Malta

View of Valletta, Malta   Knights of Malta

Why Malta?                                                                      Click here to view video

Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, the Maltese archipelago, which includes Gozo, Comino, Cominotto and Filfla, exudes character at every turn, from its vibrant blue waters and secluded bays, to medieval walled citadels and splendid baroque churches. Every year, visitors flock to Malta's striking coastline to sample its mouth-watering seafood and immerse themselves in fascinating history, traditional villages and colourful fiestas. Malta's position in the central Mediterranean has made it an important strategic base and subject to invasion throughout the centuries. A multitude of civilisations have occupied the island throughout its ancient history, notably the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Christians, Turks, Arabs and British. One of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean, it has a number of megalithic temples dating back to the third millennium BC. However, it was not until the 12th century that Malta witnessed a great expansion of trade and a flowering of the arts and sciences, before ushering in a period of confusion with the Aragonnese, Venetians, Genoese, Papacy, kings of France and Arabs all, at various times, attempting to gain control of Malta.

Political stability did not return until the 16th century, when Malta, together with Sicily, became part of the vast empire of Charles V, who in 1530, recognised the strategic value of the islands for Christendom and granted them to the Knights of St John. For the next 250 years Malta was a bulwark against Turkish ambitions in Europe. Napoleon briefly held Malta but a British-backed rebellion forced him to retreat and the British ruled for the next 181 years. The most famous episode in Malta's recent history was the heroic defence of the island during WWII, for which the nation was awarded the George Cross. Since achieving independence in 1964, Malta has been stable with domestic issues dominating its internal politics. Malta became a republic in 1974 and a member of the European Union in 2004. It adopted the euro in 2008, and has flourished since, both politically and commercially, with vast sums of money being invested in infrastructure and roads. Malta rejoined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 2009 and remains committed to its neutral status.

From prehistoric temples, to the baroque architecture of Valletta, feasts of rabbit to festas of noisy fireworks, rattling buses to colourful fishing boats, this nation has loads of unique charm. exudes character at every turn, from its vibrant blue waters and secluded bays, to medieval walled citadels and splendid baroque churches. Every year, visitors flock to Malta's striking coastline to sample its mouth-watering seafood and immerse themselves in fascinating history, traditional villages and colourful fiestas. From retracing the footsteps of St Paul to discovering where the Knights of St John defended Christendom, this open-air museum will reveal new surprises to you at every turn.

  • When should I travel?
Malta offers warm sunshine all year round, with very hot, humid days and nights in July and August and cooler temperatures during the winter months. Summer is May-October and the hottest months are July to September when temperatures can reach 30+ degrees. In winter, the days are mild but the evenings can be quite chilly due to slightly stronger winds. Malta's beaches welcome scores of sun worshippers throughout the summer, while windsurfers prefer the stronger winds of the winter months. The island can get pretty packed during the summer so if sightseeing is your main aim, visit outside of peak season when it is sunny but cooler.

  • Is it safe to travel and are there places to avoid?
Most visits to Malta and Gozo are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • What money should I take?
The currency is the Euro (EUR). American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. ATMs are available.
Travellers cheques are exchanged in the normal authorised institutions.

  • What language will they understand?
Maltese (a Semitic language) and English are the official languages. Italian is also widely spoken.

  • How about my health?
Comprehensive insurance is advised for all other nationals. The principal hospital is Mater Dei at B’Kara, in Malta. Mains water is normally chlorinated and, whilst safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available and is advised during your stay.

  • Public Holidays

2012
01 January New Year's Day
10 February Feast of St Paul's Shipwreck
19 March St Joseph's Day
31 March Freedom Day
06 April Good Friday
01 May Labour Day
07 June Sette Giugno (Commemoration of 1919 Riot)
29 June Feast of St Peter and St Paul
15 August Assumption
08 September Our Lady of Victories
21 September Independence Day
08 December Immaculate Conception
13 December Republic Day
25 December Christmas Day

2013
01 January New Year's Day
10 February Feast of St Paul's Shipwreck
19 March Feast of St Joseph
29 March Good Friday
31 March Freedom Day
01 May Workers' Day
07 June Sette Giugno
29 June Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
15 August Assumption
08 September Feast of Our Lady of Victories
21 September Independence Day
08 December Immaculate Conception
13 December Republic Day
25 December Christmas Day

  • Do I need a visa?
Visas are required by South African passport holders.

  • Will I need any innoculations before I depart?
No vaccinations are required for Malta.