The Mediterranean is never far away wherever you are on Malta, which is just 20-miles long and 12-miles wide. The clear blue waters enhance the charm of the island.
Arabs, Ottomans, French and British have all come through the centuries, leaving aspects of themselves in what, nowadays, is a small but proud and forward-looking independent state.
For the modern tourist, it teases the curiosity, as you piece together the jigsaw of which foreign visitor of years gone by influenced what can be seen today.
You can absorb some of what Malta is about by sitting at a street-side cafe in the quaint fishing village of Marsaxlokk, where the catch of the day is sold at a fish market.
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Gazing out at the vividly painted, multi-coloured fishing boats, known locally as luzzo and kajjik, you start to form an impression of the role the sea plays in Maltese life.
Close by are the ancient temple structures of Hagar Qim and Mnadjra.
A highlight of a visit to Valetta is the Co-Cathedral of St John. Fairly ordinary looking from the outside, the inside is stunningly ornate, a homage both to Malta's devotion to Catholicism as well as honouring the island's venerated Knights of the Order of St John.