Malta is one of the world's smallest countries, home to less than 450,000 people. The island nation in the center of the Mediterranean Sea is replete with beaches, historic sites and a unique Maltese culture. It often flies under the radar when it comes to European vacations, but travelers to Malta enjoy lazy, relaxing days in the sun and an unparalleled vacation experience. It's situated just south of the Italian island of Sicily, making it easy to reach from most European countries. There are various ways to visit Malta.

Flying to Malta

The quickest way to reach Malta is by plane, from almost anywhere in Europe. Travelers coming directly from the United States need to connect to Malta from a larger European city, like Paris or Rome. Air Malta, the national airline, operates to and from all major airports in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Numerous other airlines, including British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and Ryanair also service Malta International Airport.

Look online for the cheapest flight options that suit your itinerary at discount websites like Kayak or Expedia. Malta is part of the European Union, so passengers arriving from another EU country don't have to go through customs and immigration. Upon arrival to Malta International Airport there are several ways to get to your hotel. Four express buses, X1, X2, X3 and X4 carry travelers to and from the airport, as well as taxis and hotel shuttle services. When taking a taxi, purchase a fixed-rate ticket in the airport's Welcome Hall to ensure you don't get overcharged.

Traveling to Malta by Cruise Ship

Because it's nestled in the midst of the Mediterranean, many cruise ships stop at Malta and the surrounding islands. Hundreds of cruise ships dock around the Valletta Waterfront Cruise Terminal throughout the year, and Malta is often used as a departure point for ships heading out to the Mediterranean Sea. Select a cruise based on ports you want to visit along the way as well as the size of ship you prefer. Check the amenities when booking to be sure that the cruise won't feel too small or too big. Travelers who want to see more of Malta can select a pre- or post-cruise stay on the island. The cruise terminal is located only 20 minutes from Malta International Airport and can be reached by bus, taxi or shuttle.

Traveling by Boat to Malta

Malta's island location makes it easy to arrive by boat. There are numerous harbors and marinas throughout the island. Travelers who hire a yacht in Italy or another nearby country should check the Yachting Malta websites for the rules about bringing a boat into one of the country's harbors. Any yacht arriving from a non-EU nation must go through customs immediately upon coming into port, so have the necessary paperwork in order.