Malta is an exceptional holiday destination at any time of year, but at Corinthia, we believe that the island really comes into its own in the winter months. When the temperatures dip in countries further north, Malta retains a mild climate from December to March, offering respite from the snow and frost — along with plenty of other enticing attractions.
When we head to Malta out of season, we still love to head to the coast. Temperatures in winter rarely rise about 20 degrees centigrade, so it's not exactly sunbathing weather. However, conditions are perfect for hiking and nature photography by the sea. Hikers could start in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk and wander along the cliffs to Marsaskala, or walk to the dramatic Dingli Cliffs. In any case, pack some snacks and a water bottle, and leave plenty of space on your smartphone for photos.
If travellers aren't feeling overly energetic, visiting Malta in winter offers plenty of more sedate activities. And if relaxation is required, few places are better than Buskett Gardens. Located in the grounds of the Verdala Palace in Valletta, the gardens are full of citrus trees and palms, where chameleons roam free. There are miles of paths, quaint stonework, and flowers everywhere, even in the winter months. Even better, it's easily accessible from the capital's hotels — making it the ideal seasonal retreat.
Malta is one of the cultural hubs of the Mediterranean, so it's no surprise to learn that it hosts some fantastic winter festivals. Christmas in Valletta is magical, with choir performances and festive villages on the harbour. The Valletta Baroque Festival hits town in January, bringing with it opulent costumes and classical music. And late February is Carnival time, when across the island people dress up, drink, and generally party the night away.
Cuisine is another attraction that causes people to return to Malta in winter again and again. The cooler months offer an ideal chance to sample some hearty "Fenkata" (rabbit stew) or "Bragioli" (stuffed beef parcels). Updated versions of the vegetable packed soup "Soppa tal-Armla" can be found in Valletta's most acclaimed eateries, while filling "Timpana" (pasta bolognese pies) are just the thing to fill a gap when sightseeing.
And that's where we head next: sightseeing. Malta has a history stretching back thousands of years, and winter is the best time to appreciate them. Visitors can tour the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum burial complex without competing for space, see the Roman catacombs at Rabat, and soak up the majesty of the 16th century Cathedral of St John in the capital. Touring the Grand Master's Palace or the winding streets of Mdina is so much more atmospheric and enjoyable without crowds and intense summer heat, allowing travellers to really understand the island's absorbing past. There really are few better times to visit.
Are you an art lover or culture vulture holidaying in Malta? Well, you’ll be pleased to find that this Mediterranean island may be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to art and culture. Here are six recommended destinations to add to your itinerary to experience the best of Malta’s art scene.