Malta is made up of seven small islands in the Mediterranean. It is steeped in the past but also bustles with contemporary life.
The Knights of St John built the historic, fortified capital city of Valletta in the sixteenth century. Commanding an impregnable position over the peninsula, it's home to the Grand Master's Palace and the ornate Cathedral of St John. The former capital, Mdina, nicknamed the Noble City, has an air of elegance and is one of the finest surviving examples of a medieval walled city.
Gozo, Malta's smaller sister, is a charming island offering fine coastal walks and good swimming in secluded bays. There are also brilliant diving opportunities; indeed, the country is regarded as one of Europe's finest for diving. Gran Castel, the citadel of Gozo is a miniature version of Mdina, complete with cathedral, museums and folklore. Inland are the Ggantija Temples, which predate the Pyramids and Stonehenge and are considered the oldest freestanding stone structures in the world.
Just off the tiny island of Comino lies the Blue Lagoon. Plunge into the improbably coloured water or put on a snorkel and explore one of the Mediterranean's finest swimming spots.