Your Easy Guide to Malta

10 stunning colour Malta postcards from the 1960s

110

Malta is famous around the world as the island of sun, sea, sand and history.

Almost two million tourists make their way to the Maltese Islands every year in search of these four things, and more.

But how did Malta promote itself in the past?

Check out this collection of stunning colour postcards from the 1960s.

Azure window in the 1960s
The Azure Window was strong and sturdy back in the 1960s

These days we have Facebook check-ins and Instagram filters to induce envy in our friends.

But before social media came along, the humble postcard was the ultimate holiday brag.

An incredible collection of postcards depicting Maltese life from around 50 years ago has been unearthed to reveal a fascinating snapshot of a more innocent time.

There was once a time when parking your car in Sliema was easy

The postcards highlight how much Malta and Gozo has changed since the 1960s.

When car ownership was still considered a luxury, it is no surprise to see many of the streets virtually empty in many of the pictures.

One retro postcard shows just a handful of cars making their way along The Strand in Sliema.

Today, it’s one of the busiest streets in Malta and is almost impossible to find a parking space in the area.

spinola-bay-in-the-1960s
Spinola Bay in St Julian’s when was a small fishing village

Another image shows a deserted Spinola Bay with a handful of fishermen preparing their nets for the next day’s catch.

Today the St Julian’s area attracts thousands of tourists every day, with dozens of boutique hotels and high-class restaurants along the waterfront.

The small fishing harbour at St Paul’s Bay in the 1960s

Another area will has changed dramatically changed over the years is St Paul’s Bay, which also includes Bugibba, Qawra and Xemxija.

What was a seaside resort of less than 2,000 people in the 1960s, has now become the largest town in Malta.

Since 2015, while the island’s population as a whole grew by eight per cent, the population of St Paul’s Bay has increased by 26 per cent.

A day out at the beach at Mellieha Bay in the 1960s

Another postcard shows families enjoying a day of sun, sea and sand at Mellieha Bay beach.

Square tents to protect sun lovers from the intense summer heat were clearly all the rage in the early 1960s

Square tents on the beautiful little beach at Paradise Bay

Malta’s tourism industry was aimed almost solely at the British market from the 1950s to the 1980s.

After all, Malta was as British as fish and chips until being granted independence in 1964.

The RAF, Royal Navy and British Army were all based in Malta until 1979, with thousands of soldiers, sailors, air crews and their families making the most of Malta’s glorious weather.

As well as these colourful postcards, tourism brochures called Malta ‘the George Cross island’ and a place where ‘you can enjoy traditional English tea every afternoon’.

In the 1960s, Malta was a little bit of Britain in the sun ‘where the locals speak your language’.

Colourful boats in Marsaxlokk Bay more than 50 years ago

Vintage postcards are still popular with collectors.

Some sell on eBay for small fortunes if they are deemed to be rare and in mint condition.

Postcard enthusiast Tony Pace told Bay Retro: ‘People tend to like old postcards that remind them of their childhood or places where they grew up or visited.

‘Postcards provide a fascinating snapshot of social history in Malta.’

A BEA flight pictured at Malta’s Luqa Airport in the 1960s

‘In most scenes the streets are almost empty of cars and whole vibe looks much more relaxed and less stressed than today’s Malta.

‘It couldn’t be further from life now, where there would be cars parked either side of the road and people walking on pavements staring at their smart phones.’

Xlendi Bay at sunset in the 1950s

However, the tradition of holidaymakers sending postcards to loved ones back home is declining dramatically.

Fewer than 500,000 are now sent each year, compared with more than 5 billion worldwide in 1951.

New figures show just three per cent of us still send traditional postcards, opting instead to send a text message, tweet or upload pictures to Facebook and Instagram.

An iconic view of Malta’s Triton Fountain at City Gate bus station

Analyst Alexandra Richmond said: ‘Younger tourists may never have experienced the joy of receiving a postcard in the age of social media.

‘We’re travelling more and we’re also more connected than ever before.

‘We’re also taking more holidays, which is another factor in the postcard’s decline.

Carnival celebrations in Valletta in the 1960s

She added: ‘It’s easier to tweet a picture, update our Facebook status or send a text to make people back home envious, rather than waiting a few weeks for a ‘wish you were here’ postcard.

‘Changes in health, wealth, technology, convenience and travel have all had a major impact on consumer habits over the past 50 years.’

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