Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, just southeast of Italy, the island of Malta may be hard to get to, but the effort is certainly worth it. This tiny island nation is full of sites that date back thousands of years. Additionally, the island is home to world-class beaches and resorts making it a truly magical place to visit.
The weather on the island is heavily influenced by the sea with the largest threat of rain coming in the winter months. The summers are generally rain-free and warm with temperatures above 28°C regularly and plenty of sunshine. While temperatures never get close to freezing, visitors might want a jacket during the winter season when average overnight lows are around 13°C-15°C (55°-59°F) and highs are between 16°C-18°C (61°F-64°F).
While visiting the island, the best way to see its impressive history and heritage is by taking several day trips. Malta is known for being easily accessible by public transport and its small size means you can get a taste for all the different attractions of the island during one trip.
One of the most popular trips is an outing to Valletta. The city lays claim to the title of the first planned city in all of Europe and is a Unesco World Heritage listing thanks to the sheer number of historical monuments located there. Built on a narrow peninsula in the 17th century, the architecture is virtually untouched. Some of the must-see sites include St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the National Museum of Archeology.
The spring months with afternoon high temperatures averaging between 18° (64°F) in March to 24°C (75°F) in May, are some of the best times to visit Malta. This can be especially true for those looking to avoid a crush of tourists over the summer months. As a result, now is the time to book a tour of the ancient Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Located in Paola, these subterranean caves were carved out of the rock some 5,000 years ago. A tour of this amazing site needs to be booked several months before a trip to the region.
Visitors will continue to step back in history with a visit to Mdina and Rabat. Mdina is located along a hilltop and encircled by great golden-stoned walls. The city itself has both an Arabic feeling to it as well as being home to an excavated Roman villa and an array of catacombs. One of the best times to visit is during summer when rainfall amounts are only 5mm in June, none for July and 6mm in August. Compare the dry summer to rainfall amounts over 100mm in both November and December and it is easy to see why so many people visit during the driest time of the year.
One of the best day trips is to the nearby island of Gozo. Complete with some of the most dazzling views, cliffs, scenery and restaurants, it is easy to get to with regular ferries. The area is perfect for bike rides and swimming in hidden coves. Visitors should make sure to see the rock formations that makeup Dwejra and the prehistoric temples of Ggantija.
In the summer months, water temperatures climb to averages between 22°-27°C (72°-81°F) meaning this is the best time to hit the beach and take a trip to Comino and the Blue Lagoon. This area of the sea is a fierce aquamarine colour and is the perfect place for travellers to enjoy swimming or snorkelling. Located near the undeveloped island of Comino, it is also the ideal spot for some rest and relaxation. The area is easy to reach thanks to the plethora of tours and water taxis. Additionally, average afternoon highs for the season are between 29°C-32°C (84°F-90°F) with an average of 13-14 hours of sunshine per day.
During summer visitors also take advantage of the warm conditions at night and during the day to enjoy the pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants of St. Julian’s. This area is all about having a good time and there are plenty of places to enjoy a cocktail and party the night away. One of the best restaurants in the region is Truffle and Truffles. This bistro style restaurant offers hearty food in large portions. The menu is varied with both types of meat and fish and, of course, there is a wide selection of cocktails to also choose from.
Vacationers will enjoy one of the local favourites at Bobbyland located near the Dingli Cliffs. This wonderful restaurant offers rabbit stew and gives travellers a chance to mingle with the locals. After enjoying a traditional lunch, visitors can explore the nearby prehistoric scores in the limestone pavement that look like ancient cart ruts.
Of course, visitors will want a nice place to stay that is centrally located in order to get to all of these wonderful attractions. One of the best hotels on the island is the Radisson Blu Resort and Spa, Malta Golden Sands. The recipient of the Traveler’s Choice Award in 2014, this hotel is nothing short of spectacular and not only offers guests a stunning view but also impeccable service.
For those considering a holiday on Malta, there is a little something for everyone. Visitors can step back in history and see building and features created hundreds and thousands of years ago. The adventurous types can rent jet-skis and take advantage of numerous areas to snorkel and scuba dive. Finally, there are also plenty of places to just relax and take in the scenery and enjoy this little slice of paradise, perhaps with a cold drink in hand. Day trips are certainly the way forward when visiting Malta!