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Blick auf Valletta, die Hauptstadt Maltas, Bild: krivinis/shutterstock

Malta – a holiday paradise steeped in history in the Mediterranean

Malta is a small state south of Sicily and was inhabited thousands of years ago. Many civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans, have settled the island south of Sicily, which can still be seen today in the Maltese language with its diverse influences. In Phoenician, the name of the place means something like “refuge”, which is still true – except that today the island is more of a refuge for holidaymakers who want to escape the cold weather in their homeland.

Malta Beach
Malta is also suitable for beach holidays, Image: Niamy/shutterstock

Maltese cuisine is just as diverse as the cultures that unite in Malta: fish pâté, rabbit stew and puff pastry filled with ricotta are served as well as fresh fish and seafood. Of course, a good olive oil from the neighbouring island of Gozo is not to be missed when cooking, and thanks to the 3000 hours of sunshine a year, the island produces excellent wines.

Malta is a country where you breathe history. The capital Valletta, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has over 300 historic sights, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral with its magnificent interior and Manuel Theatre, Europe’s third oldest playhouse.

At Fort St. Elmo, history comes alive as men in period costumes re-enact traditional drills. By the way, Malta is also home to the Megalithic Complex, the oldest structure in the world – even older than the pyramids in Egypt.

The abundance of historic landmarks makes Malta the perfect location for Hollywood films, which has earned the island the nickname “Mini Hollywood”. Blockbusters such as “Gladiator” and “Troy” were filmed here and at the sight of “Sweethafen”, the village where Popeye lives, not only fans of the strong sailor are amazed.

Carmelite Church Malta
Carmelite Church in Valletta, Image: kavalenkava/shutterstock

Of course, not only city strollers get their money’s worth in Malta. The island is also extremely popular with bathers. Its beaches are among the cleanest in Europe and are regularly awarded the Blue Flag for excellent water quality. Water sports enthusiasts can jet ski and paraglide in Golden Bay, while Mellieha Bay offers ideal conditions for windsurfing.

While divers elsewhere have to search for a long time to find an old shipwreck, the government of Malta has sunk several discarded ocean liners to create a unique underwater paradise.

A Maltese proverb says: “Malta would be a glorious place if every priest were a tree.” The meaning of this statement is already understood on approach: The island no longer has a forest. However, this does not detract from the wild beauty of this island, which has a considerable variety of plants in a very small area.

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Malta offers an interesting contrast between the wide, shallow bays in the north and the rugged cliffs in the south. Here, even inexperienced climbers can abseil down the cliffs and enjoy a unique view. To the southwest is the Blue Grotto in Gozo with its majestic rock entrance and sky-blue shimmering waters, and to the west nature lovers will find the picturesque bay of Gnejna.

Whether city trips, beach holidays, water sports or hiking – Malta offers a variety of excursion destinations for every type of holiday in wildly romantic surroundings.

The most popular sights in Malta

  1. Valletta: The capital of Malta is famous for its well-preserved Baroque architecture. The fortified city of Valletta was founded by the Knights of the Order of St. John and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will find the Grand Master’s Palace and St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
  2. The Megalithic Temples of Malta: These prehistoric temples are older than the Pyramids of Giza and are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples of Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra and Tarxien are impressive testimonies to the early civilization in Malta.
  3. The Blue Grotto: This is one of Malta’s most famous natural attractions. Visitors can take boats into the cave and admire the clear blue waters and fascinating rock formations.

  4. Mdina
    : Also known as the “Silent City”, this medieval city is surrounded by an imposing city wall and offers narrow streets, Gothic architecture and a rich history.
  5. The three towns: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, also referred to as the three historic towns, are full of history, fortified city walls and beautiful views of the Grand Harbour.
  6. Hypogea of Ħal-Saflieni: Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, these underground burial sites offer insight into Malta’s prehistoric culture.
  7. The Dingli Cliffs: These high cliffs offer spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and are the highest point of the Maltese Islands.
  8. The Island of Gozo: Just a short ferry ride from Malta, Gozo is known for its laid-back atmosphere, the Citadel of Victoria and the impressive Ġgantija Temples, which are among the oldest freestanding structures in the world.

  9. Marsaxlokk
    : This picturesque fishing village is famous for its colorful fishing boats and Sunday market selling fresh fish and local produce.
  10. The Harbour Cruise: A cruise in the Grand Harbour not only offers great views of Valletta and the surrounding cities, but also insights into Malta’s maritime history.
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Facts about Malta

  1. Small nation, big history: Malta is one of the smallest countries in Europe, both in terms of area and population. Nevertheless, it has an impressive history that goes back thousands of years.
  2. Trilingual: The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English. Most Maltese are fluent in English, and Maltese is a unique Semitic language.
  3. The Knights of St. John: Malta was once the seat of the Order of St. John, also known as the Knights of St. John. The capital, Valletta, was founded by them and is named after their grandmaster, Jean de Valette.
  4. UNESCO World Heritage Site: Malta has a total of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Megalithic Temples, the City of Valletta, and the Hypogea of Ħal-Saflieni.
  5. Sun-rich climate: With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Malta is a popular destination for sun worshippers.
  6. Megalithic temples: The megalithic temples of Malta are among the oldest free-standing structures in the world and are older than the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
  7. The Blue Grotto: The Blue Grotto on the island of Gozo is one of Malta’s most famous sights. It is famous for its crystal clear waters and impressive rock formations.
  8. Hypogea of Ħal-Saflieni: The underground burial sites of Ħal-Saflieni are a remarkable archaeological heritage and offer insight into Malta’s prehistoric culture.
  9. Three islands: Malta consists of three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Each island has its own unique character and charm.
  10. Festas: Traditional village festivals, known as “festas,” are an important part of Maltese culture. They include processions, fireworks and music and take place throughout the year.
  11. Filming location for movies: Malta has been the filming location for several well-known films and TV series, including “Game of Thrones” and “Gladiator.”
  12. Cuisine: Maltese cuisine is influenced by the Mediterranean and offers a variety of delicious dishes, including pastizzi (dumplings), ftira (local bread) and seafood.
  13. Diving: Malta is a popular destination for divers due to its rich marine life and numerous wrecks dating back to World War II.
  14. Independence: Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974.
  15. EU membership: Malta has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 2004 and uses the euro as its currency.

Travel information Malta

Capital Valletta
Form of government parliamentary republic
Currency Euro
Area approx. 316 km²
Population 433,000 (as of 2015)
Languages Malti / Maltese
Electricity grid 230 volts and 50Hz
Area code +356
Time zone UTC+1 CET
UTC+2 CEST (March to October)