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Organiser's Guide to Malta - Great weather and a plethora of event spaces mark out this island in the Mediterranean.
In a word, wonderful. Expect temperatures of 18°C even in December. January and February can be chilly (and windy). June to September is the blazing-hot high season and many hotels will be booked.
Everyone speaks English – which is lucky, as Maltese ranks with Basque (Euskara) for sheer incomprehensibility.
A doddle – there are daily flights with national carrier Air Malta and many other airlines (it’s 2h 40m from London). The airport is at Luqa, a mere 8km from the pocket-size capital, Valletta.
Hire a car if you feel the need to, but Malta is tiny (the longest distance is 27km) so you’re probably best off using taxis. There are great bus services too. Stay on foot in Valletta (or grab a horse-and-cart cab). Expect horrendous congestion around Valletta, St Julian’s, Sliema and Paceville at peak times (which includes late at night on Fridays and Saturdays).
Malta does a booming trade in business travel, so there are no shortage of conference and event spaces, ranging from 16th-century to contemporary. Things should get even better over the next few years as acclaimed architect Renzo Piano is let loose on Valletta’s public buildings. There are countless hotels, and you can also hire trad farmhouses on Gozo (the archipelago’s second island).
Take the 14-seater seaplane from Valletta for a day trip to Gozo, or just a scenic flight. Book a 4x4 tour to some of Malta’s most remote spots. Explore the island’s history: it’s home to some of the world’s most ancient archaeological sites (though the Knights of St John era has the better stories). An island cruise will be a popular option, especially if it stops off at the stunning Blue Lagoon on Comino (the third island of the archipelago). Guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face is lunch at one of the fish restaurants along the harbour at Marsaxlokk.
Forget the outdated blue-rinse image – Malta has a great nightlife, and regularly plays host to the world’s biggest bands. Kick off with cocktails in one of the bars around St Julian’s harbour, and finish off at one of the big clubs in Paceville.
It’s hard to think of any real downsides if you’re planning on organising an event in Malta. Some restaurants will occasionally overcharge, and Maltese drivers are more or less insane (visitors from Sicily are reputed to find the roads dicey, which is saying something), but that’s about it.
For more info, visit: squaremeal.co.uk/malta-tour
This feature first appeared in the Square Meal Venues & Events Guide 2011.