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Malta: the Pride of the Mediterranean

  • May 20, 2024
  • 5 min read
Malta: the Pride of the Mediterranean

Malta and Pride go hand in hand. With more than 300 days of sun, this unique archipelago blends history with an overflow of culture amassed from local communities and expatriates from across the world. For the LGBTQ+ communities, Malta holds an attraction as an inclusive destination where love, in all its shapes and sizes and colours, is celebrated.

In times gone by, Malta has been under the control of the Phoenicians, Arabs, Normans, Romans, French and British. After gaining their freedom as a republic in 1979, Malta blossomed into a crossroads of traditions steeped in pride.

An inherent pride reminiscent of the global Pride celebrations, honouring every facet of the LGBTQ+ community, every year.

In recent years, Malta has jettisoned to the top of queer travel lists. All thanks to strides towards equality and acceptance the Maltese government has made in advancing LGBTQ+ rights, including the legislation of same-sex marriage.

In 2023, Malta claimed its eighth year at Number One on the Rainbow Europe Map (ILGA-Europe’s annual ranking of European countries against their legal policies and practices for the LGBTQ+ communities).

One of the highlights of the calendar is Malta’s annual Pride celebrations that span across the whole island (and beyond, with Gozo – Malta’s sister island, only a short ferry ride away – hosting its own procession).

2023 also played host to EuroPride Valletta, a city-wide culmination of queer communities across Europe that culminated in a free-to-attend concert that saw headline act and gay icon, Christina Aguilera, take to the stage of Floriana’s Granaries to round out a week of events from drag-shows to pool parties, for night owls and day walkers alike. Malta Pride is a genuine celebration of inclusion, diversity and unity that everyone should experience at least once.

Beyond Pride festivities, Malta and its surrounding islands are bustling with friendly destinations for all visitors to explore. For those seeking a picturesque fishing village to backdrop their Spritz, look no further than Marsaxlokk, with its vibrant ‘Luzzu’ boats and charming cafes.

Meanwhile, Mdina, affectionately known as ‘the Silent City’, offers a journey back in time to medieval Malta, perfect for those seeking out the island’s historical roots.

While St Julian’s offers the typical island nightlife, Malta’s true party scene unfolds in its ‘nightlife villages’ like Uno Malta and Gianpula. Located centrally on the island, these venues provide a quaint setting for letting loose on the dance floor and a place to whisk the worries away with the perfect summer soundtrack. Look out for NERVE and LOLLIPOP’s name on the posters if you’re ready to dance the night away!

Foodies definitely won’t fall short of eateries to sink their teeth into. With every nationality that you come across in Malta, you will find an ample supply of cuisines that satisfy any craving. As an island, seafood is in an abundance on many menus. With Sicily only a short flight away, there is pizza everywhere. The island also has some pretty decent burger joints and juice bars, as well as a whole host of artisanal eateries. However, there are also niche, just-waiting-to-be-found bars, restaurants and cafes, tucked away in the many quiet street corners and sea-facing promenades. Stumbling upon a lively cafe, or ‘kazzin’ as locals call it, nestled in a shaded alley feels like uncovering a secret level in a video game.

With an almost oversaturation of restaurants and cafes, Malta undoubtedly has something for everyone – fussy or famished. And they’ve even got a few home comforts, with a remarkable cast of pubs and and just as many places for anyone with specific dietary requirements.

When it comes to accommodation, you are spoilt for choice. Despite being a relatively small island with a total area of 316 square kilometres, everything is conveniently accessible. However, public transport can be a bother during peak times, especially in metropolitan areas like Sliema, Msida, and St. Paul’s Bay. Fortunately, if you find yourself in need of transportation, taxis are readily available and affordable, typically costing no more than €10 for short distances. You can also easily book rides through popular apps like Bolt, Uber, or eCabs, and you’ll be good to go.

Travelling aside, Malta provides many choices of places to stay. There are hotels with any number of stars to suit your own needs, as well as numerous guesthouses, B&Bs, hostels, or short-term rental apartments, waiting to be filled. All with their own inclusive policies and welcoming staff.

The sense of community and acceptance that pervades the island, through its people and its places, in its blood and bones, can be a phenomenal source of inspiration.

From the lively lights of Paceville’s nightlife to the tranquil shores of Xaghra, in Gozo, there’s something magical about Malta that captivates the soul.

Ramla Bay, Xagħra, Malta

Whether you’re sipping a Negroni as the sun sets over the sea or wandering through any of Malta’s ancient, UNESCO World Heritage Site ruins, every day in Malta can become your own personal adventure.

About Author

Baryn Jacobson

Born in South Africa and raised in England, Baryn Jacobsen has spent the last decade in Malta, drawing on his diverse experiences in hospitality, iGaming, and tourism. Occasionally channeling his thoughts into writing, Baryn offers a unique perspective shaped by his varied background and interests.

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