The Republic of Malta – in Maltese “Repubblika ta’ Malta”, is a southern European country and EU member state, situated in the central Mediterranean. Consisting of several islands including Malta, Gozo, Comino, Filfla and Cominotto, the country has a population of just over 400,000.
Where is Malta located? The islands are closer to Europe than Africa, lying 93 km south of Sicily, 320 km north of the Libyan coast, and 288km to the east of the nearest point on the Tunisian coast. Gibraltar in the far-western Mediterranean is 1,826 km away and Port Said in Egypt is 1,510 km to the east.
The total area of the Maltese islands is approximately 316 sq kms; Malta is the largest island with an area of 246 sq km, Gozo covers 67 sq km and Comino just 2.7 sq km. Malta itself is around 28km in length and about 14.5 km wide, with a total shoreline of 196.8km, making it one of Europe’s smallest and most densely populated countries. The republic’s capital is Valletta, but this isn’t a large city – the largest town in Malta is Birkirkara. There are two official languages, Maltese and English.
Malta has neither rivers or mountains, but a series of hills, valleys and plains, the hills are characterised by having terraced fields on their slopes. The coastline is quite rocky, with many natural harbours, creeks, bays and inlets. There are also a number of sandy beaches. The island of Gozo, which is 5km away by a regular car ferry from Cirkewwa in the north of Malta, is greener, more rustic and less urbanised. Flat topped hills are typical inland, with steep cliffs and deep valleys characterising the coastline.
Being in the Mediterranean, Malta has two seasons, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
Malta can be reached by air from most European countries, Dubai, Libya and Tunisia, and by a ferry service from Genoa and a catamaran from Catania, Sicily. Many cruise-liners also use Malta as a port of call.