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Malta, air/5 nights, from $1,599

Explore this tiny Mediterranean island's rich history with tours of the capital, Valletta, and other cities, plus enjoy a harbor cruise and a rooftop pool.
/ Source: ARTHUR FROMMER'S BUDGET TRAVEL

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare to Malta via London (on a Virgin or British Air Ways carrier to London, and via Air Malta from London to Malta), five nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, all airport-hotel transfers, a choice of two full-day or four half-day tours (or a combination of the two), and hotel taxes, from $1,599 per person—plus airport taxes and fees of $175.

When: Tuesday departures Oct. 27, 2009; add $100 for May 26; $200 for June 2–30, Sept. 15–Oct. 20; $300 for Sept. 1, 8; $400 for July 7,14; $500 for July 21–Aug. 25.

Gateways: Boston, D.C., New York City; add $60 for Detroit; $80 for Miami, Orlando; $100 for L.A., San Francisco; other gateways are not available.

The fine print: Taxes and fees are an additional $175 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $299. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability.

Contact: Foreign Independent Tours, 800/248-3487, fittours.com.

Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest round-trip fare to Malta for travel in late October and early November starts at $699, including taxes (multiple carriers). For an additional $1,075, Foreign Independent Tours covers international airfare, as well as five nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, transfers, sightseeing, and all taxes.

Tour highlights: You'll get to choose two full-day tours, four half-day tours, or some combination of the two. Here's a sampling of available choices: a Blue Grotto and Tarxien Temples tour, a Valletta and Malta experience, a harbor cruise, a tour of three historical cities (Senglea, Cospicua, and Vittoriosa), an excursion to Gozo, or sightseeing in Mdina, the old capital city of Malta.

Lodging: Five nights at the eight-floor Golden Tulip Vivaldi on the bustling bay of St. Julian's, packed with shops, restaurants, and bars. The seaside property's 205 rooms are air-conditioned and have standard modern amenities. You can hang out by the rooftop swimming pool or use indoor swimming facilities. The hotel also has a fitness center, a massage parlor, and three on-site restaurants.

More: Optional tours can be added for an additional $59 to $129 per person, depending on length, features, and inclusions. You can find a list of available tours and descriptions here. If you'd like to spend more time in Malta, you can add extra nights at the Golden Tulip Vivaldi from $72 per person per night. If you prefer to make your own flight arrangements, you may want to consider a land-only package, which starts at $999 for five nights.

Before you go: For up-to-date travel information, check Malta's official tourism Web site. October is one of the best months to visit Malta because temperatures are balmy, with highs in the mid 70s.