Malta.

"Where is Malta? I know it's in Europe but where?" This was the question I was asked when I mentioned I was going to Malta. As great as my geography is (it is one of my favorite subjects) I had to look it up for the exact location. It is a small island right central between North Africa and Sicily. Speaking of little...

1. Islands. The main island Malta has the capital Valletta and other port destinations with great hotels, restaurants and beaches. However in the summer this island is quite packed. I would definitely not rule out going to the smaller islands of Gozo and Camino. There are daily boat rides from Valletta. Just bring a backpack with bathing suit, change of clothes, water bottles and a snack. And sunscreen. Lots of it. 

2. High Summer. I am sure it goes without saying summer is busy season for Malta. I would highly recommend booking excursions early and being patient with the number of people there are around you. There are a lot of students and families. It is easy to walk almost everywhere but there are also lots of cars so keep your eyes open for all the vehicles. 

3. History. Malta has impressive history, especially from being in the center of two major continents. Gozo is famous for the home of Calypso in The Odyssey and for the oldest free-standing temples in the world. The architecture serves as a terrific backdrop for numerous films and shows like Game of Thrones, Troy, Captain Philips and others. The Arab and European influence is prevalent in the people, food, culture and architecture. I mean Napoleon wanted to control it. Napoleon.

4. Melting Pot. I asked my server at the restaurant where he was from and he said Russia. I asked our driver where he was from and he said Italy. The background of the Maltese is mixed and you will meet people from everywhere. The languages are mixed. For such a small island it was amazing to meet people of many different backgrounds and hear several languages all at once..

5. Swimming. All the time. You can literally go swimming anywhere. If there is water you're likely allowed to jump in from anywhere. Just keep your bathing suit and a towel and you can walk down the steps near the central part of St.Julien's and go swimming at night.