It's not unusual to get a sort of a puzzled expression on many faces when you mention the word Malta. You expect some people to say - "I've heard of Malta or I have met a Maltese but I don't exactly know where or what it is." If you ask them to have a guess, they might place Malta in Africa, or maybe in the Middle East.
The landscape in Malta is typical of any Mediterranean island. With its rocky surface, huge cliff faces and rolling hills, it presents the onlooker with a wonderful backdrop. It is a tiny island that pans 19 miles by 7. With such a small surface area, towns and villages seem to blend together, and with a population of over 370,000 there are said to be around 3000 people per square kilometer.
There is not a huge amount of greenery but this is typical of the islands' location. Villages like Gharghur and Mosta are surrounded by valleys that are dry and arid during the summer months but prove to be greener later on in the year. What are really fascinating are the ancient rubble walls found almost everywhere that divide the rocky landscape and hills, built to protect the land from soil erosion.
The cliffs prove to be the most stunning landmarks of Malta and Gozo. Dingli Cliffs are the most popular, as some parts have heights of over 200 meters, and the views will leave you breathless and are even more spectacular at sunset with an endless horizon of open water. Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Sands are two beaches in close proximity yet are divided by clay hills and farming land, they too reveal the essence of a timeless landscape. Agriculture is a primary industry, yet farmers can still be seen to be using traditional labour intensive methods, which add individuality to the overall picture.
There are many fishing villages like Marsascala that are built around small bays filled with traditional fishing boats, "luzzu's" that contribute to the intimate feel of the island. At a glance, Malta is full of diverse architecture that is blended together with the colours and sights of past and present, which gives the viewer a wonderful overall picture of life in the Mediterranean.
From a different perspective, Bugibba and Paceville are the two areas that cater for nightlife. Filled with clubs and bars there are enough venues to suit everyone. It all starts around 10pm and carries on until the early hours of the morning.
It's such a small place. It is just an archipelago of islands about halfway between the coasts of Sicily and North Africa. Set in the clear blue Mediterranean Sea, the Maltese islands are the most southerly European country. The archipelago consists of five islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, together with two other uninhabited islands Cominetto and Filfla. The total area is approximately 316 sq kms (Malta 246 sq km, Gozo 67 sq km, Comino 2.7 sq km). The longest distance in Malta from North West to South East is about 27 km, with 14.5 kms width in an East - West direction. The Islands are only 90 km south of Sicily and 290 km from the northern coast of Africa.
The two official languages are Maltese and English. The English language is a leftover of about 160 years of British colonisation of Malta. Maltese, whose closest languages are Lebanese, Hebrew and classic Arabic, is the only Semitic language which is written in Roman alphabet. Italian, too, is widely spoken among the younger generation, particularly due to the television programs which are transmitted from nearby Italy. It is easy to get a language guide and Maltese is interesting enough to make a little effort very worthwhile a few words taken back with you are a very beautiful 'souvenir' of your visit.
Tourism is the most lucrative industry, and the Maltese people have a friendly and welcoming way about them. At celebrations for the feast of St. Paul on the 10th of February, the locals proudly relate their immortal history to visitors as a procession with the statute of St Paul passes by.
About Gozo sister island of malta: Jewel of the Mediterranean
Life in the slow lane ...
Gozo's 35 miles of coastline is just the beginning
Gozo, the sister island of Malta, remains an undiscovered paradise, un spoilt by mass tourism. Measuring nine miles by four - and only three miles from Malta, Gozo has 35 miles of varied and spectacular coastline. Its rural landscape has hills, deep valleys and rugged cliffs giving natural shelter to the island's small harbour and inlets.
Just ambling along ... And life ambles along, centered on the small farming and fishing communities here. Privacy and seclusion are of course easy to find - and the baroque architecture you'll find in many of the small villages adds charm to the leisurely way of life.
Gozo's balmy climate
Located parallel to the North African coast, Gozo has stable weather conditions - warm in winter, hot in summer. In springtime the valleys are carpeted in wild flowers (which help to distract attention from the heat); July and August are the months for fiestas: every village puts on lavish celebrations in honor of their patron saints.
Try Gozo specialities - Timpana and bragioli
Seaside restaurants will serve you fish caught only hours before, alongside fresh vegetables locally grown and delicious Gozo bread. Together with a bottle of local wine, you can expect to pay around €13.00 for a substantial meal. For lunch or a snack, the Italian influence of pizza and pasta are of excellent quality or try the local specialities - Timpana and Bragioli. >
The Underwater Environment
Gozo; Under the Water
The striking topographic structure as seen above sea-level continues under the water. There is an abundance of caves, holes, grottoes and crevices, all offering ideal living conditions for a rich diversity of animal life..
Meet the ubiquitous Octopus, the sleepy , colourful Wrasse, Damsel Fish and Painted Comber. The sharp eyed will also spot Stingrays, Moray Eels, Seahorses, Peacock Flounders, Scorpion Fish and the occasional John Dory.
Photo of Gozo Underwater Life
At the larger end of the scale Grouper, Jack and Tuna can be seen as well as shoals of Barracuda.