In my experience, if you’re looking for a holiday resort which is vibrant and has nightlife but is unspoiled by the soulless commercialism of some of the more notorious fish-and-chip “Brits abroad” resorts that we know, for example in parts of Spain, then look no further than lovely Malta.
For those who are inspired by history Malta is steeped in it, these three tiny islands having been ruled by almost every major European power at some different point in its existence. Almost all of the people speak English, not to ingratiate themselves with the tourists but because, along with Maltese of course, it is one of the national languages. Due to its location and the fact that it was British-owned until 1964 the country is an interesting and completely natural blend of British, Italian, Arabic and local culture.
Warm Climate, Warm People
Being an island nation in the Mediterranean, Malta has a warm climate and it can become quite intense in the summer. Despite being known perhaps more for its culture and for the friendliness of its people it does have some nice beaches, not least Golden Sands. It also has some great nightlife which strikes just the right balance between being tourist-friendly and retaining its local character. Locals and visitors tend to mix with one another far more seamlessly than they do in some other foreign beach resorts that I could name.
There are some beautiful local dishes – timpana is a quite unique Maltese pasta-in-a-pastry whilst for fish lovers who don’t mind the challenge of a few bones lampuki is top drawer. Swordfish is also very popular and can be purchased in almost any restaurant, as can most regular Italian dishes like spaghetti and pasta. English food is also easy to come by, and the steaks are as succulent as you’ll find anywhere at home.
An Island Filled With Character
Older folk tend to miss the Maltese currency of old with its lira (or pounds), which at one point were worth nearly two of ours, its cents and its oddly-shaped mils (fractions of cents). These days it is in the eurozone. Cathedrals and the catacombs are well worth a visit for those of a cultural bent, whilst for the more leisurely-inclined the Captain Morgan round-island cruise is really not to be missed. Another tourist attraction is the Popeye Village, where the film of that name was made and the props remain as a modern artefact of interest.
Bars are commonplace, and once again many are British in presentation whilst others have a more Maltese flavour. In either beer is popular, with Malta boasting its own famous Farson’s brewery where its well-known tipples Hopleaf and Cisk are produced.
Malta really is an island which is filled with character. It is not to everybody’s tastes it has to be said, but few leave without having formed a definite opinion about the place in one direction or another. I love it and go back there regularly, which luckily the nature my work makes easy for me.