malta

Discover 11 Surprising Things About Visiting Malta

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Have you ever dreamt of embarking on a journey to a place that blends ancient history with modern charm seamlessly? Let’s talk about Malta, a hidden gem in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its compact size, this island nation is bursting with surprises waiting to be discovered. From its unique archipelago composition to its status as an independent country with a rich tapestry of cultures, Malta offers a travel experience unlike any other. In this article, we’ll unveil 11 surprising things about visiting Malta that will undoubtedly entice you to book your next flight. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just in search of breathtaking landscapes, Malta has something to offer for every traveler. Get ready to be captivated by the island’s enchanting allure and uncover the secrets that make Malta a truly extraordinary destination.

malta blue sea

1. Malta: An Archipelago of Hidden Gems

Often overlooked in the vast Mediterranean Sea, Malta is not just a single island but a stunning archipelago. Comprising seven islets, it’s a destination packed with surprises. Among these, only the three largest – Malta, Gozo, and Comino – are inhabited, with Comino being famous for its solitary luxury resort. This collection of islands covers a mere 316 km², showcasing Malta’s quaint yet richly packed landscape. The archipelago’s compact size belies the immense cultural, historical, and natural wealth waiting to be explored, making it a true hidden gem in the Mediterranean.

valletta

2. The Historical Connection Between Malta and Italy

The ties between Malta and Italy run deep, woven into the fabric of history and geography. Scholars have long debated the idea that these two lands were once physically connected. It is believed that a land bridge, now submerged 330 feet beneath the sea, linked Malta to modern-day Sicily. This ancient connection hints at the shared cultural and historical threads between the two, despite Malta’s unique path. The notion of Malta being an extension of Italy at some point in history adds a fascinating layer to its already rich tapestry of influences, showcasing the dynamic changes the Mediterranean region has undergone over millennia.

3. Tracing Back Malta’s Ancient Civilizations

The story of Malta is as ancient as it is fascinating, with its roots stretching back to the early Neolithic period around 5000 BC. This island nation is home to some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world, the Megalithic Monuments, which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These remarkable structures are a testament to the island’s long and storied past, serving as silent witnesses to the civilizations that thrived on Malta long before the advent of modern history. The existence of these ancient monuments underscores Malta’s significance in the study of human civilization, offering a glimpse into the lives of its earliest inhabitants and their remarkable achievements.

4. Malta’s Journey to Independence

Malta’s road to independence is a tale of resilience and transformation. After over 150 years under British rule, Malta marked a new chapter in its history by gaining independence in 1964. This significant event was followed by the island becoming a republic in 1974, and later joining the European Union in 2004, further solidifying its status on the global stage. These milestones not only reflect Malta’s enduring spirit but also its adaptability and growth through the ages. The journey to independence has shaped the Maltese identity, blending its rich historical past with its aspirations for the future, making Malta a unique blend of tradition and modernity.

5. The British Influence on Maltese Driving

In a nod to its historical ties with Britain, Malta retains the unique practice of driving on the left side of the road. This aspect of Maltese life is a direct legacy of its time as a British colony, and it stands out in a region where right-hand driving is the norm. This quirk in Malta’s transportation system is more than just a piece of trivia; it’s a living reflection of the island’s layered history, blending local traditions with the remnants of British influence. For visitors, it adds an intriguing twist to exploring Malta, offering a glimpse into how the past continues to shape everyday life in this captivating country.

6. Malta: Europe’s Unofficial Capital of Crafts

Malta has quietly emerged as an unofficial capital of crafts in Europe, boasting a vibrant scene that celebrates traditional artisan skills. Nestled within the islands, the Ta’ Qali Crafts Village serves as a hub for this flourishing community, where local artisans, from glassblowers to potters and jewelers, breathe life into their creations. These craftsmen draw from centuries-old techniques, ensuring that each piece tells a story of Malta’s rich cultural heritage. This dedication to preserving and promoting craftsmanship not only supports local artisans but also offers visitors a unique and tangible connection to Maltese history and traditions. The Ta’ Qali Crafts Village stands as a testament to Malta’s role in keeping European craftsmanship alive and thriving.

7. Unique Maltese Cuisine and Beverages

Maltese cuisine is a delightful exploration of flavors unique to the island, offering an array of dishes and beverages that tantalize the taste buds. A must-try is the Pastizzi, a flaky filo pastry filled with either ricotta cheese or mushy peas, embodying the essence of Maltese snack culture. Complementing this savory treat is Kinnie, a distinctive soda made from bitter oranges, spices, and herbs found only in Malta. These culinary offerings provide a taste of Malta’s rich gastronomic heritage, blending influences from the Mediterranean with local ingredients to create dishes and drinks that are as unique as the island itself. The combination of Pastizzi and Kinnie offers a quintessentially Maltese experience, inviting visitors to savor the flavors that make Maltese cuisine so special.

8. Malta as a Backdrop for Blockbuster Films and TV Shows

Malta’s stunning landscapes and historic architecture have made it a coveted location for filmmakers around the world. Its untouched nature, serene coastline, and ancient structures offer perfect settings, transforming the islands into a real-life movie set. From epic movies like ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Troy’ to the critically acclaimed TV series ‘Game of Thrones’, Malta has played host to numerous blockbuster productions. The island’s versatility in representing different geographical locations and time periods has made it a favorite among directors seeking authenticity and scenic beauty. This cinematic connection not only showcases Malta’s rich cultural and historical tapestry but also brings its unique charm to audiences globally, further cementing its status as a prime filming location.

9. Architectural Marvels Across Malta

Malta’s cities are a treasure trove of architectural marvels, spanning centuries and showcasing designs from various historical periods. From the intricate Greek Byzantine structures to the grandeur of Baroque cathedrals, Malta is a living museum of architectural styles. These buildings are not just aesthetically pleasing but are also significant markers of the island’s rich cultural and historical heritage. Walking through the streets of Malta, one can witness the seamless blend of ancient and modern, where each structure tells a story of Malta’s past. This architectural diversity makes Malta a fascinating destination for history buffs, architects, and anyone with an appreciation for artistry and craftsmanship, offering a visual journey through time.

10. The Absence of Forests and Rivers in Malta

One of Malta’s unique geographical features is its lack of forests and rivers, a characteristic that sets it apart from many other destinations. This absence contributes to the island’s distinctive landscape, dominated by rugged coastlines, terraced fields, and urban areas. Despite this, Malta’s environment is rich in biodiversity, with various endemic species thriving in its Mediterranean climate. The island compensates for the lack of natural forests with beautifully designed public gardens and green spaces, providing residents and visitors alike with places to enjoy the outdoors. This peculiarity of the Maltese islands offers a different perspective on nature’s beauty, emphasizing the adaptability and resilience of life in all its forms.

11. Valletta: A Pioneering Planned City in Europe

Valletta, the capital city of Malta, holds the distinguished title of being the first planned city in Europe. Conceived in 1565 during the reign of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Valletta was designed with a grid street system that was revolutionary for its time. Completed in just 15 years, it stands as a testament to the visionary planning and execution capabilities of its founders. This extraordinary city, bathed in the golden glow of sunset, is not just a place of historical significance; it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that continues to captivate visitors with its timeless beauty. Valletta’s strategic planning and quick construction underscore Malta’s rich architectural heritage and innovative spirit, making it a unique European capital with a story that fascinates everyone who walks its ancient streets.

In conclusion, Malta, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty, offers a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From its ancient megalithic temples to the bustling streets of Valletta, this island nation is a testament to the resilience and creativity of its people. Each of the 11 surprising facts about Malta we’ve explored sheds light on a different facet of this enchanting Mediterranean gem. Whether you’re drawn by the allure of historical quests, the pursuit of culinary delights, or the simple pleasure of breathtaking landscapes, Malta promises an unforgettable journey.

Ready to embark on your Maltese adventure? Visit this page to find the best flight deals to Malta. Discover the magic of the islands for yourself and create memories that will last a lifetime. Your Maltese escapade begins with a click. Book now!

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