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The Republic of Malta sits on an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Europe, south of Sicily and north of Libya. Though one of the smallest countries of the world (with an area of only slightly over 100 square miles), Malta is chock-full of history, culture and beauty; the land has seen human inhabitation since the Stone Age and has been shaped by a wide range of ancient peoples (from the Greeks, Phoenicians, Arabs, Normans and Knights of Malta to the British Em-pire) before independence was finally declared in 1964, followed by its becoming a republic in 1979. Though its strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea caused it to be oft-fought over in the past, leading to bloody battles and bombardments a-plenty on the island, the little country has since pulled through its troubles to become one of the top tourist destinations in the Mediter-ranean, renowned for its sandy beaches, beautiful coves, clear blue waters and dive sites.

Its turbulent history also blessed it with ancient war structures such as fortresses, citadels, batte-ries, war shelters, walls and more that continue to stand till today. These structures, coupled with the country’s famous megalithic temples, cathedrals, and necropolises make Malta a favourite with history buffs and one of the countries with the greatest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites within its boundaries.

Getting around

Getting around the little islands of Malta isn’t difficult - for intra-island travel, either take the many public buses available or rent a car, scooter or motorbike to get to the harder-to-reach areas. With decent roads and sign posts written in English, driving in Malta is alright for tourists. Is-land-hoppers simply have to take the ferry from the main island to get around.

What to see and do

If its good enough for world-dominating superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to holiday in, its definitely worth a visit once in your lifetime. The jewel of the country’s crown, Gozo is one of three other inhabited islands of the Malta archipelago and a favoured destination of tourists for its immense natural beauty, tranquility and old-world charm. Step onto the island for a blast of the past - with its rural landscape, little villages, friendly locals selling wares right from their doorstep, cobbled streets, stone farmhouses, churches built in Baroque architecture and more, a holiday on Gozo is the perfect way to unwind and relax, sheltered from the hustle and bustle of modern city life.

Gozo’s natural scenery possesses such ethereal beauty that the island is nicknamed the ‘Isle of Calypso’, in reference to the sea nymph of ancient Greek mythology. Spread your beach towel on one of the island’s famous golden beaches, with crystal-clear turquoise waves lapping at your feet, or go swimming in one of the many gorgeous little rock coves you can find nearby. Dive sites accessible from Gozo are also one of the best in the world, with everything from sunken war ships to underwater caves available for exploration.

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