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Your guide to Malta
All About Malta
Floating in the southeastern Mediterranean between Sicily and Libya is Malta, the tiny archipelago nation whose main islands, Malta, Gozo and Camino, are famous for their UNESCO sites. Over the last 7,000 years, several civilizations have left their cultural and artistic stamps on the country. You’ll find a mix of Roman, Arab, French, Italian, and British influences here, including in the language, Malti, a Siculo-Arabic dialect that’s Semitic in origin and has taken on some distinctly European words.
Walking through the cobblestone streets of the capital, Valletta, you’ll find incredible architectural variety, including prehistoric temples and the perfectly preserved back streets of Vittoriosa, the original home of the Knights of Malta. Apart from its cultural importance, Malta has plenty of outdoor attractions to explore, including fossil-studded cliffs, secret coves, blue lagoons, peaceful beaches, and some of the best scuba diving in the region.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Malta?
Due to the warming influence of the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, Malta’s temperature remains mild year-round. While summer is the prime season for the beach and for visiting, temperatures in spring and fall are still ideal for ocean dips, sunbathing, and exploration. Even in the winter, you can also enjoy a vacation rental in Malta — but don’t forget to pack a sweater or light jacket.
What are the top things to do in Malta?
Valletta, the capital of Malta, is just 24 square miles, making it the smallest capital in Europe. The entire city itself is a UNESCO Heritage Site, so just walking around is a marvel. Explore St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a richly ornate example of Baroque architecture; and the Upper Barrakka Gardens, parks created in 1661 for the Knights of St. John, with fountains, sculptures, and arched colonnades that boast glorious views of Malta and the harbor.
A 45-minute ferry ride from Malta is Gozo, a rural island with farmhouses and fishing villages as well as ancient treasures like the 5,000-year-old Ġgantija temples, a UNESCO Heritage Site and the oldest free-standing monuments in the world. Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu Basilica is also not to be missed, with its scenic views, 15th-century history, and sculptures made with Maltese stone. And for those with PADI cards, the island’s reefs, caves, and shipwrecks make it one of the best diving sites in the Mediterranean.
The third UNESCO Heritage Site in Malta is the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, an underground complex that is thought by archeologists to have been used as a sanctuary and cemetery. It was cut entirely out of limestone with prehistoric tools like flint and antlers. The Hypogeum dates from 3600 B.C.E., making it one of the best preserved and most essential structures from the Neolithic era.