Gozo & Comino
Gozo, called Għawdex (aow-desh) in Malti, is a gloriously pretty island, with what the 19th-century nonsense poet Edward Lear called a 'pomskizillious and gromphibberous' landscape. He coined the words especially, looking for a way to describe the island's fairy-tale hillocks topped by enormous churches, its hidden, glittering coves, and its sculptured coastal cliffs.
Sliema, St Julian’s & Paceville
Malta's cool crowd flocks to these areas to eat, drink, shop and party, and if you're looking for a base that mingles cosmopolitan sparkle with quiet backstreets, this is the perfect choice. Connected by a gracious seafront promenade, with shimmering Mediterranean views, this collection of districts merge into one another, and are packed with shops, restaurants and bars.
Victoria, the chief town of Gozo, sits in the centre of the island, 6km from the ferry terminal at Mġarr and 3.5km from the resort town of Marsalforn. It's crowned by the tiny citadel Il-Kastell, which appears to grow out of its rocky outcrop. The small walled city houses numerous interesting museums. Gozo's capital is the island's main hub of shops and services.
The Three Cities
Despite their picturesque narrow streets and stunning views, the village-like 'Three Cities', Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, are surprisingly off the tourist radar and lovely places to absorb some local atmosphere. Vittoriosa and Senglea occupy two narrow peninsulas, and are now connected by a pedestrian bridge. Cospicua merges into Vittoriosa and lies just south of it.
St Julian's & Paceville
St Julian's, on a prong of peninsula just north of Sliema, is as frenetic as it gets in Malta, a hubbub of restaurants, bars and language schools (many overseas students come here to learn English). Glitzy developments, such as Portomaso Marina, are ideal settings for cocktails with a view, and the area has Malta's highest concentration of five-star hotels.
Sliema & Around
Once a summer bolt-hole for Valletta's movers and shakers, Sliema is one of the island's most sought-after neighbourhoods, a melange of golden-stone townhouses and swish apartment blocks. Covering its own peninsula, it merges into the district of St Julian's to the northwest, and Gżira and Ta'Xbiex to the south, and is separated from Valletta by narrow Marsamxett Harbour.