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Platinum Resorts International are the General sales Agents  for the Tumas Timeshare Group of Resorts in Malta. This include names like the Hilton Hotel, Halland International Club, Topaz Beach Club and Topaz Hotel.

20 Things You Need To Know About Malta

attract visitors to Malta, an archipelago of three main islands-Malta, Gozo and Comino-in the Mediterranean, 60 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles east of Tunisia.

2- TWO BIG EVENTS Malta may be small but its position in the heart of the Mediterranean has made it a powerful pawn in the game of global domination. Two significant events have occurred in Maltese history: the Great Siege of 1565, when the Knights of St John held out against the Turks and were celebrated as the saviors of Christendom; and the Second Great Siege of 1942, when Malta withstood air attacks by Hitler's forces which allowed the Allies to go on to win North Africa.

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3- THE KNIGHTS OF ST JOHN  was a religious order that became extremely powerful as a military and maritime force and as a charitable organization, setting up several hospitals. Ousted from its base in Rhodes, it set up headquarters in Malta in 1530 and remained there until the French captured the islands in 1798.

4- GRAND HARBOUR, the great fortified seaport built by the Knights in the 16th century in the city of Valletta, is one of the must-sees for any vacationer. Its high, crenellated walls of silver stone, forts and bastions make it unrivalled among the world's great harbors.

5- SCENIC SPOTS In early spring, the north coast of the island, with its rocky bays and its fields of wildflowers, is as pretty a place as you'll find in the Mediterranean. Other fantastic photo opportunities are to be had at Spinola Bay, dotted with traditional colourful Maltese fishing boats, and the Upper Barracca Gardens in Valletta with its fine views over Grand Harbor.

6- HORSE RACING, of the trotting variety, is the most popular spectator sport in Malta  rather than ride the horses, jockeys are pulled along on traps. The course at Marsa may not match Ascot or Long champs but it pulls in huge crowds on Sunday afternoons, from October to April.

7- POPEYE VILLAGE is a wonderful collection of ramshackle wooden houses built at Anchor Bay in 1980 for the movie Popeye, starring Robin Williams. The Rinella Movie Park at Kalkara features a great salt water tank where various films, including one of the Jaws series, was shot. Other famous productions made here include Midnight Express and Orca.

8- CELEBRITIES Malta attracts its fair share of famous people, some visiting, others resident. The author Nicholas Monsarrat lived here for years, actress Brigette Neilsen has a house on the island and Manchester United football star Gary Neville is expected to move to Malta shortly.

9- FOR SUCH A SMALL PLACE, Malta has a large number of good museums. The Palace of the Grand Masters in Republic Street, Valletta, is a definite must for its magnificent collection of 16th-century armor, some of it worn in the Great Siege of 1565. There are museums devoted to World War II, including the National War Museum near Fort St Elmo, and there is a good Maritime Museum down by the water in Vittoriosa, housed in a former naval bakery, with a fine collection of ship models, weapons and paintings. 

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10- THE SECOND CITY The old capital, Mdina, dating from before the Knights, lies on a hill in the centre of the island and its narrow, cobbled streets and medieval buildings are well worth exploring-not least for the views over the surrounding countryside and its good restaurants. A short walk away is the town of Rabat, where you can visit the catacombs and tour the medieval horrors exhibition in the dungeons (not recommended for children or the squeamish).

11- THE BLUE GROTTO is a splendid series of caverns off the southern coast, which can be reached by boat from either Marsaskala or Birzebbuga. This site is best visited in the morning, before 1100, when the position of the sun brings out the very best of the stunning aquamarine waters.

12- WILDLIFE Lying on three migratory paths between Europe and Africa, Malta has a wonderful selection of birds. Look out for hawks, herons, owls and thrushes, including the Blue Rock thrush, the national bird. Hunting birds has always been a way of life in Malta, although it has now been restricted. A great white shark, allegedly the largest one ever seen, was caught off the Maltese coast a few years ago.

13- GETTING ABOUT Bus is the best way to see the island and meet the locals. The central bus station is between Valletta and Floriana and a one week bus pass costs Lm4 (about $7).

Taxis are neither cheap nor frequent, and always agree a fare before starting the journey. Car hire is another good option; remember petrol   stations are shut on Sundays.

14- DAY TRIPPING  Spend a half day strolling around the capital Valletta, constructed by the Knights, and at least another half day in the historic towns across Grand Harbour-Vittoriosa (also called Birgu) and Senglea. The creeks of Sliema, with their colourful fishing boats, are picturesque, and the small villages of the interior are well worth a visit, especially during  local fiestas. Visitors to churches should dress considerately which means no shorts or bikini tops.

15- THE GREAT OUTDOORS The terrain is dry and stony with few trees, no permanent rivers or creeks or significant hills, but what it lacks in natural features it makes up for in wildflowers, vineyards, orange and lemon groves, fragrant herbs, fig trees and cactus plantations. The island's small size means that it is easy to get around on foot. One great walk passes the Victoria Lines, a series of fortifications along an escarpment that runs across the center of Malta between Mosta, Naxxar and Rabat. Allow a couple of hours and take a hat, lots of water and sun protection.

16- BEST OF THE BATHING is found in the rocky coves, where the waters are clean and crystal clear, and ideal for snorkeling. Head north to Mellieha and Golden Bay for the finest sandy beaches.

17- GOZO No visit to Malta is complete without a day or two on this smaller, greener and quieter island. Gozo's main attraction is the Azure Window, a natural and very large rock arch in the cliff.   Also see the Ggantija temple complex, the best preserved of Malta's Neolithic remains, with stones up to 20 feet high. When you've finished sightseeing, go scuba diving from Marsalfom, or shop for locally- made filigree silverware. The island is reached in 30 minutes from Malta by catamaran from the Valletta suburb of Sa Maifon, or take the ferry from Cirkewwa, but amve early to avoid the queues.

18- AMILEAWAY from Gozo 1 8 is the tiny island of Comino, measuring just one square mile. Here swimmers, smokelers and divers can bathe in the glorious aquamarine waters of the aptly named Blue Lagoon. The joy of Coniino is that there are no motor vehicles to disrupt the wonderful tranquility.

19 -ARALTESE CUISINE may not be internationally renowned but is worth seeking out. As you would expect, there are some fabulous fish dishes, and fenek (rabbit) is also a specialty. Fish and chips and Maltese sausages are legacies of British rule (from 1814 to 1962), while the Italians have made their culinary mark with pasta dishes and mouthwatering pastries. Try the local beer, Hopleaf, and the home-produced Marsovin wine.

20- MAL AND ENGLISH are the official languages, bu Italian is also widely spoken. Malti is an ancient language comprising traces of Arabic, English, Italian and French. For example, bonju (good morning), bonswa (good evening) and grazzi (thankyou).