5 irresistible reasons why Malta should be top of your LGBT+ travel list

Malta is generally considered to be one of the most LGBT-progressive countries in the world.

It frequently scores high on the Rainbow Index and is one of five countries in the world to make queer rights equal at a constitutional level.

It’s no wonder, then, that it’s become a major travel destination for queer holidaymakers. It packs a lot into its small archipelago and its surrounding crystal waters, with plenty of culture, history and fun to soak up.

Malta has some of Europe’s lowest COVID numbers (since May 21 the number of total cases has remained under 100) and strongest vaccination rates (half of the population is fully vaccinated).

There’s no quarantine time for fully-vaccinated tourists, and there are financial incentives making hotel stays irresistible this summer.

Here are five incredible reasons to visit the queer jewel of the Meditteranean this summer:

1. The beaches are glorious – and face coverings aren’t mandatory

Woman overlooking Ramla Bay in Malta

Overlooking Ramla Bay, Gozo. (Supplied)

Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino is one of the most beautiful little bay beaches, with azure waters and golden rocks. If you’d prefer to stay on the mainland, Golden Bay in the north is one of the most popular – it’s set within a cliff and attracts evening parties as much as it does day goers. The LGBT+ and nudist communities head to the rocky Pembroke Beach just north of St Julian’s. Rivera Bay, Gjena Bay and Fomm ir-Rih (a super secluded spot) are also popular queer spots, but it’s worth noting that nudism is illegal. Bonus: no masks are needed on beaches or in pools.

2. Incredible diving spots, whether you’re a beginner or a pro

Picture of a person's feet underwater with shipwreck visible

Diving in Malta around the iconic P31 Shipwreck. (Supplied)

Make the most of the great summer weather in Malta by taking to the sea. With warm waters, colourful reefs and shipwrecks (HMS Maori in Valletta Bay is worth checking out), Malta is arguably one of the best places in Europe for diving, for beginners up to expert level. A day trip to Gozo by boat is highly recommended – it has some great beaches and awesome limestone caves. There’s also plenty of opportunity to try out water sports like sea kayaking and windsurfing. On land, for some down time, there’s YUE, a LGBT-friendly wellbeing centre that has a gym and wellness area.

3. Breathtaking, historical architecture awaits you in UNESCO-listed Valletta

Exploring Malta and enjoying a view of Valletta. (Supplied)

The capital, Valletta, is filled with incredible historic architecture (the city itself is UNESCO listed) – one of the best ways to explore history is through a walking tour with a local guide. One of the biggest draws for history fans is the National Museum of Architecture. It’s in an incredible Baroque building and has items dating back to the Neolithic Period and Bronze Age — it also houses the fabulous Venus of Malta.

4. Bars are back and groups up to six are permitted per table

Enjoying the Maltese food. (Supplied)

Great news: restaurants, bars and clubs have reopened in Malta! You’ll have to stay off the karaoke and dance floors for now and in your chair instead (up to six people can sit at a table), but musicians and DJs are allowed to play again. The Birdcage Lounge in the town of Rabat is a great LGBT+ cocktail lounge that has live music and drag shows. After a dive at HMS Maori, you could also head to bar Maori, which is queer owned and popular with local artists. Malta Pride 2021 is also set to take place from 10 September this year, so don’t miss the parade or the Pride Concert on 18 September in Valletta.

5. Financial incentives from the government as an extra treat

Snorkeling around the Statue of Christ in Qawra. (Supplied)

Malta has introduced a scheme to benefit travellers this summer — book a stay in a hotel and you can get financial incentives to drink, eat or spend your money any other way at the hotel. For every five-star booking, you’ll get €200 per person. For four-star, it’s €150 and three-star it’s €100 to spend as you like in the hotel. For more information, click here.

To book your trip to Malta, head to the Visit Malta booking page.