In Malta, you'll explore 7000 years of history yet live passionately in the present. You'll span the millennia with an astonishing array of things to discover. And wherever you go, the Islands' scenery and architecture provide a spectacular backdrop. The colours are striking. Honey-coloured stone against the deepest of Mediterranean blues.The Maltese Islands have been described as one big open-air museum. What makes them unique is that so much of their past is visible today. Delve into the Islands' mysterious prehistory, retrace the footsteps of St Paul or see where the Knights of St John defended Christendom. But Malta is no regular museum. Here life is lived to the full, so make time for some living history and action. Visit locations where Oscar-winning blockbusters were filmed or go off the beaten track into ancient villages. Marvel at the fireworks and revelry of the summertime festas and enjoy a packed calendar of events all year round.
This historic legacy, unique in the Mediterranean, is reflected in the country’s national architecture and collections. There are so many areas of heritage and culture to be explored – the 16th century masterpiece Grandmasters’ Palace, which is now parliament, the “Sacra Infermeria”, which is now a fully equipped conference centre, the St. James Centre for Creativity – a superbly restored fortification where contemporary works of art are exhibited against the original rough-textured walls and rediscovered spaces. With these buildings, past and present blend into an enduring and admirable lesson in the art of living. The arts have always played a large role in Maltese culture and continue to do so with cultural events occurring frequently. The National Museum of Fine Arts, housed in an exuberant Rococo building dating from the 1570’s, exhibits some magnificent art, ranging from the early Renaissance to modern times. Both established and budding artists are encouraged to display their efforts through publicly-supported programs. There is always an exhibition of some kind running.
Malta's weather and climate are strongly influenced by the sea and have a very characteristic Mediterranean flavour, similar to that found in southern Italy or southern Greece. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers, warm and sporadically wet autumns, and short, cool winters with adequate rainfall. Winters are mild with only rare occurrences of cold weather brought by north and northeast winds from central Europe. In fact, daytime winter temperatures almost never fall below 10ºC (50ºF), while night-time winter temperatures never fall below 0ºC (32ºF). Hence, snow never falls in Malta. Summers are warm, dry and very sunny. The weather usually shows signs of warming up in April, heralding in a long spell of hot, dry weather. It rarely rains from April to August. July and August are Malta's hottest months with daytime temperatures usually above 30ºC (86ºF) and quite often also above 35ºC (95ºF).
Maltese cuisine reflects the Island’s history and shows the strong influences of the English and Italian civilisations that occupied Malta amongst other French and Spanish influences and Mediterranean cuisines This amalgamation of tastes has given Malta an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. Although the restaurant scene is a mix of speciality restaurants, there are many restaurants that specialise in local dishes, serving their own versions of the local specialities.
Traditional Maltese food is rustic and based on the seasons. Must tastes range from Lampuki Pie (fish pie) to Rabbit Stew, Braġioli (beef olives), Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouille), and widow's soup, which includes a small round of a renowned maltese cheeselet , Ġbejniet (sheep or goat's cheese). Malta’s favourite appetizer is Bigilla, a thick pate of broad beans with garlic served with galletti (water crackers) . One must also try two popular snacks when visiting the island. ‘Hobż biż-żejt' (Local bread dipped in olive oil, rubbed with ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, onion, garlic, tomatoes and capers) and Pastizzi (flaky pastry parcel filled with ricotta or mushy peas).
You’ll find a variety of fresh fish to choose from, always depending on the season and the weather. Spnotta(bass), Dott (
Swordfish and Tuna follow later on in Autumn, followed by the famed Lampuka, or dolphin fish. Rich stews and pasta sauces with octopus and squid are also a local favourite. And ofcourse one can’t forget the ‘Aljotta’ fish soup.
For dessert Maltes cuisine offers the exquisite kannoli (tube of crispy, fried pastry filled with ricotta), Sicilian-style, semi-freddo desserts (mix of sponge, ice-cream, candied fruits and cream) , Ħelwa tat-Tork (sweet sugary mixture of crushed and whole almonds) and Mqarret (fried date pastry parcels).
Being an island Malta is naturally surrounded by a good number of beaches . The Island boasts beaches for everyone, from sunbathers to windsurfers . Choose from golden sand, red sand, rocks, blue lagoons and even inland seas. The water varies in shades of green, turquoise and blue. If you like adventure look out for the beaches and rocky shores that are off the beaten track, definitely worth seeking out for their seclusion. An absolute must see is a boat trip to Comino's Blue Lagoon - the ultimate crystal water experience. With Malta's climate, beach life lasts well into October. Enjoy water sports and activities like windsurfing, jet and water skiing, parakiting and fun rides. You can hire equipment from beach cafes or shops nearby. On larger beaches, you will find cafes or snack bars.
The main coastal resorts and larger sandy beaches are found in the northern part of Malta. Malta's most popular beaches are Mellieħa Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay. For smaller, quieter beaches, one may like to visit the ones at the tip of Malta, overlooking Gozo - Paradise Bay and Armier. In Gozo, the most beautiful beach is Ramla l-Ħamra, a large beach of unusual red sand nestled within the countryside. Gozo and Comino offer plenty of out-of-the-way rocky inlets with clear waters and perfect snorkelling.
Six Bays in Malta and Gozo have just been awarded Blue Flag status for their pristine swimming waters and sustainable management. It is thus not surprising that Malta has earned a definite place on the international diving map. With all its diving attractions, from wrecks and artificial reefs to caves, tunnels and underwater cliffs, all overflowing with marine life, diving in Malta promises a unique experience.
Typical of the Mediterranean lifestyle, the locals' approach to life is to enjoy and celebrate it as much as possible. Isle of MTVNightlife on the Islands is always bustling - even if the vibrant calendar of events gets leaner during some periods, there are always scores of clubs to visit, excellent wine bars and first-rate restaurants to try. The Islands have an effervescent calendar of cultural events to see, such as the Malta Arts Festival, the Valletta Baroque Festival, the Opera Festival, the Choir Festival and the International Jazz Festival held in July. Major music concerts starring top international artists are held every summer, attracting massive crowds of both tourists and locals alike.