The charms of Malta

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More than a quarter of a million tourists visited Malta in August, the Maltese government stated Thursday.
More than a quarter of a million tourists visited Malta in August, the Maltese government stated Thursday.

By Nathan Morley

I do miss the old chug-chug buses which used to brighten up Malta, but, it didn’t spoil another fantastic week on this divine little island. In fact, the new super modern bus fleet, fitted with air cons and comfy seats, are pretty impressive.

For me, late spring and early summer is the best time to visit, especially if you like to get out and about exploring. The island is a treasure trove of archaeology and architecture with unique megalithic temples, Roman catacombs, reminders of Byzantine and Arabic rule and fine palaces built by the Knights of St John.  The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Valletta is lovely, as is St John’s Cathedral.

The backdrop to most of these ancient treasures is the clear blue sea, which is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, and as we reported before divers.

The Maltese are among the oldest Christian peoples in the world, and if you know your history you’ll be aware that St. Paul, shipwrecked as a captive en route to Rome, brought the Christian faith to Malta.

Right now, the unusually long spell of winter rains has changed landscape into a vista of green, brightened by blossoming yellow and red flowers everywhere.

If like me, you have a passion for modern history, the extensive war rooms, where Malta planned her survival from German bombers during World war Two is an absolute must visit. In fact, it always seems to draw a good crowd, probably helped by having its place sealed in history with the British epic ‘The Malta Story’, which starred Alec Guinness.

Anyhow, if picturesque fishing harbours, colourful marinas and clear unpolluted are your ingredients for a perfect break, then you won’t be disappointed.

I must also mention the mellow local wines which complement the fresh-caught seafood.

The locals are friendly and cheerful, always ready with a genuinely warm welcome. Ryanair have relatively cheap scheduled flights into Malta, as do the national carrier Air Malta.

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