The Maltese Islands – gorgeous, mythical and truly unique! Located at the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily and north of Africa, the Maltese archipelago is home to three islands; Malta, Comino and Gozo. Malta; the largest of the three is a cultural and commercial hub, and is more well-known than the other two islands. Featuring picturesque natural scenery, a variety of historical sites; including three that have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a selection of activities for young and old, and surrounded by the deep blue Mediterranean, it is also no surprise that Malta is a popular travel destination.
While during summer the weather is great, this also means that the number of tourists increases. Muslims traveling with family should therefore try to avoid visiting Malta during these months and instead visit during the low season.
The city of Valletta
The historical city of Valletta is the capital of the Republic of Malta and is the perfect place to start exploring the island. The fortified city is a great example of the grandeur of the Knights of Malta. While Valletta features stunning contemporary architecture, the city is known mainly for its beautiful baroque architecture which can be seen in its streets and piazzas, its towering townhouses and its numerous other attractions. Must-sees for tourists include the National Museum of Archeology that is housed in the Auberge de Provence, the star Fort of Saint Elmo, the popular Grand Master's Palace which was once the residence of the Knights of Malta, and Saint John's Co-Cathedral with its opulent interior is what makes it so well-known. Tourists should also visit the city of Mdina, and the towns of Tarxien, Rabat
Island of Gozo
When in Malta, a trip to the idyllic Island of Gozo is also a must. The small island is home to beautiful landscapes, sleepy towns, cultural attractions and incredibly stunning beaches. It is also where the Ggantija Temples – one of the most important archaeological sites of the Maltese Islands is located. Visitors must therefore make it a point to tour the island and visit its many attractions, and spend a day or two, or more, relaxing on the shores of one of the beautiful beaches, bays or creeks on the island.
The Blue Lagoon
A visit to Malta’s other sister-island of Comino is not complete without a trip to the Blue Lagoon – known for its white sand and aquamarine water, and for being Comino’s main attraction. The island is also popular amongst visitors looking to windsurf, snorkel and dive.
Muslims in Malta
Islam in Malta is a minority religion and the majority of the population in Malta is Roman Catholic. Maltese and English are widely spoken but due to its location, languages like Arabic, Italian and French are also spoken. This also means that along with traditional Maltese cuisine, tourists will find dishes that have been influenced by Middle Eastern and Sicilian flavors.
With over 4,000 Muslims in Malta, Muslim tourists looking for Halal food will be able to locate a variety of restaurants, most of which are located in Valetta. Cuisines ranging from Moroccan, Turkish, North African, Indian and Italian, to traditional Maltese, can be found at the several Halal restaurants found here. Some of these restaurants include; Suruchi Indian Restaurant, Mamounia, Millenium Kebab, Shakinah and Ali Baba. Muslim visitors must however be aware that some or most of these Halal restaurants do serve alcohol.
There is also one mosque in Malta, at the Islamic Centre of Paola, that serves Muslims in Malta. Muslim tourists will therefore have to make use of the services offered here, or they will have to return to their accommodation at prayer times.
Home to incredible sites of interest for the entire family, pristine beaches and world-renowned architecture, and a fantastic blend of historical and modern, Muslim-friendly Malta is sure to offer visitors an experience that cannot easily be forgotten!
Read more on the two Maltese cities of St. Julians and Sliema.