Featured Destination: Malta
Written by: Sydney M Crago on July 30, 2018
Anchored in the Mediterranean Sea, about 60 miles off the coast of Sicily is Malta, a small archipelago nation. Three islands make up the country: Malta, Gozo, and Comino, though Malta is home to the nation’s airport, busy cruise port, and capital city.
The Maltese people are known for their warm hospitality, and communication is easy as many residents speak English, the country’s second official language. With fantastic weather year-round and a rich 7,000-year history, these islands captivate their guests and ask them to dive into what makes this country so unique.
Malta has something for every history buff. Prehistoric sites appeal to those with an archaeology interest while fortresses and the islands’ strategic role as a British colony in World War II appeals to those with an interest in more recent events.
Many of the country’s most famous historical sites can be found in Valletta, Malta’s capital city. Valletta is a World Heritage city and a European Art City due in part to its museums and churches. St. John’s Co-Cathedral captivates its viewers with its baroque architecture and décor while its museum holds two painting by the renown renaissance artist Caravaggio. Visitors can also explore Malta’s National Museum of Archaeology, home to many of the prehistoric artifacts discovered throughout the islands. Or, step into pre-history by touring the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, an underground structure of chambers constructed around 3000 BC. Be warned, visitors should book tickets well in advance for this attraction as tours are limited to preserve the site.
Malta’s small size is a great benefit for those looking to explore beyond Valletta. Public transport is readily available to cities, like Mdina, where St. Paul is said to have been shipwrecked in 60 AD, and Vittoriosa, a city whose crystal-blue-water harbor has welcomed ships for thousands of years.
Exploring the Islands
The natural wonder of the Maltese islands seems never ending. The impossibly blue sea is particularly beautiful when seen from the Dingli cliffs. This famous spot on Malta’s west coast is the highest point in the islands, and provides an unparalleled experience for visitors to watch the colors paint the sky as sun sets into the sea.
Malta’s smaller neighbor, Gozo has earned the nickname, “the land where time stood still,” for good reason. Gozo boasts panoramic views and historical sites, like Ggantija, one of the world’s best-preserved prehistoric temples that are among the oldest free-standing stone buildings in the world. The island’s rural feel is perfect for hikers and photographers looking to take in the countryside, while the beaches call to swimmer and sunbathers.
Cominio is the smallest island and is uninhabited, making it a unique and serene escape. Its natural turquoise water, particularly the Blue Lagoon, are favorites of boaters, scuba divers, snorkelers, and swimmers. Many find Comino’s coast to be the best diving in the Mediterranean Sea and love exploring the shipwrecks and creatures found beneath the waves.
There is a variety of accommodations available across the island. International hotel chains like Westin, Radisson, and Hilton have resorts and hotel properties that ensure guests will have a comfortable and quality stay. European and local hotels are key options for guests looking to dive deeper into Malta’s culture or experience a more boutique stay.
Malta’s food is heavily influenced by Mediterranean flavors and incorporates the local produce, like garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil, and seafood. Sheep or goat’s milk is used for many of the islands dairy products. Wineries provide flavorful and distinctive wines, which are a source of pride on the island.
How to Visit Malta
Clients who wish to visit Malta have many opportunities to do so. Many Mediterranean cruises call at Valletta Cruise Port, including: Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and MSC Cruises.
Agents looking to book land vacations to Malta should explore these suppliers.
• Avanti Destinations
• Central Holidays
• Europe Express
• Gate 1 Travel
• Goway Travel
• Insight vacations
• Travel Bound
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