Malta. Middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Occupied for hundreds of years by marauding Ottoman Turks, Crusaders, the British – you name it, some country you know has probably made an attempt at conquering the cluster of three islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino.

 

Fishing boats in one of the many little harbour which ring the island

 

 

Malta is not a destination that you think of when contemplating a holiday in Europe, it cetainly does not stack up against the glamour of Paris or St Tropez. However, do yourself a favour, try Malta.

The main island (Malta), home to 450,000 Maltese and many more annual tourists, is easily accessible via low cost airlines such as Ryanair and the national flag carrier, Air Malta. Sea ferries call regularly from Sicily (about an hours sail). Gozo, the larger of the other two islands is home to another 50,000 Maltese and boasts several beautiful beaches; Comino is the other island and very sparsely populated with limited facilities.

It’s on the main island, however, where the action is. The architecture draws heavily on its Arabic/Turkish Ottoman origins liberally sprinkled with the influences of a few hundred years of British rule. English is widely spoken.

 

Typical Medina architecture in the old town

The beaches are beautiful, the road system adequate and a excellent bus service circumnavigates the island. There are countless hotels – ancient and modern, as well as other types of hostels. Restaurants abound. However, if it is history that you’re after, then Malta is the spot. Walking through the streets and in the ancient towns, not to mention the stunningly beautiful Churches, is like paging through world history. Everything is kept neat and tidy and the Maltese take great pride in their islands.

 

A view of Gozo harbour as you enter

 

 

We stayed at the ultra modern Radisson Blu resort complex on Grand Bay in the north-west corner of the island, where your every whim is catered for, or you do your own catering, buying produce at the well stocked local supermarkets and shops. Valetta is a bustling capital city with its narrow lanes and historic buildings echoing the Knights of the Order of St John, to whom Malta owes so much.

If 5-star resorts are not your back, there are literally thousands of backpacker, B&Bs and budget hotels on offer ringing the many bays with beautiful beaches.

The Grand Harbour of Malta in Valetta, the capital of the main island

 

 

Take a stop over in Malta – you won’t be disappointed.

 

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