Megaliths, mediaeval dungeons, and Calypso’s Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages lead to the main square, which is invariably dominated by the huge baroque church. As the countryside is dotted with mediaeval towers, wayside chapels, and 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, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa. The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino, with a total population of over 400,000 inhabitants occupying an area of 316 square kilometres.
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. Comino, the smallest of the trio, has one hotel and is largely uninhabited.
With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife, and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.
Malta’s climate is typical of the Mediterranean and is strongly influenced by the sea. The Maltese Islands have a pleasantly sunny climate, with a daily average of around 12 hours of sunshine in the summer going down to 5 to 6 hours in mid-winter.
Summers are hot, dry, and very sunny. Daytime temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes.
Spring and autumn are cooler, except when the occasional Scirocco wind from Africa brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity.
Winters are mild, with the occasional short cold spells brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe.
Annual rainfall is low, averaging 568mm a year. Bathing in the sea is quite possible well into the ‘winter’ months, and the peak beach season can last until mid- to late-October.
In Malta and Gozo, driving is on the left. There are speed limits of 80 km/h on the open road and 50 km/h in built-up areas, unless otherwise indicated on relevant road signs.
If you intend to drive in Malta, a National or international driving licences is accepted.