A magic island, navel of the world
Malta is an unusual island, without rivers nor mountains. It’s in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, between Africa and Sicily, like a coral atoll with high rocky cliffs and bays. Together with the two smaller islands of Gozo and Comiono, Malta forms an archipelago emerging from beautiful soundings.
Malta. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
The high fortified ramparts and the medieval maltese walls are the entrance gates to the amazing Saint John Cathedral and the Grand Masters Palace other than to the quiet city of Mdina and the hypogeum temple of Hal-Saflieni. These are real cultural and natural treasures, tourists easily can reach them by feet or using the fast bus service.
Malta have roots deep into the year 4000 BC, earlier than cretese or egyptian cultures developed as the ancient statues of a Goddess Mother tell us. Moreover, ceramics has benn found in the whole archipelago, above all in the megalith temples of Ggantija, Mnajdra, Hagar Qim, Tarxien and in the hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni. Greeks and Romans never colonized Malta but they influenced religion by converting the inhabitants to their polytheistic cults. The Apostle Paul turned them to Christianity in 60 AC.
 Mdina door of old fortress. Malta. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
The Knights of Malta
Religious icon for the island are the Knights of Malta, an order formed in 1090 AC. Their duty was to protect and recover the pilgrims going to and from the Holy Sepulchre in the Holy Land. Malta’s relationship with the Order is tight, since 1522 they have been the Christian stronghold against Ottomans, as they were also called Soldiers of Christ. It was Charles V who offered the Knights Malta as their homeland, thus they defended the island against the fierce assaults of the Turkish. In 1531 the Knights built another fortress with impregnable walls called Valletta and named after the French Grand Master Jean de la Vallette who led the Order against the Turkish.  
This city is full of churches, monuments and archaeological sities.
Grand Masters Palace. Malta. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
Monuments in Malta
  • the Grand Masters Palace, a beautiful complex now home of the President of Maltese Republic and house of the Parliament;
  • the Holy Infirmary where now take place international forums;
  •  the Saint John Cathedral with its gilded artworks and arabesques along with the eight chapels dedicated to the languages spoken on the island.
Saint John Cathedral. Malta. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
Churches in Malta
Malta is home of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John, defenders of Christianity. In 60 AD, St. Paul, taken prisoner and then a shipwrecked man on the road to Rome, brought Christianity to Malta. There are 365 churches and chapels between the city and the islands. Not to be missed:
  • the Basilica of St George dating back to 1400 and entirely covered with marble;
  • the Anglican Cathedral of St Paul;
  • the Cathedral of Saint John in the Baroque style;
  • the Cathedral of Mdina, known as the Cathedral of St. Paul, a masterpiece from the late 1600s.
Saint John Cathedral in Malta
The Saint John Cathedral, all gold and arabesques, has eight chapels dedicated to as many languages spoken on the island. The cathedral was considered a sacred place because, between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the sons of many European noble families were buried here. The cathedral also preserves one of the most important works of art in Europe: "The takeoff of St. John the Baptist" by Caravaggio.
Archaeological site of Mnajdra. Malta. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
Archaeological sities in Malta
On the island there are numerous archeological sites and are the testimony of 7,000 years of history. Not to be missed:
  • Borg in Nadur  and  Bugibba Temples dating back to the Bronze Age;
  • the Temples of Mnajdra and Hagar Qim
  • Catagombs of St Paul,  St Agatha and of Tal Mintna
  • The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni underground complex carved into the rock that was used as a sanctuary and for burials.
Histroy let marks everywhere but it’s also possible now to see how life was for a nobleman in Malta in XVI century. How? Just pay a visit to Casa Rocca Piccola in Valletta, 74 Republic Street, guided by the descendant marquis De Piro. He will show furnishings and dresses, pottery and paintings along with little stories and curious remarks about the secular dinasty his family comes from.
Malta. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
The archipelago was British colony from 1800 to December 13 1974, when it became a Republic. From June to September the many parishes in Malta celebrate their saint with processions, street decorations and fireworks. 
Sport in Malta
Open air lovers may choose to play golf and tennis or to ride horses, jogging or simply take a walk on the promenade enjoying the breeze coming from the sea. For extreme sports lovers there is the chance to free climbing on the cliffs, to explore the soundings or launch with the ascensional parachute in Melleiha Bay or by helicopter leaving from Xawlija and Gozo.
The Pastizzi. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
The traditional dishes of Malta
The traditional dishes of Malta to try are: "Lampuki Pie" (fish cake), rabbit stew, "Bragioli" (beef olives), "Kapunata" (Maltese version of the ratatouille), and the soup, which includes a small flan of "Gbejniet" (sheep or goat's cheese). The snacks to taste are: the "hobz biz-zej" (a slice of bread dipped in olive oil, rubbed with ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, onion, garlic, tomatoes and capers) and the "pastizzi" (puff pasta, filled with ricotta or mashed peas).

Text by Pia Bassi, 
Update texts by Nicolò Villa
Avion Tourism Magazine
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Tourist Offices
Where to sleep in Malta
Malta. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock

Malta is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.

To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Hotels in the islands
Hotels near the airport
WHERE TO GO in malta
Monuments in Malta
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Borġ in-Nadur, Birżebbuġa, Malta

These temples ruins are situated in the southern area of Malta and are important because they appear to reveal not only a four-apse temple (c.2000 BC), but also a fortified, Bronze Age domestic settlement. The remains of a large, defensive wall lie nearby, running across the head of a promontory between two valleys leading down to two bays. Traces of the Bronze Age huts were discovered lying just behind the wall and the depth of the deposits was very shallow, covering the remains of the Temple Period.

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Vittoriosa Waterfront, Vittoriosa

Fort St. Angelo is the jewel in the crown of The Maltese Islands’ military heritage. According to legend, the fort stands on the site of a fortified Roman settlement. It was to play a heroic role in the Great Siege of 1565, when, against all odds, it managed to repel a formidable Saracen armada. The epic resistance of the Knights during the three-month siege gave the Fort its legendary status. More recently, the Government granted the Order of the Knights of St. John the upper part of the fort, comprising the magisterial palace and St. Anne's Chapel.


Palace Square Valletta

Grandmaster's Palace is a masterpiece of the sixteenth century and the current seat of Parliament. The "Holy Infirmary" is now a fully equipped conference center, while the St. James Centre for Creativity, is a perfectly restored fortification where contemporary artworks are exhibited on the ancient irregular walls of the magnificent rediscovered spaces. In these buildings, past and present mingle in an admirable lesson in the art of fine living.


Museums in Malta

South Street Valletta, Malta

The collection of National Museum of Fine Arts ranges from the early Renaissance to modern times. Italian Baroque features mainly Mattia Preti (1613-99) and paintings by the Caravaggists Mattias Stomer (1600-50), Jean Valentin de Boulogne (1601-32) and by Guido Reni (1575-1642). The 18th century art is largely represented by Antoine de Favray (1706-98). Other paintings by Maltese artists such as Francesco Zahra (1710-73) and Giuseppe Grech (1755-87) suggest the continued influence of Roman art on local developments.

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St. John's Square, Valletta, Malta

Described as the first complete example of the high Baroque anywhere, St. John’s Cathedral epitomises the role of its original patrons, the Knights of St. John. The Cathedral is testimony to the talent of Maltese military architect Gerolamo Cassar, with Mattia Preti’s intricately carved stone wall designs, as well as the painted vaulted ceiling and side altars with scenes from the life of St. John.


Auberge de Provence, Republic Street, Valletta

The National Museum of Archaeology displays a significant array of artefacts from the Islands' unique prehistoric periods, starting with the first arrival of man in 5200 BC, running up to 2500 BC. The first rooms trace man's early settlement on the Islands up to the temple-building periods using a reconstruction of a rock-cut tomb. The collection includes obsidian cores and the Red Skorba figurines, which are predecessors of the temple period objects and statuary.


Excursions in Malta
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Steeped in myth, Gozo is thought to be the legendary Calypso's isle of Homer's Odyssey - a peaceful, mystical backwater. Baroque churches and old stone farmhouses dot the countryside. Gozo's rugged landscape and spectacular coastline await exploration with some of the Mediterranean's best dive sites. The island also comes complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago's best-preserved prehistoric temples, Ġgantija.

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Situated between Malta and Gozo, Comino is a paradise for lovers of snorkeling, windsurfing, diving and hiking.

The Island of the Blue Lagoon, offers an idyllic boat trip with the chance to bathe in its turquoise waters. A natural beauty without cars, Comino is an ideal place to retreat all year round.

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