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100 (2405 reviews)/
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Located between the island of Sicily and the coast of North Africa, the group of seven islands that make up Malta is a unique mixture of the cultures and cuisines of all the different people who have made the place their home over hundreds of years. Being so close to the continent of Africa, Malta enjoys a sub-tropical climate, with an average of eight and a half hours of sunshine a day. Malta is not just popular with tourists but it is also popular with Hollywood film and TV producers, and has been chosen as a filming location for films such as the multi-Oscar winning Gladiator and the hit TV series, Game of Thrones. Finally, and unusually for a European country, the people of Malta drive on the left, with this being a hangover from the days of British colonial rule.
Valletta, the cosmopolitan capital of Malta and the most southerly capital city in Europe, has lots to offer visitors. There are plenty of shops and markets to explore, along with beautiful architecture and interesting culture to experience. There is a large choice of places to stay in Valletta, from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. Valletta is a fortified city and up on the Eastern ramparts of the city walls you will find the Saluting Battery. From here, you can enjoy a fantastic view across the Grand Harbour, which is one of Valletta’s two natural harbours, and you will also witness the gun firing a salute at midday. Above the battery are the beautiful Upper Barrakka Gardens from where a lift will take you back down to the waterfront. For a different view of the city, visitors can cruise around the Grand Harbour in a traditional Maltese boat. Alternatively, you might want to walk along Republic Street, to see the day-to-day life, or if you just want to relax, you can find a café in St George’s Square and watch the changing of the guard at the Grand Palace.
Having been ruled by the British, French, Moors and Romans at various points during its long history, Malta has a rich and diverse architectural heritage with many sites for you to visit. The Domus Romana museum, outside Mdina, holds a collection of Roman artefacts as well as beautiful mosaic floors. Also located just outside Mdina, the St Paul’s Catacombs are where Christian burials took place during Roman rule. Even before modern times, the population of Malta left their mark. The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola, a group of underground burial chambers believed to go back to 4000 BC. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitor numbers are strictly limited and there is high demand in the summer so, if you would like to visit, it is best to book your place well in advance. Constructed over 5000 years ago by the ‘Temple Builders’, a group about whom little is known, the Tarxien Temples site consists of four temples built of large stone blocks decorated with art in the form of animals and spiral shaped patterns. There are hotels in Malta close to all of the major historic sites.
Malta has a busy calendar with something for everyone. There are a variety of music concerts and festivals with both local and international musicians, an art festival and international sporting events. But if you really want to see how the Maltese party, book your stay at one of the many hotels in Malta around the time of a traditional event. Each village has their own fiesta which celebrates the patron saint of their area, with stalls in the streets selling food and sweets. February is the time for Carnival. While Valletta is the centre of the Carnival action, other towns and villages have their own celebrations where everyone is welcome to join in. In Valletta, a brightly decorated procession travels through the streets with adults and children alike in fancy dress. After the procession the party continues all night in Paceville, the main bar and club area. Other significant festivities are held during Holy Week and at Christmas, when there are processions and carol singing.