Situated in the central Mediterranean, Malta has a distinct Italian or Sicilian influence with a rich history and an enchanting mix of ancient and modern. There is always something to discover - especially in its capital Valletta, a world heritage site. Its numerous beaches also make it a naturally popular holiday destination. Approximately two thirds of the local population speak English, the Maltese being known for their friendliness.
The island has sun most of the year – and wind. Popular for winter escapes, the ‘shoulder’ seasons are often still very sunny but with more rain and cooler, although still quite mild. Some experts consider Malta to have one of the best climates in the world.
With the airport in Luqa (just east of the island’s centre), the capital Valletta and chic Sliema are situated nearby in the northeast and make an interesting first stop if hiring a car. The island boasts several museums, galleries and listed archaeological sites. Choose a guided boat trip and appreciate Valetta’s naval base, the island’s fascinating coastline and its years of history at the crossroads of the Mediterranean. For the adventurous, there are diving courses and excursions.
The eastern port town of Marsaxlokk has street markets, cafés and interesting shopping and is near the port of Birzebbugga. There are several beaches around the coast, the north being generally more developed, where St Paul’s Bay and Bugibba are tourist focal points. Head to Mellieha and Paradise Bay for scenery and ferries to the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino.
In a hire car, the silent city of Mdina in the centre of the island with its ancient buildings and impressive views is considered by many to be a 'must do´. Exploring it makes an interesting stop before returning to Valletta or the airport.