Seven reasons to come to malta
The fact that English is Malta’s second official language obviously helps and takes away a language barrier that many guests to other holiday destinations face time and again.
Malta was part of the British empire for around 160 years. And its inhabitants have a good command of the English language.
Malta offers a vibrant nightlife, which has attracted some of the biggest names in the international club scene, such as Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and Carl Cox. Open-air clubs are a unique experience and open-air clubs are immensely popular among both locals and foreigners.
Peace and Quiet: Gozo
The Republic of Malta also includes the sister island of Gozo, which is said to be what Malta used to be: rural and peaceful. Gozo is an excellent place to enjoy with family, couple or in the company of seniors who prefer to spend a quiet holiday with beautiful beaches and views of the countryside.
Often a deciding factor for sun seekers is the potential for relaxed summer beach life and in that respect, Malta doesn’t deserve. Some of Malta’s best beaches are located along the Northern and Western shorelines of the island, most notably Mellieha Bay (the island’s largest beach), Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha.
Points of Interest
Should you be interested in spending some, if not all, of your time visiting points of interest, Malta has plenty to offer that’s worth seeing.
Moreover, unlike most travel destinations, you can visit a large number of fascinating museums and attractions that testify to Malta’s rich and turbulent history within a relatively small area.
Things to do – Sports, Leisure Activities and Events
It’s not easy to get bored in Malta, with a large number of things to do and see. You can enjoy a variety of sports and other leisure activities in Malta including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving, paragliding and windsurfing, among others.
Places of interes
Valletta is Malta’s lilliputian capital, built by the Knights of St John on a peninsula that’s only 1km by 600m. Its founder decreed that it should be ‘a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen’, and it retains its 16th-century elegance. It may be small, but it’s packed full of sights; when Unesco named Valletta a World Heritage site, it described it as ‘one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world’.
Malta’s cool crowd flocks here to eat, drink, shop and party, and if you’re looking for a base that mingles cosmopolitan sparkle with quiet backstreets, this is the perfect choice. Connected by a lovely seafront promenade, with shimmering Mediterranean views, this collection of districts merge into one another, and are packed with shops, restaurants and bars.
The mysterious golden-stone Arabic walled city of Mdina crowns a hilltop, and is a world apart from modern Malta. Its hidden lanes offer exquisite architectural detail and respite from the day-tripping crowds, who largely stick to the main street. Today, with its massive walls and peaceful, shady streets, it is often referred to as the Silent City, a nickname that becomes appropriate after dark.
This huge natural arch is in the sea cliffs 400m to the east of the seaside hamlet of Wied iż-Żurrieq. Thirty-minute boat trips also take in seven caves, including the Honeymoon Cave, Reflection Cave and Cat’s Cave. The best viewing time is before mid-morning when the sun is shining into the grotto.
The ancient fishing village of Marsaxlokk (marsa-shlock; from marsa sirocco, meaning ‘southeasterly harbour’) at the head of Marsaxlokk Bay resolutely remains a slice of real Maltese life, despite the encroachment of industry and the descent of hundreds of tourists every Sunday for its weekly fish and souvenir market.
For such a small island, Gozo packs in a wide variety of experiences and attractions. Travelling history fans shouldn’t miss the megalithic temples at Ġgantija, and the recently restored Il-Kastell fortress towering above Gozo’s compact capital of Victoria is one of Malta’s finest sights. Mountain biking, kayaking and clifftop hiking are all opportunities for active visitors, while Gozo’s food and wine scene focuses strongly on fresh local produce and briny-fresh seafood. While Malta can sometimes feel busy and crowded, sleepy and laid-back Gozo offers the perfect opportunity to breathe out and relax.
Comino (Kemmuna in Malti) is a small, barren chunk of limestone wedged smack-bang between Malta and Gozo. It was once reportedly the hideout of pirates and smugglers, and its remoteness saw it used as a place of isolation for cholera and plague victims in the early 19th century.
Festivals and events
Alarme! is a one-hour event held at Valletta’s historic Fort St Elmo, re-enacting the day in 1798 when Napoleon’s revolutionary fleet was sighted on the Mediterranean Sea. Only two years later, the Maltese rebelled against the unpopular French. This is one more great event to get to know Malta’s history. The show starts at 11am on the third Sunday of the month and costs €5.
Carnival in Malta has been an important event for five centuries, since its introduction on the islands by the Order of St John. In the beginning, Carnival was officially celebrated in Birgu, Valletta, where some knights played in tournaments.
This festival held by the Malta Tourism Authority is a successful Maltese food and drink extravaganza. Local and foreign chefs serve you the best food the Mediterranean region has to offer during a four-day festival. Did you love the Maltese food you tasted so far? Go to this event and understand its origins and how it influenced the culinary of other countries.
Freedom Day is a Maltese holiday. The events take place at the War Memorial in Floriana and traditional regatta boat races are held in the Grand Harbour of Valletta.
Holy Week starts on the Friday preceding Good Friday, with the life-size Statue of Our Lady of Sorrows being carried and followed in procession through the streets of many towns and villages in Malta by hundreds of parishioners dressed in costumes that mimic clothes from the Old Testament.
The Malta International Fireworks Festival is an amazing event celebrated every year to display Malta’s firework factories expertise. They do it so well because Malta has a long tradition of fireworks since the time of the Order of the Knights of St John, when explosives were used to celebrate special occasions. Fireworks then developed into a craft during the period of Malta’s history in which the British ruled.
If you like local festivities or festivals, Malta is the place for you. The Maltese have more than 75 local village feasts during the summer. These originally religious festivities are in honour of the town’s patron saint. All events like this in Malta have fireworks, religious processions and brass band music marches, which are all very fun to watch. These events are so popular among tourists that a few local tour operators even organise trips to some of the most popular “festas”. Catch a glimpse of what Malta is all about, specially in the main events of Saturdays and Sundays.
This international festival in Malta is organised every year since 1990. The three-day event always features top musicians that Jazz lovers will recognize. Expect to find a mix of Jazz styles performing under the beautiful Maltese night sky in the historical location of Ta’Liesse, in the Great Harbour of Valletta. Even if you are not a Jazz fan, the setting of this great festival in Malta is something not to be missed.
The Farsons Great Beer Festival claims to be the biggest and most diverse free outdoor festival in Malta. Of course it is sponsored by Farsons, a Maltese brand which sells the beer produced and imported by them. But this is an event for the whole family in a popular environment with around 40 live bands performing on two stages, kids’ Fantasyland and a lot of Maltese food and drink. The festival starts at 8pm everyday, in Ta’Qali park. Entrance and parking is free.
The first edition of Malta’s wine festival was in 2002. This Maltese event is the way the country celebrates the beginning of the wine harvest. It offers visitors a wide range of quality wines from Malta and Gozo in the beautiful setting of the Upper Barrakka Gardens, once again in the Grand Harbour of Valletta.
This event celebrates the lifting of the 1565 siege against the Turks, the capitulation of the French in 1800 and the end of the siege of the Axis powers in 1943, all part of Malta’s history. On the same day, Valletta’s Grand Harbour is the scenery to a traditional regatta of colourful boats.
Independence Day is celebrated every year since 1964, when Malta attained its independence from the UK. Several events take place in different settings.
The first edition of this Maltese Air Festival was back in 1993. Throughout the day (10.00-18.00h), on land, visitors have access to some of the Luqa Airfield ramps (south of Valletta), watch the many types of civil and military aircrafts on display or chat with the pilots in The Malta International Airshow. You even have aircrafts from World War II, in which Malta played a vital role.
The BirguFest Festival in Malta was created to celebrate the past of Citta Vittoriosa (Birgu’s old name) and show its history and beautiful architecture. But it soon became one of the biggest and best cultural events in Malta.
The festival lasts 3 days, in which activities held throughout the day consist of guided tours around the city, re-enactments, parades, traditional and modern musical concerts, exhibitions and food stalls offering not only Maltese food but also other tasty delicacies. Birgu’s museums are open late, entrances are cheaper and some usually closed venues open to to public.
Festival Mediterranea is an event that turns the Gozo island into a big party that glorifies its cultural and artistic life. There are music concerts, walks and talks in ancient and historic places, field trips, food and drink events and art exhibitions.
It celebrates the day, in 1974, when the constitution of Malta was substantially revised, changing its statute from Commonwealth Realm into a republic within the Commonwealth. This was when the Head of State ceased to be the Queen of England, giving way to the figure of the President of Malta. To commemorate the event, people have festivities on the streets and horse races are held at Marsa.
In Guardia Parades are colourful events in which actors show tourists in Malta how the inspection of the Fort St Elmo and its troops was actually made by the Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St John. Organised by Malta Tourism Authority, In Guardia Parades are performed by about 70 actors dressed in ceremony uniforms from that time of Malta’s history, demonstrating the military power of the Maltese.