Why Malta Is the Ideal Getaway From West London

Are you ready for your next summer escape? West London’s proximity to major airports gives you a host of countries, often with cut-price short-haul fares. But if the main attractions of Spain, Greece and Italy have been well-travelled, you may be seeking something different. Pack your bags as we convince you to visit Malta.

Why Malta?

Malta is a beautiful country, surrounded by blue oceans with a great climate all year round. It sits in the Maltese Archipelago that is made up of three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta is full of history and culture and it is easy to access its delights due to English being one of its main languages and the Euro being its currency.

The capital Valletta is a maze of small cobbled streets and pavement cafes. Founded in 1565, it blends baroque charm with medieval heritage. Built by the Knights of St John, the city has been declared a world heritage site. You will find everything you need when exploring, from boutique hotels to small family eateries.

If that was not enough, then the prices in Valletta are considerably lower than that which you would find anywhere else, particularly in West London. Restaurant prices are around 17% lower than back home, but daily treats like coffee are 70% cheaper and beer a whopping 85% lower.

Modern Maltese Economy

Modern Malta is an extremely advanced country, that has its feet in the past but its eyes on the future. It has a large finance system with two major banks: Bank of Valletta and HSBC Bank Malta. In addition to this, it has FinanceMalta which is partly run by the government. This oversees education for business leaders on why Malta is a great place to do set up shop.

Malta has become a huge hub for the global iGaming industry, even providing guidance and legislation through the Malta Gaming Authority. Most table games and entertainment from major casinos, such as the online slots at Betway, will have to adhere to their regulations. It is now a hub for the industry across the world.

Film and television is another area where business has boomed, with several major Hollywood movies and streaming series being filmed there. Much like EU partner Hungary, the architecture of its cities can be easily transformed to look like various places. This has been seen in films such as Captain Phillips and World War Z.

What to See and Do

If the beaches, bars and hotel spa gets too much, then take a day trip to visit the time capsule that is Mdina Old City. It is a fortified city in the north and was the capital until the medieval period. It remains the centre of Maltese nobility and religion. However, despite its grand facades and architecture, it is now extremely quiet, garnering it the nickname Silent City.

Back in Valletta, history and art lovers should visit St Johns Co-Cathedral. Created as a church for the Knights of St John, it is still in use as a religious centre and cultural space. Within its grand baroque cloisters is housed the only signed painting by Caravaggio. Close by is the Upper Barrakka Gardens, where the knights would relax and unwind. You can visit in the falling sunset, or go at midday and listen to the cannon salute.

Food and Drink

Lovers of Mediterranean cuisine are in for a treat, with seafood at the forefront. A staple delicacy in Malta is the Ftira, which can take many forms across the three islands. On Malta island, they are traditionally a pizza-shaped bread garnished with oil, tuna, capers and fresh mint. But travel over the water to Gozo and you can taste one baked in a pizza oven with cheese sliced potatoes and Maltese sausage.

Street food lovers must try Patizzi, which can be purchased cheaply from numerous street vendors. They are traditionally used to plug the gap between breakfast and lunch but are now devoured at all times of the day. A small filo pasty of sorts, they have a range of fillings. Savoury ricotta cheese and a curried pea paste are two of the most adventurous but tasty.

Getting to and From Malta

Getting to Malta from the UK is easy and cheap. The London airports have an abundance of regular flights to suit all budgets and types. You can jump on the cheap and cheerful with Easyjet and Ryanair, or hop on a BA flight to Valletta. Flights are available from Gatwick, Stanstead and Luton. All flights will take you to the Luqa Malta International Airport.

If you have not already visited Malta, then it is a world waiting to be explored. It provides a welcome break from London and won’t break the bank. It can be done on a budget or you can go all out, part of its appeal. The only certainty is that you can’t afford to miss it.

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