For even the most well-seasoned North American traveler, Malta is something of an enigma. Located in the Mediterranean between Sicily, Tunisia, and Libya, Malta is a tiny island competing for attention with Europe’s biggest attractions. However if our visit is any indication, the tides are beginning to turn, with more North American travelers beginning to notice what the rest of Europe already knew. For it’s small size Malta has something for every type of traveler and it’s unlikely Malta will avoid the spotlight for much longer – as evident by a shout out on Buzzfeed.
As winter approaches and travelers in Europe look for some respite from the constant rain and cold found throughout much of mainland Europe, we would wholeheartedly recommend Malta as a great place to kick back, relax, and recharge for a week or two. Need more convincing than just our trusty recommendation, here are our top 7 reasons to catch a flight to this tiny island in the Mediterranean.
1. The Weather
Perhaps the only downside to traveling through Europe in the winter is the weather. Although it doesn’t get as cold as back in Canada, the perpetual gloom of impending rain and slightly above freezing temperatures can dampen even the brightest of spirits. Thankfully Malta does not follow suit with the rest of the continent and remains a comparatively balmy 15-20 degrees in the winter. Add in the 30-40 degree summer heat and you’ve got the making of the perfect getaway in any season.
2. The Water
There’s no shortage of crystal blue water around the Mediterranean, but Malta takes it to a whole new level. From the azure window to Ramla Bay to the amazing dive sites around the three islands, you’re never far from water in Malta. Seriously, it’s an island.
3. The History
When people talk about the great places to travel to truly experience history, the usual suspects – Egypt, Rome, Angkor – tend to crop up. No one seems to put Malta into the mix, but they probably should. Malta is home to some of the oldest and finest examples of neolithic temples in the world. From Ġgantija, the world’s second oldest free-standing temple (nearly 1000 years older than the Pyramids) , to the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni ( the only known prehistoric underground temple in the world), to the streets, bastions, and forts of Valletta which the Knights Hospitaller used to defeat the Ottomans in the Siege of Malta. Walking through the streets of Malta often feels like walking through a massive open air museum, and you’re never far from an amazing story or intriguing mystery.
4. The Churches
There’s lots of countries where Churches are a big deal – but nothing quite compares to Malta. Built in essence by The Knights of St. John as a Christian stronghold in the Mediterranean, Malta is absolutely covered in churches. Of the more than 360 churches that dominate the landscape, the undoubted crowning jewel is St. John’s Co-Cathedral. The resting place for many of the greatest knights throughout history, the Cathedral is the definition of opulence.
5. The Size
At just 316 km2 Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, which makes getting around an absolute breeze. Extremely efficient buses and ferries ensure that you can go shopping in the morning, catch some sun at the beach in the afternoon, and party the night away in the evening.
6. It’s an easy place to travel
One of the most rewarding things about travel for many people is the feeling you get when a difficult situation arises and you overcome it. There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment from ordering that first bowl of noodles in a foreign language (bonus points if you actually get what you ordered). But every once in a while it’s nice to have a break from the challenges. Malta is a great place to have this exact experience. Whether it’s a first family vacation or a respite from years of backpacking, the uncomplicaton is refreshing.
7. There’s something for everyone
Whether you’re looking for a luxurious retreat soaking up the sun and clubbing the night away, or you’re a culture junkie looking for ancient temples and hidden legends, you’re sure to find something for everyone. They even have a freaking cannon they fire off every evening.
Have we convinced you yet? Either way, feel free to check out the rest of our posts on Malta. Already been? Tell us what you thought about this tiny island in the blue in the comments below!