Holidays to Malta serve up ancient history, Renaissance art and a great gastro scene – no wonder the island is known as the land of honey.
Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, but it punches well above its weight when it comes to tourism. There aren’t a lot of sandy beaches on the island, but what it lacks in sand, it makes up for in lidos and bathing areas. In places like Mellieha Bay and Qawra, the sunbathing space is complemented by waterside promenades, beach bars and restaurants.
Centuries of history
History is Malta’s forté. The island is bursting at the seams with historical sites. The temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra on the south coast are cast-offs from prehistoric times. And the ancient city of Mdina was once a city of knights.
The good-time island
Of course, there’s more to Malta than its timeline. The island is quickly making its name as one of Europe's most exciting destinations for music fans. Throughout the summer, festivals take place at a different village each weekend. The season of celebration kicks off in style with the International Fireworks Festival at the start of May. Then there’s the annual Isle of MTV event, the Lost and Found Festival, and the International Jazz Festival, to name a few.
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On the northern tip of Malta, bubbly Bugibba is one of the island's most in-demand holiday playgrounds. Commanding centre-stage on St Paul’s Bay’s rugged 5-kilometre coastline, this small town is crammed with modern hotels and apartment blocks, and has recently had an expensive makeover. Judging by the attractive main square and the promenade, where the brand-new Bugibba Waterpark now resides, it’s been money well spent.
Mellieha Bay is a low-key place perched on the north coast of Malta. The sleepy old town sits up on the hill and comes with a smattering of churches, restaurants and shops – not to mention a great coastal view. And at the bottom of the road is the piece de resistance – a lovely sandy beach, one of just a few on the island.
This laid-back haven, between the nightlife hotspot of Paceville and the capital Valleta, has long been a favoured retreat of the wealthy. It’s carved a bit of a niche for itself with sophisticated bars and designer shopping, and you’ll find most of the action happens along the 2 coastal roads – Tower Road along the northern shore, and Triq ix–Xatt in the south. Where they meet is Tigné Point, home to the 18th-century fort and the very modern Point Shopping Centre.
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