Malta, located just 93 kilometers (57 miles) south of Sicily in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, can be reached conveniently from many airports in the UK via a nearly three-hour direct flight. Together with its smaller sister islands of Gozo and Comino, Malta offers a broad range of vacation ideas to suit any taste. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, visitors can truly enjoy the warm Mediterranean lifestyle and heartfelt hospitality of the Maltese people. Malta has a fascinating 7,000-year history and unique cultural mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and British influences. Because Malta was a British colony until 1964, visitors can easily converse with locals in English, Malta's second official language. Malta has long been a popular destination for travelers studying foreign languages and has more than 50 language schools serving students at all levels, from elementary and secondary school learners to those seeking courses in business or technical English.
The Maltese islands offer those seeking cultural experiences a wide range of impressive UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites such as prehistoric megalithic temples, the Hypogeum underground temple, and the Baroque capital city of Valletta, built during the rule of the Knights of St. John. Malta's cultural calendar is filled with events and festivals year-round. If you are visiting the islands from late May to September, be sure not to miss Malta's "festa season," when the villages and cities celebrate their patron saints and other saints with processions, brass music, and breathtaking fireworks.
Active holiday makers are also right at home on Malta. Surrounded by the azure Mediterranean, the group of islands has long been famed as a diving and snorkeling paradise, but also offers ample opportunities for surfing, sailing, canoeing or kayaking, paragliding, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. The islands' steep, jagged coastal areas and cliffs are ideally suited to climbing, and their mild spring, autumn, and winter temperatures let active vacationers extend the sports season here.
In just a half-hour trip via modern car ferry or seaplane, visitors can reach the sister island of Gozo, just six kilometers (3.7 miles) away from Malta. With its lush vegetation and picturesque villages, it has rightly been called "Green Gozo." The island remains off the beaten track and offers idyllic peace and quiet for those who truly want to get away from it all.
The Maltese islands offer a broad range of accommodations to suit any taste and any budget. Holiday makers can indulge at the islands' numerous hotels - many of which have first-rate spas and wellness areas - or rent one of Gozo's typical luxuriously renovated farmhouses.