Malta

Malta ~ http://suitcasesandsunsets.com/malta.htmlMalta is a group of seven islands in the Mediterranean Sea just 50 miles south of Sicily. The populations is only 419,000 inhabitants. Only the three largest islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino – are inhabited. The terrain is low and rocky with coastal cliffs.

Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean, is a melting pot of civilizations with a history stretching back thousands of years to over 7000 BC. This can be seen through the various Caves, Temples, Museums, Forts, Bastions and Cathedrals situated in different parts of the Island.  The country has been inhabited since around 5200 BC and a significant prehistoric civilization existed on the islands prior to the arrival of the Phoenicians who named the main island Malat, meaning safe haven.

Click through on any image below for a slideshow:

Malta has been described as one big open-air museum. What makes it unique is that so much of the past is visible today. With near year-round sun, you can indulge in outdoor living at its best. Malta has wellness and spa facilities at many luxury hotels and club resorts. Sea and land lend themselves to activities from rock-climbing to gentle rambling. Malta gets more than 300 sunny days a year and is surrounded by clear blue waters, some of the cleanest in the Mediterranean, and is much enjoyed by visiting swimmers, snorkellers and divers.

Malta has a greater density of historic sights than any other country. Starting with its unique prehistoric temples, some of the oldest stone buildings in the world, it also has Roman catacombs, medieval towns, and the extraordinary architectural and artistic legacy of the Knights of St John (the Knights of Malta).

Settlement on Malta dates back to prehistory; it has been ruled over the centuries by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, among others. After briefly being conquered by Napoleon around the turn of the 19th century, it spent many decades under British rule before achieving independence in 1964. The history of Malta is peppered with violence and disorder. Today, though, it is hard to find a corner of the country that doesn’t feel peaceful and safe. Its crystal-clear, intensely blue waters make for some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Europe, while its beaches, rocky coves, arid hills and warm weather have long attracted northern neighbors in search of cheap sunshine. And yet not even 2 percent of visitors come from the United States.