When it comes to European destinations, Malta gets way less than it’s fair share of exposure. The tiny archipelago just off the coast of Sicily is still regularly left off travel lists when talking about visiting this wondrous continent.
However, Malta has all the elements to make the ideal European holiday. With a vast and turbulent history, the sights are plentiful and there’s a lot to learn. The culture has been incredibly well preserved and the geographical features are second to none.
Whether you’re a beach lover, history buff or cosmopolitan traveler, you’ll find something to do on these amazing islands.
If you’re only in the country for a short period, here are some of the must-see attractions:
This spectacular geographic phenomenon is thought to have been formed when a large limestone cave system collapsed. Today, the area offers a beach, inland sea and the Azure Window – a giant arch that reaches out over the ocean.
St. Johns Co-Cathedral
A Baroque masterpiece, build in late 1500s by to the Order of Knights of St John. The gilded walls and endless sculptures make the cathedral as artistically stunning as it is historically fascinating.
Malta is a treasure trove of ruins from some of the earliest settlements in time. The islands are awash with temples, tombs and ancient art. The Hypogeum, a wondrous labyrinth of underground chambers, is a true highlight.
Maltese cultural scene is surprisingly lively, considering its isolated location. Arts and music lovers will find plenty of fascinating attractions on offer.
National Museum of Fine Arts
Situated in the historical South Street of Valletta, this Museum is a true homage to Maltese art. The two halls dedicated to Mattia Preti, the artist who painted the ceiling of St. Johns Co-Cathedral, are not to be missed!
As one of the oldest working theatres in Europe, this is a historically poignant spot for theatre lovers. The establishment hosts a wide range of events, ranging from opera and Shakespeare to Djembe drumming and piano recitals.
The Malta International Arts Festival
It’s not just domestic culture that thrives in Malta. This annual event features exhibitions and masterclasses by top artists from around the world. It happens in June so is a great addition to a summer vacation.
Adventure lovers will be glad to know that there’s no shortage of adrenaline packed, outdoor activities to enjoy. Malta is a geographical paradise and its natural features are just as impressive as its history and culture.
The Blue Hole, Reqqa Reef and Santa Marina caves are just a few examples of the unique and varied dive sites around the region. Enjoy tunnels, caves, wreck dives and wildlife in the waters around the islands.
There are hikes of numerous difficulties all over the Maltese archipelago. Take a day trip and wander the tiny island of Comino or pick from the many routes on the mainland that showcase Malta’s natural beauty.
This sport rose in popularity significantly in Malta during the 60s and 70s. Today, there are 1500 routes over the many excellent quality limestone rock of the region.
If you prefer your holidays to involve a cocktail and a sun lounger, then there is still plenty on offer to entice you to this beautiful country. Alongside the many 5* hotels, the coast is lined with spectacular white sandy beaches and the towns offer luxury nightlife.
While the public beaches in Malta are in fantastic condition, they do have a tendency to become crowded during the beach months. Fortunately, if you want a break from the noise, the many beach resorts have private facilities for guests to enjoy.
If you want a break from the sun, the islands are awash with state of the art spa complexes. Enjoy a massage, relax in the Jacuzzi or work out in an air-conditioned gym!
To spend your evenings in style, the waterfront area of the capital is a sleek modern development that houses high-class restaurants and bars. You can enjoy a glass of fine local wine while watching the sunset over the harbor.
There is so much to do in Malta that it’s not a wonder that travelers return over and over again. This quick guide is a great start for first time visitors! If you’ve enjoyed any of the listed items then be sure to leave a comment below!