Very few people who have never heard of Malta would be amazed by this fascinating country with a pleasant name. This country is situated in the centre of the Mediterranean on the Maltese Archipelago, 200 kilometres away from the coast of North Africa. The largest islands are Malta and Gozo, but the archipelago is filled with small islands, so even local people don't know the total number of islands. The Maltese Archipelago islands are always among the top popular places for diving in the world. Picturesque cliffs and sparkling reefs rising weirdly in shallow waters, scattered all over the coasts of Malta. are magnetic for divers. Numerous sunken archaeological findings, shipwrecks and the Mediterranean variety of underwater inhabitants are complemented by crystal clear water, it is one of the cleanest places in the world.
The most interesting dive sites are concentrated near the two large islands of the Maltese Archipelago, Malta and Gozo. Here you can find underwater caves, steep cliffs and an impressive variety of sea creatures. Exciting dives are guaranteed in Dwejra Bay, which is also called the Inland Sea. The bay is surrounded by a cliff range, which gives it a distinctive appearance of a flat bowl. Because of this, there are no big waves and you can enjoy diving even in stormy conditions. Beginners are advised to go to Ghar Lapsi. The maximum depth there is 12 meters. Professionals would prefer Lantern Point where you can dive down to the depth of 50 meters.
There are more than 50 dive shops on the large islands of the archipelago, where you can find all kinds of diving for scuba divers with different levels of training. Moreover, most of the dive shops are members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, so safety requirements are observed very carefully.
It is already hot in Malta in spring, especially in May. The temperature reaches +25 °С and the water warms up to +20 °С. In March and April, the water may still feel cold.
In summer the maximum air temperature in Malta is +35 °С, water temperature stands around +27 °С. This peak is reached in August when most of the tourists come here. In June and July, the temperatures are lower and there are fewer tourists.
The beginning of autumn is the peak of the tourist season in Malta. The temperature drops gradually to +27-25 °С. The water, however, stays warm for a long time and the temperature is the same as air.
You can dive in Malta all the year round, even in winter, although the temperature in winter months is rarely above +18 °С, and the humidity is very high because of the rains.
Divers are recommended to visit Reqqa Point on Gozo Island with its underwater caves 15 meters deep, which are inhabited by various marine creatures from small fish to large groupers. The most interesting place in the south of Malta is the caves called the Blue Grotto.
The healthcare in Malta is developed and, naturally, expensive. It is better to purchase an international health insurance in advance. Vaccination is not necessary but it will save your holidays which may be spoiled by MMR, influenza or DPT.
The crime rate is average by the European standards. Tourists may not fear for their lives, however, there is a risk of pickpocketing in public transport or crowded places. Sometimes valuables are stolen from a parked car.
Black scorpionfish, sea urchins, bristle worms and larger whiptail stingrays can be troublesome for divers in the waters of the Maltese Archipelago. These local underwater creatures are venomous, so it is better to avoid them.
The national Maltese cuisine features a lot of seafood, vegetables and spice. Bright combinations of European and Arab cooking traditions are typical here. One must try is Bigilla, traditional spicy pasta with boiled beans and crispy Ħobża, the local bread. A popular meat dish is Stuffat tal-fenek, rabbit stewed in red wine. After that, puff pastry called Pastizzi would be a great choice. Seafood is inseparable from local cuisine, for example, there is Garnit mimli, stuffed octopus.
There is no fresh water in Malta; tourists and locals alike buy bottled water.