Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso's Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively
mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages are crowded with
Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces. As the countryside is dotted with 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, with Malta 93km south of Sicily and 288km north of Africa. The archipelago
consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino with a total population of 400,000
inhabitants over an area of 316sq km and a coastline of 196.8km (not including 56.01
km for the island of Gozo).
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 while Comino is largely uninhabited.
With superbly sunny weather, expansive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years
of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do. With a little help from
any guidebook, captivating places of interest are immediately identified – the world
famous Hypogeum selected as a place of World Heritage by UNESCO, prehistoric temples
and grand palaces are but a few.
The long relationship between the Islanders and the
various nationalities that occupied Malta over the centuries has created a marriage
of styles and traditions, giving the Islands a fascinating eclectic culture.