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A strategic location at the heart of the Mediterranean… one of the lowest tax rates in the European Union… a state-of-the-art port... no wonder Malta has become a busy business hub in recent years. Here are seven good reasons for extending your stay.
Malta’s baroque capital dates back to the 1600s. But it’s no museum piece – the Italian architect Renzo Piano is currently rebuilding one of the city’s five original gates. The place to see and be seen is the iconic Caffe Cordina in Republic Square. The Charles Grech Café and Cocktail Bar is the trendier choice.
Malta has a rich, 7,000-year heritage. Highlights include the UNESCO-protected, prehistoric Hypogeum burial site, although it’s important to book ahead; the Grandmaster’s Palace; and the Wignacourt Museum in Rabat. For a quick overview, get the audiovisual version of proceedings at the Malta Experience.
Favourite It-crowd wine bars include Trabuxu on Valletta’s Strait Street. The medieval city of Mdina is also inviting for a pre- or post-dinner drink; sommelier Chris Incorvaja at de Mondion is worth seeking out. If you want to go local, ask for a bottle by Meridiana, one of the leading Maltese wineries.
Head for the sleepy village of Mgarr for a traditional fenkata – or rabbit – feast. Start with spaghetti in a rabbit sauce, followed by rabbit fried in garlic and wine, and accompanied by rabbit stew… if you have room for it.
Malta has built a reputation as a first-class spa destination. Book one of the best holistic massages on the island at the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa. Pat Vella’s olive oil, eucalyptus and sea salt scrub is a uniquely Mediterranean experience.
Gozo is a short hop on the ferry. Here, you can kick back with a walk along the rugged coast, a picnic on the beach and dinner at one of the many gastronomic hotspots. Gozo is regularly named one of the top dive destinations in the world.
In the run-up to its role as Capital of Culture in 2018, Valletta – and Malta as a whole – has got it skates on, with opera festivals at the historic Manoel Theatre, musicals and ballet at the MCC, and dazzling new work at St James Cavalier. From 20-23 March, catch an original production of Mozart’s opera La Clemenza di Tito at the Manoel.