Do you know where Malta is? It’s ok, neither did I until recently. Living in DC, I had the privilege of attending the European Union’s embassies open house event. Malta’s embassy in DC is a little out of the way, but a friend insisted on going, so I tagged along.
What. an. eye. opener. !. Three little islands in the Mediterranean (just south of Sicily) add up to one amazing destination!
I was fortunate enough to meet with a representative from the Malta Tourism Authority who provided me with tons of info on why Malta is THE place to go in Europe. After delving into the destination, I’m inclined to agree!
Here are 7 reasons why Malta is YOUR new favorite destination in Europe:
1. The nonexistent language barrier: As English is an official language in Malta (in addition to Maltese), there’s no language barrier to worry about and street signs are in English. As a former British possession, Malta is actually a destination for English-as-a-second-language learning! So you get all the benefits of Europe without the hassle of a learning how to say, “Do you speak English?” in the local language.
2. 7,000 years of history: The first settlers to Malta arrived around 5000 BC. Since then it’s been variously under rule by the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arab, Spanish, the Knights of St. John, French, and British
(it became a Republic and 1974 and joined the EU in 2004). Besides the brief history lesson, that means it is a treasure trove of heritage and culture, with three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and more monuments per square kilometer than any other country!
3. Year-Round Destination: Thanks to its location in the Mediterranean, Malta can be visited any time of the year. Beach season runs well into October and the “winter” (only getting into the 50s) is great for hiking and biking around the islands.
4. Sailing Paradise: The crystal-clear waters are a magnet for sailing enthusiasts who visit Malta from all over the world. Malta boasts various harbors and marinas which can accommodate any kind of sea craft. You can also opt to charter a sailing boat for a week or weekend, while day cruises are a favorite for many.
5. Diver’s Dream: Malta was recently rated #2 worldwide as a diving destination. The mild climate makes it possible to dive all year round and many diving schools offer their services throughout the year. Their tailor-made packages offer all types of educational and escorted day or night dives, including equipment rental for the more experienced unaccompanied divers. You can choose to dive from shore or from a boat. A family diving holiday here can be a magical experience, with many dive schools offering snorkeling and diving courses for young sea-explorers.
6. Night-Life: They know how to par-taaaaaay in Malta with a large selection of bars, restaurants, clubs, and casinos to choose from. Or you can take it easy and sip cocktails or wine at a sea-front establishment and enjoy gentler live music.
7. LGBT Friendly: Although the country is super Catholic (St. Paul is said to have ship-wrecked on the island while fleeing the Romans and thus brought Christianity to the Maltese people), they are also super welcoming and totally down with the LGBT-folk! In fact, the Maltese Islands rose to first place on the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Europe Index in 2016.
Whatcha waiting for?! Malta or bust!!