There’s little Malta loves more than a good party, and every year a healthy hand of festas sparkle across its calendar. Malta’s 2019 events include the usual confetti-sprinkled run of street parties alongside music festivals, cultural celebrations and the famous Mdina Grand Prix. Here are the events you can’t afford to miss this year in Malta.
Of Malta’s myriad colourful festas, there are two that are particularly special. One of these is Victory Day on 8th September, and the other is the Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck, where the beautiful capital Valletta erupts in a vibrant celebration of pomp and pageantry to mark the day that St Paul’s ship was blown off course onto Malta’s shores—with the merriment lasting long into the night.
With its raucous roots in 1535, when Grand Master Piero de Ponte introduced it as a night of revelry for the Knights of the Order of St John, Malta’s carnival brings with it a riot of colour, explosions of confetti and dramatic masquerades. Sugar-coated almonds are the snack du jour, and there’s plenty prinjolata—a towering assembly of cake, fruit and cream—to go around. Valletta is where you’ll find most of the action, but there are also miniature takes on the tradition across the archipelago.
Across Malta and Gozo
28 February – 5 March
Valletta’s skyline, dominated by the grand dome of the Basilica and St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral, is one of Europe’s most photogenic. But cast blooms of colour and cascades of glitter among the stars above it, and no photograph can do it justice. Four nights of spellbinding pyrotechnics illuminate the skies for The Malta International Fireworks Festival, culminating in a dazzling crescendo on the final night. Of Malta’s 2019 events, this is the real showstopper.
Grand Harbour, Bugibba and Marsaxlokk
24 April – 4 May
A laid-back mélange of music, yoga and creativity colonises a shaded sweep of Ta Qali National Park for Earth Garden. Primarily a music festival, and one that places Malta firmly on the global festival map, the line-up is refreshingly broad. World music nudges up against psychedelic trance, with detours into reggae and blues. Bohemian attire and flower garlands are optional.
Ta’Qali National Park
30 May – 2 June
There’s a growing sense of expectation across Malta as the first Saturday of October –and Notte Bianca – approaches each year. As night falls, Valletta is awash with lights and music, and the city throws open the doors of its museums, churches and state palaces for free access to the public. Piazzas are illuminated for live performances and cafés and restaurants stay open well into the night.
From City Gate to Fort St Elmo, Valletta
Automobile enthusiasts and socialites alike cluster on the island of Malta in autumn for the Mdina Grand Prix. The circuit surrounding the ancient city’s fortified walls puts classic cars to the test with a thrilling four days of racing. The white-knuckle event culminates in a glittering award ceremony on Sunday evening at the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa.
12 – 13 October