They say that good things come in small packages – and that’s so true when it comes to Malta.
Malta may be a small island nation but it wears big boots and punches well above its weight in both the EU and the Commonwealth.
Whether you’re planning your first holiday to Malta, or you’ve lived here all your life, you’ll be amazed how much culture and history there is in the Maltese Islands.
Here are 20 random facts about Malta you probably never knew you needed.
1. Malta enjoys more than 3,000 hours of sunshine every year which makes it perfect for a holiday at any time of the year
2. Malta is the world’s tenth smallest and fifth most densely-populated country. Lots of people like living here.
3. Valletta is the capital city of Malta. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980
4. Malta is home to two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the megalithic temples and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
5. Valletta was the first ever planned city in Europe. It was sketched out back in 1565 and took 15 years to complete
6. Valletta was named after the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, Jean Parisot de Valette.
7. When Benjamin Disraeli, the future British Prime Minister, visited Valletta in 1830, he described it as ‘a city of palaces built by gentlemen for gentlemen’
8. Following 150 years as a British colony, Malta was granted independence in 1964
9. Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the euro currency four years later
10. A citizen of Malta is a Maltese, not a Malteser! Residents of Gozo are known as Gozitans
11. The Maltese flag features the George Cross, which was awarded to Malta for its bravery by King George VI during the Second World War
12. The Maltese love their cars. The first car in the Maltese Islands was actually imported to Gozo in 1907
13. Malta also owns the record for most cars per square metre in the world
14. Malta is home to some of the oldest man-made structures in the world, dating back around 5,000 years. Malta’s temples are older than Stonehenge.
15. Malta hosted a summit between US President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 which led to the end of the Cold War
16. The great-great-grandfather of Britney Spears was born in Malta in 1873. His name was Edward Portelli
17. Malta has been used as a filming location for several Hollywood films, including Gladiator, Captain Philips and TV’s Game of Thrones
18. There are 54 cities, towns and villages in Malta, and 14 in Gozo
19. Tourism is the biggest ‘bread winner’ for Malta with more than 2.3 million holidaymakers visiting the Maltese Islands in 2018, the vast majority of them British
20. There are more people of Maltese ancestry in the Australian city of Melbourne than there are in Malta