Considering its size at just 320 square kilometres, there's a lot packed into the tiny islands of Malta, sitting just 97kms south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea.
With a history spanning 7,000 years, visitors can explore ancient ruins, trace medieval history and the origins of the infamous Knights of St John, or wander the coastal clifftops and pathways, seeking out golden sandy beaches secreted away at the foot of the honey-coloured stone.
At the end of a long day sightseeing, sit back and watch the sunset while savouring some of the fabulous Maltese wine and cuisine.
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Malta has a rich and varied history, having been ruled by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Moors and British, to name a few. The capital city of Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with more than 320 historic monuments to explore. Gozo's megalithic Ggantija Temples, which date back to 4100BC, are the world's oldest freestanding monuments – older even than Stonehenge or the great pyramids of Egypt.
Sign Up for an Archaeology Tour
Ancient history buffs may enjoy an archaeology tour of the islands. Visit megalithic temples, Bronze Age dolmens, ruins of ancient Roman villas and The Hypogeum - an eerie underground labyrinth where the remains of around 7,000 people were found. This subterranean structure was initially used as a sanctuary when it was built around 3000BC then became a necropolis in prehistoric times.
Follow the Trail of the Knights
Malta's history is interwoven with that of the Knights of St John. Visit Birgu, where the knights settled in 1530, and wander through its maze of tiny streets. Tour the Vedette and marvel at the massive fortifications the knights built to defend the island. You can even see the Grandmaster's sword from the siege of 1565.
For scuba divers, Malta is a paradise, with numerous dive sites in easy reach. The clear Mediterranean waters offer excellent visibility, and the climate here means you can dive any time of year. Explore shipwrecks, underwater caves and cliffs, and get close to the abundant fish and sea life. The Blue Lagoon off the island of Comino is particularly good for diving.
Sail to Gozo
Gozo is the second-largest island in the Malta archipelago. It has a slower pace and more peaceful atmosphere. Some say Gozo is the legendary isle of Calypso from Homer's Odyssey. Today, you'll find a rugged landscape with winding valleys, old stone farmhouses, picturesque churches and forts, and spectacular vistas.
Trek Along the Island’s Infamous Cliffs
Malta has spectacular hiking country, with panoramic hills, lush valleys and wonderful villages. For panoramic views, head to the Dingli cliffs, which form a natural defense on the western coast of the island. This is the highest point in Malta; vistas from here are particularly impressive around sunset.
Enjoy Mediterranean Cuisine
For people living in the Mediterranean, good food enjoyed with family and friends has always been important. Maltese cuisine brings typical Mediterranean flavors together with influences from the various powers that have ruled here over the ages.
Join a Village Feast
Part of Maltese village life for centuries, a festa is a traditional religious feast organized by local parishes across Malta and Gozo. There are about 80 festas during the year, with each village throwing their unique slant on the festivities. Usually held between May and September, the festas involve processions, bands, fireworks, confetti and many happy people.
There is so much to see and do in Malta it would be difficult to fit it all into just one trip. Whenever you visit, you'll be sure to leave this island nation with wonderful memories of its beautiful places and fascinating history, and a longing to come back to discover even more.