Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso’s Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages lead to the main square, which is invariably dominated by the huge baroque church. As the countryside is dotted with medieval towers, wayside chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum.
The Maltese Archipelago is made up of a number of Islands. Three of these are inhabited – Malta, the largest, which may be considered as being to some extent the ‘mainland’, Gozo – number two in terms of size, and tiny Comino. There are other islands – Cominotto, Filfla, St. Paul’s Islands and Manoel Island – which are even smaller and uninhabited.
Although the territory covered collectively by the abovementioned islands is just over three hundred square kilometres, the country is densely populated, and presents a contrasting array of landscapes and localities.
There’s the historic capital city of Valletta – the island’s commercial and administrative centre – and the famous Three Cities across the Grand Harbour. There is the Sliema/St. Julian’s/Paceville area, renowned for its cosmopolitan feel and lively nightlife. There are the coastal resorts of the north, the picturesque villages of the south and the rural centre. Every town and village has something special to offer…including its colourful annual ‘festa’.
Then there are attractions of every kind – from historical to natural, from religious to family fun. The beaches and bays of Malta and Gozo – many of which are refreshingly undeveloped – are surrounded by some of the cleanest waters in the Mediterranean.
Malta is the largest island and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural, characterised by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture. Comino, the smallest of the trio, has one hotel and is largely uninhabited.
With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.