Malta is an island country situated just off the coast of Sicily, consisting of the largest island Malta, the peaceful Gozo and the small island Comino. It is centrally situated in the Mediterranean and within easy reach of Europe and Africa. Here are ten reasons to visit Malta.

Wonderful Weather

1. The island republic has on average 300 days of sunshine a year. The average temperature in the summer is about 32 degrees Celsius and in winter about 15 degrees. The wonderful weather all year round means that there are excellent outdoor activities during the day. Swimming and sunbathing are particularly popular.

Great Outdoor Activities

2. Not many of the beaches are sandy, but you are always within kilometres of the coast, no matter where you are. On the main island, Mellieha Bay has the best beach, Gozo has Marsalforn among many others and little Comino has the stunning Blue Lagoon, a feast for the eyes and other senses. Other popular beaches are Ramla l-Hamla and San Blas Bay.

The sea water is exceptionally clear, which makes Malta one of the best spots for scuba diving and snorkelling in the world. There are many diving schools on the islands and very soon you will be ready to explore the undersea caves and reefs and the great marine life in the warm waters of the area.

Other activities include hiking along the many beautiful paths, horse riding, rock climbing and mountain biking (especially on Gozo), para gliding, wind surfing and yachting. Equipment for most of these sports can be rented at a number of places at very competitive prices.

Historic Sights

3. Valetta, the capital city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been declared an important historic area, with beautiful streets, balconied buildings, forts, churches and monuments. The Grand Harbour has been used since the time of the Phoenicians.

4. Malta is steeped in history. At one stage or another it was invaded by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Turks, the French and the English. This melting pot of civilisation has signs of these invaders everywhere, especially in the culture and architecture. English is the second language after Maltese, which makes communication very easy for tourists.

Festival Fun

5. This is a nation of festivals. In summer, every little village has a well-planned festival for its patron saint. These are called festas and they last for a week and include street processions with marching bands, concerts, decorations, food stalls and a spectacular finale of fireworks, the pride of every village.

Annual festivals are celebrated with much display and energy. Carnival on the five days before Lent is exciting and frenetic. In Valetta, the televised float parade is truly spectacular, displaying weeks of work by professional artists. The Good Friday Pageant portrays the passion and suffering of Christ. During the Christmas holidays buildings and streets are decorated with lights and on Christmas Eve the Midnight Mass is celebrated in every church.

Places of interest

6. Some examples of the fascinating places to visit include the Mosta Church, which has one of the largest domes in the world. St. John’s Cathedral in Valetta and the Museum of Fine Arts are also not to be missed. The strange and interesting Popeye Village was the location where the film Popeye was made in 1980.

At the Mediterraneo Marine Park visitors have the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. You could also visit a prehistoric cave at Ghar Dalam or look through the Azure Window on Gozo, a naturally sculpted rock formation. For something different, attend the In Guardia historical enactment or go to the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa.

Getting Around

7. Another reason to visit Malta is the ease with which you can travel around. Even the largest island can be crossed within one hour by car. Transport in general is cheap and reliable and the island is very safe with a low crime rate. Gozo is a mere 20 minutes away by ferry.

Friendly Locals

8. The people of Malta are exceptionally friendly and relaxed, reflecting the ease of their everyday life. They are used to tourists and are very welcoming. Most speak very good English and are helpful and courteous.

Tasty Local Foods

9. The typical Mediterranean food is tasty and very palatable to the European taste. Sea food and Gozo cheese are excellent. Some of the local delicacies include Fenkata (rabbit stew) and Maltese bread. The stuffed olives and artichoke fritters are delicious and Minestra, a vegetable soup, is very popular.

Desserts include Torta el-Marmorant, a tart containing almond, fruit and chocolate and also mqaret, which are date-filled pastries. Drinks such as Cisk, the local beer and Kinnie, a bitter-sweet soft drink, are very popular with locals and tourists alike.

Excellent Night Life

10. The night life on the islands is vibrant and varied. Excellent restaurants and taverns are open until late. St Julian’s is said to be the place to be. The Paceville district has a large number of bars and clubs with the best DJs, especially in the summer. The La Grotto nightclub in Gozo hosts great summer parties. In July and August, the arts and jazz festivals draw thousands.

If any of these great reasons inspire you to visit Malta for your next break, visit TravelSupermarket for everything from great deals on all inclusive breaks to cheap deals on your flights.