Malta is a small island nation located in the middle of the Mediterranean, 80 km/50 mi south of Sicily and 333 km/207 mi north of Libya. Comprised principally of the islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino, the country covers just 316 km2 or 122 sq. mi. With a population of just over 400,000, this makes Malta one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world.
Malta's landscape consists of rocky shorelines, sandy beaches, terraced hills, and tall limestone cliffs. There are no permanent lakes or rivers in Malta.
Locals subdivide Malta into several regions: the North, South, West, and Valletta and surroundings.
In Malta there is little distinction between cities, villages, and towns. Malta is comprised of 68 villages. Each village is organized around its parish church. Distinguishing features of each Maltese village include an identifying patron saint, football club, and band club.
The North of Malta is characterized by its agricultural valleys and golden sandy beaches. Northern villages include St. Paul's Bay, Qawra, Manikata, Mellieha, Cirkewwa, Ghadira, and Burmarrad.
The West is characterized by the tall, rocky Dingli cliffs, and includes the communities of Dingli, Siggiewi, and Qrendi.
Valletta and its surroundings in the eastern region of Malta form the most densely populated area of Malta, and include the villages of Valletta, Floriana, Pieta, Hamrun, Santa Venera, Gzira, Ta X'biex, Msida, Sliema, Swieqi, St. Julian's, Paceville, Paola, Bormla, Kalkara, Birgu (also called Vittoriosa), Qormi and Marsa.
The South is characterized by its rocky shores, Malta's biggest port, and its fishing and agricultural villages. Southern villages include Luqa, Ghaxaq, Marsaxlokk, Birzebugga, Marsascala, Marsaxlokk, Zabbar, Zejtun, Zurrieq, Kirkop and Gudja.
Villages in Central Malta include Mosta, Naxxar, Iklin, Lija, Balzan, Zebbug, Rabat, and Mdina.
Malta has a Subtropical Mediterranean climate, with warm to hot summers and mild winters. Rain occurs mainly from September until April, with the summer being mainly dry. Large fluctuations in temperature are rare; however, strong winds can make the islands feel cool in the spring and winter.
Malta enjoys an average of five hours of sunshine a day in December, and 12 hours a day in July: twice the hours of sunshine in northern European cities.
Average temperatures in January (the coldest month) are 18-19°C (64-66 °F), while average temperatures in August (the warmest month) are 28 to 34 °C (82 to 93 °F) during the day and 28 to 34 °C (82 to 93 °F) at night. Humidity levels are high throughout the year. Vegetation is green year-round, while crops are also planted year-round.
Average annual sea temperature in Malta is 20 °C (68 °F): 16 °C (61 °F) in January to 26 °C (79 °F) in August.
Malta is in the Central European Time Zone (CET). The time zone in Malta is GMT/UTC +1.
Malta uses Daylight Savings Time, which begins in March and ends in October. For current time and change in time, refer to Malta's time zones.
Sliema and St. Julian's are Malta's bar, restaurant, and shopping districts, characterized by their unique combination of modern architecture and traditional Maltese townhouses, hotels and resorts, seaside promenades, and parks. Located on the eastern shore of Malta, a high concentration of expats reside in these seaside villages. Sliema & St. Julian's are quite hilly and densely populated, measuring 1.3 km2 (0.5 sq.mi) and 1.6 km2 (0.6 sq. mi), respectively.
Sliema's main streets include the “Strand” that runs along Sliema's Valletta-facing seafront (Triq Ix-Xatt), Triq Manwel Dimech, and Triq it-Torri (Tower road), which runs along the shores of Sliema to St. Julian's. Sliema boasts several parks, including Qui Si Sana and its public outdoor gym and playgrounds, and Exiles beach.
St. Julian's main streets include Triq Mikiel Anton Vassalli, which runs through the heart of the village, Triq it-Torri (Tower road), which runs along St. Julian's shoreline, Triq Gorg Borg Oliver, and Triq Sant' Andrija. St. Julian's borders Paceville, Malta's nightlife district. St. Julian's parks include Spinola Palace Park.
Roadside parking in Sliema & St. Julian's is scarce, but free. Single white lines indicate parking spaces, while yellow road lines indicate no parking zones. There are several private, fee-based car parks in Sliema & St. Julian's, mostly located at supermarkets, malls, and hotels.
Public sea access is available along the shores of Sliema and St. Julian's. Protected “swimmers zones” are in effect during the summer months. Small sandy beaches can be found near Exiles beach in Sliema, and near St. Julian's in St. George's Bay.
For up to date weather in Sliema and St. Julian's, consult the Malta International Airport's Meteorological Office web site.
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