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The Knights, Siege & WWII

        Fact: Being surrounded by water, Malta, Gozo and Comino offer a beach to suit every demand from it sun worshippers to windsurfers.

Malta is widely known as the Fortress Island and this reputation is well deserved. Dotted all over the coast you will see evidence of the great sea defences that made the island an impenetrable fortress for centuries, even up to and including World War Two.

Valletta's dizzyingly high fortifications are the island's most impressive testament to its past conflicts. The military glory of Malta'is none more evident than in Fort St Elmo, a star-shaped fort that bears the scars of the Great Siege of 1565, when it was the key to the Knights of St John's defence of the island from Turkish forces seeking a stepping-stone to Europe.

The fortress also proved impenetrable against Italian naval forces during World War Two, when Malta was one of the most heavily bombed areas. This is commemorated in the Lascaris War Rooms and through exhibits such as Faith, the Gloucester Gladiator plane that once defended the island.

The Knights in Malta