With 7000 years of history and an 8-month long summer season, Malta is a unique, always-sunny island paradise in the middle of the Mediterranean. Here are 10 reasons why you should spend the summer in Malta:
1. Ideal for beach hopping
Being an archipelago, Malta is a paradise for beach fans. Swim at lifeguard-patrolled Golden Bay Beach or take your pick of the water sports on offer around Mellieha Bay. Wander the red sands of Ramla Bay and San Blas Bay, or descend the one hundred steps to laze on Ghajn Tuffieha. And of course, don’t forget to visit Comino’s jaw-droppingly beautiful Blue Lagoon, with a name that barely does justice to its sparklingly clear waters of an otherworldly hue. Here’s our full guide to the best beaches on the island.
2. Festival island
If you like eating and celebrating, Malta is for you. With local people who really know how to throw a good festival in the name of some of life’s most delicious treats, you’ll find one dedicated to beer, wine, citrus, strawberries, bread, chocolate, figs, and olives.
3. Wonderful Valletta
Baroque and contemporary at the same time, Malta’s capital is a UNESCO-World-Heritage listed town that is impossible to ignore. Full of colorful balconies, winding streets, and richly decorated St John’s Cathedral – complete with a Caravaggio painting – Valletta is also a fascinating reminder of the damage Malta suffered during World War ll: it’s home to a collection of underground shelters, chapels, and tunnels, some of which can be visited.
4. Wander on to Birgu
Birgu is the oldest of Malta’s fortified Three Cities, alongside sister-cities Senglea and Cospicua, a trio that, if their walls could talk, would tell tale after tale of Malta’s history. This teeny medieval city offers gorgeous views across the waters to Valletta and bursts with forts, churches, and museums, including the Inquisitor’s Palace, one of the last to survive in Europe. Wander its plazas, savor a waterfront coffee, and hunt for treasures at the Sunday morning flea market at Fuq Il-Fortini.
5. Join in the festa
With peak months between April and September, during the festa season local towns celebrate their patron saints—and boy do they do it well! These events are a sea of street parties, feasts, street vendors, fireworks, music, and churches decked out in their finest decorations. Of course, there are festa season foods to try as well: think cannoli (tubes of pastry filled with sweet treats), imqaret (deep-fried fig rolls), nougat, and donuts.
6. Take a day trip to Gozo
With a more peaceful, scenic, quaint vibe, this island just a 20-minute ferry ride from Malta calls visitors to spend the day wandering, sampling local produce, and savoring multiple coffees with charming views. While wandering, don’t forget to search for hidden beaches lying in wait along the dramatic coastline and peaceful green hills.
7. Learn to dive
Want to learn to dive? As one of Europe’s best diving sites, Malta has PADI-accredited dive schools waiting to teach you the ropes. Novice and expert divers are catered for, with Malta’s more than 100 dive sites, many of which are close to the shore and can be reached without the aid of a boat. What will you see? Think rock formations that drop away and arch upwards, revealing holes, caverns, and chimneys. Or marine life that weaves through reefs and peeks out from underwater domes and shipwrecks.
8. Eat up
Maltese food is hearty, rustic and delicious. Fill up on pastizzi (parcels of ricotta or spiced mushy peas), hob biz-zeijt (a Maltese-style sandwich spread with tomato paste and a variety of toppings). Then look for a bite of bragioli (beef olives), lampuki pie (fish pie), stuffat tal-fenek (rabbit stew), bebbux (snails cooked in tomato, garlic, wine, and parsley), aljotta (fish soup), or gbejniet (sheep or goat’s milk cheese). Not a red meat eater? There is an endless range of local pasta, seafood, and vegetable dishes to delight.
9. Nightlife upon nightlife
Malta is making a name for itself on Europe’s clubbing trail. Think flash cocktail bars with a serious interest in mixology, plus nightclubs, rooftop bars, wine bars, party beaches, open-air venues, and summer concerts everywhere. In short, night owls will feel more than catered to.
10. A photographer’s paradise
Malta may as well translate as “can’t take a bad photo”. Remember, this is a country of continual postcard worthy beaches, streets straight out of the pages of a novel, plus lost corners, amazing meals, historical sites, underwater kingdoms, and glorious sunrises and sunsets. Your Instagram feed has never looked so good.