A relaxed, sun-soaked Mediterranean island with great food, beaches and thousands of years of history, Malta is the ideal place to catch some rays and recharge your batteries.
Because of the warm climate, Malta is a genuine year-round destination, although the winter months can see more storms and cloudy days. Expect searing hot temperatures in high summer (around July and August), but Malta's major tourist season lasts from April through to October. Experience some local culture by visiting during Catholic festivities at Easter or Christmas or attend the Mnarja (harvest festival) at the end of June. You can also find local village festivals throughout the year.
Firstly, Malta is made up of a number of islands. Malta itself is by far the largest and busiest. Then there is sleepy Gozo and Comino - the smallest and most unspoilt, which is mostly a nature reserve. On the main island, be sure to visit the UNESCO Heritage listed capital, Valletta. During your stay, expect to encounter lower prices than most of Europe for food and travel. In Malta, a restaurant meal will set you back around EUR 10.
For those flying into Malta, the main airport is only about 5 km (3 miles) from Valletta. There are all day (and night) bus services to the capital. Look for buses beginning with the letter X for services into town. You can also take official white taxis from the airport, and expect to pay between EUR 10 and EUR 30 to get to destinations around the island.
When getting around the island, bus tickets are bought from the driver and vary in price depending on the season - from around EUR 1.50 in winter to EUR 2 in summer for a 2 hour travel period. Night buses cost slightly more, at EUR 3 or so for the same time period. Visitors can also buy a weekly travel pass for EUR 21. Alternatively, you can take taxis (which average about EUR 15 per journey) or hire a car, which may well be the best way to see everything.
Accommodation costs are around EUR 15 per night (off-peak) for a hostel bed in shared rooms. A double room in a 3 star hotel will cost around EUR 70.