Malta: Discovering the Mediterranean Jewel

Malta: Discovering the Mediterranean Jewel

Malta is a small island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy and east of Tunisia. It is made up of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Malta has a rich history and culture, having been ruled by various civilizations such as the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Knights of St. John, and the British. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and is now a member of the European Union. Malta is known for its beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, vibrant nightlife, and warm Mediterranean climate.

Short History

Malta has a rich and diverse history that spans over 7,000 years. The earliest known inhabitants of the islands were a prehistoric civilization known as the Temple Builders, who left behind numerous megalithic structures such as the famous Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples. The islands were later conquered by various civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and the Knights of St. John.

In 1530, the Knights of St. John, a Catholic military order, were given control of Malta by Emperor Charles V of Spain. The Knights transformed the islands into a stronghold of Christendom, constructing massive fortifications and commissioning some of the most renowned artists and architects of the era to create magnificent palaces, churches, and other buildings.

During the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the Knights successfully defended the islands against a massive Ottoman invasion, cementing their reputation as one of the most formidable military orders of the time. The Knights ruled Malta until 1798 when Napoleon Bonaparte seized the islands during his Egyptian campaign.

After Napoleon’s defeat, Malta was transferred to British control under the Treaty of Paris. The islands became a strategic naval base for the British Empire, and Malta played a vital role in both World War I and II.

Malta gained independence from Britain in 1964 and became a republic in 1974. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and has since become a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning scenery, rich history, and Mediterranean climate.


The architecture of Malta is a fascinating mix of styles and influences, reflecting the country’s rich history and diverse cultural heritage. Some of the most notable architectural styles found in Malta include:

  • Megalithic architecture: The prehistoric Temple Builders constructed a number of megalithic structures on the islands, such as the temples at Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra. These impressive stone structures feature intricate carvings and show remarkable skill in engineering and construction.
  • Baroque architecture: The Knights of St. John left a lasting legacy of Baroque architecture on the islands, with grand palaces, churches, and other buildings featuring ornate facades, grand staircases, and lavish interior decoration. The most famous example is the magnificent St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
  • British colonial architecture: During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Malta was under British control, and the British left their mark on the country’s architecture. Victorian and Edwardian styles are visible in many buildings, particularly in Valletta and Sliema.
  • Modern architecture: In recent years, Malta has seen a surge in modern architectural designs, with bold, innovative structures such as the City Gate and Parliament buildings in Valletta, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano.

Museums and Galleries

Malta is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage, with influences from ancient civilizations, the Knights of St. John, and more recent colonial and modern eras. As a result, there are many museums and galleries in Malta that showcase the country’s fascinating history and art.

Here are some of the most interesting museums and galleries to visit in Malta:

  • National Museum of Archaeology: Located in Valletta, this museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from Malta’s prehistoric period up to the Phoenician period.
  • The Malta Experience: This museum in Valletta provides an interactive journey through the country’s history, using state-of-the-art technology to bring the past to life.
  • Palace State Rooms: These magnificent rooms in the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta were used for official functions during the time of the Knights of St. John.
  • National War Museum: Housed in the historic Fort St. Elmo in Valletta, this museum tells the story of Malta’s involvement in World War I and II.
  • Malta Maritime Museum: This museum in Vittoriosa showcases Malta’s maritime history, including a collection of historic boats and ships.
  • The Lascaris War Rooms: These underground tunnels in Valletta were used as a command center during World War II and are now open to the public as a museum.
  • St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity: Located in Valletta, this contemporary arts center hosts exhibitions, performances, and workshops.
  • Cathedral Museum: This museum in Mdina displays a collection of religious artifacts, including paintings, sculpture, and vestments.

Visiting museums and galleries in Malta is a great way to gain insight into the country’s rich cultural heritage and history. From prehistoric artifacts to contemporary art, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Landmarks and Monuments

Malta is a country with a rich and diverse history, and as such, there are many fascinating landmarks and monuments to explore. From ancient megalithic temples to grand Baroque buildings, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Here are some of the most interesting landmarks and monuments to visit in Malta:

  • St. John’s Co-Cathedral: This magnificent Baroque cathedral in Valletta is renowned for its ornate interior decoration and impressive artwork.
  • The Three Cities: These historic cities, including Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua, are home to some of Malta’s most important historic landmarks, including forts and churches.
  • Hal Saflieni Hypogeum: This ancient underground burial site in Paola dates back to around 4000 BC and features intricate carvings and architecture.
  • Grandmaster’s Palace: This impressive building in Valletta was the residence of the Grandmaster of the Knights of St. John and now serves as the official residence of the President of Malta.
  • The Blue Lagoon: Located on the island of Comino, this stunning natural lagoon is known for its crystal-clear waters and picturesque scenery.
  • Mdina: This historic walled city, also known as the “Silent City,” is home to many beautiful buildings and landmarks, including the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum.
  • Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples: These ancient megalithic temples, located on the southern coast of Malta, are believed to be some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
  • Upper Barrakka Gardens: Located in Valletta, these beautiful gardens offer stunning views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities.

Visiting landmarks and monuments in Malta is a great way to experience the country’s rich history and culture. From ancient temples to grand cathedrals, there’s something to interest everyone.

Parks and Green Spaces

Malta may be a small island nation, but it’s home to many beautiful parks and green spaces that offer a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. From botanical gardens to seaside parks, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature in Malta.

Here are some of the most beautiful parks and green spaces to visit in Malta:

  • San Anton Gardens: These historic gardens, located in Attard, feature a wide variety of plant species, fountains, and ornamental structures.
  • Buskett Gardens: This wooded area in the southwestern part of Malta is home to a variety of flora and fauna and is a popular spot for hiking and picnicking.
  • Ta’ Qali National Park: This sprawling park in central Malta is home to several sports facilities, a crafts village, and a children’s play area.
  • Lower Barrakka Gardens: Located in Valletta, these gardens offer stunning views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities.
  • Pembroke Gardens: This seaside park in St. Julian’s is a popular spot for jogging and cycling, with beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Salina Nature Reserve: This wetland reserve in the north of Malta is home to a variety of bird species and is a popular spot for nature walks.
  • Ghajn Tuffieha Bay: This beautiful sandy beach is surrounded by rugged cliffs and offers plenty of opportunities for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Marsaskala Family Park: This park in the southeastern part of Malta features a children’s play area, sports facilities, and beautiful views of the sea.

Malta may be small, but it’s home to many beautiful parks and green spaces that offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature and relax. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful garden or a seaside park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Shopping Districts

Malta is a popular shopping destination, with a variety of shopping districts and malls to choose from. From luxury brands to local crafts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Here are some of the best shopping districts to visit in Malta:

  • Valletta: The capital city is home to a variety of shops and boutiques, offering everything from designer brands to handmade crafts.
  • Sliema: This bustling seaside town is home to the popular Tigne Point shopping mall, as well as a variety of shops and boutiques along the waterfront promenade.
  • St. Julian’s: This popular tourist destination is home to the Bay Street shopping complex, as well as a variety of shops and boutiques along the main street.
  • The Point: Located in Sliema, The Point is a modern shopping mall with a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes.
  • Main Street, Mosta: This historic street in the town of Mosta is home to a variety of shops and boutiques, as well as the famous Mosta Dome.
  • The Duke: Located in the heart of Victoria on the island of Gozo, The Duke is a modern shopping center with a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Malta is a great place to shop, with a variety of districts and malls to choose from. Whether you’re looking for luxury brands or local crafts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Food and Drink

Malta’s culinary scene is influenced by its rich history and Mediterranean location, featuring a variety of dishes that reflect the country’s diverse cultural heritage. Here are some of the most popular food and drinks to try in Malta:

  • Pastizzi: These flaky, savory pastries are a Maltese staple, filled with either ricotta cheese or mushy peas.
  • Rabbit Stew: Rabbit is a popular meat in Malta, and rabbit stew is a traditional dish that is slow-cooked with vegetables and served with potatoes.
  • Lampuki Pie: This savory pie is made with lampuki, a type of fish that is abundant in Malta during the autumn months.
  • Ftira: This traditional Maltese bread is similar to pizza, topped with a variety of toppings such as tuna, olives, and capers.
  • Kinnie: This popular soft drink is made from bitter oranges and a variety of herbs and spices, giving it a unique flavor that’s distinctly Maltese.
  • Cisk Beer: This local beer is a refreshing drink that’s perfect for a hot day, with a light and crisp flavor.
  • Twistees: These cheesy snacks are a popular snack in Malta, made from corn and cheese.
  • Figolli: These sweet almond-filled pastries are traditionally made for Easter and are shaped like various objects, such as rabbits or hearts.

Malta’s cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with a variety of dishes and drinks to try. From savory pies to sweet pastries, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.


Malta is a small island nation, and getting around is relatively easy. Here are some of the best ways to move around Malta:

  • Public Transport: Malta has a good public transportation system that includes buses, which are operated by Malta Public Transport. The buses cover most parts of the island and are a cost-effective way to get around.
  • Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Malta and can be hailed on the street or pre-booked. The fares are regulated by the government, and it’s always a good idea to confirm the price before getting into a taxi.
  • Car Rental: Renting a car is a popular option for visitors who want more freedom and flexibility. Most major car rental companies operate in Malta, and the roads are generally well-maintained.
  • Cycling: Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Malta, with a growing number of dedicated bike lanes and bike rental shops available.
  • Ferries: Ferries operate between Malta and its neighboring islands, such as Gozo and Comino, and offer a scenic and enjoyable way to explore the region.
  • Walking: Malta’s towns and cities are relatively small, and walking is a great way to explore the local sights and attractions.

Malta offers a variety of transportation options that cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you prefer public transport or renting a car, there are plenty of ways to explore this beautiful island nation.


Malta is generally considered a safe country to visit and live in. The crime rate in Malta is relatively low, and violent crime is rare. However, like any destination, visitors and residents should still exercise common sense and take precautions to ensure their safety.

Some tips for staying safe in Malta include:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone in isolated or poorly lit areas, particularly at night.
  • Keep your valuables secure and out of sight, especially in crowded areas.
  • Use licensed taxis or reputable transportation companies.
  • Take care when swimming or engaging in water sports, and be aware of potential hazards such as rip currents and jellyfish.
  • Follow local laws and customs, and be respectful of the local culture.
  • Take note of emergency numbers, such as 112 for police, ambulance, or fire brigade.

In general, Malta is a welcoming and friendly country, and visitors should feel comfortable and safe during their stay.

Expensive or Cheap

Malta can be considered a moderately expensive destination compared to some other European countries, but it is still generally more affordable than many other popular destinations. The cost of living in Malta is influenced by several factors such as the type of accommodation, food and drink, transportation, and entertainment.

Here are some examples of costs in Malta to give you an idea of the average prices:

  • Accommodation: A night in a mid-range hotel can cost around €50-€100 per night, while Airbnb rentals or guesthouses may cost a bit less.
  • Food and drink: A meal at a restaurant can range from €10-€25 per person, depending on the type of restaurant and the dishes ordered. A cup of coffee or a beer may cost around €2-€3.
  • Transportation: A single bus ticket costs €1.50, while taxi fares are generally reasonable. Renting a car can be a more expensive option.
  • Entertainment: Entrance fees to popular attractions range from €5-€15, while cinema tickets cost around €8.

Overall, the cost of living in Malta can vary depending on your lifestyle, but it’s still an affordable destination compared to many other European countries. With careful planning, it’s possible to enjoy the best of what Malta has to offer.

Best Time to Travel

The best time to travel to Malta depends on your preferences and interests, as well as the activities you have planned. Here’s an overview of what to expect during different seasons in Malta:

  • Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Malta, with hot and sunny weather, ideal for beach activities and water sports. However, it can get crowded and prices tend to be higher.
  • Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a great time to visit Malta as temperatures are still warm, but the crowds have started to thin out, and prices become more reasonable.
  • Winter (December to February): Winter in Malta is mild, with cooler temperatures and occasional rain. It’s an excellent time to explore the country’s history and culture, and there are fewer tourists, making it easier to get around and experience the local lifestyle.
  • Spring (March to May): Spring in Malta is pleasant, with warm temperatures and colorful flora. It’s a great time to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking and cycling.

While summer is the peak season, autumn and spring offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds, while winter is ideal for exploring the local culture and history.

Date Ideas

Malta is a beautiful and romantic destination, with a variety of activities and locations perfect for a date. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or an adventurous day trip, there’s something for every couple to enjoy.

Here are some date ideas in Malta:

  • Sunset Cruise: Enjoy a romantic evening on a sunset cruise around the coast of Malta, taking in the stunning views and relaxing atmosphere.
  • Wine Tasting: Malta is home to several excellent wineries, offering a unique opportunity to taste some of the local wines and learn about the history of Maltese viticulture.
  • Private Beach Picnic: Book a private beach for a romantic picnic, with beautiful scenery and delicious food.
  • Stargazing: Head to one of Malta’s remote countryside locations and enjoy stargazing together, with beautiful views of the night sky.
  • Horse Riding: Take a scenic horse ride through the Maltese countryside, exploring the beautiful scenery together.
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride: Experience Malta from above with a hot air balloon ride, taking in the stunning views and enjoying a unique perspective of the island.
  • Spa Day: Treat yourselves to a relaxing spa day, with a variety of treatments and facilities to help you unwind and rejuvenate.
  • Street Food Tour: Explore Malta’s street food scene together, trying out some of the local delicacies and discovering new flavors.
  • Hike to a Secluded Beach: Take a scenic hike to a secluded beach, enjoying the beautiful scenery and a peaceful day together.
  • Traditional Maltese Dinner: Enjoy a traditional Maltese dinner together, with local dishes and a romantic atmosphere.

Overall, Malta offers plenty of romantic and unique date ideas for couples. From relaxing spa days to adventurous hot air balloon rides, there’s something for every couple to enjoy.

Fun and Interesting Facts

Malta is a small island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea, with a rich history and culture. Here are some fun and interesting facts about Malta:

  • Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a land area of just 316 square kilometers.
  • The Maltese language is the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet.
  • Malta is home to some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world, including the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.
  • The Maltese Cross, a symbol of the Knights of St. John, is still used by various organizations and military units around the world.
  • Malta was a British colony from 1814 until 1964, when it gained independence.
  • Malta is known for its delicious cuisine, including traditional dishes such as rabbit stew and pastizzi.
  • The island of Malta has been used as a filming location for several Hollywood movies, including Gladiator and Captain Phillips.
  • Malta is one of the sunniest countries in Europe, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year.
  • The Maltese Falcon, a novel by Dashiell Hammett, takes its name from a fictional statuette said to be located in Malta.
  • Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English, and is a popular destination for language students.

In conclusion, Malta is a fascinating and unique destination, with a rich history and culture. From ancient temples to delicious cuisine, there’s always something new and interesting to discover in this beautiful island nation.