In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Libya, sits Malta, an island practically free of tourists. How it has managed to stay unknown as a prime vacation spot, we may never know. There is major historical significance here, sometimes being referred to as one giant open-air museum. Diving, good food, and a thriving opera scene are also big draws for Malta. With all of this wrapped up in a Mediterannean island package, it’s hard to resist a trip.
7,000 years of history
This island has a mysterious history, but even with all of the unknowns and still-undiscovered parts of Malta’s past, there is much that is known. The first inhabitants settled on the island around 5900 B.C. The Knights of St. John fought battles here. Some of the oldest surviving buildings in the world can be found here. There is no shortage of awe-inspiring history in Malta. Head to Ghar Dalam Cave and Museum to see the oldest site on the island: a gigantic underground tunnel featuring fossils of animals from the Ice Age.
Fort Saint Elmo is a star shaped stone structure which features a war museum, as well as items dating back to prehistoric times. In the mood for a blending of history and beauty? Put St. John’s Cathedral on your list. Don’t let the plain exterior of the building fool you, the inside is nothing short of a masterpiece. This gorgeous example of Baroque art and architecture is praised as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe.
Almost year-round sun
The weather in Malta is spectacular, which is perfect since there’s so much to see and do. In summertime, the warm and sunny days are balanced by the breezes blowing in from the sea. Take advantage of this by checking out the Barrakka Gardens. Not only is the view amazing from the upper garden, which is perched high atop a stone bastion, but the gardens themselves offer fountains, lush scenery, and stone archways.
Explore the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean and dive down to the artificial reefs and shipwreck sites. These are great spots for beginners, as the depths are mostly shallow and there are numerous classes available to teach you the ropes. If you have the time, consider visiting Comino. This small uninhabited island next to Malta offers amazing underwater caves for adventurous divers. If diving isn’t on your to-do list, there are plenty of beautiful beaches in Malta. Go horseback riding on Golden Bay and take in the stunning scenery, or go for an evening ride and watch the sunset.
Art and music scene
The arts play a big role on the island. You can enjoy musicals, operas, and concerts at one of the open-air venues, at one of the two opera houses, or at the Manoel Theatre. MTV hosts an annual music festival, so if you go at the right time you can enjoy the performances from some of the most popular artists of today. Malta’s location and long history make it a melting pot of cultures. Their art museums display this blend of styles and influences. Drop into any of its many art museums and galleries to view the pieces and obtain a better understanding of the country’s rich and varied cultures.
Malta seems like a world of its own and the Mediterranean climate and scenery make this one island that needs to be visited to be believed.