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Why Malta is Europe’s hottest new travel destination

By Attitude Magazine

When the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Inter-sex Association (IGLA-Europe) published its annual Rainbow Index ranking the continent’s best countries for LGBT human rights progress, the study’s winner certainly caught our eye.

Once one of Europe’s best kept secrets, Malta is fast becoming the jewel in the Mediterranean’s eye. An archipelago consisting of Malta, Gozo and Comino, the Maltese Islands are only three hours from the UK and offer a destination with enough history, culture, nightlife and year-round sunshine to keep every traveller happy – not least gay holidaymakers.


While in 2006 a Eurobarometer survey found that just 18% of the Maltese population supported same-sex marriage, last year the same poll found the figure had shot up to 65%. And as well as having some of the best gender identity laws in the world, in April 2014 a bill was enacted to create civil unions with rights equal to marriage in all but name – something the Italians to the north are only just getting to grips with now.

Some 60 miles south of Sicily and 120 miles north of the African coast, the Maltese Islands enjoy year-round sunshine. As well as the world-class beaches you’d expect from a Mediterranean haven, the capital city of Valletta has just joined the global heavyweights like Athens, Paris and Florence as the European Capital of Culture for 2018. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the fortified coastal city is a breathtaking monument to the rich medieval history on display, where visitors can haggle with the locals at Marsaxlokk fish market, walk amongst centuries of history through the ancient silent city of Mdina, and visit some of the oldest examples of free-standing megalithic temples.


When it comes to cuisine, Malta boasts a true blend of Mediterranean flavours, with influences from Sicilian, Italian, Lebanese and North African cooking. The fresh, delicious produce is enjoyed as part of thriving open-air cosmopolitan nightlife, where you can stroll between relaxed café culture to clubs and bars in which to dance away the night. Malta has a small but thriving gay community made up of both Maltese and foreign residents, with LGBT-specific venues and plenty more to be found among the liveliest partying areas of Paceville, Bugibba and St Julians.

If you can pull yourself away from the picture-perfect beaches, a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino is a must. With the clear waters, remote tranquillity and mysterious caves making it one of the island’s most celebrated beauty spots. And while you can while away the hours walking, cycling, cliff-climbing, golfing and even paragliding around Malta’s stunning scenery, there’s just as much to see below the surface. The offer of shallow reef dive sites, an abundance of wreck dives as well as newly scuttled boats makes Malta a top diving destination.

For more head to or follow @visitmaltauk on Twitter. Find out which airlines fly into Malta from international gateways head over here.