Malta Travel Guide
The Island of Sunshine and History, the Cradle of the Mediterranean, the Pearl of the Mediterranean, Malta probably has more nicknames than any other island in the Med. This should come as no surprise as Malta’s history is very long and very rich. Along with fossils dating back a quarter of a million years there are the oldest known human built structures (the Hagar stone temple - around 3800years old) and architecture from every century since Phoenician times. The weather is relentlessly warm and sunny with only 20inches of rain falling each year. The countyside is dry and arid for most of the year but visitors in spring will be treated to a remarkable amount of lush green vegetation. What really sells Malta though, are the people. Naturally friendly, helpful and kind, the Maltese have a real passion for life. Indeed not a week goes by between May and October without a festival happening somewhere on the Island.
Malta’s capital, the City of Knights Valletta was one of the first planned conurbations in Europe. Situated around two excellent natural harbours it is a beautifully preserved 16th century walled city on the tip of the peninsula on the north east coast. Highlights are the wonderful castles, pretty gardens and the harbours themselves which can be explored on an inexpensive 2 hour cruise. Across the harbour is Sliema where most of the resort hotels are situated. Here, you’ll find cosy restaurants, shops, bars, nightspots and casinos. Malta’s old capital, Madina is also known as the Silent City due to the peaceful area in which it stands. It's central location means you can enjoy superb panoramas of the rest of the Island and there are numerous treasures to be found there - St.Pauls’s and St.Agatha’s Catacombs and St.Paul's Grotto. The Maltese archipelago includes two other islands Comino and Gozo. The largest, Gozo, has a more verdant landscape and is much quieter than Malta with some beautiful sandy beaches and secluded havens. It is here that Odysseus is said to have dallied with the nymph Calypso and the island is littered with medieval architecture and prehistoric temples. Comino is the smallest island and a true getaway not to mention being a popular spot with divers and trekkers.
Malta is a wonderful place to visit if you want to spend time in the slow lane. The atmosphere is relaxed yet this intriguing island has plenty to keep visitors busy. The hospitality and way of life is appealing and the food is as fine as you’ll find anywhere in the Med. It makes an ideal winter destination when the climate is a little more bearable and you’re still guaranteed around 6 hours of sunshine per day. To visit Malta is like stepping back in time. The tourist industry has resisted the lure of high-rise resorts and the service and hospitality is usually on a traditional and personal level. Call it what you will, Malta is a true gem.
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