You’ve probably heard a lot about Malta as a bucket-list worthy attraction to visit in the Mediterranean. Yes, the Maltese archipelago is also famous for its white sand beaches, caves, and delish cuisine. But all these are really just the surface of the mysterious tiny country in the Mediterranean. There’s a lot more to learn and discover about this tri-island country. Here we’ve listed 8 facts you probably didn’t know about Malta.
1. Malta is the 22nd happiest country in the world based on a report done by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
If you’re planning to take a long break from work to de-stress, Malta is the perfect place to go. Based on a recent Sustainable Development Solutions Network report covering the years 2015-2017, Malta ranks 22nd in a list that compares the happiness levels of 156 countries. The report looks into 2000-3000 individuals for each country and considers six factors in its ranking—social support, corruption, freedom, GDP, generosity, and life expectancy. With the country’s remarkably high happiness index, it will just be a matter of time for the positive vibes of the locals to rub off on you.
2. In spite of being a tiny country, Malta is actually home to not just one, but three inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Sites and seven on the tentative list.
The country’s archipelagic geography makes it home to various migrant and endemic animals. Its long line of foreign settlers also contributed to the country’s rich tradition. In fact, Malta has three UNESCO heritage sites—Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, the Megalithic Temples, and Valleta. Recently, there are now seven attractions that are on UNESCO’s tentative list—Dwejra, the North West Coastal Cliffs, Mdina, Maltese Catacomb Complexes, Cittadella in Gozo, Victoria Lines Fortifications, and the Grand Harbour. All these attractions are considered of significant human interest that needs international protection.
3. Maltese workers enjoy the most number of holidays among EU countries.
Unlike other countries of the European Union, Malta has fourteen public holidays every year. So if you’ve considered working in other countries, Malta might be a good prospect to consider if you are after long holidays.
4. Malta’s only university, the Maltese Cross, is the oldest university in the Commonwealth built outside Britain.
Malta has only one university that offers undergraduate, Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, and postgraduate Doctorates. Established in 1592 as Collegium Melitense, this university is considered the oldest in the Commonwealth built outside Britain.
5. Malta has had eleven foreign settlers in the past two millennia.
The independent republic that Malta is right now is a product of its foreign settlers over the last two millennia. Before it was declared an independent EU state in 1964, Malta had been under the rule of the British, French, the Knights of St. John, the Normans, the Arabs, the Romans, and the Carthaginians. All these colonizers contributed to the traditions of Malta, especially its architecture and cuisine.
6. Vehicle access to Malta’s old walled capital, Mdina, is reserved only for residents.
Mdina is the long-time stronghold of Malta’s nobles. Since the construction of its walls until today, the nobles maintained exclusive access to the walled capital. Only the cars of residents are allowed on the streets.
7. Comino, the smallest island of the Maltese archipelago is inhabited and only has one hotel.
Also called Ephaestia, Comino is the smallest island of the Maltese archipelago. It is a paradise for divers, windsurfers, and snorkelers. There are no cars in this islet, and there’s only one resort hotel. Comino’s main attraction is the Blue Lagoon, but many travellers also love strolling along the aquamarine waters of San Niklaw Bay and Santa Marija Bay.
8. Valletta is one of Europe’s first planned cities.
The Order of St. John of Jerusalem planned the settlement of Malta on a grid plan when they first settled in the island during the 16th century. It was completed in 15 years, one of the quickest scaled cities in the entire world. Fronting the sea, the city also boasts of its stunning sunset view.
Malta is truly a place of mystery and fun. It opens its arms to visitors of all walks of life. If you’re now looking forward to learn more about Malta, visit www.maltauncovered.com/. Here you’ll find guides and tips to plan out your Maltese holiday.