Who knew Malta was so pretty? Well, I suppose the people who live there knew. I didn't. There was, to be fair, a lot I didn't know about Malta, including that the national language is actually Maltese, which sounds like no Mediterranean language you've ever heard.
But one of the most unexpected delights were the narrow streets of the capital city, Valletta. The closed balconies that jut from almost every house are a major feature; they're the first thing you see as you walk down Republic Street, the city's main thoroughfare, where they are painted a uniform dark green.
Meander away from the shops and into some of the smaller residential streets, and you will be rewarded with a wider palette. Bright reds and yellows, cornflower blues, pastel greens, and dusky pinks—it's like something out of a fairy tale. Go feast your eyes.