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Malta: A Beautiful, Crazy, Formidable, Vibrant Island


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Krystalle Grooms



Malta, a tiny archipelago in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, picturesque beaches, and rich cultural heritage, it is no wonder that Malta has become a coveted destination for travelers from around the world.


Steeped in history that dates back thousands of years, Malta offers a unique blend of captivating landscapes, fascinating architecture, and a vibrant local culture. From the ancient temples of Mnajdra to the historic capital city of Valletta, this island paradise has something to offer for every type of traveler.


Despite its small size, Malta packs a punch when it comes to breathtaking natural beauty. The rugged coastline is dotted with stunning cliffs, hidden coves, and pristine sandy beaches. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sun-drenched shores or explore the underwater world through diving and snorkeling, Malta offers a wide range of options for beach and nature lovers alike.


But Malta is not just about sun, sand, and sea. It is a vibrant hub of cultural diversity, with influences from various civilizations that have left their mark on the island. From the Phoenicians and Romans to the Arabs and the Knights of St. John, each era has contributed to the unique tapestry that is Malta’s cultural heritage.


The Maltese people are warm, friendly, and proud of their island. Their hospitality is legendary, and visitors will find themselves welcomed with open arms wherever they go. The official language is Maltese, a unique blend of Arabic and European languages, but English is also widely spoken, making it easy for tourists to communicate and navigate their way around the island.


As you explore Malta, you’ll also have the opportunity to indulge in the delicious flavors of traditional Maltese cuisine. From mouthwatering pastizzi (flaky pastries filled with ricotta or mushy peas) to rich rabbit stew and fresh seafood dishes, the local food will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.


Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or simply looking for a relaxing beach getaway, Malta has it all. Join us as we take a deep dive into the captivating beauty and vibrant energy of this amazing island, and discover why Malta should be on the top of your travel bucket list.


History of Malta

Malta has a history that stretches back over 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest inhabited places in Europe. Throughout its rich and diverse past, the island has been influenced by various civilizations and has played a crucial role in shaping Mediterranean history.


The earliest evidence of human habitation in Malta dates back to around 5,200 BC, when a prehistoric culture known as the Temple Builders flourished on the island. These ancient people left behind awe-inspiring Megalithic temples, such as Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra, which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites today.


In 800 BC, Phoenician settlers arrived in Malta and established trading posts on the island. They were later followed by the Romans, who made Malta a part of their vast empire. The Romans left their mark on the island through the construction of magnificent structures, such as the Roman Villa in Rabat and the Domvs Romana in Mdina.


During the medieval period, Malta became a stronghold of the Knights of St. John, a military monastic order. The knights fortified the island and played a pivotal role in defending Europe against the Ottoman Empire. Their legacy can still be seen today in the grand architecture of Valletta, the capital city.


In the early 19th century, Malta came under British rule and remained a British colony for over 150 years. This period had a profound impact on the island’s development, as Malta became an important naval base and experienced significant modernization and urban expansion.


Malta gained independence from British rule in 1964 and became a republic in 1974. Since then, the island has undergone rapid economic growth and has become a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year.


Today, remnants of Malta’s storied past are scattered across the island, from ancient temples and Roman ruins to medieval fortifications and British architecture. The diverse influences from different civilizations have shaped the unique cultural identity of Malta, making it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts.


Exploring the historical sites of Malta is like stepping back in time, where you can imagine the lives of the people who once inhabited this remarkable island. From ancient temples and underground catacombs to grand palaces and fortresses, Malta’s history is waiting to be discovered and experienced firsthand.


Geographical Features

Malta may be small in size, but it packs a diverse range of geographical features within its archipelago. Situated in the central Mediterranean Sea, Malta is comprised of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino.


The main island of Malta is characterized by stunning coastal cliffs, picturesque bays, and golden sandy beaches. The coastline is dotted with natural harbors, including the Grand Harbour in Valletta, making it a popular destination for sailing enthusiasts. The iconic Azure Window, a natural limestone arch that was featured in films and TV shows, unfortunately collapsed due to erosion in 2017, but the island still boasts other magnificent coastal formations.


The island of Gozo, located just north of Malta, offers a more rustic and laid-back experience. Gozo is known for its dramatic landscapes, including the famous Inland Sea and the stunning Wied il-Mielaħ Window. The countryside is dotted with picturesque villages and rolling hills, making it a paradise for hiking and cycling enthusiasts.


Comino, the smallest of the three islands, is a tranquil haven known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and secluded coves. The island is car-free, allowing visitors to explore its unspoiled beauty on foot or by kayak. The Blue Lagoon, a shallow bay with iridescent blue waters, is one of the most popular attractions in Comino.


In addition to its coastal beauty, Malta also boasts several enchanting natural caves and grottos. The Blue Grotto, located on the southeast coast of Malta, is a series of seven caves that can be explored by boat. The Cathedral Cave, located in Gozo, is another popular attraction that offers a breathtaking display of natural rock formations.


Despite its relatively arid climate, Malta is home to an astonishing variety of flora and fauna. The Maltese Islands are home to over 400 species of plants, some of which are endemic to the region. The islands are also a paradise for birdwatchers, with migratory birds passing through during the spring and autumn seasons.


Whether you’re exploring the rugged cliffs and hidden beaches of Malta, discovering the tranquil landscapes of Gozo, or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters surrounding Comino, the geographical features of the Maltese Islands offer a myriad of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.


Cultural Diversity

Malta, with its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, has a rich tapestry of cultural influences that have shaped its unique identity. Throughout its history, the island has been inhabited by various civilizations, each leaving their mark on the Maltese culture.


One of the notable influences on Maltese culture is the Phoenician civilization, which arrived on the island around 800 BC. The Phoenicians introduced their language, trade practices, and maritime skills, laying the foundation for Malta’s future as a trading hub.


Roman rule from around 218 BC to 395 AD also had a profound impact on the island. Roman architecture, infrastructure, and customs became ingrained in Maltese society, as seen in the remains of Roman villas, bathhouses, and temples scattered across the islands.


The Arab period, spanning from the 9th to the 12th century, brought Islamic influences to Malta. The Arab occupation left a lasting impact on the Maltese language, with many Arabic words still present in the local dialect. The Arab influence can also be seen in the architecture and the intricate tile work found in historical buildings.


The most iconic cultural influence in Malta, however, comes from the Knights of St. John, a religious and military order that arrived on the island in 1530. The knights brought with them their European customs, Gothic architecture, and a dedication to the Catholic faith. Their legacy is still prominent today, especially in Valletta, where magnificent churches, grand palaces, and fortified walls showcase their architectural prowess.


Malta’s cultural diversity extends beyond its historical influences, as the island has also been shaped by migration patterns throughout the centuries. Over the years, waves of immigrants from neighboring countries, including Italy and North Africa, have contributed to the cultural melting pot of Malta.


Today, Malta is a vibrant blend of cultures, with traditions and customs passed down through generations. The Maltese people take pride in their cultural heritage and celebrate it through various festivals, music, dance, and culinary traditions.


From the colorful religious processions during Easter to the lively village feasts dedicated to local patron saints, the Maltese calendar is filled with festivities that bring neighborhoods and communities together. These celebrations offer a unique opportunity to experience the cultural vibrancy and hospitality of the Maltese people.


Malta’s cultural diversity is not just limited to its local population. As a popular tourist destination, the island welcomes visitors from around the world, adding an international flavor to its already diverse culture. The fusion of different languages, cuisines, and perspectives make Malta a truly cosmopolitan destination.


Exploring the cultural diversity of Malta is a fascinating journey through time and across continents. From ancient ruins to modern festivities, the island’s rich tapestry of influences promises a captivating and enriching experience for every traveler.


The Maltese Language

The Maltese language is a unique and fascinating aspect of the island’s cultural heritage. It is the only Semitic language written in the Latin script, making it a highly distinctive and intriguing linguistic treasure.


Maltese is derived from a mixture of Arabic, Sicilian, Italian, and English, showcasing the diverse influences that have shaped Malta’s history. The Arabic influence is particularly strong, with around 40% of Maltese vocabulary derived from the Arabic language.


Despite its Arabic roots, Maltese has evolved into a language with its own grammar and syntax. It has adopted loanwords from various other languages, including Italian, English, and French, further enriching its vocabulary.


One unique feature of the Maltese language is its phonetics. With its guttural sounds and distinctive intonation, Maltese can be quite challenging for non-native speakers. However, most Maltese people are fluent in English, making communication easy for visitors.


While English is widely spoken and considered the second official language of Malta, the Maltese language holds a special place in the hearts of the local population. It is the language of everyday communication, the language passed down from generation to generation, and the language used in literature, music, and theater.


Language plays a significant role in preserving cultural identity, and the Maltese language is a testament to the resilience and pride of the Maltese people. It serves as a powerful symbol of their heritage and the blend of influences that has shaped Malta into the culturally diverse and unique destination it is today.


Visitors to Malta will often hear the melodic tones of the Maltese language in the streets, cafes, and markets. Even if you don’t understand the words, listening to the rhythmic flow of the language adds to the overall experience of immersing oneself in Maltese culture.


For those eager to learn a few basic Maltese phrases, the locals are always appreciative of the effort. Simple greetings, like “bonġu” (hello) and “ħaj” (goodbye), can go a long way in breaking the ice and connecting with the friendly Maltese people.


The Maltese language is a living testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the Maltese Islands. It serves as a bridge between the past and the present, connecting generations and preserving the essence of this beautiful destination.


Traditional Maltese Cuisine

Malta’s gastronomy is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage, blending flavors and techniques from various civilizations that have shaped the island’s history. Traditional Maltese cuisine is a true fusion of Mediterranean influences, offering a delightful array of dishes that are both hearty and flavorful.


One iconic dish that encapsulates the essence of Maltese cuisine is pastizzi. These flaky pastries, typically filled with either ricotta cheese or mushy peas, are a popular snack enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Pastizzi vendors can be found throughout the island, and indulging in a warm pastizz is a must for any visit to Malta.


Another staple in Maltese cuisine is rabbit stew, locally known as “fenek.” Considered a traditional delicacy, fenek is slow-cooked with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and a blend of aromatic herbs. The result is a tender and flavorful dish that showcases the island’s culinary heritage.


Seafood plays a prominent role in Maltese cuisine, thanks to Malta’s abundant coastline. Fresh fish, such as lampuki (dorado), grouper, and octopus, are frequently enjoyed by locals. One popular seafood dish is aljotta, a fragrant fish soup made with tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and a touch of lemon. It is a comforting and satisfying dish, especially when paired with crusty Maltese bread.


Malta also offers an intriguing variety of traditional sweets and desserts. One such treat is kannoli tal-irkotta, a sweet pastry filled with a sweetened ricotta cheese mixture. These delectable treats are often enjoyed during festive occasions, and their delicate and creamy texture is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.


No meal in Malta is complete without a glass of local wine. The sunny climate and fertile soil make Malta an ideal region for vineyards. The island produces a wide range of excellent wines, including the indigenous Ġellewża and the full-bodied Merlot. Visitors can explore the local wineries, participate in wine tastings, and discover the unique flavors that Malta has to offer.


Exploring traditional Maltese cuisine can be a culinary adventure filled with delicious surprises. To truly immerse yourself in the local flavors, venture beyond the bustling restaurants and seek out traditional village feasts, where you can savor authentic homemade dishes prepared with love and tradition.


Whether you’re indulging in pastizzi, savoring a hearty plate of fenek, or treating your taste buds to the richness of Maltese desserts, traditional Maltese cuisine will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the island’s distinct culinary heritage.


Key Tourist Attractions

Malta is a treasure trove of captivating tourist attractions, offering a diverse range of experiences for visitors to explore. From ancient temples and historic cities to stunning natural landmarks and crystal-clear waters, there is something for everyone in this enchanting destination.


One of the top attractions in Malta is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valletta. This fortified city, built by the Knights of St. John, is a living museum of architecture, with its grand palaces, ornate churches, and mesmerizing views of the Mediterranean Sea. Strolling along the cobblestone streets, visiting the Grand Master’s Palace, and exploring the St. John’s Co-Cathedral are just a few of the must-see sights in Valletta.


The ancient Megalithic Temples of Malta, such as Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra, are another incredible attraction. These prehistoric temples date back over 5,000 years, making them older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The intricate stone structures and mysterious history of these temples offer a fascinating glimpse into Malta’s ancient past.


The Blue Grotto is a natural wonder that should not be missed. Located on the southern coast of Malta, this series of caves showcases stunning rock formations and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the caves, marvel at the colors of the sea, and witness the beauty of this unique geological formation.


No visit to Malta is complete without experiencing the enchanting island of Gozo. Known for its serene landscapes, charming villages, and beautiful coastline, Gozo offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life of Malta. The famous Azure Window may have collapsed, but Gozo still boasts stunning natural attractions like the Inland Sea, Ramla Bay, and the Citadel in Victoria.


The fortified city of Mdina, also known as the Silent City, is another highlight for history lovers. This medieval walled city is a time capsule of narrow streets, distinctive architecture, and ancient palaces. Walking through Mdina feels like stepping back in time, and the panoramic views from the city walls are simply breathtaking.


For those seeking beach relaxation, Malta has an abundance of beautiful sandy shores. Golden Bay, Mellieħa Bay, and Ramla Bay are just a few examples of the stunning beaches where visitors can bask in the Mediterranean sun and swim in the clear blue waters.


These are just a few key attractions that highlight the diverse beauty and historical significance of Malta. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a sun-soaked beach vacation, Malta has an array of attractions to captivate your imagination and create memories that will last a lifetime.


The Festivals of Malta

Malta is a vibrant and festive destination, with a calendar filled with colorful celebrations and lively events. The island’s rich cultural heritage is showcased through an array of festivals that combine religious traditions, music, dance, and revelry.


One of the most popular and cherished festivals in Malta is the Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck. Held in February, this religious celebration commemorates the shipwreck of the apostle Paul on the island. The capital city of Valletta becomes a stage for processions, fireworks, and music, captivating both locals and visitors alike.


During the summer months, village feasts are held throughout Malta and Gozo. These feasts are dedicated to local patron saints and are a true spectacle of devotion, culture, and tradition. Festivities include marching bands, decorative street lights, firework displays, and elaborately decorated statues carried through the streets. The atmosphere is electric, and the feasts offer a unique opportunity to experience the genuine hospitality and joy of the Maltese people.


The Malta Arts Festival, held in July, brings together local and international artists for a diverse program of music, theater, dance, and visual arts. This festival showcases the island’s rich artistic talent and offers a platform for creativity and cultural exchange.


In September, the International Jazz Festival takes center stage, featuring renowned jazz musicians from around the world. The festival attracts jazz enthusiasts and music lovers who gather to enjoy soulful performances in enchanting venues across the island.


Throughout the year, Malta also hosts various music festivals catering to different genres. The Isle of MTV Malta Music Week in July attracts top international artists for a spectacular open-air concert. The Farsons Great Beer Festival celebrates the local brewing tradition, offering a variety of local and international beers, live music performances, and entertainment for all ages.


Religious processions play a significant role in Maltese culture, particularly during Easter. The Good Friday processions, known as “Passjoni,” take place in various towns and villages, depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ. These solemn and visually stunning processions are a powerful expression of faith and attract spectators from all walks of life.


Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a music lover, or interested in experiencing the deep religious traditions of Malta, the festivals on this vibrant island provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry and celebrate life in true Maltese style.


Outdoor Activities in Malta

With its stunning coastline, crystal-clear waters, and sunny climate, Malta is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or simply looking to soak up the Mediterranean sun, the island offers a plethora of outdoor activities to suit every taste.


Water sports are a popular choice for visitors to Malta, given its pristine sea and abundant marine life. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts will be delighted by the underwater world that surrounds the islands. The clear waters reveal colorful coral reefs, fascinating shipwrecks, and an array of marine species, providing an unforgettable underwater experience.


For those seeking an adrenaline rush, jet skiing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding are popular options. The calm and steady breeze along the coastline make these activities enjoyable for both beginners and experienced thrill-seekers.


If you prefer to stay on land, Malta offers excellent opportunities for hiking and cycling. The islands boast scenic trails that take you through picturesque countryside, along rugged cliffs, and to hidden coves. The Majjistral Nature and History Park in Malta and the countryside in Gozo are particularly favored among hikers and cyclists.


Rock climbing enthusiasts will find plenty of challenges on the limestone cliffs that dot the Maltese landscape. Companies offer guided tours and climbing courses for beginners, as well as more advanced routes for experienced climbers.


Malta is also an ideal destination for golfers, with a selection of world-class golf courses nestled amongst beautiful surroundings. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, the well-maintained fairways and idyllic settings provide an unforgettable golfing experience.


Exploring the islands by boat is a popular activity for tourists. Boat tours offer the chance to discover the hidden caves, secluded beaches, and stunning coastline of Malta. Visitors can also charter yachts or join sailing excursions to experience the thrill of cruising the blue Mediterranean waters.


Malta’s countryside is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts, especially during the spring and autumn seasons when migratory birds pass through the islands. The nature reserves and wetlands provide habitats for a diverse range of bird species, offering endless opportunities to spot rare and exotic birds.


Yoga and wellness retreats have also gained popularity in Malta, with their serene surroundings and tranquil ambiance. Various resorts and wellness centers offer yoga classes, meditation sessions, and spa treatments, allowing visitors to rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul.


Whether you prefer the thrill of water sports, the serenity of hiking trails, or the tranquility of a wellness retreat, Malta provides numerous outdoor activities to suit every interest and level of adventure. Embrace the natural beauty of the islands and create unforgettable memories in this stunning Mediterranean paradise.


Nightlife in Malta

When the sun goes down, Malta comes alive with a vibrant and energetic nightlife scene that caters to all tastes and preferences. From bustling nightclubs and beach parties to cozy bars and elegant wine bars, the island offers a diverse range of options to enjoy after dark.


For those looking to dance the night away, Paceville in St. Julian’s is the epicenter of Malta’s nightlife. This bustling area is home to a multitude of nightclubs, where world-famous DJs spin the latest tunes and international dancers entertain the crowds. The atmosphere is electric, with people from all walks of life gathering to enjoy a night of music, dancing, and fun.


For a more laid-back evening, there are numerous bars and pubs throughout Malta where you can unwind with a drink and enjoy the company of friends or fellow travelers. From stylish rooftop bars with panoramic views to cozy taverns with live music, there is a venue for every mood and ambiance.


The capital city of Valletta also offers a unique nightlife experience. Its charming streets are lined with bars and restaurants, providing the perfect setting for a romantic evening out or a casual meet-up with friends. The city’s wine bars are particularly popular, offering an extensive selection of local and international wines to savor alongside delectable nibbles.


In summer, Malta’s beach clubs and open-air venues come alive with music festivals, themed parties, and beachside gatherings. Whether it’s a sunset party by the sea or a lively beach club event, the island offers a range of outdoor venues where you can sip cocktails, dance under the stars, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.


Maltese culture also embraces the arts, and the island hosts a variety of cultural events and performances in the evening. From theater plays and live music concerts to art exhibitions and film festivals, you can immerse yourself in the local arts scene and experience the island’s creative spirit.


Food-lovers can indulge in the culinary delights of Malta’s evening street food markets. These bustling markets offer a wide range of local dishes and international flavors, allowing visitors to savor the diverse tastes of Malta’s street food scene in a vibrant and lively atmosphere.


Malta’s nightlife scene is not just limited to the traditional entertainment venues. The island is also home to several casinos, where you can try your luck at the slot machines or try your hand at poker and blackjack in a glamorous setting.


Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing and partying, a relaxed evening in a charming wine bar, or a cultural event to enrich your experience, Malta’s nightlife caters to all preferences. Live music, vibrant venues, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere make for unforgettable nights on this captivating Mediterranean island.



Malta, with its breathtaking beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture, is a destination that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. From the ancient temples of Mnajdra to the grand architecture of Valletta, the island offers a seamless blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. Whether you’re exploring the diverse geographical features, indulging in traditional Maltese cuisine, or immersing yourself in the festivities and nightlife, Malta promises a truly unforgettable experience.


The small size of the archipelago allows for easy exploration, making it possible to see a variety of attractions and experience different activities in a relatively short amount of time. The warmth and friendliness of the Maltese people, coupled with their pride in their cultural heritage, create an inviting and welcoming atmosphere for visitors.


As you explore Malta’s stunning beaches and hidden corners, you’ll discover a sense of tranquility and beauty that will captivate your soul. You’ll witness the layers of history embedded in every stone and experience a sense of wonder as you dive into the turquoise waters, explore ancient temples, or dance the night away in the lively venues.


Malta is a destination that offers something for everyone – history enthusiasts, nature lovers, adventure-seekers, and those simply looking to relax and unwind. Its diverse attractions, cultural diversity, and array of outdoor activities make it a versatile and appealing place to visit.


So, pack your bags, embark on an adventure, and let Malta’s beauty and charm envelop you. Explore the ancient wonders, marvel at the natural landscapes, tantalize your taste buds with traditional cuisine, and engage in the vibrant festivities. Whether you’re drawn to its history, its beaches, or its vibrant culture, Malta is sure to leave an indelible mark on your heart and create memories that will last a lifetime.