About Malta

The Maltese islands are located in the central Mediterranean, approximately 90 kilometres from the island of Sicily and Italy. This archipelago covers an area of 316 square kilometres (Malta 246, Gozo 67 and Comino 2.7). The population of the islands is approx. 400,000.

The longest distance on the island of Malta, from the south-east to the north-west is some 27km. Malta has neither mountains nor rivers, but is characterised by a series of low hills and gently sloping fields. There are some secluded areas of woodland in the north as well as pristine areas of garigue and maquis. Malta also boasts two nature reserves which provide a haven for migratory birds. Malta’s coastline is well indented with harbours, bays, creeks, a few sandy beaches. The capital city of Malta is Valletta.

Gozo, the island to the North, is smaller than its sister island Malta, and offers an abundance of greenery and flat-topped hills.

The Maltese islands offer varied accommodation in hotels, apart-hotels, tourist villages, guest houses, self-catering farmhouses, villas, apartments and hostels.

Malta’s climate is strongly influenced by the sea and has a typical Mediterranean flavour. Winters are mild with occasional cold weather brought by northerly and north-easterly winds from central Europe between the months of December and February. Summers are hot, dry and very sunny with temperatures around 30 degrees Celcius. The islands have a very sunny climate with a daily average of five to six hours of sunshine in mid-winter and more than 12 hours of sunshine per day during the summer.

The unit of currency is the Euro (€) and divided into 100 cents. Driving is on the left, unlike most European countries. Malta joined the European Union in 2004.

Although Malta has a long history (some 6,000 years), the Arab occupation from 870 to 1090 provided the basis of the Maltese language. The Knights of the Order of St John, a religious order who occupied the islands from 1530 to 1798, shaped the islands artistically, commercially, socially and culturally. The British period, from 1801 to 1964, introduced the concept of British justice with a unified code of laws, democracy and administration. The British also helped launch the islands into the modern industrial world and linked them with the worldwide community of English-speaking countries.

Maltese and English are the official languages. Maltese is a Semitic language similar to Levantine Arabic and written in the Roman script. The Maltese language also includes many words of Italian, French and English origin.
The majority of Maltese are Roman Catholic. There are small Anglican, Church of Scotland, Greek Catholic and Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim communities.

Nightclubs and especially discotheques are extremely popular. One must be over18 for admission to a discotheque or nightclub and also to be served alcoholic drinks. St Julian’s is a lively and immensely popular area of nightlife in Malta, but for those who prefer a more subdued atmosphere, areas such as Sliema and Bugibba provide a wealthy of daytime and night time activities including shopping, cinemas, sports, restaurants and bars and much more.

Malta is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, the largest and most famous at Ghadira Bay in Melliah. Other sandy beaches are located at St. George’s Bay (St. Julian’s), Birzebugia, and Golden Bay.

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