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This Tiny Mediterranean Island Is One Of The Hottest Destinations This Fall

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If you are yet to go on an international vacation this year, and you're unsure where to travel now that summer is nearing its end and the chilly winds of autumn are starting to blow, we might have just the spot for you that will offer both an idyllic beach getaway, and an unforgettable cultural immersion.

Popeye's Village In Northern Malta, Near Ghadira Bay, On The Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe

August is now behind us, but if booking trends are anything to go by, Mediterranean Europe will stay just as trendy in the off-season. As it is awfully busy year-round, Italy is not exactly the best pick if you're looking for smaller crowds, but perhaps its tiny, stunning neighbor is.

In case there was room left for doubt, the island nation of Malta is one of the hottest destinations this fall, and it's certainly where you should be headed:

One Of The Smallest, Prettiest Countries In Europe

Aerial View Of Ghadira Bay In Northern Malta, On The Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe

Malta is both an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and one of the world's smallest sovereign states, with a population of over 500,000 and an area of only 122 square miles.

Located South of Sicily, in Italy, halfway to the North coast of Africa, it is one of Europe's Southernmost states, as well as one of its hottest and more arid.

In Malta, summers are long and scorchingly hot, and we would not recommend you visit in the peak season when it's 45°C / 113°F out, and staying outside for longer than two hours at a time is virtually impossible (not to mention the excessive crowding).

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Skyline Of Valletta City, The Capital Of Malta, Seen From The Ferry To Sliema, Or The Sliema Boardwalk Across The Bay, Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe

However, fall may be the perfect time to be a tourist in Malta, as temperatures are not as high, with an average of 28°C / 82.4°F during the day, though it can get warmer even, and balmy evenings, when it drops to a pleasant 20°C / 68°F.

With an average of only five rainy days in September (nine in October), and as many as 12 hours of daylight every day, you will have enough time to sightsee and explore Malta at leisure without suffering from a heatstroke or pulling your hoodie up.

Trust us: you will need those precious hours.

Why Should You Spend Your Vacation In Malta?

The Walled Medieval City Of Mdina Seen From The Open Fields Beneath The Citadel, Malta, An Island Nation In The Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe

Malta may be small, but it is a highly concentrated historical area. Originally a province within Sicily during the Roman Empire, it would tread its own path as a separate polity in the wake of the Arab invasions of the 9th century.

This event heavily influenced Maltese culture, language, and townscapes, but Malta would be re-conquered by European powers in the 11th century and reassert itself as a stronghold for Christianity in the continent's far South.

Over the centuries, power would pass on to the Normans, the sovereign order known as the Knights Hospitaller, and the British, who established a colony for over 150 years, leading up to full independence in the sixties, all of which have left a profound mark in Malta.

A British Red Telephone Box In Sliema, Malta, Southern Europe

Cities are traditionally built out of native limestone, giving them a signature yellowy color, much like Sicily's and North Africa's, but where Malta differs is in the presence of traditional red telephone boxes scattered around the Old Towns – obvious remnants of the British Empire – and its left-hand traffic.

Through its close historical ties to Sicily and the wider Mediterranean, Malta is irrevocably Southern European, though with a British flair. Some of the town names were Anglicized following colonization, and unsurprisingly, today all of Malta is at least conversational, if not perfectly fluent, in English.

It is, after all, one of two official languages, the other being Maltese, a close relative of Arabic.

More Than Just A Fascinating Heritage

many beautiful boats in Valletta harbour with cityscape on the background, Malta

There is more to Malta than merely its fascinating heritage: it is jam-packed with gorgeous sandy beaches, lapped by the turquoise Mediterranean Sea, and fairytale citadels straight out of a medieval movie set (except they're very much real).

Some of the most emblematic walled cities of Malta is the capital, Valletta, known locally as ‘Il-Belt', with long, narrow streets that lead down to the port, lined with ochre-colored edifices with colorful and ornate, classically Maltese protuberant balconies.

Mdina is the second most-visited attraction in Malta, and a 2,800-year old gem surrounded by a dry moat, only accessible via what would have been a heavily-guarded ostentatious city gate.

Entrance Gate Into The Medieval Walled City Of Mdina, Malta

Mdina boasts winding alleys, ancient churches, and a sweeping panorama of the rural Maltese hinterland and the well-developed coast beyond from atop its ramparts.

The ‘Three Cities' of Vittoriosa, Cospicua, and Senglea should feature on your itinerary as well. Sitting across the bay from Valletta, they form a contiguous habitation zone and are easily recognized for their thick, fortress-like outer walls and big, round domes.

That's only the island of Malta itself, as the Republic of Malta (the country) has at least two other islands worth exploring.

Malta Beyond The Main Island

A Yacht Docked In The Middle Of The Blue Lagoon, On The Small Island Of Comino, Part Of Malta, A Southern European Country In The Mediterranean Sea

These include Comino, famous for its Blue Lagoon, where the Mediterranean is perhaps at its brightest blue, and Gozo, home to 39,000 inhabitants.

Gozo is Malta's smallest sister, and its capital, Victoria (Rabat in Maltese), is the main landmark and a medieval citadel housing a beautiful Baroque cathedral, 16th-century dwellings, and world-class History museums.

If you feel like combining your immersion in Maltese culture with some beach time, head to Għadira Bay, in the North of the main island of Malta, where you will find a long stretch of sandy beach and crystal-clear waters.

A Typical Street In Valletta, Malta, A Southern Mediterranean Nation In Europe

They stay warm in the fall, particularly throughout September, with the highest sea temperature being 26 °C (79 °F).

Malta Is Incredibly Easy To Explore

Seeing that Malta is a small country, and driving from the extreme East to the Westernmost point of the island will not take you longer than an hour and a half, tops, with traffic, you can cram a lot of sights into a three to five-day itinerary (but not all).

Naturally, we would suggest you stay at least a week to fully take in the subtropical atmosphere and discover both Malta and Gozo at a slower pace.

Tge Crystal Lagoon On Comino Island, Malta, Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe

If it's crowds you're wary of, you will be glad to know arrival figures tend to drop considerably throughout fall. Malta is a very touristy place, so odds are it will still feel somewhat busy, even in autumn, but it is nowhere near the crazy levels of tourism seen in summer.

As a result of the drop in demand, prices tend to fluctuate down as well, so you might benefit from cheaper hotel rates, as well as more reasonably-priced tourist excursions, though that is certainly not a given.

In case you were wondering, Malta is both in the European Union and the Schengen Zone, and the national currency is the Euro.

Maltese Flag Flying Against The Backdrop Of A Medieval City In Malta, Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe

Where To Stay In Malta

Some of the best places to stay in Malta include Valletta, the capital itself, as it is well-connected by bus and ferry to other parts of the main island, as well as Comino and Gozo, Sliema, a development zone notorious for its high-rise seafront condominiums, and St. Julian's, a resort zone and nightlife spot.

There are no direct flights from the United States to Malta, but it is served by one-stop connecting flights in mainland Europe, usually Italy, and if you are already in Europe, you are able to find low-cost tickets traveling to Malta, sometimes for as cheap as $27 one-way, when booked some weeks in advance.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Kurt

Wednesday 18th of October 2023

I'm wondering where you got this info from. My beloved country has become a s**thole. Dirty and littered, overcrowded, construction dust everywhere, fish farm slime in the sea, beaches illegally hijacked by family members or people who have connections to our corrupt politicians. I never go to the beach in Malta. In fact I went to Greece in order to be able to enjoy some swimming. Also it's very difficult to get around without a car, even if the island is so tiny. A few like me dare to cycle, but I don't blame those who don't because our transport authority makes it a nightmare on purpose. So you have to deal with hours of traffic jams and good luck finding parking. Also keep an eye as no spot on our roads is safe, not even the pavement. If you don't believe me then watch the fatalities stats being broken every year. Gozo is suffering the same fate as well. The island is overrun with impunity by corrupt and incapable politicians. You wabt to come? We want to leave!

Marke

Tuesday 12th of September 2023

Just been to Malta for the first time with my Maltese wife and loved it. We stayed on Gozo which is like a land that time has forgotten. It’s very pretty and has lots of history and ruins to prove it. Valletta is lovely however can get crowded with cruise groups. We drove everywhere especially using the very efficient 24 hour Gozo ferry to the mainland and it was a breeze considering they drive on the left side of the road like Australia. Roads around Gozo are sketchy with lots of potholes that never get repaired. And best if all the Maltese are the friendliest people I have met in Europe and will speak English if they know you are a tourist. Well worth a visit!

Bruce Berman

Monday 25th of September 2023

@Marke, we’re heading to Gozo then Valetta for our 40 anniversary; any recent recommendations you can suggest on Gozo?

Ng

Sunday 10th of September 2023

Construction jungle

Ommok

Friday 8th of September 2023

Please stop coming

Marcy

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

Getting around Malta is NOT easy as you say in the article. It is bedlam! Traffic is non stop and the bus system is the worst I've ever experienced. It's a pretty place but I will never come back because it is the worst place to use public transit. One spends long hours trying to reach anywhere on the island. What a shame. Wake up Malta and get with the tourism program! I have traveled to 70 countries and have never had so much trouble trying to sightsee.

Agnes

Thursday 14th of September 2023

@Robert, it’s true Robert I was in Malta this year and I’m Maltese I loved Malta a lot and I used to go to Malta once a year but this year was the worst I’ve ever seen in Malta it’s very dirty with all the rubbish bags outside and they even got rats because of the rubbish I think since this labour party bloke ruined everything in Malta since he got in charge The buses are a disgrace some of the drivers don’t stop on some stages if no one wants to go down it happened to me when I was in the bus they don’t stop and another time I was at Imsida and the bus was half empty and the driver was going to keep going and two blokes went in front of the bus to stop him people if I were you think it twice before you go to Malta I’m sorry to say The rent is too expensive

Robert

Friday 8th of September 2023

@Marcy, We had no issues travelling; you just need to plan your journeys.