Right in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea lies the magnificent archipelago of the Maltese Islands, with Malta 93km south of Sicily and 288km north of Africa. These exotic islands are most renowned for their splendid beaches, crystal-clear blue seas and wonderful climate all your round.
The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino with a total population of 400,000 inhabitants over an area of 316sq km and a coastline of 196.8km (not including 56.01 km for the island of Gozo).
The main inhabited islands are Malta and Gozo, while Comino houses the Comino Hotel and Bungalows, a dream place that makes you realise what fantasies are made of!
Malta’s Capital City Valletta is inextricably linked to the history of the military and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem, known as the Knights of St John.
Grandmaster Jean Parisot de La Valette built Valletta in the 1500s. Valletta’s 320 monuments, all within an area of 55 ha, make it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. Today, Valletta is a wonderful mix of old baroque buildings and modern establishments, blended together and recognised as a World Heritage Property by UNESCO.
Malta has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most prominently the Megalithic Temples which are the oldest free-standing structures in the world. With a recorded history that dates back to more than 7,000 years, these temples even pre-date Egypt’s Pyramids and the UK’s Stonhenge.
The Maltese Islands are made up of many small towns and villages, which together form one metropolitan area with an average population of 400,000.
Although Maltese is the national language, English may also be considered as an official language since children start learning English from their early days at school. Italian is also widely spoken in Malta, and many young children learn to speak Italian mostly thanks to Italian TV stations that are watched in every Maltese home.
Throughout history, Malta's location has given it great strategic importance and a sequence of powers including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Fatimids, Sicilians, Knights of St John, French and the British ruled the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974, while retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. It became a member of the United Nations in 1964 and joined the European Union in 2004. Malta is also party to the Schengen Agreement since 2007 and shed its currency when it joined the eurozone in 2008.
Malta has a long Christian legacy and is an Apostolic See. According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul was shipwrecked on "Melite", as the Greeks called the island, and ministered here. Catholicism continues to be the official and dominant religion in Malta.
The Maltese are renowned as very friendly people, always willing to help and assist locals and foreigners alike. To say that everybody speaks English in Malta is an understatement, because even toddlers are taught how to speak in English.