I discovered Malta, 40 years after the country took its independence from Great Britain (it was a former colony) and just before it entered the European Union.

3 good reasons to go

Malta is a great place to send teenagers on a language study holiday, rather than in England. First, the weather is definitely much better, as the country is located in the Mediterranean Sea, between Sicily and Tunisia. Then, food has many Italian influences and colors, with pasta and tomatoes among it. And last but not least, it’s an archipelago made up of Malta the main island with the capital Valletta, Gozo, Comino, plus 5 other little islands. This means you can swim.

A little bit of Geography

Most of the time, when I speak about Malta, people don’t see what it looks like, so to resume, the islands are just rocks in the middle of the sea. I mean it, they are really rocky islands, with few plants, it looks like quite arid, with almost no relief. Another important thing to know before getting there is that it’s not an island with sandy beaches. As I said, it’s rocky, so you have wonderful cliffs. To swim some artificial pools where curved in the rocks to allow tourists to swim.

A little bit of History

Malta is also a very interesting cultural destination, due to its crossroad position in the Mediterranean Sea. You can still see traces of its early History, with Megalithic Temples from the Neolithic period. The country was dominated successively by the Carthaginian, the Roman, the Byzantine, the Arabian, the Sicilian, the Knights of Saint John, the French thanks to Napoleon, and finally the British until its independence in 1964. Each domination left its influence. For example, the Maltese language sounds like Arabic, despite its written with the Latin alphabet, and the fact that everyone speaks also English. The Order of Knights of Saint John built the fortified city of Valletta (named after one of the Grand Master of the Order who defeated the Ottoman). Last occupiers, the British left the main traces: driving on the left side of the road, red telephone box, etc.

What’s typical in Malta?

What I liked about Malta is its originality: its old fashion and colorful bus; its colorful little boats with an eye at the bow; the little-paved streets of Valletta with its green windows.

Lastly, Malta got famous because of Game of Thrones. You’ll probably recognize the gate of M’dina (the former capital) as the gate of King’s landing. Many cities and fort of Malta were used as the scenery of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. The wedding of Daenerys and Khal Drogo was spotted near the Azure Arch, which, unfortunately, was destroyed by a storm in 2017.

Just one last tip before you book your next holidays in Malta: sometimes its windy, I mean fresh breeze which is very welcomed. But, be careful, because you won’t feel the sun burning you, and you can quickly turn red.

April 2004 – Language study holiday – 1 week

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