Posted January 9, 2011 by BookingBuddy
A mere 56 miles from Sicily and just 180 miles north of Africa, the easily accessible Mediterranean island of Malta reflects the influences of its Phoenician, Roman, Arabic, British, and French roots. All five diverse cultures have occupied the island at one time or another over its 7,000-year history, and the result is an energetic urban island at the heart of the Maltese archipelago (which also includes the smaller and sleepier islands of Gozo and Comino, both wonderful day trips by ferry from the island of Malta).
There's no better restaurant in all of Malta than the de Mondion restaurant at The Xara Palace in the walled city of Mdina. You'll enjoy it for both the atmosphere—it's situated atop the city's centuries-old fortifications and boasts a full 180-degree view of the island—and for the seasonally fresh Mediterranean cuisine.
Located near the heart of Malta's tourist center in Valletta, the five-star luxury Hotel Phoenicia commands stunning views of the island and is quite an architectural gem in and of itself. When you stay there, you'll live like a prince or princess—literally, since you'll be staying in the same hotel that once paid host to Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth.
Take a day trip by ferry ride to the nearby island of Gozo and enjoy shopping among the open air markets located at the foothill of the Citadel. This is the main shopping district, so in addition to stalls and street vendors you will also find many of the island's best shops as well. There you can browse everything from clothing and handbags to music, toys, and souvenirs. As no trip to Malta is complete without taking home some genuine Maltese sea salt (still gathered from the same salt flats used by the Romans), be sure to pick a bag of sea salt from one of the local vendors.