Malta has been inhabited since it was settled around 5200 BC from Sicily.It was settled by the Phoenicians
(who called the island Maleth meaning "safe haven") and later the Greeks who named the island
(Melite) meaning "honey sweet" in reference to Malta's endemic variety of bee.
Malta stands on an underwater ridge that extends from North Africa to Sicily.
At some time in the distant past Malta was submerged, as shown by marine fossils embedded
in rock in the highest points of Malta. As the ridge was pushed up and the straits of
Gibraltar closed through tectonic activity, the sea level was lower, and Malta was on a bridge of
dry land that extended between the two continents, surrounded by large lakes. Some caverns in Malta
have revealed bones of elephants, hippopotami, and other large animals now found in Africa,
while others have revealed animals native to Europe.
One of the three principal islands of the Maltese archipelago, the island of Malta is the largest of the chain.
Its capital Valletta, a lively, bustling city with many buildings dating back to the 16th century, teems
with cathedrals, palaces and forts. The impressive Grand Harbour offers a dramatic arrival. The top
archaeological attraction is the UNESCO-designated Hypogeum temple ruins, a macabre, 5400-square-foot
underground necropolis and the world's only underground prehistoric temple.
You can dive in Malta all year round but the season really starts in April until early November. The sea is at it's warmest Sept-October. The climate is quite typical of the Mediterranean
Many of Malta's wrecks can be accessed as either shore or boat dives. Malta is a classic all time wreck diving
destination in the Mediterranean, favoured by UK divers for the brilliant recreational and technical diving
Malta has a long and rich history, and this is reflected in the island's cultural attractions. The Phoenicians,
the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines have all occupied Malta at some point in history,
leaving a mix of many different architectural styles and artifacts to explore. The sovereignty of the
Knights Hospitaller over Malta from 1530 to 1798 resulted in a legacy of elaborate artistry and
architecture throughout Malta. The country's modern museums and art galleries feature relics from
Malta's history for tourists and Maltese residents alike to enjoy.
There are also a number of aquatic activities to enjoy on Malta as well as Gozo and Comino. Northern Malta is
home to the country's beach resorts and holiday areas, with the beaches most popular with holiday-makers being
Mellieha Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay. These beaches are large enough to be able to house cafes,
restaurants and kiosks, but small enough to be crowded rarely. Malta's northwest is home to the island's
quietest beaches, and it is on these that the main island's neighbouring two are nearest. Gozo and Comino
are also popular beach spots for holiday-makers, although these are much more likely to be quieter, rockier
and more suitable for snorkelling. The Mediterranean Sea surrounding Malta is popular for diving - while
shallow dips may be attractive to beginning divers, more experienced divers may be able to dive deeper to
find historical artifacts from World War II or earlier