4 reasons to make it to marvelous Malta


On one of the quirkiest islands (well, archipelago) in the Mediterranean Sea, you'll find a fascinating society that's one of Europe's most densely populated, essentially founded during the mediaeval Crusades by a quasi-military Catholic religious order, the Knights of Malta; and where locals drive on the left and are basically bilingual in English and the native language - Europe's only Semitic tongue, largely a hybrid of Arabic and Sicilian.

Furthermore, this singular country of just 316 square kilometres (122 sq. miles) and 445,000 people has been ruled and influenced over the course of its history by a motley parade of settlers, invaders, and colonisers dating back to the ancient Phoenicians and Romans, followed by the Arabs which so shaped its language, Sicilians (ditto), then colonising powers i ncluding Spain, France, and finally - until Maltese independence in 1964 - Great Britain, whose legacy includes English as a co-official language.

And so today, the architectural, historic, and cultural treasures bequeathed by a diverse history mix with dramatic scenery (including some sweet beaches) and Europe's best diving, to offer visitors a magnificent Mediterranean morsel indeed. Here are five of the coolest things about Malta:

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