The moment I stepped off the plane onto the airport tarmac, I fell in love with Malta. With its large arches and slightly sandy colour, the airport terminal looked completely different from any airport I had ever seen. I enjoyed admiring the building as I basked in the balmy temperature and sunshine. I felt like I had just landed somewhere very exotic.
On the drive to my hotel, the first thing I noticed was that most of the buildings were a tan, sandy colour. They were like sandcastles!
I really enjoyed the time I spent in Malta, and it is still among my favourite countries. It is an island nation in the Mediterranean sea near Sicily and the North African coast. Here are 11 reasons why Malta should be your next destination!
1) Most people in Malta speak English- no language barriers!
English is one of Malta’s two official languages. Since it used to be part of the British Empire, most residents can speak fluent English. No need to worry about deciphering street signs.
2) It has one of the most scenic airport landing views in the world
Malta recently topped the list of the Best Airports for Landing Views. When my flight was descending, I saw breathtaking views of the sea and Malta’s rugged cliffs. I also saw great scenery when I took off!
3) It has a warm Mediterranean climate
Malta has a sunny climate. During January, its coldest month, temperatures range between 12 and 20 °C during the day – very comfortable! It’s the perfect place to go to escape the chilly winter weather of mainland Europe.
4) You can see amazing landscapes
Malta boasts clean, sandy beaches and peaceful swimming spots. In warm weather, a gorgeous place to swim is the Blue Lagoon which has bright blue water. There is also a famous sea cave called the Blue Grotto which you can take a cruise inside. Malta has a rocky coastline that offers mesmerizing views. You can also find lovely green vineyards on the Maltese islands.
5) It is convenient to travel around the country
Since Malta is a small country, traveling to different attractions doesn’t take a long time. The public bus system is affordable and reliable (except on public holidays like Easter when it is very crowded). Car rental services and taxis are readily available, and there is also a convenient Hop-on, Hop-off tourist bus. I took the Hop-on, Hop-off bus around Gozo.
6) Malta has an intriguing history
Malta has a fascinating and diverse history. As far back as 5200 BC, it has been occupied by distinct cultures, such as the Phoenicians, Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, and the French. It also used to be a British colony, so it still has many British shops and even some red telephone booths. The Ġgantija temples on Gozo are even older than the Egyptian pyramids!
7) You can visit famous filming locations
The popular TV series Game of Thrones used to be filled in Malta. There are even some tours that will take you to filming locations. As well, scenes from the movies Troy, The Count of Monte Cristo, The DaVinci Code and Gladiator were filmed here.
8) The architecture is very diverse
I loved the variety of architecture in Malta. Some buildings have a European style, while others have an Arabic or North African style. There is also a distinct Maltese style- sandcastle coloured buildings with colourful protruding balconies. I have never seen this type of balcony anywhere else!
9) You can attend interesting festivals
Malta has many interesting cultural events and religious festivities throughout the year. Some notable events include the Malta Fireworks Festival, Carnival, Freedom Day and Ceremony of Our Lady of Victories. There are also local village feasts (festas) during the summer. Holy Week, which occurs during Easter, is one of the most popular events. On Good Friday and Easter Sunday, statues of Christ are carried through the streets of towns and villages in Malta by locals dressed in Roman costumes. I was lucky enough to see the Good Friday and Easter Sunday processions in Valletta. If you are in Malta during Easter, I highly recommend that you attend a procession! It’s a very interesting cultural event to witness, even if you are not religious.
10) Malta has the most colourful boats!
Colourful fishing boats called luzzus are a common sight in Maltese harbors. The best place to spot luzzus is in the village of Marsaxlokk. These boats are usually painted in bright colours such as red, yellow, blue and green. On many boats there are two small eyes painted on, a tradition that dates back to Phoenician times. They are believed to protect fishermen from danger while they are at sea.
11) The Maltese islands have a peaceful, leisurely atmosphere
Because of its Mediterranean culture, Malta has a relaxed, leisurely vibe. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life!