Lying at the heart of the Mediterranean between Sicily and North Africa, the Maltese archipelago is made up of nine islands, only three of which are inhabited - Malta, Gozo and Comino.
Malta is the largest, beautiful and sunny, with a history dating back 7,000 years. The Sicilians, Romans, Phoenicians, Byzantines and Knights of Malta have all ruled the island. It is where St Paul was shipwrecked in 60 AD and it was conquered by Napoleon as he sailed to Egypt in 1798.
The remains of these ancient civilisations are dotted around Malta and Gozo. There are Stone, Copper and Bronze Age temples, monuments to a fertility goddess and underground burial chambers.
Valletta is the Unesco-listed capital, sitting on the Mount Sceberras peninsula with two deep harbours - Marsamxett and Grand Harbour - below. The city is a grid of narrow streets packed with palaces and churches. Now that the island is a member of the EU, cheap flights to Malta are offered by several airlines. An alternative way of getting there is to find cheap flights to Sicily and take a ferry from there.
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Malta is bathed in sunshine all year long. It averages a temperature of 29 degrees, which is cooled by pleasant sea breezes from the Mediterranean Sea. Some rain falls in the winter and the spring months are characterised by strong winds, although it's still sunny.
When to fly to Malta
Malta is a year-round destination with its glorious Mediterranean climate of lots of sunshine and little rain. Winters are generally mild and peak season can extend into October.
There is no off season per se and no bad time to search for cheap flights to Malta.
Getting around Malta
Malta is far too small to need air links, although Malta Air Charter offers helicopter service from Malta to Gozo. There is also a ferry service between Malta and Gozo. Bus services are available throughout Malta as is car-hire. Driving is on the left. A traditional way to see the island is by horse-drawn carriage.
Malta insider information
- One of the smallest and most beautiful beaches on Malta is Paradise Bay. Located in the north of the island, tourists can catch a ferry to Gozo very close by.
- The capital, Valletta, is a World Heritage city. It has many attractions including St. John’s Co. Cathedral and Museum, which was built between 1573 and 1577. Caravaggio’s masterpiece, the Beheading of St. John, hangs in the Oratory. The artist was on the run in Malta from Italian authorities when he painted it in 1607.
- Marsaxlokk is a fishing village in the southeast of Malta. Visit on a Sunday. This is when the fishermen sell their catch on the quay.
- Vittoriosa is, along with Senglea and Cospicua, one of The Three Cities. It is the most beautiful and interesting of the three with a lovely waterfront, some beautiful old streets in "The Collachio" and the old Fort St Angelo, where the Knights of Malta had their headquarters. On the seafront is the Maritime Museum; the Folk Museum is in the Inquisitor’s Palace.
- The Hypogeum (underground cavity) in Valletta is the world’s largest underground religious site. It consists of halls, chambers and passages cut out of the rock. There are three levels – upper, middle and lower – all dated to between 3600 BC and 2500 BC. Visiting the Hypogeum takes some planning. To preserve the site, just 80 visitors a day are admitted and tours are often booked up weeks in advance. Book online.
- Ggantija Temples in Xaghra, Gozo, is a megalithic site. In Maltese, Ggantija means “belonging to the giants,” which gives some clue to its size. The two temples are ancient, more than 5,500 years old. They are the world’s oldest free-standing structures, older than Stonehenge or the pyramids in Egypt, and are thought to have been the site of an Earth Mother Goddess Fertility Cult.