Malta Weather

Malta enjoys one of the highest numbers of sunshine hours on the continent – an impressive average of 3,000 sunny hours per year.

Ggantija Temples, Gozo

Though the Acropolis and Stonehenge have captured the imagination of tourists since grand tours of "the continent" were in vogue, Europe's most ancient relics actually lie on Malta, the Mediterranean island nation just south of Sicily. Carbon dating has revealed that the Ggantija temples outside the rustic village of Xaghra (Maltese names are tricky because the language is an amalgam of Arabic, Latin, and Greek) are roughly 6,000 years old, making them some of the oldest free-standing structures on Earth. And traveling to them, a trip through the graceful capital of Valletta and across a narrow strait of bright blue water to the farming island of Gozo, is itself a joy. Malta has changed so little over the centuries that it's regularly used as a backdrop for major motion pictures, such as 'Troy,' 'The Count of Monte Cristo,' and 'Alexander,' that need timeless landscapes.
Ggantija Temples, Gozo
Ggantija, newly named a "Heritage Park," stands eternal guard on a rocky plateau amid stone-walled olive groves. Built between 3,600 BC and 3,000 BC (the site has a millennium on the Pyramids), the 17-foot-tall structures are henge-like but buried beneath small, sun-bleached stones. Wandering through the ruins is a surprisingly powerful experience - in no small part because they are unexpected in a way that the overexposed Parthenon could never be. Fifty-ton stones are piled on top of each other and lined up like dominoes waiting to fall.
"This explains the name Ggantija," says Dr. Reuben Grima, an archaeologist from the University of Malta. "According to Maltese folklore, it was once the belief that only giants could actually have built such temples."
Gozo Ggantija Temples by Clive Vella
The giant builders theory may have been debunked, but the riddle remains. No one knows exactly who built the site, though the smart money seems to be on Neolithic farmers, who spent their days sowing barley and their nights down at the local fertility cult. Though the ruins have eroded over the millennia - sea salt and limestone are not the most compatible of elements - it is clear that the place once resembled a sort of seedpod full of round rooms. Warm sirocco winds from the Sahara whistle through the main corridor, which conceals five curvaceous chambers said to symbolize the female form. It's inside these secret apses (once roofed but now baked bare by the Mediterranean sun), where it's believed prehistoric priests conducted religious rites beyond the range of peering plebeians. Altars and stone hearths indicate the possibility of ritualized animal sacrifice.

Experts like Dr. Grima suspect that ancient sites remain hidden around the islands, which are as riddled with caves as they are infested with film crews. Ggantija hasn't had its closeup just yet, but it inevitably will. Maybe then it will finally and deservedly join Europe's ancient A-list.
- Thomas Breathnach

Popular Deals / Chevron Deals

Qawra Point Holiday Complex
Qawra, Malta

Qawra Point Holiday Complex

Apartments located in the heart of Qawra with plenty of a...
Package From
£143 PP
Plaza and Plaza Regency Hotel
Sliema, Malta

Plaza and Plaza Regency Hotel

The Plaza and Plaza Regency Hotel offers great value for ...
Package From
£170 PP
Bella Vista Hotel
Qawra, Malta

Bella Vista Hotel

A very good value 4 star hotel, well-liked by British vis...
Package From
£170 PP
Diplomat Hotel
Sliema, Malta

Diplomat Hotel

On a prime spot along Sliema’s elegant sea front, the Dip...
Package From
£206 PP
Cavalieri Hotel
St Julians, Malta

Cavalieri Hotel

The Cavalieri Hotel offers chic comfort in a plum waterfr...
Package From
£211 PP
Downtown Hotel Gozo
Victoria, Gozo

Downtown Hotel Gozo

A friendly, comfortable and affordable contemporary hotel...
Package From
£223 PP

Suggested Places To Visit

Beach Holidays in Malta & Gozo

Malta might be one of the world’s smallest countries with an area of only 316km2, but what ...
Read more

The Gardens of Malta and Gozo

Malta has a number of attractive public gardens. There is a good concentration of them in Vallett...
Read more
Our Clients
Testimonials
Just want to thank everyone who helped me with my booking! We had a wonderful time.
T Siem
18 Jul 2019
The pricing was excellent value and customer service speedy and efficient. I will be very likely to use your company again.
L Maidment
11 Jan 2019
I just want to thank you for another lovely holiday which you arranged for me. As usual, everything went to plan, and I had a lovely time.
P Topham
06 Jan 2019
fully enjoyed my holiday with Chevron - would recommend to anyone.
M Touhey
16 Apr 2019
My 16th consecutive year of travelling via Chevron Aug'18, and as expected, the service provided from date of booking through to arrival back home was the usual excellence.
P Howe
08 Aug 2018