Big bang fact, not theory... According to legend, Odysseus fell under the seven-year spell of the sea-nymph Calypso on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. Nowadays the smaller sister island of Malta basks in relative anonymity, and diving and spas have replaced sea-nymphs as the main lures for travellers.

Glastonbury it's not...

The diving is regarded as the best in the Med, while the Kempinski san Lawrenz hotel has, arguably (and pretty randomly), the finest Ayurvedic spa outside the Indian subcontinent, but for us at OT the highlight is the island festival season each summer. We're not talking Hunter wellie and trilby-wearing trustafarians here, rather centuries-old celebrations of the patron saint's feast day in every village on the island.

Big bang theory

One of the best things to do in Gozo: The festas are a vivid reminder that this is still an extremely religious (Malta and Gozo have the highest density of churches - one per square kilometre - in the world) place, and suffused with clan and family ties thanks to the islands' strategic significance dating back centuries to the crusades. Naturally this (usually) friendly clan rivalry finds a perfect outlet in each village' desire to out-pomp their rivals and visitors can expect a raucous atmosphere of processions, brass bands, street parties beneath huge billowing flags and firework displays if they are lucky enough to be in town the right week. And if the noise gets too much they can always retreat beneath the waves for a tranquil dive. You might even see a sea nymph.