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Malta:

About as near as Brits can get to home-from-home abroad; they drive on the left and know how to build a British pub, well almost!

The island has a rich history with well-preserved remnants of its turbulent past. The fortresses that encircle the grand harbour are like a movie set and
have been used by film makers over the years for classics such as Gladiator while the blue lagoon at nearby Comino is also not camera shy.

Italian and African influences have also been thrown into the mix. Beach lovers will find their choice limited to Melleiha, Golden Bay and Gozo, while those seeking culture will find an abundance of historic sites and religion.

The main towns give off a biblical appearance with their square, sandy ancient-looking buildings and some of the larger resorts remain working towns - bustling, noisy and tatty in places, however they're generally quiet and relaxing.

Driving is a joy in Malta. The island is 13 miles (21km) wide by 9 miles (14km) long at its furthest points and is crisscrossed by scenic country roads (unsurfaced in places). In most resorts there are plenty of parking spaces with the exception of Valleta.

Time Difference: Summer: GMT + 1

Language: Maltese with English widely spoken

Currency: Euro

Weather: Summer: hot and sunny. Winter: mild, slightly cooler than Spanish costas. Most rainfall occurs in November and December.

Excursions:

Places to visit:

  • Valleta offers wall-to-wall history dating back more than 500 years although, surprisingly it's the more modern architecture that is beginning to look shoddy. The city's Grand Harbour fronts a wealth of ancient palaces, fortresses and chapels among the narrow crowded streets. It's best explored on foot due to a frustrating one-way system and a lack of parking.
  • Mdina is Malta's original capital and its breathtaking, well-preserved medieval architecture make it the highlight of any trip to Malta. Within the vast wall-city are quiet narrow streets with history you can reach out and touch dating back to the 1700's.
  • Rabat is next door to Mdina within walking distance and remains a fascinating working, living ancient town. St Paul's Church, grotto and catacombs have been visited and blessed by popes
  • Craft Villages on Malta and Gozo are great places to see ancient craftsmanship such as silversmiths, glassblowing and lace-making, still is use.
  • Sicily can be reached by ferry in 90 minutes.
  • Blue Grotto is reached by small boats from a well-signed village of Zurrieq. The clear bright-blue water within the caves is magical. Note - the boats will not sail in rough or windy conditions.
  • Blue Lagoon is a vast expanse of beautiful, crystal-clear sea water near Comino. Daily boat trips from around the island.
  • Marsaxlokk (Marsa-schlok) is a pretty fishing village with a vast open-air daily market. 
  • Splash and Fun water park is a wet-knuckle theme park with waterslides, lazy river and children's splash area.
  • Sweethaven Village is where the Robin William's movie, 'Popeye' was filmed and resembles a ramshackle fishing town. The site boasts a small amusement park, boat rides, a lido, Popeye shows and the the original film set of the village.

 

TIPS: Shoulders and knees must be covered to enter churches. Driving around Valletta is a logistical nightmare ... parking is even worse.

For additional information on Malta visit Everything Malta

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