Usually, we associate the islands of Malta with the summer sun, diving in wonderful locations, and splashing in blue lagoons. But this tiny Mediterranean country has a lot more to often. And visiting Malta in winter is a great idea to spend your low season holidays.
In this article, I tell you why traveling to Malta in January or any other winter month is a perfect option. I also show you the best things to do in Malta in winter so you can fill up for the vacation schedule with unique experiences!
In the end, I give you some tips about the Malta buses, accommodation, and what to pack. So keep reading and be prepared for the Malta experience and your next great adventure!
And if you want to make your Maltese adventure even more fantastic, download my Malta Bucket List below and discover the best places to see on the island!
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Table of contents:
- Why should I visit Malta in January?
- #1 Winter weather in Malta is so comfortable
- #2 Much cheaper accommodation
- #3 Less crowded streets
- What to do in Malta in winter?
- #1 Visiting Valetta
- #2 Memorable sunsets
- #3 The Silent City of Mdina
- #4 Colorful Marsaxlokk
- #5 Day trip to Gozo
- #6 Upper Barrakka Gardens
- #7 Visiting Lascaris War Rooms
- #8 Finding the Blue Grotto
- #9 Tasting local food
- #10 Admire cathedrals
- #11 Discover the art of Malta in winter
- #12 Having fun in Popeye Village
- #13 Finding filming locations
- #14 Visiting ancient temples
- #15 Admiring cliffs
- #16 Experience the history of Knights of St. John
- Where to stay in Malta in winter?
- How to get around in Malta?
- What to pack for Malta holidays?
Why should I visit Malta in January?
Or visit Malta in December, or in November, or in February. Here I give you 3 main reasons why you should visit Malta in winter. And why you won’t regret it.
#1 Winter weather in Malta is so comfortable
You know why visiting Malta in summer is actually not the best idea? Because the average temperature in July-August is 29°C. Maybe it’s all right for splashing in the sea, but not so great for hours of sightseeing.
So now you wonder is Malta warm in winter? In December-January the average temperature in Malta in winter is 14-16°C. You might think it’s not that much, but trust me, the perceptible temperature is much higher. And that’s because Malta is one of the sunniest countries in Europe. And this sun will reward you for everything.
So if you plan to take advantage of the natural and cultural attractions of Malta, consider visiting this lovely country during winter months.
Personally, I visited Malta for the first time in January and it was awesome. Here you can read my complete one week itinerary from this trip.
#2 Much cheaper accommodation
Besides the nice temperature, winter is considered a low season in Malta. And one of the greatest advantages of this fact will be great accommodation deals.
For our 6-nights stay in a small studio in one of Bugibba’s hotels, we paid around 135€. For the same studio in July, we would pay around 540€. That’s an insane difference!
#3 Less crowded streets
In my opinion, that’s the main reason to visit Malta in winter instead of the high season and summer months. It’s incredible how few people still do it! But thanks to this you could enjoy some of the best destinations on the islands only in your own company.
Empty medieval streets, powerful nature wonders with no humans around, and peaceful tables in best restaurants, all of these you can enjoy in Malta in winter!
What to do in Malta in winter?
Although during this season, splashing in the sea is reserved only for the toughies, there is still a lot of great things to do in Malta in winter. So even without wearing a swimsuit, you will have a great time in this tiny country.
#1 Visiting Valetta
Wandering on the streets of this European capital is a must-do thing. The city has also its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Visiting Valetta is a unique experience and discovering its secrets gives a lot of fun. The scale of the city is small enough to walk it around in a short time. But the views of charming narrow streets and sophisticated buildings are worth seeing.
#2 Memorable sunsets
Even if Malta in winter doesn’t tempt with the vision of sunbathing, visiting beaches is still a great idea. Especially during evenings, when you can end up your day, filled with Maltese experiences, with the peaceful session of admiring the magical sunsets above the Mediterranean Sea.
One of the great places to spend the evening time is the Golden Bay. If you want to extend your experience on this beach, you can even take an exciting horse ride in the area.
#3 The Silent City of Mdina
One of the most stunning things to do in Malta in winter is to visit its ancient capital – Mdina. Also called the Silent City. Visiting it in the low season has special magic. There are almost no tourists hanging around on the streets, so you can take the biggest advantages of experiencing this amazing place. The silent and empty stone streets will be all yours to wander and discover the old-time feeling of real Malta.
#4 Colorful Marsaxlokk
Marsaxlokk is a recognizable place from Maltese postcards. The fishermen’s harbor filled with colorful boats delights the eye, especially where there are almost no tourists in the village. You can take a long walk along the coast and benefit the best places in local restaurants to try delicious fresh fish and seafood.
#5 Day trip to Gozo
Gozo is a small sister of the Malta island. Taking a day trip to Gozo is a perfect thing to fit into your vacation calendar. The island was recognizable because of the famous Azure Window which unfortunately collapsed in 2017.
But Gozo still hides a few other gems which you won’t regret visiting. One of the best of them are Wied Il-Għasri and Wied il-Mielaħ. The first one is a deep canyon shaped by rough waves in the cliff. And the second one is a rock formation which might become a successor of the famous Azure Window. And the best thing: those are off-the-beaten-path destinations.
#6 Upper Barrakka Gardens
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are the most significant tourist attractions in Valetta. In the former times, they served as a place of relaxing for the knights of Saint John. Today gardens are open for everyone and offer a perfect view of the Grand Harbor.
In the lower levels of Barrakka Gardes, on each day, at noon, you can watch the cannon salute made by Malta Heritage Society members. The curious military tradition.
#7 Visiting Lascaris War Rooms
In the underground of Barrakka Gardens, you can dive into the history of World War II. During the war, Lascaris War Rooms were the main place where the War Headquarters were defending the island. Today, the underground complex of rooms and tunnels is a military museum.
#8 Finding the Blue Grotto
Besides the collapsed Azure Window, the Blue Grotto is another recognizable gem of Malta. In wintertime, when the sea is rougher, the boat tours are not so regular. But even so, you should definitely visit the viewpoint offering the view for this amazing rock formation.
#9 Tasting local food
The Maltese kitchen is a mix of different influences: mainly Italian and British. But through the years the country developed its own unique tastes and recipes. You shouldn’t leave the island without trying the local meal with the rabbit meat (called as fenek), tasty ftira, sweet pastizzi, or the popular drink Kinnie, made of bitter oranges.
#10 Admire cathedrals
Malta is one of the most religious countries in Europe. The main religion is catholicism which is obvious when we think about the island’s history. For centuries, Malta was reign by the knights of Saint John, the medieval Catholic military order. Because of this, we can admire lots of magnificent churches and cathedrals there. Only in Valletta, which is only 0,8 km2, we find 25 churches. Many of them are beautiful and worth visiting.
#11 Discover the art of Malta in winter
Malta in winter is a perfect place to visit if you would like to discover its artistic gems. In Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, you’ll find one of the most important Maltese masterpieces. The Beheading of St John the Baptist by Caravaggio was a painting commissioned by the Saint John’s Order when the artist came to the island. Caravaggio joined the order but because of his criminal history and not so laudable behavior, he was expelled. Officially, it happened in front of his greatest masterpiece.
#12 Having fun in Popeye Village
If you’re a fan of some good old-school cartoons, you will be happy to visit Popeye Village in Malta. This cute place was created in 1979 for the purpose of filming “Popeye” musical production. After the job was done, the whole film set was turned into a big tourist attraction. You can now hang around among little charming buildings in this cartoon world.
#13 Finding filming locations
After years, Malta grew up to the range of one huge film production scene. In this small country, one of the best movies were created. Including Casino Royale, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy, The Da Vinci Code, Kon-Tiki, Captain Phillips, Game of Thrones, and many others. Finding the filming locations from your favorite movies is great fun and definitely one of the best things to do in Malta in winter.
#14 Visiting ancient temples
Malta is often associated with medieval churches and monuments. But not many know that on the islands we find also ones of the oldest stone temples in the world. Ggantija Temples in Gozo or Ħaġar Qim in the Southern part of Malta are one of them. Those are great places to visit to get the idea of how old the human culture is.
#15 Admiring cliffs
Malta is, in fact, the rocky island. In many places on its shore, you can find amazingly high cliffs. They make a huge impression, especially in winter, when the sea is stormy and hits the stone walls with massive waves.
The great place to watch this spectacle is Dingli Cliffs. There you can spend hours observing the majestic power of nature.
#16 Experience the history of Knights of St. John
The islands of Malta have an incredibly interesting history. For years this small country was independent and reign by the knights of Saint John’s Order. The original buildings from these medieval times still decorate Maltese cities. To get to know the country better, the best thing you can do is to take a free walking tour in Valetta. 2 hours spent with a guide will give you the basic knowledge necessary to better understand the island.
Where to stay in Malta in winter?
During the winter in Malta, you’ll have tons of possibilities to find great places to stay everywhere on the island. Most probably, at great prices.
Together with my boyfriend, we stayed in Bugibba. This city has a pretty nice location, and direct buses going to Valletta. We stayed in Porto Azzurro Aparthotel, where we had a nice studio, with a small balcony in a bedroom, and a nicely equipped kitchen. This hotel offers also a restaurant, a bar, and two swimming pools (external + internal). Check the availability in Porto Azzurro Aparthotel on Booking.com ->
The other best place to stay in Malta is Valletta of course. Today, I would consider staying in Valletta Merisi Suites. The apartments offered by this place have so great style, with stone walls, wooden constructions, and a cute cozy atmosphere. And it’s located in a nice place, not far away from Barrakka Gardens. Check the availability in Valletta Merisi Suites on Booking.com ->
You can also consider staying nearby the capital. Surrounding cities also have a lot of attractions to see. In St. Julian’s you can choose Hotel Juliani, designed in a modern way, yet in an ancient building. The cozy, stylish rooms, an elegant restaurant, a gym, a swimming pool, and a beautiful view of St. Julian’s Bay will guarantee you a nice stay in Malta. Check the availability in Hotel Juliani on Booking.com ->
How to get around in Malta?
Getting around the island is pretty easy with public transport. The bus network is pretty nice organized, although it has some own particular characteristics.
Malta Public Transport company has a nice website with all the available timetables and even a great journey planner. It also offers a few nice deals for people visiting the country. If you’re staying there for the whole week, I recommend you purchasing Tallinja Explore Card for 21€ which allows you to unlimited travel with local buses. You can buy it online, on a place in the information point, or in one of many shops listed on the website. Remember to validate it while entering the bus for the first time.
The other great option is to rent a car in Malta. Although the bus network is nice, the buses… don’t always stop to pick up the people when they’re already filled up. That’s a small inconvenience, especially outside the Valletta region. Moreover, with a rented car, you will be more flexible with hours and all of your dreamed destinations.
But remember! Malta has left-hand traffic.
What to pack for the Malta holidays?
If it comes to vacations in Malta in winter, you should remember about bringing a bunch of different clothes. I recommend taking a light yet warm jacket for strong winds places like cliffs, but also some cozy clothes for hanging around in the Malta winter sun.
Definitely pack a comfortable pair of shoes. During my winter trip to Malta, I had a pair of sneakers with me. But if I would go there once again, I’ll probably pack my favorite Sperry Top-Sider sailing shoes. I cannot imagine more comfortable shoes for both easy trekking and sightseeing in the cities.
The other must-have on your full holidays or an only weekend break Malta is a tripod for your phone/camera! Thanks to this toy you’ll have great photos of your journey. Personally, I use Joby Gorillapod 500 which is perfect for light cameras and phone photography.
If you like to stay organized, you can also bring a Malta travel guide book. It’ll help you plan your trip in every detail. Click here to check out the Malta guidebook on Lonely Planet!
To Malta in winter, we also brought our city break backpacks: Cabin Zero and Doughnut. Traveling with them is so easy and comfortable. Click here and read my review about those travel backpacks!
Holidays in Malta in Winter? I say yes!
If you want to take relief from the autumn/winter sorrow, spending vacations in Malta is a great idea! I’ve been to Malta in January and I promise you, there is plenty of winter attractions in Malta that you can enjoy. And I am pretty sure you’ll love it!
Are you going to spend your next winter vacation in Malta? Tell me in a comment!
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Dominika is a founder of Sunday In Wonderland and she recently switched her life to be local independent. She aims to travel the world and admire all of its wonders. She is much focused on sustainable life, self-development and making this world a better place.