The Maltese Islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino) lie in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, 93km south of Sicily and some 288km north-east of Tunisia, just a few hours flying time away from most European cities. In the course of history, Malta has been conquered, colonised and governed by numerous Mediterranean civilisations, leaving their cultural mark with three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of them being the oldest known human structures in the world. It counts more monuments per square kilometer than any other country, so no wonder that Malta has often been described as an open-air museum. The islands have just over 400,000 inhabitants, but they attract millions of visitors all year round.
Malta is the largest island and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural, characterised by fishing, tourism and agriculture. Comino is largely uninhabited.
Malta, Gozo and Comino offer a wide variety of landscapes from dramatic cliffs to pretty bays and quaint fishing ports; rural villages dominated by their churches and patron saints; fortifications enclosing the Grand Harbour cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua; the silent city of Medina characterised by mediaeval and baroque architecture and the capital and World Heritage Site Valletta, encased in impregnable fortifications built by the Knights of Malta, making it one of the richest artistic cities of Renaissance art. The Knights built splendid palaces, churches, and monuments.
The islands are ideal for water-sports, with diving being one of the major crowd pullers. Malta, Gozo and Comino offer excellent sport facilities both for beginners as well as for experienced open water, cave and wreck divers.