For centuries Malta has been important for its strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean and much sought after by invaders and occupiers - though mostly now by vacationers. Malta combines history, archaeology and the modern facilities of a popular, well-developed vacation destination. In a short distance you can step through thousands of years of history.
St Paul is said to have lived here for a time after being shipwrecked on his voyage to Rome, and the Knights of St John of Jerusalem made Malta their home and headquarters after the Crusades. The influence of these aristocratic warriors in architecture and city planning are very evident in the capital, Valetta, whose Grand Harbour has sheltered warships including those of the British Royal Navy right up to the 20th Century. These days you are more likely to see luxury yachts and cruise ships taking up the moorings, and caves that served as air raid shelters in World War II are now wine cellars or museums.
Malta is actually several islands, the biggest is Malta itself, and to the north there are Gozo and Comino and off the mainland numerous islets including St Paul's Islands. Malta has vibrant nightlife around St Julian's and ample shopping opportunities along the narrow streets of Valetta. The former capital, Mdina, is worth a visit to see a well-preserved medieval city, and nearby you'll find the Ta'Qali crafts center and the Meri.