The first thing most tourists notice about Malta are the relics of the country’s rich history still standing in the streets. There are numerous historical and cultural sites tourists can visit in Malta and almost all are easily accessible. There are many prehistoric temples in Malta which are said to have been constructed a millennium before the Egyptians built the pyramids. The Hypogeum is an underground structure that was used as catacombs way back in 3600 BC. There are also the Tarxien temples; the oldest temple is dated to have been constructed in 3100 BC. There are many more ancient sites in Malta, make sure you visit at least one or you cannot say your vacation is complete.
The Republic of Malta lies in Southern Europe, in the Mediterranean Sea and is composed of seven islands, which makes it an archipelago. This island nation enjoys warm climate; the winters are not as cold compared to other countries in Europe and the summers are hot. If you plan to visit Malta during the summer, make sure you are ready for dry, warm breezes and do not expect rain to fall during the season. There are times when the sirocco can make Malta feel like an oven and the temperature could rise as high as 38 degrees Celsius.
The languages spoken in Malta are Maltese and English. English being their second language means tourists will have no trouble asking for directions if they find themselves lost in the streets of Malta. The Maltese archipelago was once a colony of Britain, which explains why the nation’s official second language is English. This is also the reason why many English language students travel to Malta and various international corporations hold summits, conferences and other important business meetings in this Mediterranean archipelago.
The national currency formerly used in Malta was the Maltese Lira. However, when the world entered the year 2008, the Euro became the country’s prime currency. As of February 2008, hotels, shops and other establishments will no longer accept Maltese Lira. Before heading out on the streets of Malta, make sure you exchange your pocket money to Euro or you will be having trouble transacting any sort of business during your stay.
According to the World Factbook, about 98 percent of the population in Malta is Roman Catholic, one of the highest Catholic populations in the world. For this reason, expect to see numerous churches and cathedrals scattered all throughout the archipelago. There’s the San Lawrenz Church in Birgu, the Gozo cathedral, the Rotunda of St Marija Assunta, also known as the Mosta Dome and many others you may want to visit during you stay in Malta.
The main mode of transportation in Malta is by bus. Car rental is also possible but using public transpiration vehicles is not the bad since almost every place in Malta is reachable by bus. Since Malta is an archipelago, ferries are also used to get around, especially during summer time. If you plan on renting a car, remember that you’ll be driving by British standards, which means that you drive on the left and the steering wheel is placed on the right side of the car.