Malta is a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, boasting more than 300 days of sunshine, pristine beaches, a vibrant culture and a lot of interesting things to do. In recent years, it has become the go-to place for young people’s travel, carreer prospects and training, knowing that it is also a place to have a great time and meet people from all around Europe and beyond. Being such a small island, you are always in close proximity to everything, including the 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a sure treat for the discerning traveller. We’ll be more than happy to show you around.
The history of Malta is fascinating to say the least, dating all the way back to the New Stone Age. What’s most striking about this charming island is that much of its 8,000 years of colourful history is still visible today – the island is full of smaller and larger reminders of its vibrant past, for which Malta is often times described as being one big open-air museum.
Unbeknownst to many, the Maltese islands were in fact a centre of Mediterranean civilisation even before Crete was. Strategically located between southern Europe and North Africa, Malta was a significant trading hub for anyone looking to trade in the Mediterranean. Coincidentally, it was Malta’s prime location that also predisposed the island to sieges and vigorous takeovers.
Malta has been inhabited since about 5200 BC, when the first Sicilian hunter-gatherers arrived on the island. The archipelago’s oldest monuments, built and used around 4000 and 2500 BC, are mysterious megalithic temples that belong to the world’s oldest free-standing structures. The then settlers of Malta used these temples to worship the gods, but – for reasons unknown – disappeared without a trace around 2350 BC, and the islands remained uninhabited for several decades until the New Bronze Age. After the Phoenicians inhabited Malta in 870 BC, the islands were dominated, in sequence, by the Greek, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Norsemen, Aragonese, Knights of Malta, French, and the British.
From the capital city of Valletta to the island’s smallest villages, Malta boasts an incredible range of events throughout the year. Whether you are looking to enjoy carnivals, cultural events, or festivals boasting internationally known names, you are sure to come across numerous events guaranteed to offer you the ultimate unwinding experience.
One thing to surely catch in Malta is a local village feast, or ‘festa’, in Maltese. Each village hosts an annual religious feast to celebrate a patron saint, and in some larger localities saints are celebrated more than once per year. Held for the most part from June to August, these village feasts are an iconic part of summer in Malta, parading stunning fireworks, street decorations, traditional music, and processions.
If you’re looking for more mainstream events, be sure to check out the annual Lost & Found festival, which attracts thousands of clubbers from all over Europe. Boasting many internationally known names, the festival offers the perfect way to kick-start the summer festival season under the Mediterranean sun.
For a glimpse of the local arts scene, plan your stay in Malta between end of June and mid-July. The Malta International Arts Festival is an annual event championing an incredibly diverse array of Maltese and international cultural performers. Offering outstanding music performances, breathtaking dance shows and stunning visual installations, this event is a must-see. If you’re looking for a more traditional Maltese experience, attend the four-day Ghanafest in late June, celebrating traditional Maltese folk music.
Slightly more unusual are the island’s numerous harvest festivals, which appeal to both locals and foreigners alike. Steeped in folklore and local delicacies, festivals such as The Potato Festival or The Strawberry Festival are dedicated to showing off Malta’s outstanding harvesting traditions. The Strawberry Festival, known locally as Festa Frawli, welcomes visitors to enjoy a wide array of strawberry delicacies, accompanied by traditional live music, dance shows and other vibrant cultural performances.
The Maltese love food and they take great pride in their unique cuisine. Maltese cuisine strongly reflects the island’s long history, showcasing strong Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and British influences. This fascinating and rich mixture results in a cuisine so hearty, fresh and full of flavour that it will no doubt have you craving for more.
Malta hosts a wide selection of eateries and restaurants offering delicious local foods to try out. A great way to start your meal is to dig into a bowl of Aljotta, the amazingly flavourful Maltese seafood soup made of fresh fish, prawns, mussels, and octopus. On the side, you can enjoy a traditional Maltese pastry, locally known as pastizz, stuffed with either ricotta or mashed peas. For cheese lovers, the Maltese Gbejniet will undoubtedly be love at first bite. This versatile cheese is made of sheep’s milk, and recipes for making the perfect Gbejniet are often passed on from one generation to another.
One of the most popular and traditional Maltese dishes is lampuki fish. This white, delicate flavour fish is so versatile that you can try it grilled, infused with garlic sauce, stewed, or even in a pie. Be sure to also taste fenek, a tender rabbit dish, which is served either fried or as a stew. Whatever your food preferences, be sure to make the most of sampling the various delicious delights while visiting Malta.
Malta is best known for its outstanding climate, stunning coastline, ancient wonders, and unique diving sites, but in reality Malta is so much more than that. The Maltese have many passions: religion, sports, horse racing, fireworks, food and family – just to name a few. For those who are looking for more than a sunny holiday at sea, Malta offers the unique chance to immerse oneself in a remarkably vibrant Mediterranean lifestyle.
The Maltese believe that good food makes for a strong body and soul. However, while food is at the heart of the Mediterranean lifestyle, the manner in which the food is eaten is also very important. For the Maltese, there is nothing they enjoy more than indulging in good food and entertainment, but only if shared with family and friends. Spending time outdoors and socialising are quite simply the fundamental elements of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
It’s not surprising that outdoor living plays a large part in the Mediterranean lifestyle. Stunning coastline, sandy beaches, sweeping bays and secluded coves draw both locals and visitors alike, especially in the summer months. Malta offers the perfect setting for many outdoors activities, such as hiking, camping, climbing, and boating.