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The Republic of Malta, more commonly known as Malta, is a small southern European island country in the Mediterranean Sea that lies south of Sicily, Italy. The archipelago of Malta is comprised of seven islands, but only the three largest islands are inhabited. These three are Malta, Gozo, and Kemmuna. Malta, the largest of the three islands, receives the most visitors and contains the capital Valletta. Kemmuna or Comino is a tiny island that is mostly a nature reserve. Gozo or Għawdex is best known for its rich history and for the fact that you can see the Mediterranean Sea from almost anywhere on the island.

What to see & do

National Museum of Archaeology, Malta – Malta's National Museum of Archaeology, located in Valletta, contains prehistoric artefacts. Among the most significant collections housed in the museum are displayed in the Early Neolithic Period Room and the Temple Period Room. In addition, there are temporary exhibitions based on a particular national interest such as the Silent Warriors exhibition and Carravagio L’Immagine Del Divino.

Manoel Theatre – The Manoel Theatre is a significant performing arts venue in Malta. The theatre was named after António Manoel de Vilhena, the 66th Prince and Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller who ordered the construction of the theatre in 1731. Manoel Theatre, or simply “The Manoel,” as it is often referred to, is reportedly Europe's third-oldest working theatre.

Golden Bay – The beach set within a cliff in northwest Malta is one of the most popular sandy beaches in the island. It is a popular spot for swimming, beach barbeques and parties, and for watching spectacular sunsets.

Azure Window-Inland Sea-Dwejra Bay – Gozo also has its share of spectacular sights, including the Azure Window-Inland Sea-Dwejra Bay. The Inland sea has shallow and calm waters and a pebbly shore, but it's most impressive attraction is the limestone natural arch called the Azure Window. The formation was created after two limestone sea caves collapsed, and has since become a popular site for scuba divers.

How to get around Malta

Although renting a bicycle in Malta is not very common, there are bike rental shops all over the island. Riding a bike will allow you more flexibility to explore, but it can be quite dangerous for main roads because of the lack of bicycle lanes. Stick to country roads for safety. Renting a car is also a great, faster, and safer way to explore the country. Driving conditions have improved greatly and renting is inexpensive. Malta is also served by an easy-to-use and affordable bus system. Apart from local buses, there are hop-on-hop-off buses that have an open top. The bus tour service begins from the Sliema Ferries and from Valletta, where passengers can hop on and off whenever they please at the designated stops along the route. As for taxi service, there are two types: white taxis are the ones that can legally be hailed off the street, but the cheaper local black taxis have to be pre-booked. Taxi tours can also be arranged.

How to get there

The primary and only international airport serving Malta and the whole of Maltese Islands is Malta International Airport. The airport is situated between the villages Luqa and Gudja, 5 kilometres southwest of the capital. It is also sometimes called the Luqa Airport locally, or Valletta Airport internationally. The airport is well served by airlines such as Air Berlin, British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling, and most notably by the island’s very own Air Malta. Flights that arrive at Malta International Airport depart from international airports in various European countries.

Images by Flickr\ramonbaile

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