The Best Time to Visit Malta

The Blue Lagoon on Malta's Comino Island
Paul Biris / Getty Images

Located in the southern Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, the island nation of Malta is a year-round destination. Tourists are drawn here for its sunny climate, with an average of 300 sunny days a year. Summers in Malta see intense crowds and high temperatures, while winters can be chilly and windy. For visitors who want a mix of warm temperatures and less dense crowds, the months of May, September and October are the best times to visit Malta.

Weather

Summers in Malta are sunny and, depending on your tolerance for heat, relentlessly hot, with temperatures well into the 80s Fahrenheit and often much higher. For beach lovers, this is the prime season to visit, which is why the islands are so crowded in June, July, and August. Late fall and winter can get chilly, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. November, December, and January are the rainiest months, though rainfall in Malta is overall quite low. Early spring is still quite chilly, and too cold for swimming. The late spring month of May, along with September and October, are pleasantly warm and sunny. The hardy can swim in chilly seas in May, and waters stay warm enough for swimming into October.

Crowds in Malta

If you visit Malta during the summer months, you'll find crowded beaches and resort areas. Even the Blue Lagoon, the famous swimming area of Comino accessible only by boat, can get quite congested in peak sun season. The streets of the capital city of Valletta also fill up with visitors out shopping, dining, and, later in the evening, spilling out of the many bars in the historic center. That's why we like late spring or early fall for Malta—it's warm enough to enjoy the beautiful seas surrounding the islands, but with far fewer crowds to deal with at both beaches and urban areas.

Prices in Malta

Compared to much of the rest of Europe, Malta is an affordable destination. But in the summertime, hotels and vacation rentals, flights and rental cars are all at a premium. You'll find lower prices on these travel essentials if you come at any other time of year. Prices for attractions, activities, and dining out remain the same throughout the year.

Key Holidays

If you want to be in Malta—or avoid it—during its most important holidays and events, here are a couple to look out for:

  • Christmas and Easter: Malta is a Catholic country where Christmas and Easter are the most important holiday periods of the year. Expect a lot of crowds, and possible closures of attractions and restaurants on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day, as well as Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.
  • Feast of the Assumption or the Feast of Saint Mary: This public holiday celebrates St. Mary on Aug. 15, but also commemorates a World War II convoy that saved the Maltese people near the end of the war. Most attractions, shops, and businesses will be closed, though restaurants and bars may stay open.

January

As one of the chilliest, rainiest months in Malta, January is also one of the least crowded. January temperatures average between 50 to 60 degrees F (10 C to 16 degrees C), making this month too cool for swimming and sunning, but good for visiting museums and archaeological sites.

Events to check out:

  • New Year's Day: After a celebratory New Year's Eve, this is a quiet day around the islands. If you plan to dine out, be sure to confirm in advance with a restaurant, as many will be closed today.
  • Valletta Baroque Festival: Set in one of Europe's most high Baroque cities, the Valletta International Baroque Festival invites world-class musicians to perform in the capital's many Baroque palaces, churches and theatres.

February

You'll find February weather and crowds similar to those of January. February on Malta is an attractive time to visit for those who want to spend their time relaxing, catching some sun on a mild day, and enjoying the country's many cultural attractions.

Events to check out:

  • Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck: According to the Bible, St. Paul was shipwrecked on Malta in 60 A.D., and introduced Christianity to the islands. The event is celebrated on Feb. 10, particularly in Valletta, where there are masses, religious processions, and a huge fireworks show over the Grand Harbour. Many businesses will be closed today, so confirm ahead of time for restaurants.
  • Carnival: The pre-lenten festival of Carnival is a big deal in predominantly Catholic Malta. Expect to see a lot of costumed revelers and if you hit the streets after dark, be sure to don some colorful Carnival gear. Valletta and Paceville are Carnival hotspots. The party ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

March

Spring in Malta starts with a chilly March, which sees temperatures only slightly warmer (51 to 63 degrees F / 11 to 17 degrees C) than January and February. There's less rain this month as things start to dry up for Malta's long, arid summer. March is often too cold for the beach or swimming, though you might see some locals and visitors dipping their toes in the water. Since Lent takes place during much of March, you might find a subdued vibe across the islands.

Events to check out:

  • Feast of Saint Joseph: March 19, St. Joseph's Day, is a public holiday in Malta, so government offices and many businesses will be closed. Most Maltese go to mass today, and there's an evening procession in Rabat.
  • Easter/Holy Week: Falling in either late March or early April, Easter celebrations begin on Good Friday, with elaborate Easter parades in Qormi and Vittoriosa. Vittoriosa also has a major parade on Easter Sunday, which is a particularly festive day here after the quiet period of Lent. For all of Easter Week, but especially Easter Sunday and Monday, confirm that restaurants or anyplace else you want to visit will be open.
  • Freedom Day: March 31, Freedom Day in Malta, marks the 1979 departure of British forces from Malta. It's a public holiday when many businesses and attractions will be closed. Large crowds gather for boat races in the Grand Harbour.

April

April is slightly warmer and dryer than March, heralding the impending arrival of summer. While it might not be beach weather, a raft of lively festivals make this a good time to visit. When Easter falls in April, expect the island to be crowded with visitors.

Events to check out:

  • Strawberry Festival: In the village of Mgarr, the Festa Frawli, or Strawberry Festival, takes place in early April. Local strawberries are available for purchase and are served up in a range of tasty desserts. There are contests and entertainment at this event popular with locals and tourists alike.
  • Malta International Fireworks Festival: Spend a little time in Malta and you'll soon realize the country likes to celebrate with fireworks, and never more so than at the International Fireworks Festival, which takes place in late April. There are nightly fireworks shows across the island, particularly over the Grand Harbour.
  • InClassica: Top contemporary classical musicians come from around the world to perform at the InClassica music festival, which runs from late April into May. Concerts take place at the Mediterranean Conference Center in Valletta and at smaller venues across the islands.

May

For that sweet spot of good weather and light crowds, May is one of our top months to visit Malta. Daytime temperatures are in the mid- to high 70s and rain is practically non-existent. It's not a busy month for festivals or events, meaning you'll find the island in a relaxed mood prior to the arrival of summer crowds.

Events to check out:

  • Workers Day: Called Labor Day elsewhere, May 1 is Workers Day, a public holiday in Malta. The day also commemorates Malta's full membership in the European Union. Most businesses will be closed, and there may be small celebrations and concerts.

June

Summer comes in with a roar in June, when crowds, heat, and sunshine start to climb. It's a fun time to be here if you don't mind a lot of company, or if you want to hit the beaches before the worst of the summer crowds arrive in July and August.

Events to check out:

  • Sette Giugno: This national holiday commemorates a 1919 riot against colonizing British troops that left four Maltese citizens dead, and marked the beginning of the movement toward Maltese independence. Expect commemorations on Palace Square in Valletta, and for most businesses to be closed.
  • Malta International Arts Festival: From mid-June into July, the Malta International Arts Festival celebrates modern and traditional theatre, dance, music, and art at venues across the country.
  • Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul: At Nadur on Gozo, Catholichisms two most important saints are celebrated on June 29, with folk singing and processions—and plenty of fried rabbit, a local specialty. This is a public holiday, so many businesses across the country will be closed.

July

Some like it hot, and those that do head to Malta in July. As one of the top months for swimming, snorkeling, and diving on the islands, July is a busy month in Malta. This means peak crowds, higher hotel prices, and a party atmosphere that stretches into August. Expect temperatures in the mid- to high 80s, and possibly higher, with not a cloud in the sky.

Events to check out:

  • Malta Jazz Festival. This week-long international festival takes place at venues large and small in Valletta, and sees the world's top jazz musicians assemble for concerts and impromptu jam sessions. Much of the action takes place on Valletta's sparkling Grand Harbour.
  • Summer festivals. In small towns across Malta and Gozo, look for fun local festivals showcasing food, music, folklore, culture, and traditions.

August

August is Malta at its hottest and most crowded. If you're here for watersports, concerts on the beach, and the party scene in Valletta, Paceville, St. Julian's, and elsewhere, this is the month for you. Temperatures reach the high 80s and often go much higher, and there's virtually no rain.

Events to check out:

  • Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary: See above for a lengthier description of this important religious holiday. Bars and restaurants may stay open in tourist areas and expect processions, concerts, and fireworks.
  • Glitch Festival: Lovers of house and techno music converge on Gianpula Village, a huge outdoor nightclub in the center of Malta, for three days of raves.

September

September is our pick for the best month to visit Malta. This is thanks to a reduction in the summer crowds, yet seas still plenty-warm enough for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Temperatures are in the mid- to high 80s, though you'll feel things start to cool down the later in the month you visit. Rainfall starts to increase slightly as the month progresses, too.

Events to check out:

  • Victory Day: Sept. 8 is a historic and lucky day in Malta, as it marks the end of the Great Siege of 1565, the revolt against the French in 1800, and the end of WWII. There's a regatta in Grand Harbour, local observances, and of course, fireworks.
  • Independence Day: Malta spent 150 years as a British colony and finally gained its independence on Sept. 21, 1964. There are commemorations across all the islands, and a mood that combines lighthearted festivities with reverence for the past.

October

October in Malta sees warm, mostly sunny days and seas usually still warm enough for swimming, though nights can be chilly. Temperatures are in the 70s to low 80s and there are about 3 inches of rainfall this month. Crowds have mostly cleared out making this an ideal time to visit

Events to check out:

  • Notte Bianca: This annual event takes place in Valletta and sees stores, museums, and cultural venues staying open late to host art exhibits, concerts, and dance recitals. Expect street musicians and impromptu jam sessions and a lively party atmosphere.
  • Festival Mediterranea: This annual event celebrates all things Gozo, including its food, music, history, culture, and arts. It takes place at indoor and outdoor venues all over the island. A highlight of Festival Mediterranea is the series of guided walks through Gozo's many ancient temples and archaeological sites.

November

Autumn has definitely moved in by November, when daytime highs hover in the high 60s. But the crowds have cleared out, making November a fine month for exploring the island, catching some midday sun, and relaxing. There's a welcomed lull here before things start to pick up for the Christmas holidays.

Events to check out:

  • Three Palaces Festival: For a week in early November, Malta's most important palaces—Verdala Palace, San Anton Palace, and the Grandmaster’s Palace—open for a series of concerts of classical, modern, and jazz music.

December

December is Malta's rainiest month, with about four inches of rain—still light compared to much of the rest of Europe in December. Rainfall and chilly weather, with highs in the low 60s, don't dampen the mood here, which is decidedly linked to Christmas celebrations.

Events to check out:

  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Dec. 8 is an important Catholic holiday, marked with special masses and local celebrations. Many stores and businesses, including restaurants and bars, will be closed.
  • Christmas Day: As it's celebrated in much of the Christian world, Christmas Day is spent with family. Most businesses will be closed and if you want to eat dinner out, be sure to plan ahead to find an open restaurant.
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