Five Unmissable Highlights of Valletta 2018

Make the most of Europe's Capital of Culture   |   December 2017

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Visiting Malta in 2018? Earmark these unmissable arts and entertainment events celebrating the European Capital of Culture

Valletta 2018 | © iStock/ robwilson39

As 2018’s European Capital of Culture, Valletta is preparing to showcase its culture to the world with a diverse programme of arts and entertainment. With a nod towards Malta’s maritime history as a hub of converging cultures, this year-long celebration in the cosmopolitan capital highlights Valletta’s Mediterranean heritage, while also welcoming international performances. Here are five unmissable highlights of Valletta 2018’s events programme.

Community: Carnival

Move aside Rio; for four days in February, Malta’s ancient streets explode with a riot of colour during carnival week. Each year, Valletta hosts an extravagant carnival parade led by a fancy-dress procession, complete with handmade floats and eerie papier-mâché effigies. From young children to late-night carnival goers, everyone will find something to astonish at this a glittering spectacle, with dancers and marching bands taking over the streets until the small hours.

9th – 13th February 2018

Film: Valletta Film Festival

Over the course of Valletta Film Festival, the city transforms into a spectacular open-air cinema. One for art-house fans; European-shot feature films, documentaries and shorts are premiered in quirky venues across the capital, like the ruins of an opera house bombed in the Second World War. Expect to discover coming-of-age films, retrospectives of iconic auteurs’ works and films made upon the three islands that make up the Maltese archipelago. Don’t miss the opening party at the Hastings Gardens on top of Valletta’s fortified walls, where you can rub shoulders with Maltese stars and filmmakers.

8th – 17th June 2018 

Valletta 2018 | © MaltaJazzFestival
Valletta 2018 | Valletta Carnival © ArtsCouncilMalta

Arts: Malta International Arts Festival

The Malta International Arts festival embraces assorted nationalities and art forms, ranging from theatre and fashion to operatic performances and visual art installations. The festival encourages artistic collaboration across disciplines, presenting both emerging and established artists from Malta and beyond. Hosted in historic venues across Valletta, the innovative works on show will engage you with Malta’s contemporary art scene as well as its rich cultural history.

1st – 16th July 2018

Music: Malta International Jazz Festival

A celebration of contemporary jazz, the Malta International Jazz festival is an eagerly awaited event in Valletta’s cultural calendar. Spread across three days, an eclectic mix of world-renowned and local musicians comes together to perform at the docks of the majestic Grand Harbour. Past artists have included Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Michael Breker. It’s not just about the performances though: look out for instrumental masterclasses and workshops from jazz legends across the city centre.

July 2018

Family: ŻIGUŻAJG International Arts Festival for Children and Young People

At ŻiguŻajg Festival, children and young people take centre stage; the annual creative arts festival is the perfect way to enjoy Valletta City of Culture 2018 with your family. Expect life-sized live action puzzles, puppetry fun and lots of clowning around. Young people are encouraged to get involved, with many of the live shows and interactive workshops offering a unique immersive experience where children can learn and have fun at the same time.


16th – 25th November 2018

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