Ever thought of going to Malta? It’s a bit like marmite – you either love it or hate it. Having said that, if you haven’t visited the Maltese Islands before, you should try just once to form your own opinion. They’re great for diving, weather, entertainment, history; and the Maltese people are very friendly.
The diving is varied; there are many shipwrecks, reefs, drop offs, caves, shore and boat diving, and a huge variety of marine life. There are artificial wrecks which have been scuttled as diver attractions, one of which is the Um el Faroud which was scuttled in 1998. 110 metres long and 16 meters wide, the Um el Faroud lays at a maximum depth of 35m. A dive for the experienced diver and one of the best wreck dives in the Mediterranean. The reefs are very pretty with lots of holes for the local marine life to hide in – moray, conger, cuttlefish, fireworms, grouper, seabream, wrasse and parrot fish to name but a few. They are not as large as those found in the Red Sea but they are there for the diver to enjoy. The drop offs are quite dramatic, especially those on Gozo, Malta’s sister island, some of them going to 50m plus. Caves are more than interesting and with many of them being swim-throughs, once again with plenty of marine life and corals for divers to spot. Most dives can be undertaken from the shore and where ever you stay you are never far from the sea. Boat dives can be arranged through your chosen dive centre who will arrange the whole trip for you.
The weather is normally good from early April through to early November; of course there are some periods where you may catch the odd shower or two, but on the whole it is good.
Entertainment comes in all shapes and forms, from night clubs to quiet restaurants; a stroll along Pinto Wharf with its many bars and cafes is a very pleasant way to spend an evening. There are of course cinemas, bowling, gyms, golf, horse riding and spas for you to sample.
There are many places of historical interest to see – the capital Valletta with Grand Harbour is always worth a visit to see what ships are visiting the islands, also the Maritime museum, the Manoel Theatre and the Upper Barracca Gardens to name but a few.
Mosta Dome with its famous replica of the unexploded bomb which fell through the dome during WW ll, Mdina – the Silent City, which used to be the capital of Malta, Wied iz Zurrieq where the Blue Grotto has spectacular sea caves which can be seen on a small boat ride. Ta’Qali where the Aviation Museum is situated not far from the craft village where one can find traditional Maltese lace and filigree silver for sale.
Gozo is just a short ride on the ferry from Malta and well worth a visit.
If this small insight to the Maltese Islands has roused your interest and you may think of going there for a diving trip then an informative book is available called Scuba Diving Malta Gozo Comino – 3rd edition – by Peter G Lemon. This is widely available in Malta but can also be purchased here via www.scubadivngmaltagozocomino.com.