According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Malta is classified as an advanced economy. Prior to 1800, the majority of Maltese people were engaged in agriculture or fishing, in fact, up till then, Malta had very few industries except cotton, tobacco and the dockyards industry.
Things to Do and See in Malta
Tour any country around the Mediterranean and you won’t have to travel far before you come across a road sign directing you to the ‘Blue Grotto’. You may even be tempted to think that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Not really!
Chinese Garden of Serenity
If you’re getting overwhelmed by all the historical sites you’re visiting during the day and by the heat of the beach, not to mention the lively adventures into the Maltese nightlife, then it could be time for some peace and relaxation. So why not reserve some time for yourself and your soul by visiting the Chinese Garden of Serenity
You may already have done your homework, so the fact that Malta is a small, hilly island slanting southeastwards may not come as a surprise. Thank goodness for that slant, though, as it means most of the western coast has high cliffs and the panoramic views that go with them.
Fort Rinella was built by the British in Victorian times to help protect the Grand Harbour of Valletta. Sitting like a tired dinosaur on top of the fort is a 100-ton Armstrong gun – also built by the British to protect naval shipping in the area from the newest generation of Italian battleships.
A top tip I learned very early during my travelling adventures was to watch the locals – where they eat, drink, go for a day out etc. Just think about it for a minute. Who knows where you live better than you?
Although no-one seems to have taken the time to count them, the saying goes that Malta has a church for every day on the calendar. Whether there are 365 or not is debatable but there are certainly plenty to go at as a brief glimpse at any Maltese skyline will confirm. It is dominated by church spires and domes.
Marsa Horse Racing Track
Who was it that came up with the idea of ‘putting your shirt on a horse’? Have they not seen the size of those things? You’d have to be enormous if your shirt was to fit on one of them. And why would you want to? They’d never get their hoofs down the sleeves and even if they did, it would look ridiculous!
Marsaxlokk Fish Market
For those of you who are self-confessed ‘foodies’ you’ll be only too aware that secret of great cooking is not a complicated one. As one chef once said: “It’s merely applying heat to fantastic ingredients.” Put another way it’s about using the best and freshest produce available.
Mdina by day
Time travel, as we are all too well aware, remains the stuff of science fiction. One day, maybe, but not for now. Sadly that means we will never be able to flick a switch and appear in the middle of a medieval joust armed with a six pack and digital camera.
Mdina by night
Mdina during the day is a magical, beautiful place! But we have gone into that in more detail elsewhere. What we are looking at here is how the ‘Silent City’ changes and becomes a different but equally attractive proposition for the tourist once the curtain of night has descended.
Olly's last pub
If there was ever going to be the right time, place and activity for the notorious hell-raising actor Oliver Reed’s life to come to an end then it had to be during a serious drinking session in a boozer.
For those of you who love a day by the sea but are not overly enthused by the idea of extracting sand from every bodily crevice afterwards, Malta is definitely the place to be. That’s because this wonderful island resort has an abundant supply of beaches of the sand-less, rocky variety.
San Anton Gardens
Through much of the year, Malta’s climate makes for a landscape that’s dryer than a desert camel’s toenail during an extended drought. As a consequence of this desiccated terrain it’s a country not exactly famed for providing areas of rolling greenery or spectacular gardens.
There is a school of thought followed by some people (I’m one of them) that you have to be vaguely masochistic (mad) if you are willing to entertain the thought of going to a sandy beach to enjoy yourself.
Sliema is an old colonial town on the edge of the sea across from the Maltese capital city of Valletta. Since the end of the Second World War it has undergone a dramatic change and is now acknowledged as the chic and trendy commercial centre. It’s the place to go to see and be seen!
Ta' Qali Crafts Village
From prehistoric times, the Mediterranean was a major source of arts and crafts that would go on to flourish across the whole continent of Europe and beyond. Unfortunately, when package travel became readily available to the Med’, tourists insisted on ignoring the fine arts and crafts and would bring back unbelievable tat for souvenirs.
The Three Cities
“See Naples and die!” is how the famous saying goes. Bit extreme that isn’t it? And Naples aint so special, really, if we’re honest. I mean it’s OK! It has a nice bay and a castle but it’s certainly no nicer then Florence, or Rome, or Venice – and they’re all in the same country!
Having a history as long and chequered as Malta’s you’d expect something a bit special from its capital city. You won’t be disappointed! Proud Valletta is as impressive as any country’s premier city should be but it has the added advantage of being incredibly compact too!
Eyebrows were raised, and the more sceptical among us quaked with dread, when it was announced that a row of deeply historic warehouses on Valletta harbourside was to be redeveloped. This could be disastrous we thought. Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong! So hands up and credit where credit is due … this new facility is fantastic!
How to describe a festa? Fiesta, carnival, festival? Well, they’re all of these and none of these because festas are uniquely Maltese and so they will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in other countries.
Visit a band club
The towns and villages of Malta and Gozo are replete with all kinds of clubs. You have the inevitable two rival political clubs - red vs blue - in almost every prominent public square.