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The Island of Malta is an archipelago in the warm Mediterranean waters, some 93 km south of Sicily. Only the three largest islands Malta, Gozo (Għawdex), and Comino (Kemmuna) are inhabited. Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide good harbours while the landscape is characterized by low hills with terraced fields. Malta is not just sun and beaches: historical Malta offers unique megalithic temples, fortified cities and other unique monuments. Valletta, the capital of Malta, has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site due to the various monumental buildings. It is a baroque city which has often been described as an open-air museum due to the amount of historic buildings it packs. As a consequence of the strong historic and cultural links to Britain, Malta is bilingual, so the great majority of the Maltese can communicate in English. If you plan your visit for special times like summer Festa season, Easter and carnival, be assured you won’t be stuck for what to do – simply join the crowd for some incredible fun.
There are various places of interest in Malta, and most locations are easily reachable by public transport via Valletta. Plenty of different events are continuously held around the island, especially during the summer months. One of the most spectacular ones is the annual Malta Fireworks Festival in Valletta in the end of April - for three days, different countries and firework suppliers compete in putting on the best firework show; almost every weekend, the different villages hosts religious Festas. For an entire week, they celebrate their saint with church bells, processions, confetti and (at the weekend) they end the folk festival with an outstanding firework show.
Maltese beaches are predominantly safe and rather well-kept. Good beaches are to be found both in the south and in the north of Malta, so wherever you’re staying a nice beach is most probably just few minutes away.
Eating in Malta is an exuberant experience - take a pick from different dishes ranging from fish and seafood to the traditional rabbit stew. Maltese cuisine reflects the rich cultural heritage of the country, with clearly traceable English and Sicilian (as well as other Mediterranean) influences. Most restaurants offer very good wine lists featuring both local and foreign wines.
Within the walls of the historic Mdina or by the beautiful seafront dominated by colorful Maltese boats, cafes can be easily found throughout the area. Prices are normally very reasonable, and most of the cafeterias on the island offer a good choice of light snacks.
The nightlife in Malta is lively, with Paceville, Bugibba and Sliema known as some of the hot spots that offer a wide range of pubs, clubs and discos to suit all tastes. The largest clubs often enjoy appearances of world-famous DJ's. During the weekend, pubs and discos normally stay open till four o'clock in the morning.
For all your shopping needs the capital city Valletta is the ideal destination. This is where most shops and stores are located, with both local and international brands represented. For those looking to shop for fresh produce, the daily market at 8am is a good place to be. Sliema is another good destination to go shopping. Shops are normally open from 09.00 till 13.00 in the afternoon, and then open again at 16.00 till 19.00. Note that on the following public holidays most of the shops are closed: February 10, March 31, June 7, June 29, August 15, September 21 and December 13.
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