London Stansted to Malta Airport
The state of Malta consists of the three main islands of Comino, Gozo and Malta. Due to their strategic location in the eastern Mediterranean these islands have been fought over many times during their long history. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians settled here before Malta became part of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century BC. A succession of rulers then occupied the islands up until 1530 when they fell under the control of the Knights of the Order of St John. This religious order made a major impact on Malta during their 250-year long rule, and this can be seen today in the numerous forts, watchtowers and churches that the Knights constructed.
Apart from its long and fascinating history, Malta also boasts spectacular natural beauty with dramatic limestone cliffs, superb coastal views and some great beaches.
Flights between London Stansted and Malta International Airport are operated by Air Malta. The airport is just 5km (3 miles) from the island's capital, Valetta. The number 8 bus service operates regularly between 6am and 10pm from the airport to Valetta's City Gate bus station. Journeys take about 20 minutes and a one-way fare costs 0.15 MTL (£1 is approximately equal to 0.65 MTL). Taxis are available from the airport to all areas of Malta including the centre of Valetta which takes around 15 minutes and costs about 10 MTL.
Places of interest in Malta include:
- St John's Co-Cathedral. When Sir Walter Scott visited Valletta in 1831 he described this building as the most magnificent place he had ever seen. Construced in the 16th century, the cathedral's exterior may be rather austere but the interior is very different. The Calabrian artist Mattia Preti designed the elaborately carved walls and also painted the ceilings and altars which depict scenes from St John's life. The floor meanwhile is almost completely covered with the marble-inlaid tombstones of the cream of Europe's nobility. The cathedral's crypt is also the final resting place of Jean Parisot de la Vallette, the founder of Valletta.
- Co-Cathedral Museum. The museum is best known for its two works by the great Italian painter Caravaggio,'The Beheading of St John' and 'St Jerome'. Caravaggio had led a wild life in Italy before arriving in Malta in 1607 and becoming a Knight of the order of St John.
- Grand Masters Palace. The palace, constructed between 1571 and 1574, houses the president’s office and is the seat of Malta’s parliament. Within its walls are a multitude of treasures including the Gobelin Tapestries, frescoes depicting scenes from the Great Siege of 1565 and a fascinating armoury museum.
- Fort St Elmo. St Elmo was originally constructed in the 16th century by the Knights of St John to defend the harbour but was destroyed during the great siege of 1565. Since then this star-shaped fortification has been rebuilt many times. Today St Elmo is home to the War Museum which houses many objects relating to the Second World War including the George Cross medal awarded to the people of Malta for their bravery during the conflict.