Go south to the Mediterranean, for a winter warming festive breather, on the extraordinary islands of Malta & Gozo. Blessed year round with a pleasant climate, Malta slips on a magnificent festive cloak during Christmas and celebrates in a grand traditional style.
Christmas time holds a distinct status in most people’s heart, a time for festive cheer, gift giving and celebrations.
What to do in Malta at Christmas
Join the congregation at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta for candlelit carol singing.
Many of the Baroque parish churches around the Islands are so awesome during advent. Their interiors are festooned in crimson and altars are adorned with flowers. All churches have a calendar of events, ranging from the procession of Mary and Joseph, to streets with groups of children carol singing.
Cribs are everywhere, from homes to small chapels and shopping malls.
Visiting cribs is a popular activity at Christmas time and locals enjoy touring the various crib nativity ‘presepju’ displays. Many are very creative and elaborate, with figures moving around mechanically and a degree of detail that comes from hours of meticulous work by dedicated craftsmen.
Gozo has taken it a step further and built its very own 20,000 square metre “Living Crib ” where the whole Christmas story comes to life acted out with features themed around a fully functional village with actors and craftsmen performing various trades of the time, live domestic animals, stalls selling traditional crafts, gifts and food. The main attraction of course is a live baby Jesus in his crib, being minded by Mary and Joseph and probably a donkey and sheep!
‘Betlehem f’Ghajnsielem’ is usually open throughout December and is a ten minute uphill stroll from the Mgarr ferry terminal, making it easy to reach, without a car.
A Christmas highlight, which is popular for children and adults alike, is the annual pantomime held at the Manoel Theatre. It’s a happy mix of good slapstick humour for children and satire for adults. Various localities all over Malta and Gozo host similar events.
Christmas markets are popular in Malta & Gozo. Venues change every year so best enquire at your hotel reception or Tourist Information Centre for current information.
Restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs all have their own entertainment, making for an abundant choice of where to go.
Malta New Year 2020
The Maltese generally enjoy celebrating Malta New Year’s Eve in Valletta or nearby Floriana – they usually hold large street parties, with free admission. In Valletta celebrations are mostly closed by spectacular pyrotechnics display at midnight. The Valletta Waterfront, St George’s Square and St. Anne’s Street in Floriana are popular spots and the top locations for locals and visitors to get together to celebrate the count down.
Paceville & St. Julian’s are similarly popular locations, particularly with younger people who celebrate by club-hopping their way through the jam-packed clubbing and bar district. Many parties on New Year’s Eve are liable to sell out in advance, do make enquiries before setting off. On New Year’s Eve public transport times are normally extended to provide for crowds and later travel times – plenty of taxi’s are available.
New Year in Malta locals traditionally choose to eat out on New Year’s Day, with most restaurants offering set menus with pre-booking. After lunch, many families enjoy opting for a stroll ‘passeggiata’ along one of the waterfront promenades. The more adventurous head for locations like Dingli Cliffs, Buskett, Mdina or Dwejra in Gozo.
Many youngsters often head back to Paceville in the early evening to continue enjoying the bars & clubs on the first day of the New Year.
Malta Christmas and New Year weather
Christmas weather in Malta & Gozo is usually warmer than most European destinations. Winters are mild, with the occasional short cold spells brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe.
Average daily temperature is High 18°C & Low 11°C – Average daily sunshine hours is 5.20 hours.