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Malta: Europe's Secret Islands

by margaret 20. July 2011 12:34

When you mention traveling to the Mediterranean, most would think maybe Italy or Greece. But about 60 miles south of Sicily lays a tiny island that most would never know existed or even think to visit. A member of the EU since 2004, Malta is a great new destination to check out, especially if you (like many) haven’t even heard of it before! 

While non-stop flights haven’t been available to Malta from the US in years, it’s very easy to get to through various flights to Europe. Some of the top stop-over locations are FrankfurtLondon, Amsterdam and Rome. Once you finally get down to Malta, you’ll experience a world and culture as you’ve probably never seen before. Going to Malta can be like traveling through time. 

 

Meet Malta 

Malta, which many archeologists believe was settled in 5200 BC, has gone through a lot over the years, but still maintains a lot of character when it comes to appearance and attractions. The island has been influenced by everyone from the Italians to, most recently, the Brits who gave the country their independence in the 1960’s. The country consists of several small islands, only two of which are really inhabited (a third one, Comino, has become a favorite of film makers in recent years). The two most populated islands are the main island of Malta and the island of Gozo. Getting to Gozo from Malta is fairly simple and exciting for most tourists. Ferry’s between the two islands leave about every 45 minutes, and give you a great view of both islands during the 25 minute journey. 

The summer is a great time to visit Malta. Not only can you find reasonably cheap flight tickets, but you also get to experience one of the most popular events, the feasts. Feasts take place all throughout the summer in Malta and Gozo. Being a very religious (Catholic) island, each village has a saint, and each saint has a feast. These feast days are celebrated with parades, fireworks and everyone from the village coming out to mingle with family and friends. The best time to visit though is early on in the summer to beat the intense heat of August.

  

Hit The Beach

With the country entering the European Union in the past decade, it has more and more become a favorite getaway for people all through Europe and the UK. Think of it as the Florida of Europe (location and weather wise only of course!). While there, many enjoy what you would expect to enjoy on a small island in the Mediterranean… beaches! And Malta has plenty of them to offer, though they’re not necessarily the ones you may be used to from back home or traveling to locations like Fort Lauderdale or Honolulu. Most of the beaches in Malta consist of rocks instead of sand, making it a bit difficult to lie out in the sun and get a tan (though to be fair, you’ll get a tan just by being outside in general!). These rocky beaches are frequented by younger kids who would prefer to jump off the small cliffs and play in the water anyhow. If you make it over to Gozo however, there is one beach that seems to be everyone’s favorite. Ramla Bay is one of the few sandy beaches in Malta, making it a very popular destination for tourists. Another popular location is the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon, located at the smaller island of Comino. Trips to the Blue Lagoon can be taken by boat from Gozo and Malta as a great day trip for the whole family.  

  

Take Malta Home 

We all do it with each vacation. Leave home with some extra space in the suitcase to bring back souvenirs. Luckily for you, but maybe not your wallet, Malta has a wide array of things you can take back home with you (and be happy to put on display). One thing Malta is famous for is handmade glass. You can find different locations in both Malta and Gozo where you can not only buy the glass, but watch as it’s being made. This might be a good time to hold onto the little ones though, as large glass pieces are displayed throughout shops, and could be very pricey if broken! 

As with anywhere, one of the best souvenirs you can take home is something edible. Café Jubilee is a great little café that has locations in both Malta and Gozo, very popular with tourists for its European appeal. Next door at the location in Gozo’s capital of Victoria is the Jubilee Foods Shop where you can take home goodies like sun-dried tomatoes, capers and local honey from Gozo and Comino (highly recommended!).  

 

 

 

Whether you spend your time picking up gifts to take home, exploring the history or just lying on the beach, the islands of Malta are a great way to spend your next vacation, and your cheap international flight is only a click away at FareBuzz.com

 

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Tags: europe, greece, italy, malta, mediterranean sea

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