Malta is small but perfectly formed, filled with ancient architecture, interesting history and glorious beaches. The island brims with Arabic and North African cultural influences and with some delicious Mediterranean and Sicilian style food, it’s easy to see why Malta is such a popular family destination.
At just 316 square kilometers, Malta is indeed petite, but that does not prevent it from being one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the world. The tiny country off the southern coast of Italy was once under British rule, but is now a self-governing republic. There are many scenic beaches that give access to the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Mediterranean seas.
St John’s Cathedral
St. John’s Roman Catholic Co-Cathedral is located in Valetta and is Malta’s most impressive church built by the Knights of Malta and completed in 1578. The church was used by the Knights of St John was designed by Gerolamo Cassar, a prominent architect of the 16th century. The cathedral interior is decorated heavily with gold, and the many ornate details provide hours of study for interested visitors.
Fort St. Elmo
The ancient fortification of Fort St. Elmo is also located at Valetta (pictured at the top of this post) and was built in 1552 by the Knights to guard the harbours on both sides of the Sceberras Peninsula. The fort is the namesake of the patron saint of mariners, Saint Elmo, because ships were used to prevent raiding Turkish armies from entering the harbours. The fort is now the home of the Malta Police Academy, and visitors can view historical re-enactment performances once each week on Sunday mornings.
Cruise Malta and her islands
If your time in Malta is limited, then you may want to take in as many sights as possible by purchasing a tour package. Some of the most popular tours are offered by the Captain Morgan Cruise line. You can choose the all day cruise around Malta, Gozo Island and Comino Island (pictured above) that includes a buffet style lunch, a day trip to the Blue Lagoon or a sunset cruise that includes a buffet dinner. If the vacationer prefers to get deeper into the heart of the island, a 24 hour ticket for the hop-on, hop-off tour bus may be a good choice. The bus provides comfort and security, along with a full commentary of each of the ten scheduled stops on the tour.
History and culture
Immerse yourself in the local culture by viewing the historic homes and palaces located on Malta, such as the Auberge d’Aragon, The Grandmaster’s Palace and the Summer Palace; The Verdala Palace. A private tour of noble homes and palaces introduces Maltese art and history, influenced by the Romans, Greeks, French and British. Some of the most beautiful architecture in the world houses fantastic decor on marble, mirrored and gilded walls. A private tour guide provides information and answers questions as they lead fascinated visitors through stately palaces, beautiful gardens and historic towns.
Beaches in Malta
What with the sheer amount of interesting and beautiful sights to explore, you may have difficulty finding some spare time to spend on one of Malta’s beautiful beaches. There are plenty of sand, pebble and rock beaches and lagoons to choose from across Malta, Gozo and Camino so it’s well worth taking the extra time to relax and swim in the incredibly clear water. Try the family-friendly sandy beach at Mellieha Bay in northern Malta with plenty of sunbeds and local facilities, or try Pretty Bay which is the only sand beach in the whole of southern Malta.
One visit to this island paradise will surely tempt a visiting tourist to return again and again. A visitor to Malta will not lack for sights to see and places to go. There are many interesting and inexpensive tours available to attractions of all types.
By Julie Bowman