With a busy schedule of carols, carnivals and celebratory events in Malta, winter is just as hot as summer
Due to its southern Mediterranean climate, the Maltese archipelago enjoys one of the warmest winters in Europe. While more northern countries freeze, those lucky enough to be visiting Malta over the festive season can still enjoy the outdoors and join in the many celebrations held across the island. From the Valletta International Baroque Festival to the colourful Malta Carnival and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, there are plenty of fantastic events in Malta to discover throughout winter.
Arguably the most impressive church in Malta, St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is worth visiting at any time of year. Advent is a particularly special time, however, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the church hosts a memorable series of candlelit carol concerts and processions which are guaranteed to set festive spirits souring.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, held in the Maltese town of Cospicua, is an important religious day for Christians across Malta. It’s a public holiday for the whole island and many locals choose to spend time with family, enjoy a tasty feast and celebrate the Virgin Mary, whom the festival is dedicated to.
This year, as part of Gozo’s Christmas programme, the island adjacent to Malta introduces an exciting new festival, the Gozo International Choir Festival. Formed to celebrate the best of European choir music, well-known choirs from across the Maltese archipelago will take part in the inaugural event, alongside singers from countries further afield, as far as Estonia.
While there are many New Year’s celebrations across Malta, the fireworks display at Valletta waterfront is one of the most memorable. Revellers can enjoy dinner, drinks, live music and entertainment along the waterfront promenade, before the show starts at the stroke of midnight, illuminating the harbour and its historic forts.
An important event for the world’s baroque music scene, the Valletta International Baroque Festival invites leading international baroque musicians and ensembles to Malta for 17 days of performances at various venues across the city, such as the historic Teatru Manoel. Celebrating its fifth edition in 2017, the festival has gone from strength-to-strength to establish itself as one of the globe’s best baroque events.
Adding a splash of colour to winter is the Malta Carnival. One of the most exciting seasonal events in Malta, the festival takes place across the island, with the main celebrations in the capital, Valletta, where thousands gather to watch parades of colourful floats and party-goers in bright costumes. A great opportunity to let your hair down at the end of winter, the carnival continues late into the night at the bars and clubs of Paceville.