The ancient Greeks called the islands of Malta “Honey sweet” after their native species of black honey bees. The Phoenician name is said to have meant “Haven” in recognition of their many peaceful bays and coves. No matter which delightful version you prefer, this archipelago of three different-sized islands more than matches the description - and makes your tour of Malta a wonderful choice. The islands’ most obvious connections might be with the Knights of St John, the Maltese Falcon and the George Cross. But on this tour of Malta you’ll also discover its lovely scenery, dramatic coastlines, atmospheric old towns and charming, relaxed little fishing ports.
Malta has a wonderfully varied and still visible history that stretches back to the Stone Age, as well as being at the crossroads of almost all the ancient Mediterranean civilisations for the past six thousand years. Staying in St. Julian’s, with its picturesque quayside lined by fish restaurants, your Malta tour will take you right back to Neolithic times. The astonishing prehistoric temples of Ggantija and Tarxien are among the world’s oldest free-standing structures. Possibly as old as 3600 BC and pre-dating even the Pyramids and Stonehenge, they confirm the existence of a thriving ancient culture on Malta and are all the more impressive for having been constructed before metal tools or the invention of the wheel.
Ancient and atmospheric Mdina, the jewel in Malta’s crown, is a medieval walled town perched high on a hill with quiet and narrow streets that simply ooze history. It’s called the “Silent City” because no cars are allowed. You’ll see St Paul’s catacombs, a huge maze of fourth century Christian burial chambers, as well as a Roman villa with a beautiful mosaic floor. But of course no tour of Malta would be complete either without a visit to the wonderful baroque city of Valletta - little changed since it was founded by the Knights of St John in the 16th century.