Malta: Three Islands, 1,001 Options

Excellent weather, endless seascapes, and rutted limestone cliffs strung together by winding footpaths make this small archipelago a Mediterranean multisport masterpiece.
By Wendy Knight
  |  Gorp.com
Let’s Get Practical
CLICK HERE for a quick-and-dirty breakdown of Malta.
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“Are you an American?” I asked the lone chap dining on pasta misto next to me.

“No, I’m Italian,” he replied in a non-descript accent. He took a sip of red wine and dug further into his plate. “Why? Are you with the CIA?”

Since arriving on Malta, a sun-kissed island 60 miles south of Sicily, I hadn’t encountered any other Americans, unless you count Brad Pitt, who had arrived the same day as me to begin filming Helen of Troy but who, sadly, I hadn’t actually “encountered.” But my curiosity about the scarcity of Americans on Malta and its smaller, sister islands of Gozo and Comino was yielding more unintended assumptions than practical insight, so I decided to abandon my queries and simply relish the notion of the island’s adventurous offerings all for myself. Stretched before me like a medieval feast were the archipelago’s shimmering turquoise waters, copious grottos and coves, soaring limestone cliffs, and nautical wrecks. Who cared why other Americans hadn’t discovered its allure.

Scuba Diving
Something tugged insistently on my hand. Turning toward the urgency, I hoped the intended sight wasn’t a great white, known to lurk in these waters. I was relieved to find the hand of Martin Vella, the owner of Subway Scuba Diving School, gesturing to a plum-purple sponge attached to the underside of the jagged coral. The last time I breathed oxygen from a tank I was in the murky waters of New York’s Cayuga Lake, so the rainbow wrasse and slinky fire worms off Marfa Point were a refreshing sight. The Maltese archipelago serves up a slew of shore and boat dives, and what the Mediterranean lacks in natural coral reef it makes up for with crystal-clear waters and fascinating wrecks, such as the WWII British Destroyer—the HMS Maori—submerged 15 meters off Valletta, Malta’s capital.


Published: 18 Mar 2004 | Last Updated: 31 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Malta

$196-$242
Average/night*
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The Palace
$241-$298
Average/night*
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Hotel Phoenicia Malta
$172
Average/night*
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Le Meridien St. Julians Hotel & Spa
$168
Average/night*
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InterContinental MALTA

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