Their ideal location in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea has given the Maltese islands an extremely diverse collection of cultures and traditions, stemming from the influences of the various groups who have occupied the archipelago. In today’s day and age, Malta remains a culturally diverse nation, due to the high levels of emigration (especially from continental European expatriates). In order to accommodate for all the varying cultures that call this melting pot of nations home, there are many ways to satisfy all sorts of lifestyles.
For the artistically inclined, there is an abundance of art and architecture that the island has to offer – ranging from the ancient city of Mdina with its largely baroque style of architecture, to the parallel streets of the Capital, Valletta; for such a physically small nation there are many museums housing beautiful works of art to suit anyone’s taste, regardless of artistic inclination.
The majority of artworks and traditions in Malta draw their influence from Malta’s strong religious roots. The superb architecture of the churches of Malta are a must see – each of Malta’s 365+ churches is unique in its own way and has something different to offer its visitors.
The strong religious ties are especially seen in summer, where each week a different parish hosts a feast, paying tribute to their own respective saint. These feasts feature traditional music and games, dating back hundreds of years, typical Maltese cuisine and an astounding fireworks display – with each parish competing to outdo the others.
Despite its geographic limitations, Malta plays host to various different cities and towns – ranging from the metropolitan town of Sliema, to the more traditional fishing villages such as Marsaxlokk. In an area smaller than most major cities in Europe, Malta plays host to many different traditions and lifestyles depending on which part of the island you’re in.
Traditionally, towards the north and south of the island you’re more likely to find people interested in relaxing and enjoying the culture that this sun-kissed island has to offer. In the centre live the more urban people, preferring to adopt a metropolitan lifestyle, engaging in work in the tertiary sectors and living more fast-paced lives than the relaxed lifestyles of the north.
Life in Malta can be very laid back – with its warm summers, the constant concerts by local talent such as world renowned tenor Joseph Calleja, the annual Isle of MTV music festival, the different traditions, easy access to the beach, the more exclusive areas such as Portomaso or Tigne Point – it can be seen as the ideal place to retire.
There is someone for everyone, regardless of age, nationality or lifestyle choice – everyone feels at home in the small, warm and inviting island. Language is not an issue – since Malta is a bilingual country almost 90% of the population speaks English, and other spoken languages include Italian, French and German.
No matter where you’re from, you’re almost certain to meet someone from your home country. The almost perennial sunshine, the friendliness of the Maltese people and the abundance of things to do attract thousands of visitors each year, with many choosing not to return home once they’ve had a taste of what is often called the pearl of the Mediterranean.