Malta holidays are like a multi-layered cake. They take a historic base, add a coating of blemish-free beaches, and top the lot with a buzzing city scene.
Days out are a real head-scratcher in Malta, simply because there’s so much to see. The island’s home to Medieval towns, prehistoric temples and a labyrinth of catacombs. Valletta’s the star of the show, though. Traditional boats drift past the fortified walls of the Grand Harbour, and you can learn about the Knights of St John in an art-filled palace. Beneath it all, secret war tunnels fan out like the roots of a tree. All told, it’s little surprise the capital city’s been dubbed European Capital of Culture for 2018.
Sandy beaches only cover a snippet of the seafronts here. Blue Flag Mellieha Bay fits that bill in the island’s northern reaches, but things take a turn as you bring its coastal counterparts into the mix. Bugibba’s bond with the Mediterranean Sea is based on a string of sunbathing platforms, which act as beach substitutes along St Paul’s Bay. Qawra, meanwhile, has a rocky shoreline where watersports are a popular pick.
Step away from the scenery, and Malta’s got bags to offer in the way of fast living. Zoom in on St Julian’s and Sliema for boutiques that give the plastic a bashing, plus a glut of classy bars and restaurants. Paceville’s just a postcode across from the pair, and goes full-throttle to live up to its name. Glitzy clubs and casinos form a dot-to-dot around here, and the party clock keeps ticking into the early hours.
The Maltese islands of Gozo and Comino are both extra small, but the island pair certainly pack a punch. Take a boat trip from the north coast, and Comino’s the one that comes into focus first. It’s like a magnet for visitors, who are drawn by the striking waters of the cave-surrounded Blue Lagoon. Gozo, meanwhile, bases its holiday destination profile on scuba diving – some of the underwater scenery here’s enough to steam your goggles up.