Malta, a dream holiday destination04.03.2016
Magical little bays, rugged cliffs, magnificent sandy beaches: the island nation, with the three main inhabited islands Malta, Gozo and Comino, is situated 80 kilometres south of Sicily and is a veritable jewel in the Mediterranean.
Azure-blue sea and a rugged coastline
One of the special characteristics of Malta is the contrast between its coastlines, which range from flat, sandy beaches and wide tranquil bays in the east and north to rocky cliffs in the south-west and north. With this geographical diversity, the island has something for all tastes, from sunbathing and swimming to practically every type of water sport, including wind surfing, jet and water skiing, kite surfing, boat trips and some of the most stunning snorkelling and diving areas in the world.
There is a persistent rumour that there are no sandy beaches on the islands, which can be easily disproved by the breath-taking beauty of some of the beaches. For instance, the Golden Bay in the north of the island, which offers fine golden sand and spectacular sunsets, is a popular destination for many tourists.
The island of Comino, which is practically uninhabited, is famous for the impressive clarity of the water here: in the Blue Lagoon with its white sandy beach the crystal-clear water is perfect for bathing. Countless different types of aquatic sports are offered on the island.
The sister island Gozo, is a lot quieter, and time moves at a much slower pace here. Ramla Bay, an approximately 400-meter wide bay with tawny sand and crystal-clear water, is the ideal spot for divers.
The climate, which is mild all year round, makes Malta’s three islands an attractive winter destination for Europeans, and you can usually still swim in the sea as late as October.
The changeful history of Europe’s smallest nation
On 1 May 2004, the Republic of Malta became the smallest member country of the European Union and the euro was introduced in 2008. The combined population of the islands is 425,000, and they cover an area roughly equivalent to the area of Bremen.
Traces show that Malta was first settled around 6,000 years ago; since then the islands have undergone a succession of rulers: from the Phoenicians to the Romans, Arabic rulers and, finally, the British, who gave Malta its independence in 1964. This varied history has shaped Malta, and anyone looking for a holiday destination that offers beautiful beaches and bays as well as breath-taking sights has come to the right place! The country has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the megalithic temples of Ggantijam, the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni and the City of Valetta.
The capital, Valetta, built as a fortress in the 16th century by the Knights of the Order of St. John, features a unique, historic architecture, narrow lanes and a captivating choice of cultural activities, even though it is the smallest capital of a EU state. The city is the perfect place to stroll around and soak up the historic atmosphere. The city’s most magnificent building, the Grand Master’s Palace, dates back to the times of the Knights Templar, and it is now the official residence of the president.
Numerous cafes and restaurants provide the setting for a restorative break, and if you’re in need of a breather, the public gardens with their stunning view over the Grand Harbour are the perfect spot for some relaxation. A harbour trip around Valetta shows you the city from a different perspective. With this much to offer, it’s no surprise that the city and its many attractions are a popular film location.
Valetta also boasts numerous stunning churches, with the most magnificent being St. John’s Co-Cathedral: the relatively austere exterior contrasts with the elaborate, extremely ornate interior, widely considered one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean.
Malta International Airport is located roughly 8 kilometres outside of the city. This is the hub of the national carrier, Air Malta, which flies four times a week from Berlin-Tegel to Malta, departing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. As from 3 April, Ryanair will be flying twice a week from Berlin-Schönefeld to Malta. The services will be operated on Thursday and Sunday.
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