MALTA is a little island with a big heart. It’s cultured, educated and tranquil, yet still knows how to have a good time.
History dominates this beautiful island cluster midway between mainland Europe and north Africa.
St. John’s Cathedral, in the capital Valletta, and Mdina Cathedral, in the island’s ancient capital, are stunning examples of this while if you want to go even further back you can revisit sites that have been around for over 5,500 years.
Malta has seven magnificent megalithic temples dating back to the Bronze Age, with the Ggantija complex on the island of Gozo being the most famous. They are the oldest standing stone structures in the world and date from around 3600 to 3200 BC.
On the main island of Malta, the temples of Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and Tarxien are unique architectural masterpieces.
The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is an enormous subterranean structure excavated around the year 2,500BC. You’re advised to book tours here in advance as visiting is strictly controlled to preserve the site.
Nightlife in Malta
The best nights out are spent mingling with the locals in Valletta, Mdina or Birgu. The locals know the best places to have a good time so follow them to wherever they go.
If, on the other hand, you are after a younger experience with the latest music, then head for Paceville where the bars crowd together along narrow walkways, interspersed with pubs, bars and fast food joints. On summer weekends, the party spills out onto the street until 4am.
World-class DJs flock to the island during the summer, with Gianpula, Malta’s largest open-air club, attracting the likes of Cream and Ministry of Sound.
There’s more to Malta than Malta!
A short hop from the “main” island is the smaller island of Gozo, popular as a holiday base in its own right or just a day trip excursion.
Gozo is greener, more rural and smaller, with life’s rhythms dictated by the seasons, fishing and agriculture. Steeped in myth, it is thought to be the legendary Calypso’s isle of Homer’s Odyssey – a peaceful, mystical backwater.
All roads in Gozo lead to Victoria, also known as Rabat, which is where the fortified citadel sits high above the town. Victoria manages to combine the bustle of its market and shops with a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. It is a great place to watch the Islanders go about their day, especially when the main market square, It-Tokk, comes to life.
The island is well served by restaurants, where the quality of food is good and varied. Apart from restaurants and cafes offering local dishes as well as continental menus, one can also enjoy themed restaurants, such as Chinese or Indian.
The island is home to the Maltese islands’ best-preserved prehistoric temples, called Ggantija (Maltese for “giant”) because of their enormous size.