With its Crusader forts, sunny climate, world-class scuba diving and warm-hearted people, Malta has long enjoyed a small but loyal following among European travellers – a fan base bolstered by the huge contingent of Maltese expats around the world.
Since it became independent from Britain in 1964, the tiny Mediterranean island has largely flown under the mass-tourism radar but Game of Thrones has transformed this sleepy place into an international hotspot. Several episodes of the medieval-like fantasy were filmed in Valletta (European Capital of Culture 2018) and on the island of Gozo (sister island Comino pictured).
Malta’s history stretches back 7000 years so it’s hardly the newest kid on the block but it fully deserves its new-found celebrity. Apart from its physical beauty, epic architecture and delicious cuisine, it’s one of Europe’s most compact destinations, making it easy to explore in a hire car or, even better, by hopping on local buses.