Malta & Gozo
Malta is a collection of five islands: Malta being the largest, Gozo and Comino, also St. Paul’s and Filfla which remain uninhabited. Malta is situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, 58 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles from North Africa. Its landscape is characterized by low hills with terraced fields, jagged coastlines, and sandy beaches.
Maltese (a Semitic language) and English are the official languages. Italian is also widely spoken.
Maltese Lira (Lm) = 100 cents = 1000 mils. The most common paper currency in Malta comes in denominations of Lm20, Lm10, Lm5 and Lm2. Coins appear in denominations of Lm1, ans 50 cents, 25 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 2 cents and 1 cent.
The Islands have a very sunny climate with a daily average of five to six hours sunshine in mid-winter to more than 12 hours in summer. The hottest months are July to September, but the heat is tempered by cooling sea breezes. Rain falls for very short periods, mainly in the cooler winter months.
Valletta is a beautiful, historic 16th-century walled city. It is almost completely surrounded by water and boasts many medieval buildings including the Auberge de Castille. The Palace of the Grand Masters is the seat of the government and also a museum. There are great views of the Grand harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Other impressive attractions include the Cathedral, Fort St Elmo and the 3000 year old city of Mdina, perched on a rocky outcrop and boasting many more historical buildings, narrow cobbled streets and an impressive piazza.
- The Blood alcohol limit in Malta is 80 mg.
- Drive on the left, overtake on the right.
- All passengers are required to wear a seat belt at all times, unless not fitted in the rear seats.
- It is compulsory to carry a warning triangle.
Malta is renowned for its gold and silver filigree work and handmade lace. Special purchases include silver and gold filigree, woodwork, Malta weaving, dolls, soft toys, brass and copper metalwork, tiles and hand-blown glass. Try to visit Valletta's open market if you're in town on a Sunday.
Shopping hours: Mon-Sat 0900-1300 and 1600-1900.
There are numerous discos, bars and nightclubs. Malta is fast becoming the place for clubbing. Top international DJs appear for guest weekends throughout the year. Paceville and St Julian's are the centre of the scene.
The Islands have a vibrant calendar of theatre and concerts, classical and modern. Many are held outdoors or in historic venues. There are annual cultural events such as the International Jazz Festival in July. For excitement of a different kind, try your luck at the casino. Roulette, baccarat, black jack and boule can be played at the 'Dragonara Casino or at the Oracle Casino. Cinemas show mainly English and American films. The Islands have several state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas always with the latest releases.
Food and Drink
There's a fairly wide selection of international food in major hotels and better restaurants, but English and Italian cuisine are the most common. Local dishes include: Fenek - rabbit cooked in wine; Bragioli - beef simmered in red wine and stuffed with boiled eggs and bacon; Timpana - pasta, eggs, meat and cheese stuffed in a flaky pastry and Pastizzi - flaky pastry stuffed with cheese or anchovies.
Traditional dessets include: Mqaret - fried pastry filled with dates; Figolli - a traditional Easter cake filled with almond paste and Qubbajt - almond nougat
Maltese beer is exceptional, and foreign beers are also available. There is a wide variety of good and reasonably priced Maltese wine and foreign wines and spirits. Table service is normal, but many bars and cafés have table and/or counter service.
Licensing hours - bars, restaurants and cafés are usually 0900-0100 and beyond, although alcohol can only be bought before 0100.
Tourist InformationOfficial Maltese Tourism website:www.visitmalta.com
Additional contacts:Tel: 020 8877 6990 Fax: 020 8874 9416 Email: email@example.com