The Maltese Islands are well known for their beautiful beaches and summer attractions, yet Malta is now also becoming one of the most popular winter destinations. It has just topped the list of the best 15 places to visit this Christmas by CNN Travel, and any traveller looking for a mix of cultural activities and festive cheer will not be disappointed.
Sunshine at Christmas?
Malta is a great place to visit in winter; as a matter of fact, the Islands boast 300 days of sun throughout the year, and the weather in winter remains mostly pleasant with the temperature being warm enough to enjoy a walk or a warm coffee outdoors, refreshed by a light sea breeze.
A variety of events to enjoy…
Over the Christmas period, the island is transformed, as this feast is very important to the locals. As a result, various activities are organized to cater for the most characteristic tastes. Due to Malta’s strong Christian roots, religious events, such as nativity plays, choir festivals and carols by candlelight are organised across the island.
Various street processions are held in the weeks and days before Christmas. The Christmas Eve Carol Service held at St John’s Co-Cathedral is a magical celebration. Besides religious activities, many cultural events coincide with the Christmas season, most predominately the annual Pantomime held at the Manoel Theatre – Malta’s national theatre. Various other art and photography exhibitions, ballets and concerts are also held during this period.
The main shopping areas open till late and streets are animated with music, colourful lights, decorations and even some Christmas Markets, instilling a joyous Christmas atmosphere.
Local Delicacies…. Yes please!
No Maltese Christmas experience is complete without tasting some traditional Christmas treats such as Qagħaq tal-għasel – a pastry ring filled with a sweet treacle and date mixture – and the delicious Christmas Log, traditionally made with pure ground almonds and a variety of other ingredients which are adapted to create a unique culinary twist.
Worried about indulging in too many treats?
Just walk it off with an exploration of the Baroque Capital or a beautiful seaside stroll under the Mediterranean sun.