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If you’re lucky enough to be able to travel outside of the school holidays, September is a great time to get away. In Europe it’s the end of the summer season, but holidaymakers shouldn’t let this put them off. After months of summer sunshine, the Mediterranean Sea is still warm, even if the days become cooler. For those of us who prefer to be warmed by the sun rather than scorched by it, less intense heat means we can enjoy the sitting outside longer. And don’t forget that the exchange rate hasn’t been this favourable for a good many years.

Magical Valetta
With so many destinations to choose from, it can be hard to decide, but this year we’re putting our bets on Valetta in Malta. Valetta’s UNESCO Heritage Sites make it a wonderful late-summer holiday destination. Climbing the steps of the historic narrow streets will be the last thing on most people’s minds in the middle of summer, but once the sun dips the city comes alive again.

Valetta has a rich and varied history, having changed hands several times between the Order of St John, the French and the English before becoming the capital of the Malta we know today. It’s this diverse past which makes the city so magical. The city skyline can only be described as picturesque. It is almost an ancient photograph captured in sepia tones, with churches and buildings dating back to the 16th century.

Getting Around
As most previous visitors will tell you, unless you intend to criss-cross the island frequently, car rental really isn’t necessary in Malta. The island boasts a well-connected and affordable public transport system, and its colourful buses are one of the island's highlights. Inside the ancient city, horse and traps are readily available.

Accommodation, Food and Drink
Malta has an abundance of accommodation possibilities, all within easy reach of Valetta. The quieter harbour town of St Julian’s is only a few miles away. Even closer, Sliema offers plenty of hotel and apartment options.

Traditional Maltese cuisine is Mediterranean in flavour, including fresh seafood and pasta. However, the years of cultural diversity have contributed greatly to the menu, and visitors can enjoy local specialities such as pastizzi (pastry parcels filled with mushy peas or ricotta) as well as rabbit stew and fish pie.

Perhaps what surprises visitors most in a Maltese restaurant is the wine. In the UK our shelves are filled with French, Italian and New World wines. However, Maltese wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat, are winning international awards these days. Having a smaller quantity to export, the Maltese are keen to keep their wines at home. So we would strongly advise you take advantage of September’s cooler weather and better exchange rate to taste them while you can.
 

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