak season falls in summer between July and September. Things start to heat up and the city can become packed. Malta's sister islands Gozo and Comino are less densely populated, and perhaps a better choice for the peak season. You can grab a great deal in winter, but many of the tourist attractions close for the season. Including popular dive sites in Gozo.
What To Expect
Malta is one of the best places for a relaxing yet culturally stimulating trip. Here are the facts about this enchanting archipelago.
Currency - The official currency in Malta is the Euro.
Language - The official language is Maltese. English is spoken, but the Maltese will love it if you try to learn a few words. A simple bongu (hello) or grazzi ħafna (thank you) goes a long way.
ATMs - The thriving tourist culture in Malta means ATM's are everywhere. Although it's a good idea to take extra cash if you're heading to more rural areas.
Plugs & Sockets - Malta uses the Type G style plug with 3 rectangular pins. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - Malta is considered safe to travel and has a very low rate of violent crime.
Climate - The weather is one of the top reasons people continually flock to the enticing Maltese shores.
The Mediterranean climate of Malta means it glories in hot, dry summers and mild rainy winters. The peak temperatures in summer (June to August) can reach 30 degrees celsius.
The weather in winter sits at a comfortable 15 degrees celsius in the day. Ideal for a cheap city break, though many tourist attractions close down.