Exploring Malta: An In-Depth Look at the EU Member Na

By: MapQuest Travel  | 
Mediterranean Gem: Known for clear waters, Malta offers excellent diving and snorkeling experiences. Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Malta, a small archipelago in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, has a rich tapestry of history, culture, and modernity. Its unique blend of influences from multiple civilizations has shaped its identity as an EU member nation and a thriving tourist destination. This blog post will take you on a journey through Malta’s geographical wonders, fascinating history, diverse economy, and vibrant culture.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or a sunseeker, Malta offers something for everyone. Let’s dive into this gem of the Mediterranean and explore the many facets that make Malta a captivating destination.


Short Summary

  • Explore Malta, an EU member nation located between Sicily and North Africa featuring a unique culture, captivating history & stunning natural beauty.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities such as diving in its crystal clear waters or hiking picturesque trails. Savor traditional Maltese dishes with Mediterranean influences.
  • Take advantage of educational & employment opportunities while enjoying sustainable tourism initiatives year round for the perfect getaway.


Malta's Geography and Climate

Nestled between Sicily and North Africa, Malta is a small archipelago characterized by its rocky plains, multiple bays, and agreeable Mediterranean climate. The climate in Malta is similar to North Africa, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. With an approximate population of 516,000 and a unique political system as an EU member nation, Malta’s geographical location and climate make it an attractive destination.

The majority of the population resides in the eastern half of Malta, which is the largest of the three inhabited islands and is well connected by Air Malta. The Maltese Islands are unique in terms of land use, with:


  • Only 0.9% forest
  • 0% permanent pasture
  • 12 nm territorial sea
  • 11.2% solar energy in its total installed capacity.

Malta’s location in the Mediterranean Sea offers an abundance of natural beauty, including:

  • Numerous bays
  • Rocky landscapes that adorn the coastline
  • Sandy beaches
  • Hidden coves

Whether you’re lounging on a beach or exploring the island, the Maltese archipelago is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Malta's Rich History

Malta’s history spans thousands of years, with a civilization that has been under the control of various empires and nations, including:

  • Phoenicians
  • Carthaginians
  • Greeks
  • Romans
  • Byzantines
  • Moors
  • Normans
  • Sicilians
  • Spanish
  • Knights of St. John
  • French

The capital city of Valletta, established in 1566 by the Knights of St. John, serves as a testament to the rich history of the island, with several national museums showcasing its captivating past.


The Armed Forces of Malta, established during the British colony era, is a unified force comprising:

  • Land component
  • Maritime component
  • Air component
  • Volunteer Reserve Force

In terms of security policy, Malta sets itself apart from other European countries by adhering to a policy of neutrality.

Delving into Malta’s rich history, one can witness the lasting impact of foreign rulers, their architectural marvels, and the unique cultural traditions they left behind. From ancient temples to the fortified city of Valletta, Malta’s history is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

The Knights of St. John

The Knights of St. John played a significant role in shaping Malta’s history, architecture, and culture. Their legacy is still evident in the magnificent buildings and art that adorn the island. The Grand Master was a prominent figure in Malta’s history, and his palace, established in 1571, served as the seat of the Knights’ government and their residence. Today, the Grandmaster’s Palace is the official home of Malta’s president and is easily accessible via the national airline, Air Malta.

During their rule, the Knights of St. John.

  • Successfully defended Malta against the Ottoman Empire in the Great Siege of 1565
  • Built the fortified city of Valletta, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Established St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a Baroque masterpiece that houses Caravaggio’s famous painting “The Beheading of St John the Baptist”

The influence of the Knights of St. John can be seen in:

  • the architectural marvels
  • the cultural traditions
  • the beautiful buildings
  • the art
  • the enduring sense of pride among the Maltese people

Their legacy lives on and has shaped Malta’s identity.

British Colonial Era

The British colonial era in Malta began in 1813 when the British assumed control of the island, establishing it as a protectorate and an important naval base. Malta’s strategic location made it a key player during both World Wars, particularly during World War II when the island endured relentless bombing from Italy and Germany. The Maltese people’s courage during the Second World War is well documented, and in recognition of their resilience, King George VI of Britain bestowed the George Cross on the entire island. This symbol of bravery is still present on the Malta flag today.

Malta eventually achieved independence in 1964 and became a republic in 1974. The British colonial era left a lasting impact on Malta’s political, economic, and cultural landscape, and it remains an essential part of the island’s rich history.

Independence and European Union Membership

Malta’s journey towards independence and European Union membership is a testament to its resilience and determination. The island nation declared its independence on September 21, 1964, marking a significant milestone in its history. Malta then became a republic in 1974, further solidifying its sovereignty and self-governance.

In 2004, Malta joined the European Union, strengthening its ties with other member nations and expanding its influence on the global stage. With the Malta signed agreement, the island’s accession to the EU has brought numerous benefits, including increased trade, investment, and support for its growing industries.

Today, Malta stands as a proud and independent nation, with a unique political system and a strong commitment to the European Union. Its history of perseverance and adaptability, in which Malta played a crucial role, serves as an inspiration to nations around the world.


Maltese Government and Political System

Malta’s political system is a unique blend of English common law and civil law, based on the Roman and Napoleonic civil codes. The Prime Minister, as the head of government, is accountable for the overall direction and control of the executive branch of the Maltese government. In addition to its unique political system, Malta adheres to a policy of neutrality in international affairs and does not participate in military alliances or wars.

In 2017, Malta assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union, an EU institution responsible for determining the EU’s overall political direction and priorities. This role showcases Malta’s commitment to the European Union and its ability to influence the political landscape of the region.


The Maltese government’s commitment to neutrality and its unique political system set it apart from other EU member nations, demonstrating the island’s adaptability and resilience in the face of changing global dynamics.

Economy and Trade

Malta’s diverse economy, with a Gross Domestic Product of $22.11 billion in 2021, has transformed over the years to adapt to the changing global landscape. The island plays host to many industries. The primary sectors include:

  • Tourism
  • Electronics
  • Shipbuilding and repair
  • Construction
  • Food and beverages
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Tobacco
  • Aviation services
  • Financial services
  • Information technology services

As a former British colony, Malta’s primary industries have shifted towards service-oriented activities such as freight transshipment, finance, and tourism. The island’s strategic location in the Mediterranean has also made it an important trade hub, with its principal exports accounting for 136,1% of the economy in 2017.


Malta’s growing economy and diverse industries offer a wealth of opportunities for both locals and international investors. The island’s commitment to economic development and innovation makes it an attractive destination for businesses and entrepreneurs alike.


Transportation and Connectivity

Malta’s transportation infrastructure plays a crucial role in connecting the island to the rest of the world. Air Malta, the national airline, provides access to numerous international destinations and is essential for the island’s tourism sector. The primary seaport in Malta is Marsaxlokk (Malta Freeport) in Valletta, which serves as a vital hub for trade and commerce.

In addition to its national airline and seaport, Malta boasts an advanced telecommunications infrastructure, with a high broadband penetration rate and more than 20 commercial radio stations. This connectivity enables the island to maintain strong ties with the international community and stay abreast of global developments.


As an island nation with limited land resources, Malta’s transportation and connectivity are essential to its economic growth and development. With a commitment to improving its infrastructure, Malta continues to strengthen its position in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

Culture and Traditions

Maltese culture is a fascinating blend of Mediterranean influences, religious celebrations, and vivacious customs. The island’s unique history has shaped its cultural identity, with a rich tapestry of traditions that reflect its diverse heritage. From the lively religious feasts to the warm hospitality of the Maltese people, the island’s culture is a captivating experience for visitors.

One of the most prominent cultural institutions in Malta is MUZA, a national museum that showcases the island’s artistic heritage through four primary themes.


  1. The Mediterranean
  2. Europe
  3. Empire
  4. The Artist

The atmosphere at MUZA’s restaurant is evocative of the Mediterranean, offering visitors a taste of the region’s culinary delights.

Whether you’re exploring the narrow streets of Valletta or attending a traditional Maltese festa, the island’s culture and traditions offer a unique and unforgettable experience. Embrace the vibrant spirit of Malta and immerse yourself in its rich cultural tapestry.


Must-Visit Attractions

Malta is home to a wealth of must-visit attractions that showcase the island’s rich history and stunning natural beauty. The Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, once the seat of the Knights of St. John’s government, now serves as the official home of Malta’s president and is an architectural masterpiece. St. John’s Co-Cathedral, also located in Valletta, boasts a grand interior adorned with marble tombstones, silver and gold pillars, and Caravaggio’s famous painting “The Beheading of St John the Baptist”.

For those seeking a breathtaking view of the Grand Harbour and the historical towns of Senglea and Vittoriosa, the Upper Barrakka Gardens offer the perfect vantage point. Visitors can also witness the cannon being fired from the Saluting Battery and enjoy refreshments at the nearby kiosk.


From the majestic Grandmaster’s Palace to the tranquil Upper Barrakka Gardens, Malta’s must-visit attractions offer a glimpse into the island’s captivating past and present. Each site tells a story of the island’s rich history, leaving visitors with a deep appreciation for the Maltese people and their cultural heritage.

Outdoor Activities and Sports

Malta’s sunny weather and seaside location make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and sports lovers. The island offers a variety of activities, from diving in its crystal-clear waters to hiking along its picturesque trails. Malta is renowned for having more than 120 captivating dive sites and excellent visibility, making it a haven for divers of all skill levels.

In addition to diving, Malta boasts a host of other water-based activities, such as swimming and sailing. The island’s diverse landscape also provides ample opportunities for hiking, zip-lining, and abseiling, catering to the adventurous spirit in all of us.


Whether you’re exploring Malta’s underwater world, basking in the sun on a sandy beach, or trekking through its beautiful countryside, the island’s outdoor activities and sports offer a unique way to experience its natural beauty and create lasting memories.

Food and Gastronomy

Malta’s thriving food scene is a testament to the island’s rich culinary heritage and its focus on local produce. From traditional Maltese dishes to contemporary fine dining experiences, Malta offers a gastronomic adventure for every palate. The island’s cuisine is influenced by its Mediterranean location, with an emphasis on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. In Valletta, there are renowned restaurants such as Noni, Rampila, or Legligin where visitors can savor traditional Maltese dishes. Some of the specialties include:

  • Rabbit stew
  • Fish pie (lampuki)
  • Bragioli (a beef dish)
  • Kapunata (similar to ratatouille)

For a more sophisticated dining experience, the meticulously restored Valletta Waterfront offers a selection of upscale bars and restaurants, while Trabuxu Bistro provides a broad selection of both local and foreign wines. Indulge in Malta’s culinary delights, from the iconic ftira, a stuffed flatbread found in Valletta’s cafes and restaurants, to the freshest seafood caught daily in the Mediterranean Sea. The island’s cuisine is a celebration of its rich cultural heritage and a true feast for the senses.


Study and Work Opportunities in Malta

Malta offers a wealth of study and work opportunities for both locals and international students. The island is home to several universities, including:

  • University of Malta
  • American University of Malta
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)
  • London School of Commerce

These institutions provide a range of academic and professional programs catering to diverse interests and career aspirations.

In addition to educational opportunities, Malta’s growing economy and diverse industries offer a broad selection of job opportunities, ranging from entry-level positions to highly specialized roles. The island’s primary sectors, such as tourism, finance, IT, and manufacturing, provide numerous employment options for those looking to work in Malta.

To study or work in Malta, it is necessary to apply for a residence permit. With its unique blend of history, culture, and modernity, Malta provides an enriching environment for personal and professional growth, making it an attractive destination for students and job seekers alike.

Sustainable Tourism in Malta

Malta is committed to sustainability through nature parks, local produce, and eco-friendly initiatives. With an emphasis on preserving its natural resources and promoting environmentally responsible practices, the island is dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

The “Eco-Gozo” project aims to develop the island’s infrastructure in an environmentally-friendly manner, while the ECO certification scheme ensures the sustainability of hotels and farmhouses. The Malta Tourism Authority has also implemented initiatives to promote environmentally responsible practices and conserve natural resources.

By supporting sustainable tourism initiatives and adopting eco-friendly practices, Malta is working towards a more sustainable future for both its residents and visitors. Embrace the island’s commitment to the environment and experience Malta’s natural beauty while supporting its sustainable endeavors.

Best Time to Visit Malta

The best time to visit Malta depends on your personal preferences and interests. The most suitable times to visit are May, June, July, September, and October, when temperatures are warm and the island is bustling with activity. Malta’s Mediterranean climate, featuring hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, ensures pleasant weather for most of the year.

During your visit to Malta, be sure to explore the various cultural events and festivities that occur throughout the year. For art enthusiasts, MUZA is one of the European City of Culture projects for 2018, offering a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Malta’s artistic heritage.

Whether you’re planning a summer getaway or a cultural exploration, Malta offers a wealth of experiences and attractions for visitors year-round. Discover the island’s captivating history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty at the best time for you.


From its rich history and unique political system to its thriving economy and captivating culture, Malta is a gem in the heart of the Mediterranean. The island’s diverse attractions, outdoor activities, and gastronomic delights provide an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages and interests.

Explore the wonders of Malta, from the fortified city of Valletta to the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich tapestry of history, culture, and modernity, and create lasting memories in this enchanting destination.

This article was created using AI technology.