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Malta – one of the Mediterranean’s Best Destinations

A fascinating island just waiting to be discovered.

May 2024
It is no coincidence that so many film producers have chosen Malta as a backdrop. With its fascinating and colorful history and beautiful architecture, there is a whole world to discover there – despite its diminutive size. Here are our top reasons why you should choose Malta for a sunseeker’s vacation this year.

In many ways, Malta could be described as the very best that Mediterranean destinations have to offer, all wrapped up in a small archipelago-shaped package. There are turquoise lagoons, almost too many historical sights to take in, a gorgeous sun-drenched climate, delicious cuisine flavored with all kinds of influences, and fantastic hiking tours – all within easy reach, since it doesn’t take long to get around this island nation by car. English is also spoken and used everywhere, making Malta a convenient choice for many tourists. So what exactly is there to do in Malta?

Photo: Unsplash

Valletta – a city steeped in history

With its established place on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the medieval city of Valletta is an absolute must for any traveler heading to Malta. The city was founded by the Order of Saint John in the middle of the 16th century, and evidence of these origins can still be seen in both Fort Saint Elmo and St. John’s Co-Cathedral, which is also home to Caravaggio’s masterpiece The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Valletta is the capital of Malta and boasts one of the country’s highest concentrations of historical monuments, with more than 320!

Another unmissable sight to behold are the Barrakka Gardens – there’s an Upper one and a Lower one. Perched at Valletta’s highest point, they serve up a beautiful green oasis among all the stone houses and streets. The city’s architecture, punctuated with colorful balconies, will make you want to linger as long as possible in every new alley you run into.

Citadella Malta
Photo: Unsplash

Ancient ruins or blue lagoons on neighboring islands

Ġgantija is a stone temple dating back over 5,000 years – Malta’s answer to Stonehenge, with limestone formations standing several meters tall. You’ll find it on Malta’s neighboring island of Gozo, a place that also offers excellent hiking opportunities, secluded beaches, and the magnificent Citadel, a medieval fort filled with churches, museums, and Second World War bunkers.

If you’re longing to take a plunge into the most vivid turquoise waters that Malta – and maybe even the entire Mediterranean – has to offer, just head to the Blue Lagoon sandwiched between the even smaller islands of Comino and Cominotto. Take the boat from Malta or Gozo early, as the lagoon gets very busy. Comino is also perfect for enjoying a short stroll before your boat trip back.

Comino island Malta
Photo: Unsplash

World-class diving

Malta, Gozo and Comino are some of the Mediterranean’s top diving destinations. All of the islands are surrounded by an underwater treasure trove begging to be explored: old shipwrecks, airplanes, and submarines from both world wars, along with fascinating underwater rocks or caves teeming with marine life.

And for non-certified divers, there are plenty of spots you can get up close to fish, crabs, and maybe even an octopus or two with just a mask and snorkel.

ION Harbour Malta
Photo: ION Harbour

Discover a cuisine flavored by many influences

Malta’s geographical location and its colorful history have naturally left their mark on the food served on its vibrant culinary scene – think Sicily meets North Africa, seasoned with a hint of Britain and France.

Among the island’s most popular dishes are fenkata (rabbit stew) and lampuki (dorado fish, often served in a pie with tomatoes, olives, sultanas, onions, and spinach). Various species of fish and shellfish make up a large proportion of Maltese cuisine.

Malta also boasts seven Michelin-starred restaurants, including British chef Simon Rogan’s ION Harbour, which offers unbeatable views of Valletta’s historic harbor.

Popeye Village Malta
Photo: Unsplash

A gold mine for location tourism

Malta’s funniest and quirkiest movie set is the village built for the 1980 musical production Popeye (starring Robin Williams). Popeye Village still stands on Malta’s northwest coast and is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. You can even get married there if you want to!

But Malta has provided the backdrop for many other movies, TV series, and computer games too, including Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Assassin's Creed,and Jurassic Park.

A warm welcome for everyone

Malta is often praised for its LGBTQI-friendly atmosphere, making it a great destination for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender travelers thanks to its multitude of gay-friendly cafés, shops, and restaurants. ILGA-Europe (the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) ranked Malta as its top European LGBTQI destination in 2022.

At the same time, Malta is an incredibly family-friendly place with lots to see and do, short transport distances, gorgeous beaches, child-friendly attractions such as Popeye Village, snorkeling, and more besides.

Basically, Malta offers a lot for a wide-range of people in a very concentrated area.

Text by Daniel Björk