Diving, Snorkelling, Water Sports
An abundance of reefs, caves and wrecks make diving here some of the most interesting in the Mediterranean. If you already have a PADI or equivalent qualification, all sorts of dives are available, from the 12-metre Għar Lapsi dive to Lantern Point which reaches to over 50 metres below sea level. British destroyer HMS Maori was scuttled here in 1945 and has become a very popular dive site. If you don’t have your diving qualifications, Malta is a great place to start. Alternatively, if you want to enjoy the treasures of the sea without the fuss, the water around the islands is excellent for snorkelling.
A whole range of other water sports are offered, from windsurfing to sea-kayaking, water-skiing, wakeboarding or paragliding. Other water sports include jet ski, canoeing, fishing, waterpolo, yachting and sailing.
Starting in late May and continuing until well into September, the Festa season sees the local towns and villages come alive at weekends, celebrating the feast of their patron saints or other saints revered in different churches. Typical festas last for three days or longer and include fireworks, banners and papier mâché statues, with flags are hoisted on public buildings and private homes as a sign of participation. Food stalls line the streets, with local favourites being Maltese nougat and other sweets.
Throughout the year, the “Three Cities” of Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa offer an authentic insight into Malta and its history. They also host some of the most spectacular festas, including the Easter Processions when statues of the "Risen Christ" are carried at a run through crowded streets.
The Malta Pass offers free entry to over 40 popular attractions, museums and sites around the Maltese Islands as well as a sightseeing bus ride and a Grand Harbour cruise. Among the most popular trips included on the pass are the Falconry Centre, which is reintroducing the ancient art of falconry to the islands, and the Captain Morgan underwater safari, which is a tour on a glass-bottomed boat (but has nothing to do with the rum named after the British pirate). Find out more at maltapass.com.mt.
Fresh seafood at Marsaxlokk fishing village
Visit Marsaxlokk on a Sunday morning and see the fishing village at its best. During the week, the fishermen take their catch to sell in the fish market in Valletta but on Sundays they sell their produce in the village, so you can spark up a conversation. A number of fish restaurants have opened to meet the demand from visitors.
For some peace and quiet, relax on Gozo & Comino
Malta is a Mediterranean party hotspot, particularly around Sliema
, Paceville and Bugibba (see music tips below). For a change of pace, neighbouring islands Gozo
and Comino are much more peaceful and traditional. Paths cross-cross the islands where you can hike or cycle, perhaps to a quiet beach with honey-coloured sand, or perhaps to a stunning view from the top of a cliff.
These three blockbusters were all filmed on the islands:
The Count of Monte Cristo
(2002) Director: Kevin Reynolds
(2000) Director: Ridley Scott
(2004) Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Jukebox Queen Of Malta
: A Novel by Nicholas Rinaldi
The Kappillan of Malta
by Nicholas Monsarrat
The Brass Dolphin
by Joanna Trollope
Maltese folk music is called għana and has a highly distinctive sound that mixes Mediterranean and Arabic traditions.
The main clubbing area of Malta is informally known as Paceville, on the coast near St. Julians
, where the clubs and bars keep going late into the night. Bugibba is another popular resort area with a lively atmosphere and beautiful seafront promenade which overlooks the St. Paul's islands. Gianpula and Numero Uno in Rabat are big, open-air clubs. For something more traditional, check out the band music that provides the soundtrack to the summer festas. During the warmest months, festas provide some of the most fun in the evenings.