The island's virtually unparalleled history has created an
extraordinarily rich cultural blend (the Maltese language, for
example, is part Arabic, part medieval Sicilian Italian and part
English) which is especially prominent in the capital city
Valletta, a World Heritage site described by UNESCO as 'one of the
most concentrated historic areas in the world.'
Away from the capital, the other key attractions are
fossil-filled cliffs, some of the world's oldest temples (dating as
far back as 3600 BC), stunning churches and fantastic diving off
Malta's small sister island of Gozo. Across these two islands (and
small but perfectly formed Comino island between the two) life
moves at a leisurely pace where the friendly locals inhabit
pavement cafes and family-run restaurants, and this is somewhere to
enjoy the delicious, fresh flavours of the Mediterranean, with
Malta's cuisine - much like the language - influenced by
neighbouring Sicily and Middle Eastern flavours.
More active pursuits include renting a boat to explore the many
peaceful coves hidden around the islands that cannot be reached on
foot, and diving in some of the best visibility in the
Mediterranean. Visit in summer and you are all but guaranteed to
coincide with one of the many patron saints festivals that see the
local towns transformed into party towns complete with medieval
pageantry and enormous fireworks displays.