Malta offers heaps of history – and 300 days of sunshine EVERY year

Marvellous Malta! This Mediterranean island offers heaps of history and culture – and 300 days of sunshine EVERY year

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A sun-soaked nation set in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta combines thousands of years of history and the spirit of empires long-passed.

Here you’ll find prehistoric temples and Bronze Age settlements, Arabic fortified towns, the remnants of Roman villas. The capital, Valletta, was built by the Knights of St John, and below ground is a network of tunnels where locals sheltered from the bombs of World War Two.

Discover a world of Mediterranean cuisine and traditional British telephone boxes, picturesque harbours, postcard-perfect beaches and glittering waters.

Three islands in one country

Bathed in sunshine for 300 days a year, Malta is the perfect place to enjoy your moment in the sun

With its verdant vineyards, pristine beaches and towering cliffs, the country of Malta consists of three picture-perfect islands.

From the main island Malta, to the more rural Gozo and the almost-uninhabited Comino, perfect for hiking enthusiasts and day trippers, these three idyllic islands are united by almost 8,000 years of shared history, two shared languages (Maltese and English), and a regular commuter ferry.

Whether exploring the islands’ 5,000-year-old megalithic temples, hiking past the crumbling remains of Arab and Christian cultures or dipping into waters once controlled by the Knights Hospitallers, the Ottoman Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte and the British Crown, these islands welcome you to explore your own way.

Cultural riches

For a glimpse into Malta’s rich heritage, the city of Mdina boasts a treasure trove of architectural wonders 

Begin your journey in the ancient streets of Valletta, the golden capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set above the Grand Harbour, this sublime city tells an intoxicating story of its past, from the relics of the Knights of St John to rich Baroque art, lovely architecture and the only Caravaggio painting to bear his signature, The Beheading of St John the Baptist, 1608.

Explore the forts, palaces and churches, then take a seat in a buzzing square to soak up the unique island culture. After your legs have been rested, it’s time to enjoy a romantic Dgħajsa ride across the harbour for an exploration of the Three Cities, offering a slice of authentic Maltese life.

Whether navigating by car or making use of the reliable bus network, this island is so easy to explore, with tantalising views and inspirational history at every turn.

Head out early to the Silent City of Mdina, once an Arabic citadel and the former capital of Malta. Mdina received its curious nickname when the capital moved to Valletta, leaving the city of golden stone almost uninhabited. Today, it’s well-known for serving as a filming location for Game of Thrones. 

Nearby, St Paul’s Catacombs are set beneath the charming town of Rabat, dating back to the Third Century BC and one of the earliest examples of Christianity in Malta. Or you can head to one of the island’s other archaeological sites, such as the megalithic temple complex Mnajdra, the 6,000-year-old underground burial complex Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, and the neolithic Tarxien Temples.

Stunning celebrations

Malta has a packed calendar of events, including music festivals, shows and street processions

As this proud island nation prepares for the 50th anniversary of the Republic, established in 1974 after the country received independence from Britain in 1964, a full calendar of events makes it the perfect time to visit.

The island will host its first Malta Art Biennale, which will unfold across 21 historic sites in Malta and Gozo, between March and May 2024. It will coincide with the spring festa season, when villages celebrate their patron saints with decorated streets, processions, fireworks and food stands serving traditional treats.

The Valletta International Baroque Festival takes place at incredible historic venues every January, or you can enjoy world-class music under a starlit sky at July’s International Festival of Jazz.

In summer, you can also zip over for the annual Valletta Concours, a classic car show taking place on June 2.

The great outdoors

Adventurous types will love exploring Malta’s craggy sea cliffs by kayak, or discovering underwater worlds on a diving expedition 

Set sail for sunset, scale the golden cliffs or plunge into the azure waters on a thrill-seeking Mediterranean adventure. With the captivating coast, sun-kissed valleys and fractured terrain of the three islands, Malta offers the perfect playground for the adventurous.

You’ll explore the craggy sea cliffs by kayak, discover underwater worlds on a diving expedition or even try Flyboarding as you are propelled out of the water by a hydroflight device. And if you prefer to keep both feet on dry land, a range of hiking and cycling routes offer the perfect day out for all abilities.

Looking for some beachfront bliss? Explore an inspiring variety of beaches, lidos and shimmering rock pools across the islands, from the rugged northern seascape of Wied il-Għasri to the rust-sand sands of Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Whether swimming, sunbathing, or sipping cocktails is more your style, you’ll find the perfect backdrop here.

Delicious dining

Hearty and rustic, Maltese cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavours and influences 

Where sun-blushed Provencal flavours meet the influence of Arab cuisine and the ingredients brought in by the expansive British Empire, Maltese cuisine is a step above the rest. With abundant fields of fresh produce, aromatic bakeries and thriving Mediterranean waters, savour a voyage through the empires with the island’s rich gastronomical offering.

Echoing the flavours of rural France, the more traditional dishes are cooked in local wine, an influence of the Knights of St John. Another unmissable treat comes in the perfect snack, pastizzi, a light and flaky filo pastry parcel, traditionally filled with savoury ricotta or peas.

From enjoying traditional dishes in a charming town square to racing across the waters in a sailboat and discovering ancient megalithic structures, Malta ties together everything you love about the Mediterranean. And bathed in sunshine for 300 days a year, it’s the perfect place to enjoy your moment in the sun.

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