Prince Philip and the Queen in Malta

Saturday, 10 April 2021 - Channel 5 News

Valletta, European Capital of Culture

Monday, 01 January 2018 - Visit Malta

Valletta was declared European Capital of Culture (ECoC) on the 12th October 2012. The Valletta 2018 Foundation was responsible for compiling the bid for Valletta as an ECoC and is in charge of implementing the project.

Valletta will be hosting the title of European Capital of Culture in 2018 with a partner Dutch city, Leeuwarden. The ECoC includes all the Maltese Islands, with an aim to spread its impact throughout the whole Maltese territory.

The Valletta 2018 Foundation is responsible for the implementation of the Cultural Programme. As per ECoC regulations set by the EU, the Cultural Programme is to promote a European dimension and encourage citizen participation. Valletta 2018 will enable the participation of the citizens of Malta and Europe and will form an integral and sustainable part of the long-term social, economic and cultural development of Malta. The Cultural Programme is built around four themes: Generations, Routes, Cities and Islands. In conjunction with the Cultural Programme, the Foundation is developing a programme of consistent, accessible and comparable research and evaluation directly linked to culture.

For more information visit:

Valletta Malta guided tour by Amy Pace

Malta Places 3rd in the Best 25 Cities to Live In

Saturday, 24 August 2013 - Malta Independant

Malta has placed an amazing third in a list of the best 25 cities for young people to live in. It is surpassed only by New York (second) and Vienna (first). The entire list can be found on

It introduces the list by saying: "Young people can be dynamic, free-spirited, idealistic and carefree as well as goal-oriented, driven and practical. Some prefer to leave their hometowns to study in other cities or even other countries and perhaps move around again after obtaining a college degree. It normally depends on their financial capability or just their need to be independent and less restricted. Nevertheless, there are cities like these 25 best cities for young people to live in that are more accommodating to a young lifestyle."

As regards Malta, the list says: "Yes, we know it's not a city but rather an archipelago in the Mediterranean. Than why is it on this list of best cities? Nicknamed the "Land of Honey", Malta might as well be just one city given that its one of the smallest states in the world. Here's a cool fact though: According to various studies they have the most generous inhabitants in the world."

The list
1. Vienna, Austria
2. New York
3. Malta
4. Melbourne, Australia
5. Salvador, Brazil
6. Dubai, UAE
7. Vancouver, Canada
8. Prague, Czech Republic
9. Edinburgh, Scotland
10. Paris, France
11. Auckland, New Zealand
12. Geneva, Switzerland
13. Cape Town, South Africa
14. Frankfurt, Germany
15. Rome, Italy
16. Berlin, Germany
17. Seattle, Washington, USA
18. London, England
19. Oslo, Norway
20. Barcelona, Spain
21. Amsterdam, Holland
22. Perth, Australia
23. Buenos Aires, Argentina
24. Zurich, Switzerland
25. Helsinki, Finland

Valletta Malta guided tour by Amy Pace

Tea and History: Revel in Marvellous Malta's Sunshine, Beauty and English Heritage

2 December 2013 - Daily Mail - By Robert Lugg

When I first visited Malta in the 1970s it was a place that seemed to lay somewhere between the Mediterranean and Miss Marple's St Mary Mead.It was an island populated by a people who can trace their roots back to the Greeks and Phoenicians - the original movers and shakers of the Mediterranean. But thanks to 150 years of British control, which ended in 1964, in many ways it came to resemble 1950s Weybridge: Morris Minors, Leyland buses, afternoon tea and everywhere you looked: British red post boxes.

The centrepiece of my first trip, was a day at the races, an outing so time-warpingly British (cucumber sandwiches and fruit cake anyone?) that all it required was the discovery of a dead body in the shrubbery to provide a full Agatha Christie experience.

Other Mediterranean places have British heritage: Gibraltar, Cyprus and, albeit fleetingly, Menorca. But nowhere, you feel, has warmed to its British rulers as enthusiastically as the Maltese.

It's not simply the skin-deep fondness for a cup of tea and a toasted tea cake, the Maltese firmly aligned themselves with Britain in the Second World War and paid an appalling cost for their unflinching loyalty.

I have returned several times to Malta and while the British heritage is each time a little less obvious, it continues to be an easy fit for the UK holidaymaker: a country where one of the official languages is English and where the welcome is always warm.

What always surprises me about Malta is how different it is as an island from other Mediterranean islands - it is quite different from nearby Sicily, for example. It's scenically unalike but dissimilar in other notable ways. The Maltese language seems to have more in common with Arabic.

Malta is virtually in the heart of the Mediterranean, 55 miles from Sicily to the north and 160 miles north of Africa. It has been shaped by its contact with nearly all the major powers of Europe, Africa and the Middle East that have passed by (and the many races that have stayed).

One key attraction for holiday visitors is Malta's compactness: the three islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, cover an area of 122 miles with a population of 400,000 (about the same as the city of Bristol).

Malta is the largest and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is the second largest and is more rural, characterised by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture while Comino has one hotel and is largely uninhabited.

If it lacks anything, it is not a place for a beach holiday - but these days fewer people seem to want to spend their holiday days roasting in the sun.

And how can you be idle on Malta when there are so many interesting things to see and do? Valletta, Malta's capital and 'The Fortress City', is one of the Mediterranean's most impressive ports. It grew on the rock of Mount Sceberras peninsula, which rises steeply from two deep harbours, Marsamxett and Grand Harbour.

Construction of the town began in 1566, and Valletta, with its impressive bastions, forts and cathedral, was completed in just 15 years.

Valletta is great for strolling around. The streets boast some of Europe's finest art works, churches and palaces. Side streets are full of quaint shops and cafes. Its rich mix of historical buildings in different styles has helped make Malta a honeypot for filmmakers.

More than 90 films have used it for filming in the past four years. It's been the location for a couple of Bond films (The Spy Who Loved Me and Never Say Never Again) and Midnight Express. But the film shot here that locals recall with most delight is the epic Gladiator (they built a fake amphitheatre near the harbour).

Malta has also been associated with some spectacular flops. One of the most famous financial disasters was Raise The Titantic, much of whose underwater filming was done here. Producer Lew Grade's remark on the ruinous production costs was: 'Raise the Titanic? It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic.' Malta, meanwhile, is still on the up.

Joseph Calleja, Malta guided tour by Amy Pace
Joseph Calleja

Lend us a Tenor: Opera Star Joseph Calleja Explains the Beauty of his Home Island Malta

24 August 2013 - Daily Mail - By Joseph Calleja

As one of the world's leading tenors, I'm lucky enough to perform in many beautiful places.But when I feel the need for a deserved rest, there's only one place to recharge my batteries - Malta.

I was brought up in Attard, in the centre of the island, but Malta is very small - it is just 17 miles long and about ten miles wide - so you can get around the whole place very quickly.

My childhood home was a 15-minute walk from the lovely old city of Mdina.

Most people in Europe know Malta. After all, it's a popular holiday destination boasting 7,000 years of history. But when I travel to the United States and tell people where I'm from, they sometimes say: 'Is that Malta, Ohio?' There is a Malta in Ohio, by the way, but it's not as good as my one.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the island as a young man as it's not possible to sustain a professional operatic career in Malta, even though we have one of the oldest opera theatres in the world.

Built in 1728, it's an absolute jewel.

Malta was bombed heavily during the Second World War, and so many arts venues inevitably suffered. I'm very proud to say that I'm helping with a renaissance because my popularity has reawakened many islanders' interest in opera.

My favourite parts of Malta? Well, the capital Valletta is a gem. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, it's a city for gentlemen, built by gentlemen. I love the west coast of Malta, which is incredible. The north is also beautiful, and then of course there's the nearby island of Gozo. I try to go as often as possible.

In fact, I've been there for more than two weeks over the summer before I head for London next month for some concerts.

You never know who you'll bump into in Gozo. Not so long ago, I drove past Billy Connolly as he was carrying shopping bags. At first I wasn't sure that it was him, so I reversed the car, wound down my window and said: 'Are you Billy Connolly?' He replied: 'Are you the tenor?'

Perhaps I shouldn't have been quite so surprised to see Billy - quite a few celebrities either own or rent property in Gozo. I'm a cultural ambassador for my country and I that know it's my job to promote Malta, but I really believe that it is a wonderful place.

My advice to visitors is to wander off the beaten track and try to meet the Maltese people - they'll be delighted to tell you the best places to visit. Everybody speaks English - it's an official language.

Just tell them Joseph Calleja sent you!