Family Holidays in Malta - Mediterranean Holidays

Soaring summer temperatures, loads of old ruins, peculiar food; when planning your annual family holiday, Malta may not be the first place that springs to mind. But don't be so quick to dismiss the island, as it can be a great place for a family holiday. Malta, like most Mediterranean cultures, is very child friendly and the Maltese people love children.

The year-round good weather and relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere make Malta a good destination for a family holiday. For many families, piling children onto aeroplanes and keeping them entertained on a long haul is not a great way to start a holiday but, at only a two or three hour hop from most European countries, the island is near enough for the journey to be bearable.

Top of most families' agenda is spending a significant amount of time on the beach. Malta's beaches are easy to get to, and most offer safe swimming. One of the best sandy beaches with great paddling and swimming for children is at Mellieha Bay towards the north of the island. During the summer, most resorts hire dinghies and snorkelling gear with which to discover the underwater world.

Malta has more than just the beach to keep youngsters busy. The Mediterraneo Marine Park at Bahar ic-Caghaq is one of the most popular family attractions as you can swim with dolphins and get close up to sea lions at a reasonable price. Numbers are restricted though, so this popular attraction needs to be pre-booked. Top off the kids day at the adjacent Splash and Fun waterpark where they can hurl themselves down the four water slides and monkey around at the playground.

Much of the history, culture and architecture of Valletta will no doubt be lost on many young visitors but the capital does have a few tricks up its sleeve to draw them in. The Great Siege of Malta, an special-effects historical show, guides them through a series of videos, tableaux's, touch-screens and various other special effects all geared at introducing young people to Valletta and the history of the 1565 Siege. On Sunday nights at Fort St Elmo, 90 men in period costumes re-enact past battles accompanied by lots of flashes and bangs that will clear the wax from your ears.

The Mdina Dungeons detail some of the rather ghoulish episodes in Malta's past. Death, torture and disease are the focus of this gruesome place, but the accompanying soundtrack of chopping, screaming and choking noises is perhaps more unpleasant. Not a place to take young children, but teenagers might find it amusing.

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