The islands of Malta look set to grow the number of Irish visitors with the addition of two new non-stop year-round flights from Cork with Ryanair, reports Michael Flood. These flights, together with the five flights per week from Dublin on the summer schedule and three during winter, increase the air access, so Malta, with 300 days of sunshine, will certainly see the destination surpass the total Irish arrivals of 41,000 last year.
In particular Munster-based travel agents now have the unique selling point of these direct flights from Cork Airport, with Malta now becoming a year-round destination.
Malta has always had lots of visitors, dating back over the 7,000 years of a rich and colourful history. Indeed, the islands welcomed a total of 2.7 million visitors in the past year.
The Maltese islands, comprising Malta, Gozo and Comino, are located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, just 93km south of Sicily. The nearby islands of Gozo and Comino are easily reached by a short ferry trip from Malta.
The islands offer one of the biggest collections of cultural and historic sites in the region, with more than 320 historical sites and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Megalithic Temples, the Hal Salient Hypogeum, and the City of Valletta – and due to the compact nature of these islands everything is within easy reach.
Also in Valletta is St John’s Co-Cathedral, which is home to Caravaggio’s masterpieces ‘The Beheading of St John the Baptist’ and ‘St Jerome’. Other cultural landmarks in the capital include the magnificent Grand Masters Palace, the Palace Armoury, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. First time visitors can be startled by the sound of the firing of the noon-day gun, a tradition from past history!
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