The small island nation of Malta in the middle
of the Mediterranean is the EU's smallest member state.
With its strategic location between Sicily and the north
coast of Africa, Malta forms a bridge between Europe and
Africa and the country has received a stream of refugees
and migrants en route north from Africa and the Middle
East. Tourism is Malta's most important industry.
Brief profiles of Malta, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
The Republic of Malta is a small island,
strategically located in the middle of the
Mediterranean. The nearest neighbor is the Italian
island of Sicily, just over nine miles north. To the
west it is 29 km to the coast of Tunisia and about 20 km
to the south is Libya.
The country consists of the islands of Malta, Gozo
and Comino as well as some uninhabited small islands. In
total, the land area is no larger than the West Swedish
island of Orust. The main island of Malta constitutes
just over three quarters of the land area. There, the
longest distance from the southeast to the northwest is
2.7 km. Gozo is at most only 1.4 miles. Comino is less
than three square kilometers in area.
The bedrock consists mainly of limestone and nature
is dominated by heaths with poor bush vegetation. The
barren plain landscape sometimes turns into low hills
with terraced gardens along the slopes. There are a
total of only 300 hectares of forest on the islands. In
the smallest islands, almost no trees grow.
The country completely lacks lakes and rivers. Access
to drinking water is severely limited and great efforts
are being made to increase access.
The islands' northern and eastern sides have deep sea
coves with protected natural harbors. In the west, on
the other hand, the coasts are steep and difficult to
reach, while the plains reach the south coast.
Every spring, some bird species are hunted, including
quail and turf pigeons. The hunting of these birds is
controversial and prohibited in the rest of the EU.
Malta has a typical Mediterranean climate. The
summers are hot and dry, while the autumn and short
winters are lukewarm and rainy.
Desert winds from the Sahara mean that the daytime
temperatures in July and August are often above 30
degrees. Nearly all precipitation falls between October
and March. October is the rainiest month. It blows a
lot, and the islanders have given each wind their own
name. The northwest wind Majjistral is most common.
Another, dry northwest wind is called Grigal, and a
warm, moist wind from the southeast is called Xlokk.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
316 km2 (2018)
Adjacent country (s)
Neighboring countries are missing
Capital with number of inhabitants
Valletta 5700 (Estimated 2012)
Other major cities
Birkirkara 20,500, Mosta 19,500, San Pawl il-Bahar
19,000 (Estimated 2012)
Benghiza Point (253 m asl)
Malta lacks rivers
Malta lacks lakes
Average Precipitation / month
124 mm (Oct), 1 mm (July)
Average / day
Valletta 26 °C (Aug), 12 °C (Jan)
No for hunting bans
In a referendum, the Maltese say with very little margin "no" to a proposal
in Parliament that would prohibit the controversial, and traditionally-bound,
spring hunting of certain bird species, among other quail and trip pigeons. The
hunt is prohibited in other EU countries.