It is believed that Malta got its name from the Greeks, calling the sweet island Mellite, which translates as sweet as honey. Malta is home to a special kind of bee and the honey produced there has a prominently sweet taste. Some historians claim that the island was named by the Phoenicians, calling it Maleth, i.e. a port. Whatever the truth may be, it is an island which smells like honey, has a beautiful port and no one gets bored there.
Despite not being a destination promoted by travel agencies as “child friendly with all-inclusive hotel stays”, the sweet paradise of Malta is worth visiting. Many even declare that this is the reason to go. Statistics have confirmed the popularity of the archipelago among travellers. Malta is visited by over one million tourists a year. Their excitement prompted by unforgettable experiences is endless.
The archipelago’s fate was shaped and formed by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and even the Normans. It is worth your while to visit Malta and the adjacent islands of Gozo and Comino. The centre of the capital city of Valletta with Saint John’s Co-Cathedral and the Palace of the Grand Masters is truly breath-taking. Next, there is the city of Mdina, Megalithic temples and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Getting lost in the narrow streets of Valletta, visiting its ancient squares and countless authentic bars, restaurants and shops, simply enjoying the local atmosphere is the way to go. This city will not let you feel bored for one second. It was founded in the 16th century by the Grand Master of Johannes, Jean de la Valette, and has been full of life ever since. Alongside its sights, Malta is known for its nature. Cliffs sloping to the Mediterranean Sea are still famous despite the fact that they now lack one of the original symbols of the Maltese archipelago, the Azure Window, which collapsed into the sea in 2017. Malta’s inland nature is also specific. There are no forests as they were eradicated by the Phoenicians who used the wood to build ships.
It is simply impossible to cover the entire Maltese history in just a few lines. Its history is some 7,200 years long. The archipelago profited from the cultures of the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines as well as the Arabs and Normans. During the modern era, Malta was influenced by Napoleon and the Brits, to name but a couple. To list all influential parties, not leaving anyone aside, would require an addendum featuring not dozens, but hundreds of pages.
Maltese history is closely connected with the Order of the Knights of Malta, originally established in Jerusalem, but bearing the name since its activities in the archipelago in 1530.
Are you still not convinced to go? Let the local cuisine win you over. It is unbelievably varied, flavoured by many nations and cultures. The tastes and flavours mirror those of the rules governing Malta during different eras. Their common denominator is the Mediterranean taste rich in fruits and vegetables with a significantly Moorish and Italian influence. Pasta, cous-cous and pizza. Local restaurants also offer a variety of seafood dishes. But do not be mistaken, many kinds of fish are imported to the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino. There are only a few schools of fish left in the waters surrounding this geographic gem.
If you are determined to taste something local, then try stewed rabbit (in red wine or spicy tomato sauce), a vegetable soup or sweet or savoury phyllo dough pouches. Pastizzi, pouches stuffed with Ricotta cheese, peas, meat or fish, are considered to be a local specialty. The locally pickled vegetables (primarily Gozo-grown tomatoes) and jams are also very popular. If you enjoy something sweet with your coffee, try cannoli (likened to stuffed Schaumrollen) or Biskuttini tar-rahal. You should not skip Hobza, Maltese bread, either.
There are so many different tastes, fragrances and dishes in Malta and its two neighbouring islands that you simply have to go and taste it for yourself. It is impossible to make a list here.
The locals enjoy drinking water, Maltese wine, Cisk Lager beer and Kinnie lemonade. The famous local lemonade is a mix of citrusy water and a secret herb potion. Water is considered a true rarity in Malta. The Maltese archipelago has no natural water sources. Desalinated sea water is thus used for industrial purposes.