From its North African and Arabic influences to the Sicilian-inspired cuisine, Malta is a microcosm of the Mediterranean. Few European countries have such concentrated history, architecture and, yes, beaches in such a tiny area.

There’s been an eclectic mix of influences and a roll-call of rulers over the centuries, but be in no doubt: Malta is not just a notional outpost of Italy or a relic of colonial Britain. This island nation (all 316 sq km of it, comprising the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino) has a quirky character all of its own.

From prehistoric temples, to the baroque architecture of Valletta, feasts of rabbit to festas of noisy fireworks, rattling buses to colourful fishing boats, this nation has loads of unique charm.

Experience Gozo Island by Quad Bike or Jeep Tours, or get hands on aboard beautiful sailing. Taking part in a regatta is a fantastic challenge because every team member has a precise role on board. Your skipper teaches you the most important technical manoeuvres and the basic rules of navigation. Back onland, Segway tours are always a firm favourite for a bit of R&R, or head down to the beach for some team games.