Invading Malta

Valletta shines as it basks in the early morning sunshine.
Valletta shines as it basks in the early morning sunshine. PHOTOS Liseykina

I LIKE to think I'm on-trend when it comes to hot holiday destinations.

I was in Malta when Brad Pitt was there making the movie Troy with his then wife Jennifer Aniston.

Now he's just been back to Malta with new wife (enough said), proving it to be a hot honeymoon spot.

Malta is a rocky place and very tiny - smaller than the Isle of Wight - but it does have beautiful spots dotted around the island, and boy does it have a long and rich history.

It has spent the past 7000 years being invaded.

Everyone from the Phoenicians to the Arabs, Romans, Greeks and the Knights of the Order of St John have invaded and, most recently, the Germans had a go during the Second World War.

Yet Malta still manages to keep cheerful.

Due to its perfect strategic position in the Mediterranean, every captain sailing past for thousands of years must have eyed it with envy, sailed into port, fought a battle and taken ownership, only to have another captain sail by a short time later to follow suit. You learn all this at The Malta Experience, a show in an old theatre depicting bloody battles accompanied by dramatic music and enthralling narration.

There is much to learn and absorb in Malta.

It has nine UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The old city walls of Valletta (built in the 16th century by the Knights of St John) are as handsome as they are striking.

The ancient walled town of Mdina with its mix of medieval and baroque architecture is often called The Silent City where quietness is demanded and the only transport is by horse-drawn carriage.

Summer sunshine is guaranteed and the English-speaking locals are super-friendly and enthralled by Aussies as so many of their families migrated here in the 50s and 60s.

Gozo is Malta's greener sister island and sailing around it on a wooden boat will take you into water so vividly blue you'll have to don sunglasses.

Malta has much going for it, and the only invasion it fears now is that of savvy tourists like me seeking a hot holiday spot.

If you go:

Thai Airways flies to Rome, and Malta is just a hop away with several budget airlines.

Thai's Europe 2015 fares are on sale until November 30 from $1600 return including taxes.

Enjoy the colours of Malta: lots of honey-coloured stone against vivid blue water.

Take an island cruise on a wooden boat and swim in the brilliant blue water.

Take a side trip to Gozo for a change of scenery, and then continue on to the island of Comino for a holiday within a holiday.

Christmas is highly celebrated in Malta, a highlight is the candlelit carol-singing at St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta.

Topics:  ann rickard malta travel

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