05 Jul 2012, 05:07 Last
Updated: 13 Dec 2012, 07:12
The Maltese Archipelago is composed of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, it offers an important cultural melting pot, a translucent sea and an ideal climate all year round ... Malta is, without doubt, an ideal destination for your next holiday!
The islands have a surface area of 316sq km. Maltese is the mother tongue, but English is widely spoken as well. The Maltese language is a mixture of Arabic and Italian, a semitic language written in a latin script. The local currency is the euro.
When visiting Malta you will be carried away by its history and the different civilisations which left their mark throughout the centuries: the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French and finally the English. Malta became independent in 1964.
Malta's rich heritage includes a number of baroque Churches and Palaces especially inside the fortified capital city of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One fine example is St John's Co-Cathedral. Inside the Oratory of the Cathedral is the famous Caravaggio painting "The Beheading of St John the Baptist", the only painting signed by the Italian artist.
In the South of the island lies the picturesque fishing port of Marsaxlokk. Every Sunday morning a fish market is held, and one can enjoy the idllyic surroundings, with its traditional colourful luzzus in the background.
For those who like shopping or going out, St Julians or Sliema are the places to go to.
In the North of the island, one can catch the ferryboat to the sister island of Gozo. It will not take you longer than 30 minutes to cross to Gozo. The island is delightful, for its natural spots as well as for its cultural heritage. In Victoria, the capital city of Gozo, the Citadel, stands high towering over the whole island. In the Citadel visit the Cathedral and admire the trompe d'oeil which depicts the interior of a dome.
Gozo is also an archaeological gem: the two megalithic temples of Ggantija are amongst the earliest free-standing constructions in the world.
Gozo is also considered by Diver Magazine to be one of the three most beautiful diving destinations in the world. The best spots are Crocodile Rock, Blue Hole or Xlendi Bay. You might also come across shoals of barracuda, sea horses or even moon fish! It's a true delight to amateur ocean divers.
Relaxing at Ramla Bay is a must. The bay is well-known for the reddish colour of its sand.
The smallest of the three islands is Comino, situated between Malta and Gozo. It is only 2.7sq.km but a must see for those who are looking for relaxation. Comino is a real nature reserve. It also offers some good diving spots. For those who enjoy walking, the coastline and Comino's valleys offer interesting routes to discover.
Comino is also well-known for its Blue Lagoon, for its translucent clear waters and sandy beach.
Boat services connect the three islands and hence it is quite easy to island hop. There is also a seaplane service between Malta and Gozo.
A luxurious trip
BrusselsLife recommends the Grand Hotel Excelsior, situated at the gates of Valletta, this hotel is as grand as the name suggests. Its bedrooms and suites enjoy breathtaking views over the sea. The Grand Hotel Excelsior brings together the essential elements for ultimate relaxation: indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a private beach, gym, wellness centre with various wellness packages and a diving centre.
Because wellness is also about food, the hotel houses three restaurants with continental, British and also exotic such as Asian or Indian cuisines.
For more information, visit the hotel's website :: www.excelsior.com.mt
How do you get there?
The easiest way to reach Malta is by plane. Air Malta provides direct flights between Brussels and Luqa taking 3 hours and at competitive prices. A taxi will take you straight to the hotel in 20 minutes (for around 20 euros).
For more information about Malta, visit www.visitmalta.com.