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Home to remarkable ancient history, a spectacular coastline, and one-of-a-kind culture, Malta is a small country with a big personality.
Most Malta holidays begin in the island’s pint-sized capital, Valletta. The former stronghold of the Knights of St John, the UNESCO-listed city is architectural marvel dating back to the 16th century. Spend a few days strolling through the golden alleys of the compact centre and dipping into its impressively preserved buildings to discover the city’s hidden riches.
More Maltese history comes in the form of minuscule Mdina. There’s not much to do in this ancient walled city but it’s worth a wander come afternoon, when most of the day-trippers have left for the day and its honey-coloured streets are drenched in the glow of dusk.
Looking for a beach holiday? Malta is unlike anywhere else in Europe. Its dramatic coastline is rugged and rocky, with a few patches of golden sand. Impossibly clear waters pull divers and snorkellers from around the world, while the island’s impressive range of hotels and all-inclusive resorts cater to all types of travellers.
Qawra and St Julian's are two of the most popular seaside towns for beach holidays, with plenty of hotels, restaurants and nightlife to keep you busy. Mellieħa, with its long sandy beach, is another top pick for a beach break in Malta.
Wilder and quieter than Malta, Gozo is the smaller sister island. Beautiful for a back-to-nature break, a regular ferry service connects the two islands. Here, you can hike oceanside trails, swim in the clear sea and unwind far away from the stresses of life.
Malta is the largest island, with a lively nightlife, good shopping and a wide range of restaurants. A 20-minute ferry ride away, Gozo is quieter and more rural. For a short break to hike in nature and get away from it all, consider Gozo. While both islands have beaches, the bigger resorts and better range of package deals are in Malta.
Tiny Comino, between Malta and Gozo, is uninhabited and has no accommodation options but its Blue Lagoon is definitely one for a day trip.
Qawra, in the northeast of Malta, is a popular spot for an all-inclusive holiday. There are several resorts around its seafront promenade, many of which have views over St Paul's Bay, swimming pools and a range of restaurants.
Of the all-inclusive resorts in the seaside town of St Julian's, the Westin Dragonara Resort is worth considering if you’re looking for luxury. On a private peninsula, the five-star resort has two pools and direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. Another great option is the db Seabank Resort + Spa, which overlooks Malta's largest sandy beach in Mellieħa.
With a sandy beach and tons of activities, Mellieħa is a great shout for a family holiday. There are loads of family-friendly hotels to choose from, with great kids’ clubs, pool complexes and entertainment options.
Buġibba and Qawra are neighbouring seaside towns that also have kid-friendly activities on offer. Buġibba has a lovely artificial beach, while Qawra has Ta' Fra Ben, a popular swimming and snorkelling spot, and Malta’s National Aquarium.
St Paul’s Bay, on Malta’s northern coast, has a wide range of accommodation for most budgets, with cheap rooms in guest houses, self-catering apartments and B&Bs aplenty. Plus, the sights and activities of Buġibba and Qawra are close by.
Further down the coast, the trendy resort town of Sliema also has good accommodations for budget travellers – think family-run hostels and hotels. There’s a good choice of pubs and restaurants and you can reach Valletta by taking the cheap ferry.
You’ll find Malta’s largest stretch of sand – as well as good hotels, plenty of entertainments and lots of watersports – at Mellieħa Bay in the north. Golden Bay is another safe, popular beach with a handful of hotels nearby.
Armier and Little Armier are quieter beaches good for swimming and cracking views of Comino and Gozo. A short drive from all four beaches is Ċirkewwa harbour, where you can catch ferries to Malta’s other islands.
Valletta is Malta’s city break destination. The heart of the country’s cultural scene, the capital reflects Malta’s fascinating history and has the most extensive shopping, dining and nightlife options in the archipelago.
Valletta has enough sights to occupy two to three days and is also a convenient and well-connected base to explore the rest of Malta. With loads of accommodation choices, you can stay in a high-end five-star hotel or save with an affordable self-catering apartment.
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