The archipelago of Malta, located just off the south coast of Sicily, is the perfect destination for year-round getaways thanks to its warm Mediterranean climate. Malta comprises three islands, the main, largest island which gives the nation its name, the second-largest island Gozo and the smallest sitting in between the two, Comino and no matter where you choose to base yourself, holidays in Malta won’t disappoint.
Along with the blissful weather in Malta, historic towns, gorgeous coastal spots and fun things to do for the whole family further add to its charm.
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Valletta, Malta’s capital, is one of the smallest in Europe but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in heritage and beauty. In fact, the whole town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Many of its buildings boast stunning Baroque architecture, while the city also offers a wonderful spot to overlook the harbour at Upper Barrokka Gardens, as well as the Grandmaster’s Palace, Lascaris War Rooms and the National War Museum, housed in Fort St Elmo. The latter two museums provide a fascinating insight into the turbulent time endured by Valletta – and Malta more widely – during World Way II, when it was among the most heavily bombed nations.
Other city breaks in Malta can be enjoyed in St Julian’s and Sliema, but the island is so easy to travel around, it’s easy to fit multiple destinations into a single break.
St Julian’s boasts the best nightlife scene on the island, while Sliema teems with activity during the day, as a great spot for shopping and dining.
Naturally, visitors heading to an island in the Med will likely be on the hunt for great beaches. Golden Bay Beach sounds idyllic and the reality certainly lives up to the name. Found in Mellieha in the north-west, it’s one of the most popular spots for beach holidays in Malta, so can get crowded during summer months.
But Maltese beauty isn’t solely confined to dry land. Keen snorkellers and scuba divers will be in their element with the range of spectacular options to explore beneath the waves off the coast. Head to the island of Gozo for a wonderful opportunity to see the recently collapsed Azure window.
Elsewhere, off the southern coast of Malta, the Um El-Faroud Wreck is another excellent dive spot, those less keen on squeezing into a wet suit can hop aboard a boat trip to the stunning Blue Grotto.
Back above sea level, Malta and Gozo also offer a number of excellent hiking trails. The Dingli Cliffs on Malta are one of the highest points on the island and are best tackled just before sunset for awe-inspiring views. Over on Gozo, one eight-kilometre trail connects Marsalforn Bay with the red sands of Ramla Bay, via the historical village of ix-Xaghra and its UNESCO World Heritage site of the Ggantija Temples and the Ta-Kola windmill.
Unsurprisingly due to its central location and heritage, Maltese cuisine is an alluring combination of Sicilian and Middle Eastern flavours and dishes. While in town, be sure to give the traditional rabbit stew a try, and don’t miss out on bragioli (beef olives) and kapunata (Maltese ratatouille).
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