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Summary: Malta is part of southern Europe; a collection of islands in the Mediterranean Sea, located south of Sicily, Italy. Its terrain is mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains, although it has many coastal cliffs. Acquired by Great Britain in 1814 and independant since 1964, the islands have become a freight transshipment point, financial center, and tourist destination.

Capital: Valletta
Time Zone: DST +0200 UTC
Population: 396,851
Languages: Maltese, English
Power: 240 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Maltese Lira - Currently 1 MTL = 3.3834 USD $
Climate: Malta has a mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers.

Valletta: Born as a fortress in the 16th century by the Knights of the Order of Saint John, Valletta has elegant cobblestone streets everywhere. Sights include the Auberge de Castille, the prime minister's office, the gardens of Upper Barrakka, the Palace of the Grand Masters, and the Baroque inspired Co-Cathedral and Museum of Saint John, and is just across the bay from the nightclubs in Sliema and St. Julian's.

Gozo: Blue waters surround the island and its many beaches, helping the island of Gozo to have a slower, peaceful pace compared to Valletta. You can find the same Calypso's Cave from Ulysses, and other small caves and cavelets to explore. It is also home to the Arab town of Victoria which has panoramic views of the island from its citadel.

Shorts: In most churches, there are signs saying that no shorts or tank tops are allowed, so be sure to respect the local customs.

Kinnie: This Maltese favorite is a soft drink made from herbs only available locally. It has a unique taste that most people adjust to well.

When To Visit: The summerlong Maltafest is the largest of the folklore festivals in the island.

Food: Malta is influenced by Italy's Sicily, and has traditional foods like lampuki pie, cheese pastries called pastizzi, and fenek, or rabbit, pie.

Tipping: When not included in the bill, a 10% tip is expected in restaurants, hotels and for taxi drivers.

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