Travelers looking to go off the beaten path of typical places like Paris, Rome, or the Greek Islands should strongly consider the small nation of Malta.
This pint-size archipelago located between Sicily and North Africa is full of amazement with its rich culture and history.
The wondrous, walled capital city, Valletta, was named the European Capital of Culture 5 years ago, but it should remain at the top of Malta’s must-see places.
To those who haven’t already been to this beautiful country, this is the year to change that.
With many new things to experience, Malta should be at the top of the list when booking a European getaway.
A New Thriving Foodie Scene
Valletta is an old city full of character than can take visitors back in time through its winding streets of endless, scenic views along its rocky coastlines.
Although it may be old, there is an emerging food scene coming into bloom. To those that know Malta’s history, it should be no surprise that the culinary scene is starting to get noticed.
With deep roots in Italian, Arab, and African influences, local chefs highlight an ode to the past while boldly combining new flavors that can please any palette.
Whether it’s the fresh produce or Malta’s take on farm-to-table cuisine, foodies will absolutely love the local grub.
In fact, 6 restaurants across this small country have Michelin stars making a perfect pairing with Malta’s already world-renowned wine offerings.
More Hotels Are Opening
While Malta is not considered to be unpopular, it’s certainly not on the same playing field as many other European destinations.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t luxurious places to stay. There are many, actually, such as The Phoenicia Malta.
But since Malta is so small, more hotels opening will entice travelers to stay somewhere shiny and new to make themselves feel more comfortable at their home away from home.
Luxury boutique hotels are popping up left and right, including the highly anticipated ME Malta, aiming to show the more artsy, fashionable side of the country and breathtaking views from the ritzy rooftop bar.
Take A Deep Dive Into Malta’s History And Culture
Malta is home to a trio of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It would be hard to visit Malta without at least passing through the gorgeous city of Valletta, but visitors may not be aware of other sites.
The capital city is a protected site, along with the island’s unique megalithic temples. Others might be interested to see The Hypogeum of Ħal Saflien.
This is a giant Neolithic underground structure discovered in the early 1900s that dates back to at least 2500 B.C.
There are some notable galleries and museums to consider visiting in Malta, such as MUZA, the National Museum of Art.
Art lovers will love to know MUZA is prepping to launch the first-ever Malta Art Biennale set to take place in the Spring of 2024.
Aligning with Malta’s festa season, where villages partake in weeklong festivities to honor patron saints.
Tourists who arrive in the spring next year can expect a celebration through music, food, art, and wine.
Malta’s Newest Attraction
Malta is already considered to be a top-flight destination for divers. Surrounded by pristine blue waters, that should be no surprise.
What may be surprising is the latest attraction in Malta as they are set to become the first nation to offer a first-of-its-kind archeological park in deep waters.
Adventurous travelers can soon head to Xlendi Bay to discover another world in the deep depths of the ocean.
The new site has an official name – Tower Wreck Deepwater Archaeological Park. Divers can explore a seemingly endless abyss of over 720,000 square feet of deepwater space.
Ancient relics lie here, dating back well over 2,000 years ago. While this area is definitely for experienced divers, those who aren’t privy to exploring the deep sea can still gain access.
A virtual museum with 360-degree models, photos, and high-quality videos will be showcased online for anyone to enjoy.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com