Malta holidays offer something for all travellers. This small, rocky archipelago (the largest island, Malta, is 17 miles by 9 miles) is ringed by dizzying sea cliffs and gentle bays, and, remarkably, contains some of Europe’s finest prehistoric sites, predating Egypt’s pyramids.
The islands’ location at the heart of the Mediterranean has given them an enormous historic importance, and their towns are dominated by ornate Baroque architecture built by Christian warrior-medics, the Knights of Malta. Malta’s Grand Harbour is a wonder in itself – an enormous sheltered loop of sea, surrounding the handsome capital Valletta. Local culture is full of life and colour, with village feasts year-round – the Maltese never miss an opportunity to set off fireworks. Open-air festivals fill the calendar with music from opera to trance. However, holidays to Malta can also offer complete relaxation – this Mediterranean island group has more than 300 sunny days a year, and you can relax on fine sandy beaches or dive into wonderfully blue natural pools.
Small sister island Gozo is the perfect place to slow the pace down to an amble – stay in a farmhouse and cycle or walk extraordinarily scenic hills. With shipwrecks on all sides, the islands are often ranked among the world’s best diving locations, but there’s much for adrenaline-seeking non-divers as well, with activities ranging from horse riding to paragliding, and from rock climbing to sailing. With awe-inspiring scenery, a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere and a fascinating history, the melting pot of Malta is a perfect place for a holiday, with something to suit every taste.
Isle of MTV
A huge music lovers’ event in June/July, this is Europe’s largest free pop festival, with open-air concerts featuring plenty of the industry’s biggest names.
The hot summer months see some of Malta’s major arts events take place, with outdoor arts and jazz festivals and performances in the streets.
There are village feasts every month, with food stalls, music and fireworks. The largest cluster of events is on 15 August for Assumption Day, a major Catholic holiday.
Go to the Hypogeum
Malta and Gozo have many impressive prehistoric sites, but most extraordinary is this underground chamber, with carvings and paintwork preserved for more than 5000 years.
See Valletta’s Cathedral
Valletta Cathedral is a Baroque masterpiece, with a lavish gold and mosaic interior lined by ornate chapels, as well as the world’s largest Caravaggio painting.
Zip around in a speedboat
The Maltese love to hang out in boats, and with good reason – it’s the only way to island hop and visit hidden caves and coves.