There are reminders of the historical connection with Britain everywhere you glance; from the cars that drive on the left, the bright red post boxes and even the UK plug sockets.
Malta is a welcoming home from home getaway.
Visit Malta for gorgeous climate all year round and fabulous history. Find out more here
Malta is the only country outside the UK in which the Queen has lived.
She is well known to have very fond memories of her time as a naval officer’s wife on the island; Prince Philip served here with the Royal Navy between 1949 and 1951, and they spent several periods here as a young married couple before the then Princess Elizabeth inherited the throne in 1952.
Of course, she then became Queen of Malta until Malta’s independence in 1964.
A half-century later, the royal connection was further strengthened by Prince William’s visit to the island in 2014 as part of Malta’s celebration of fifty years of independence.
Driving in Malta: the best way to see the island
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Valletta, the Fortress City
Malta’s lovely capital has a fine natural harbour and has been the scene of much turbulent history.
Carefully designed by military engineer Francesco Laparelli da Cortona in 1565 as a home for the Order of the Knights of St John, its aristocratic beginnings ensured the city’s buildings were excellent architectural examples of their time, and also sturdy enough to withstand any kind of attack.
Indeed, despite intense bombing during World War II – which saw Malta awarded the George Cross in 1942 – the buildings still stand to this day.
St John’s Co-Cathedral is one of the best examples – built between 1573 and 1578, at first glance this cathedral possesses an unassuming air that belies the treasures of the interior.
Covered in rich ornamentation, with a floor covered in the marble tomb slabs of long-dead Knights of Malta, the cathedral also boasts two paintings by the great, if infamous, painter Caravaggio, who was himself a brief member of the Order.
Discover Malta's historic sites
Gozo and Comino
The second largest (or second smallest, depending on how you look at it!) island in the archipelago, Gozo has a slower pace of life than big sister Malta, with a rugged terrain and beautiful, peaceful beaches.
Comino is tiny, lying almost half way between Malta and Gozo, car-free and virtually uninhabited.
But together, Gozo and Comino have the greatest density of historic sites of any country on earth; you’ll discover 5,000-year-old Neolithic temples, dramatic natural wonders, the architectural splendours of the Knights of St John and heroic tales from World War II.
Places to visit in Gozo