Tripadvisor, a US-based leading online review site on all things tourism across the world, has placed Malta fourth in its listing of top ten European island escapes. Malta ranks below Rhodes (Greece), Capri (Italy), and Santorini (Greece), but beats off popular islands such as Sardinia, Corfu and Majorca.
That Malta is well up the rankings is heartening. The Maltese Islands have been stereotyped in the past as a former British colony offering a dowdy, cheap, charter flight tourism product. But, in recent years, the islands have sought to upgrade and have given heavy promotion to their unique and outstanding heritage, cuture and history. With heritage sites spanning millennia from prehistory to World War II, Malta seems to have gained an edge over many Mediterranean islands, especially those that have little bar beaches and sun to attract tourists.
Malta had to take this tack as it has limited space, few sweeps of sandy beach and a lot of urban areas. But for all its city-surrounded-by-water feel, it is still a place to escape to. As the photo above shows, it can be hauntingly beautiful in places and can pass muster with quaint Santorini or exclusive Capri in the island escape stakes.
Malta can be what you make it: the escape you want it to be. It can be a relatively sedate destination ideal for retirees seeking a value-for-money off-season holiday; it can be a safe, fun, haven for families or one large museum for culture lovers; it can offer the perfect climate and challenge for divers and rock climbers; and be a happening place for clubbers – though the Islands have been spared the ravages of the clubber onslaught seen in the Balariac Islands.
As an English-speaking destination, Malta has gained hugely from business tourism – English language teaching and also conferences. Malta is the ideal two- to three-hour flight away for busy business people.
Let’s see if Malta holds its position on Tripadvisor. It’s increasingly obvious why it should rank high, and it’s certainly good PR for it if it does.
Photo: Gege Gatt