The island of Malta is a small independent nation-state that is located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. Consisting of three inhabited islands, Malta is the EU’s smallest member state both in terms of landmass (316 km² / 122 sqm) and population size (516,100 in 2020).
Looking at the map of Europe, Malta lies just 93 km (58 miles) south of Sicily (Italy) in Southern Europe and roughly 300 km (186 miles) north of the North African coast.
Malta is an island nation that consists of three islands: main island Malta, Gozo and Comino. The country’s official languages are Maltese and English.
Malta’s capital city is Valletta, which is centrally located on the island’s north coast and has the island’s largest harbour.
The main island of Malta is the largest and most developed island. Its sister island of Gozo is idyllic and peaceful and mostly rural, offering breathtaking views and great opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking and rock climbing.
Comino is the smallest island of the three and is inhabited by only a few people. The island hosts a hotel renowned for its hospitality and facilities to spend relaxing holidays in Malta and is the location for one of Malta’s most beautiful bays: the Blue Lagoon.
No, Malta has been an independent state since 21 September 1964, and a Republic since 13 December 1974.
Before 1964 Malta formed part of the British Empire, and between 1964 and 1974 it was an independent state but still recognised Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain as its Monarch. Since 1974, Malta is a Republic within the British Commonwealth, which is a voluntary membership intended to improve international cooperation.
The size of Malta’s population is roughly 500,000 whilst its geographical size is limited to around 316 square kilometres and as a result, Malta ranks highly on the list of most densely populated countries in the world. The leading religion in Malta is Roman Catholicism, followed by the vast majority of the population.
The capital city of Malta is Valletta, which is one of the smallest and youngest capital cities in Europe. Built in 1566 by the Knights of Malta, Valletta was built as a fortress. Surrounded by tall bastions and full of Baroque buildings and history, it’s one of Malta’s top tourist attractions.
Of the three islands, Malta is by far the largest in geographical size, at around 246 square km (95 sq miles), with Gozo coming in second at only 67 sq km (26 sq miles), while Comino is the smallest of the inhabited Maltese islands at just 2.7 square km (1 sq mile). 84% Of the country’s population reside in Malta, where most urbanisation took place towards the North-Eastern side of the island, with Valletta and its Harbour areas at the centre of the most densely populated parts.
With its large harbours, it’s no surprise that the island Malta has the highest population density compared to that of Gozo, while Comino is currently inhabited by only two people. Among all EU member states, Malta has the highest percentage of built-up land, at over 30%. (Source: European Environment Agency)
The Maltese are a proud people, with a unique culture that has been shaped by foreign cultures during several ages of occupancy.
Many falsely believe Maltese culture as merely being a melting pot of cultures introduced by foreign empires, however, foreign influences moulded a collection of pre-existing, age-old traditions, customs and values passed on through successive generations of Maltese and Gozitans.
The country has two official languages, with a large number of the population speaking both Maltese and English.
Was this article helpful? Share it with your friends!