Some places come alive after dark and the walled city of Mdina is one of them. Soak up the magic of what was once Malta's capital as you explore its lanes and flower-filled squares, golden stone buildings and vaulted bars.

The Xara Palace, the 17th-century residence of a noble family, is now Mdina's chicest hotel (Brad Pitt has stayed here). The antiques-filled interiors have quirky touches - the bar in the glass-roofed atrium used to be a church organ.

Malta is great for foodies in search of something different. Choose a room with a terrace and sip Vermentino wine in your hot tub at sunset, then dine at de Mondion, where traditional local ingredients such as rabbit are given the gourmet treatment.

Take a trip to the island of Gozo and buy pomegranate jam at the Ta' Mena estate, before savouring antipasti by the sea at Il-Kartell.

Wow factor:
The views of Malta - Mdina is on one of the island's highest hills.

Flight time
: Three hours 15 minutes.

Go
: Deluxe rooms with panoramic views from £170 (xarapalace.com). Air Malta (0906 103 0012; airmalta.com) flies from £118 return.