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NEWS

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About Malta

27 March 2018

     

Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso's Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages lead to the main square, which is invariably dominated by the huge baroque church. As the countryside is dotted with medieval towers, wayside chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum.

The Maltese archipelago lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa. The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino with a total population of over 400,000 inhabitants occupying an area of 316 square kilometers.

Malta is the largest island and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural, characterised by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture. Comino, the smallest of the trio, has one hotel and is largely uninhabited. 

With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.

 

 Have a look and get inspired by our beautiful country Malta!

 

Facts & Tips

Do I need a visa to visit Malta? Is driving in Malta on the left or on the right? Answers to these and many other questions can be found in this section, together with useful tips, currency and bank information and much more. All those little details that put your mind at rest before you travel, as well as information you may need while you're here.

More info can be found in the Practical Info section and on the FAQ page.

 

Climate

Malta's climate is typical of the Mediterranean and is strongly influenced by the sea. The Maltese Islands have a pleasantly sunny climate with a daily average of around 12 hours sunshine in summer going down to 5 to 6 hours in mid-winter.

Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Day-time temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes. 

Spring and autumn are cooler, except when the occasional Scirocco wind from Africa brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity. 

Winters are mild, with the occasional short cold spells brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe.

Annual rainfall is low, averaging 568mm a year. Bathing in the sea is quite possible well into the ‘winter' months, and the peak beach season can last until mid- to late October. 

Weather

Current weather conditions and 5-day foreacast provided by the Met Office at the Malta International Airport.

 

History

The history of Malta is a long and colourful one dating back to the dawn of civilisation.

The Maltese Islands went through a golden Neolithic period, the remains of which are the mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility. Later on, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines, all left their traces on the Islands.

In 60 A.D. St. Paul was shipwrecked on the island while on his way to Rome and brought Christianity to Malta. The Arabs conquered the islands in 870 A.D. and left an important mark on the language of the Maltese. Until 1530 Malta was an extension of Sicily: The Normans, the Aragonese and other conquerors who ruled over Sicily also governed the Maltese Islands. It was Charles V who bequeathed Malta to the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem who ruled over Malta from 1530 to 1798. The Knights took Malta through a new golden age, making it a key player in the cultural scene of 17th and 18th century Europe. The artistic and cultural lives of the Maltese Islands were injected with the presence of artists such as CaravaggioMattia Preti and Favray who were commissioned by the Knights to embellish churches, palaces and auberges.

In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte took over Malta from the Knights on his way to Egypt. The French presence on the islands was short lived, as the English, who were requested by the Maltese to help them against the French, blockaded the islands in 1800. 

British rule in Malta lasted until 1964 when Malta became independent. The Maltese adapted the British system of administration, education and legislation. 

Modern Malta became a Republic in 1974 and joined the European Union in May 2004.

 

Public Holidays

Malta and Gozo have 14 annual Public Holidays. With the exception of Good Friday, whose date varies from year to year, every other public holiday is celebrated on a fixed day of the year.

The dates are the following:

1st January - New Year's Day
10th February - Feast of St. Paul's Shipwreck
19th March - Feast of St. Joseph
31st March - Freedom Day
March / April (date changes) - Good Friday
1st May - Labour Day
7th June - Sette Giugno
29th June - Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul (L-Imnarja)
15th August - Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady (Santa Marija)
8th September - Feast of Our Lady of Victories
21st September - Independence Day
8th December - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
13th December - Republic Day
25th December - Christmas Day

For more information, go to Annual Festivals & Traditions or consult our Events Calendar.

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