Country profile

About Malta

Malta is a former British colony and the smallest country in the European Union. Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea between southern Europe and North Africa and around 93km south of the Italian island of Sicily, Malta is an archipelago of three islands.

Malta has been attracting visitors to its shores for millennia, with culture after culture conquering the small archipelago. It has been home to almost everyone, from ancient civilizations such as the Phoenicians and the Byzantines, to the Romans, the Arabs, the French and most recently the British. By the time Malta finally became independent in 1964, its few small islands were effectively one huge open air museum of world architecture and history stretching back 7,000 years.

Perhaps the most famous, and most influential, rulers of Malta were the Knights of St John. For over 250 years they took the country through a golden era and lavished money and art on the country’s churches and palaces, leaving a stunning legacy, much of which can still be seen today.

Being right in the centre of the Mediterranean, and enjoys the benign climate that goes with it, with long, hot summers that stretch late into the year, and mild winters that never truly get cold. In fact, when the warm Sirocco winds blow in from Africa, it’s hard to tell which season you are in.

Malta offers you a delightful choice across its three islands, with a different pace of life on each. The main island, Malta, is a thriving holiday destination with everything you would expect, from nightclubs to top class restaurants, luxury hotels to beautiful beach resorts. Nearby Gozo takes life a little easier, with a more rural outlook and a laid back lifestyle that is nowhere near as busy as Malta. If Gozo still feels too tourist orientated, then head for the third occupied island in the archipelago, Comino, which is even quieter still with just one hotel and none of the tourist crowds.

On the main island, the capital Valetta is a must see, with a non-stop programme of events and exhibitions in its many galleries and museums. Valletta is a World Heritage City and this cultural, administrative, and commercial centre features Baroque architecture, monuments, museums, churches and quaint narrow streets.

Malta is well served with harbours, the most spectacular being the Valletta Grand Harbour and sailing enthusiasts will be in heaven with the interesting and craggy coastline and many bays and inlets. There are also great diving opportunities, and Malta is becoming a fashionable yachting centre. Water enthusiasts can hire canoes, boats, sailing boats, pedal boats, windsurfers, jet-skis, speedboats and yachts from the main water sport centres.

Alternatively, you can take a step back in time yourself in the stunning fortified city of Medina. Rich in Baroque architecture and still lit by gas lamps at night, it is a magical experience strolling through the medieval streets after dark.

Malta understands how important tourism is for its economy, and they have tried to provide something for everyone, from lively waterparks and modern, family-friendly hotels, to excellent facilities and easy access at its countless historical sites. Warm, friendly and strangely familiar, Malta makes everyone feel at home – just as it has for the last 7,000 years.

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Quick facts

Population: 0.45 Million
Currency: Euro
Capital: Valletta
Languages: Maltese, English
Religions: Catholic 98%