With plenty of sunshine all year and good beaches, plus a handful of vibrant towns and cities, Malta has something to offer every visitor...
A flight to Malta takes around three to four hours from UK airports, though you might be confused when you alight in Malta and find the distinctive red of British post boxes and phone boxes, plus everyone speaking English.
The design icons of Britain come courtesy of a period of British rule, as does the prevalence of English-speaking locals. In Malta, you'll also find the laid-back charm of Italy, Arabic place names, and plenty of Mediterranean flavour, from the architecture and the food to the welcome offered by the Maltese.
Add in the sun, sea and sand and you've got the recipe for a perfect holiday.
The country of Malta is made up of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Flights for all destinations arrive at Malta International Airport (MLA, also known as Luqa by locals). It's no more than an hour to anywhere on the main island.
Valletta is the nation's capital and can be reached from the airport in 20 minutes. It is the place to wander around learning about the history of Malta, from the interesting building on every street corner, to the War Rooms and National War Museum, where you'll find the George Cross and very moving memories of war.
Tales of the Knights of St John (AKA Knights of Malta) reverberate around the walled city, especially in Fort St Elmo and St John's Co-Cathedral. Tourists also flock to the harbour in Valletta, where modern restaurants and bars compete for trade with the more traditional outlets up in the older part of the city.
The tourist resorts on Malta, dedicated to the pursuits of eating, drinking, swimming and achieving the perfect tan, are mostly found north of Valletta and range from upmarket Sliema and neighbouring St Julian's, to St Paul's, Qawra, Bugibba and Mellieha Bay, which boasts Malta's biggest beach.
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Now you've been sold on a holiday to Malta, flights should be a priority...
Flights to reach Malta can be found from most UK airports, but not with the frequency of other holiday hotspots in Europe. They take around three and a half hours to reach the island.
Ryanair and easyJet offer the most frequencies, with departures from Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Luton, Stansted, Newcastle and Glasgow. Air Malta, the national carrier, also offers a full range of flights from Heathrow and many regional points and British Airways offers a Gatwick service.
Additionally, there are services from Thomson and Thomas Cook from many regional airports in the summer months.
It is important to book early to secure your seat - and the best price. Use the TravelSupermarket price-comparison service to find your flights.
It's simple to make your way around this small and friendly group of islands from Malta Airport...
Buses, taxis and dedicated airport shuttle services are frequent and reliable, and car hire is also a worthwhile investment.
Reaching the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino is pretty simple too. Fast and cheap car and passenger ferries depart frequently from the north of Malta and transfers once on the petite isles are, naturally, short and inexpensive.
In 2011, the end of the road came for Malta's famed vintage buses, which were relics of the years just after the Second World War. The powers that be are slowly phasing them out and bringing in a fleet of new buses. While the charm has inevitably been lost, reliability is now more of a certainty on Malta's road network.
Use the new buses to reach destinations on the main island such as Valletta, Sliema, St Julian's, Qawra, Bugibba and Mellieha Bay.
A fleet of licensed taxis welcomes visitors fresh from the arrivals hall at the airport. Rates are fixed and you can buy a pre-paid ticket at the airport. Here are just two rates, for reference: from the airport to Valletta, the fare is 15 euros, from the airport to Bugibba it costs 25 euros.
Some hotels in Malta offer airport shuttle services too.
Where will you unpack once you've reached Malta? Decide where to stay and find hotels with TravelSupermarket...
Hotels in Malta are plentiful and of a good standard. You can stay in luxury hotels, where swimming pools and lush gardens fill the grounds and spas offer soothing treatments, or check in at mid-range and cheap hotels, where you'll find comfortable but basic rooms. There are beach-front properties, slick five-star hotels in cities such as Valletta, and sprawling resort-style hotels across the islands. Some hotels also have diving centres, which is ideal if you're hoping to head under the waves and check out some of the best dive sites in the Med.
For a sunshine break, consider hotels in the resorts of St Julian's, Sliema or at Mellieha Bay, among others.
For history and culture on the doorstep, consider hotels in Valletta or Mdina.
Though Malta isn't a fast-paced destination, the island of Gozo takes it even easier and the landscape is as nature intended. Book hotels in Gozo for a truly relaxing holiday in the sun.
Winter tourism isn't huge in Malta, meaning limited flight and hotel options in the milder months.