Did you ever hear about a place with spectacular Baroque architecture, a magnificent harbor, an exciting nightlife, attractive beaches, diving in clear turquoise waters, warm and sunny weather – and an English-speaking population?
But no, this isn’t somewhere in Mexico or South America, this is in Europe, right slap-bang in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. So what is this place? Well, it’s the island of Malta, about fifty miles south of Sicily and two hundred miles north of Libya.
Malta’s main city Valetta rises up from its natural deepwater harbor with incomparable and imposing historic buildings dating from the 16th century, palaces, cathedrals, churches, museums, streets and piazzas. Gaze down from the city walls to see yachts, and pleasure boats and cruise liners moored below.
In the evenings walk through the quaint streets and relax at one of the many cafes and wine bars, then move on down to the waterfront, look around the shops and perhaps have something to eat at one of the large number of restaurants. And from sea-level you’ll marvel at the city towering up above you.
But Malta also has two sister islands, Gozo and Comino. Gozo is a peaceful rural island, with farmhouses dotted here and there in the rugged countryside, and a spectacular coastline. Comino has some of the world’s best swimming, snorkeling and diving sites and its beautiful Blue Lagoon offers safe swimming in clear aquamarine waters. And with no built-up areas or cars, nothing could be more peaceful
Maltese food is based on the local cuisine, the Cucina Povera, which means the poor man’s kitchen. Traditionally many local dishes had to be simmered for a long time, which is why you won’t find many of them in the local restaurants. But because of its proximity or historical ties with Sicily, the Arab world, and Britain, the cuisine is inclined to show influences of them all. Maltese is the local language, but most people speak English too.