The landscape of the Maltese Islands has always been a feast to my eye and a tug on my heart. It is timeless, mysterious and stunning. Pastel coloured rocks, little farms of green terraced fields, cute little inlets with multi-coloured fishing boats, delightful baroque architecture, breath-taking cliffs, magnificent church domes, all basking in bright sunshine, and lovingly embraced by a warm blue Mediterranean.
The nature of the landscape is unlike most other European countries. Whereas they boast of many attractive features such as mountains, forests, rivers and lakes, these are not found in Malta. Instead you will be treated to the most natural and picturesque tapestry of cliffs, valleys, hills, beaches, bays and the gentle lapping waves of a majestic, romantic ocean.
Away from the busy towns, quaint villages and fashionable resorts of central Malta you will find an expansive idyllic countryside. You can feast your eyes on a wide and wonderful panorama of shape and colour. This surprised me because considering Malta being so small and so densely populated, I thought there wouldn’t be much area left for open countryside. Wrong. Only around one fifth of the Maltese Islands is urbanised and the remainder of that unique and beautiful landscape has been left largely untouched.
The long, hot summer sunshine is loved by most tourists who visit Malta in their droves, but it can have a negative effect on the landscape. When the first rain arrives it brings so much relief and happiness that the island’s face assumes a big broad smile of healthy wellbeing, new growth and a rich complexion. From November to May the land is lush, green and fertile. Little fields are brimming with crops of succulent vegetables, with traditional peasant farmers nurturing them with tender loving care, a myriad of sweet scented wild flowers adorn everywhere and pathways are carpeted with fennel, wild iris, myrtle and clover.
The geography of Malta is easily explained. It is an archipelago of limestone rock located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is 93 kilometres south of Sicily, 290 kilometres north of Libya and about 290 kilometres east of Tunisia. The island of Malta is 27 kilometres long by 14.5 kilometres wide with a total area of 246 square kilometres. The country comprises five islands: Malta (the largest), Gozo, Comino, and the uninhabited islets of Kemmunett (Comminotto) and Filfla.
The Maltese Islands are divided into five regions: Southeast Region, Southern Region, Central Region, Northern Region and Gozo Region.