When most people choose a vacation destination for a European getaway, they typically choose visiting countries like France, Italy, England, Spain, or Germany. While these are all truly wonderful places to visit, there are also plenty of other places to visit in Europe that you might not immediately think of the top of your head. One of these places is Malta, a small nation that’s located right between North Africa and Sicily. This incredibly gorgeous and culturally-rich island country should be at the top of your bucket list, and here are some reasons why.
Malta has a rich history and is directly influenced by the many rulers that have presided over the island throughout the centuries. These include the Romans, the Moors, the Knights of Saint John, the French, and the British. Due to this hugely varied mixture of cultures that has permeated into the fabric of Malta’s history, its current culture is vastly influenced by each of these eras.
Due to the many years of different succession of rulers, Malta features a wide variety of sights with a kaleidoscope of cultural influences. Some of the most popular attractions in Malta include St. John’s Cathedral in Valletta, the country’s modern capital, as well as visiting the ancient capital of Mdina. Many people love visiting the Upper Barrakka Gardens, which offers lush green vegetation alongside impressive architecture.
For history buffs, a great spot to visit is Fort St. Elmo, which dates back to the days of the Knights of St. John, who were a military group dating back to the days of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. For those who prefer nature sightseeing, popular destinations to visit include the sunning Blue Lagoon, the Azure Window lagoon area (which was featured in Game of Thrones), and Comino, an islet and lagoon with stunning views.
What do you get when you fuse together Italian, British, Spanish, French-Provencal, and Maghrebin food? The rich and complex cuisine of Malta! Maltese food is known for being rich in flavor and quite hearty. Some must-try dishes include Ftira Ghawdxija, or Gozitan Pizza that is topped with potatoes, Gbejniet, or cheese dumplings, and Stuffat Tal-Fenek, which is a rich slow-cooked rabbit stew and is considered to be a national dish.
Know Before You Go
The Maltese people are quite linguistically-inclined, as nearly everyone you’ll encounter will be able to speak in English. The national language is Maltese, but about half of the population of Malta can also speak Italian. The climate of Malta is typical of any Mediterranean country, so expect mild weather throughout most of the year and hot summers that you should spend beachside!