Destination spotlight: Malta

With its excellent mid-Mediterranean location, Malta is a true gem of a getaway with its year-round mild climate, stunning natural landscapes and variety of archaeological finds that span 7 millennia to explore.

 

Just south of Sicily, Malta’s location made it a good strategic base and it has a rich history because of it – from the Phoenicians, Ancient Greeks and Romans through to the British Empire of the 19th and 20th century.

 
An aerial view of the beautiful islandAn aerial view of the beautiful island
 

Now after more than 50 years of independence, those who flock are looking for something else – and there is much to see and some wonderful places to stay to make the most of the main island, and its beautiful capital Valletta, the smallest in the European Union. It is also easily accessible, with private flights possible to Malta Luqa airport.

 

Malta is in fact an archipelago, with three inhabited islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, plus a number of smaller uninhabited islands. Many start with Malta’s capital, a magnificent fortress city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here there are numerous sites to see, with St John’s co-Cathedral and museum, the Grandmaster’s Palace and Armoury and plenty of Baroque churches, piazzas and museums.

 
The gorgeous baroque architecture of MaltaThe gorgeous baroque architecture of Malta
 

As well as the stunning National Museum of Fine Arts, housed in a former palace, and the St James Cavalier cultural centre, there is also a contemporary art scene emerging, with galleries like Christine X and Studio 104 leading the way.

 

The beauty of the city is in its size, and means exploring on foot is easy and by far the best way to see everything close up. Away from the impressive buildings, if you want to find some fresh air try Valletta’s beautiful gardens which are in easy reach. Popular places include the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, and Hastings Gardens – plus many hidden gardens.

 
Take a stroll through the stunning Lower Barrakka GardensTake a stroll through the stunning Lower Barrakka Gardens
 

A great place to stay is Casa Ellul, a city hideaway which has been beautifully restored by the Ellul family, and now offers just 8 elegantly-appointed suites in their Victorian palazzo. Expect very attentive service, luxurious linens, carefully restored tiles and cocktails in the Casa’s magical courtyard.

 
Enjoy the views at the beautiful Casa EllulEnjoy the views at the beautiful Casa Ellul – Image courtesy of urban life n style
 

Valletta is a small but bustling city, and if you want to escape the crowds head to Malta’s sister islands of Gozo and Comino with their slower pace and more rural backdrop. Comino is car-free and has just the one hotel and its waters are a paradise for snorkelers, divers, windsurfers and walkers.

 
Take a boat or go snorkeling in the beautiful waters of CominoTake a boat or go snorkeling in the beautiful waters of Comino
 

For a day trip visit the Blue Lagoon or try the beaches on the island, which include Santa Marija Bay and San Niklaw Bay. Another must is a visit to one, or more, of the megalithic temples, dotted through the country – some of which have also been given UNESCO World Heritage status.

 

With thousands of years of history, with each culture leaving their mark, Malta is a perfect getaway to explore both the archaeological and architectural. Couple this with beautiful gardens, beaches and a picture-postcard capital and you will see why Malta offers everything you could want from a European island jaunt. Be sure to charter your jet to Malta Luqa airport and arrive to the Island in comfort.

 

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