A holiday in Malta is on many European traveller’s wish lists but is one of the travel options people often know little about, as opposed to popular holiday destinations such as France, Spain, Italy and Greece.
Why should you visit Malta instead of any other Mediterranean holiday destination?
What sets Malta apart from the rest and makes the island nation a must-see holiday destination?
The Maltese are renowned for their hospitality, friendliness and generosity. The people are traditionally kind-hearted and usually go out of their way to make guests feel at home. The majority of people are very accommodating, and are very willing to lend a helping hand, should you need directions or require assistance of any kind.
This characteristic is deep-rooted in Maltese culture and makes for a very warm and welcoming experience. Apart from personal experience, it’s something I hear those who travelled to Malta mention on a regular basis.
The fact that English is Malta’s second official language obviously helps and takes away a language barrier that many guests to other holiday destinations face time and again.
Malta was part of the British empire for around 160 years (gaining independence in 1964), which shaped the country and its inhabitants, most of whom now have a good command of the English language.
For English-speaking tourists this means that communication forms little or no problem, which is an important benefit. Maltese, however, is still the country’s primary language spoken by the vast majority of the Maltese population.
Should you be interested in spending some, if not all, of your time visiting points of interest, Malta has plenty to offer that’s worth seeing.
Moreover, unlike most travel destinations, you can visit a large number of fascinating museums in Malta that testify to the country’s rich and turbulent history within a relatively small area. You can organise day trips, combining a visit to, for example, Mdina with visiting the Tarxien Temples, rather than losing half the day on travelling to a single location.
Many tour operators can facilitate you with a choice of tours around the Maltese islands, but obviously at a cost. The relatively short distances, convenient bus routes and road signs make it relatively easy to find your way around using public transport or a hired car if you prefer to explore the islands by yourself. Even easier, you can take a hop on hop off bus tour that takes you past a bunch of places in no time.
Get my recommendations on the best day trips, boat trips, excursions and activities and book in advance!
There’s a wide range of possibilities for accommodation in Malta and hotels in Gozo when looking for a place to stay. Besides a choice of hotels (from luxurious 5-star hotels to the more economical 4- and 3-star hotels), many self-catering apartments, as well as hostels, can be found throughout Malta and Gozo.
Accommodation in St. Julian’s is recommended if you enjoy spending your nights going out but, being close to the nightlife hub of Malta, staying there is not advisable for couples and families who prefer peace and serenity. For those travellers, places like Mellieħa and St. Paul’s Bay are much better places to look for accommodation.
Find out more on Where to stay in Malta.
There’s more to Malta as a nation than just the island Malta itself. The Republic of Malta also includes sister island Gozo, which is said to be what Malta used to be like: rural and peaceful. Gozo is an excellent location for families, couples and elderly who prefer having a peaceful holiday with beautiful beaches and countryside views.
There are plenty of interesting sites around in Gozo as well, for example, the Citadel bastions of island capital Victoria, the Megalithic temples of Ggantija, or Calypso’s cave, said to be the location of part of Homer’s Odyssey. The seaside town of Xlendi is a popular tourist destination as well, offering a beautiful view of its bay surrounded by high cliffs. Ramla l-Hamla, Dahlet Qorrot and San Blas Bay are beautiful beaches to go for a swim, one being larger and busier, the other being more secluded and more difficult to get to (steep hill descent) but definitely worth the effort.
To get to Gozo on arrival at Malta airport, you can book a direct transfer which takes you straight from the airport to the ferries in the Northern most tip of the island of Malta (a place called Cirkewwa). The ferries will take you to Mgarr Harbour in Gozo, from where you can easily get a taxi to your accommodation if you arrive during the day. For late night arrivals, it’s best to make arrangements with a local taxi operator before travelling.
Unlike many other Mediterranean destinations, a holiday in Malta offers you a lot of possibilities even outside of the high season. Outdoor activities such as biking or hiking are very popular during the rest of the year and many people flock to cultural and historical sites to learn more about Malta’s past and present whilst enjoying the country’s mild winter weather.
Malta offers a vibrant nightlife, which has attracted some of the biggest names in the international club scene, such as Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and Carl Cox. Open-air clubs are a unique experience and open-air clubs are immensely popular among both locals and foreigners.
Often a deciding factor for sun seekers is the potential for relaxed summer beach life and in that respect, Malta doesn’t deserve.
It’s not just about the most popular beaches in Malta, however. If you’re looking for quiet and smaller beaches with beautiful surroundings Malta and sister island Gozo offer a few great options, some of which aren’t easy to find and therefore less likely to attract the masses.
How would one spot these beaches?
You can either ask the locals or if you’re more adventurous have a look at satellite imaging on Google Maps and find your way!
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