Malta may only be 17 miles long and nine miles wide, but with more than 7,000 years of history, it’s little wonder that the world’s tenth-smallest country likes to refer to itself as the ‘open-air museum of the Mediterranean’.
Here you can enjoy prehistoric ruins older than Stonehenge and more time-caressed than the Pyramids of Egypt alongside dazzling churches and fortifications which are the legacy of the medieval order of the Knights of St John, who once used the island as their stronghold for defending Christendom.
Of course, there is much more than history on display in Malta; it also offers secluded bays and sandy beaches that are lapped by clear blue Mediterranean waters. Along with its smaller sister island of Gozo, life here is lived to the full. The annual calendar is punctuated with summertime ‘festas’ and firework spectaculars mark every occasion. This all comes to a head in the major carnival that is celebrated every year in early spring.
Once focussed on family holidays and all-inclusive stays, the last decade or so has seen Malta transform itself into a Mecca for discerning travellers, whether looking to say in sprawling five-star resorts or renovated baroque townhouses.
Nestled amid lush greenery and landscaped gardens, Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa is one of the island’s finest hotels. The embodiment of history, prestige and tradition, it is located opposite the President’s Palace, whilst the medieval ‘Silent City’ of Mdina and the booming arts and culture hub that is capital city Valletta, are both just a short drive away.
Neither has its compact size stopped Malta from becoming the Mediterranean’s go-to spot for culinary excellence. The island can lay claim to six Michelin-starred restaurants, among them
ION Harbour by Simon Rogan, where fans of l’Enclume will delight in a similarly veg-centric menu.
Exploring the island is none too strenuous. It takes no more than an hour to drive between any two points. So, you can be diving into the ‘blue hole’ at Dwejra’s secluded, pebbled bathing pool and then sampling the gastronomic delights of Marsalforn’s restaurants and bars in next to no time.