Picture this, the summer season is over but you’re not ready to bid farewell to the glorious warmth felt from the sun. Not sure you can face another cold, bleak and weary winter? Want to extend that glowing sensation a little longer?
Malta has average temperatures of 15-25°c in the winter months and with over 300 days of glorious sunshine, we couldn’t think of a better destination for you to travel to for a winter getaway!
As an island destination, Malta is typically associated with being a lush floating archipelago in the Mediterranean sea. Host to stunning coastlines and the island is a prime international diving hotspot.
But there is more to Malta than just its beaches, travelling in the winter is the perfect opportunity for you to discover the culture that lies on the island without the usual hustle of busy summer crowds! It’s like having a private island entirely to yourself… Here is our Malta itinerary that we did in November.
So what are the biggest advantages of traveling to Malta in the winter? Check out some of our favorite reasons below.
Malta enjoys some of the highest average hours of sunshine in Europe, with over 3,000 hours of heavenly blanketing sunshine warmth gracing the island each year! Winter temperatures tend to range from 13-20°c which is perfect for exploring the capital Valletta without the need for a winter jacket! It’s the perfect temperature!
Malta in November or December
November and December are some of our favorite months to experience the island. Despite the passing shower or two, the final months of the year stay relatively pleasant and it’s possible to explore the countryside without worrying about overheating in the strong summer sun.
Whilst the water temperatures are a little cooler at this point, it doesn’t stop the brave locals (or tourists!) and you can often catch them at the early hours of the morning venturing into the Mediterranean for a sunrise dip- it’s nature’s morning coffee!
Malta in January or February
January and February can be the wettest months, however, temperatures stay comfortably over 10°c. You can find a month-by-month breakdown here. The rain does bring its benefits… These are the months when the countryside is at its most verdant and wildest, we love nothing more than wrapping up to explore some of the island’s most alluring countryside sights.
Cheaper Accommodation and More Availability
So you want to explore Malta whilst coming back to comfort without paying the price premium? Accommodation is much more affordable in Winter. Malta is host to some of the finest boutique and high-end hotel establishments.
However, in the peak season summer months, these can often be hard to book. Furthermore, high season rates place most of these out of people’s budgets. That being said, if you wait until the slower months most of these hotels offer impressive discounts (ranging up to 50%) to encourage visitors during the off-peak season.
You’ll find greater availability in the winter months too. Not to mention, outside the stress of peak season madness, there is a more relaxed and unhurried ambiance felt in most hotels.
Staff is more able to be attentive to your requirements with less to balance on their plates and we often find there is a sense of gratefulness towards those that opt to travel off-peak when tourist establishments might typically struggle!
Fewer Tourist Crowds
The winter season means tourist crowds are much fewer whilst traveling to Malta. In the peak season not only is Malta scorchingly hot, but it also tends to get incredibly busy with sun worshippers flocking to the archipelago to bask in the vibrant southern summer rays.
Whilst the heat is a welcoming change, we much prefer waiting until the slower months, beating the tourist crowds, and having the island to explore practically to yourself!
It’s possible to feel a bit more relaxed if you decide to explore Malta in the off-peak season, with most establishments still being open but without the typical high-season crowds. Want to be spontaneous with your travels? The winter period is the perfect time to do so!
You’ll also find that the locals are even more welcoming during this period, supporting small establishments relying on summer tourist crowds during the slower months is a great way to travel more sustainably. You’ll certainly get a warmer welcoming smile from a local Maltese for doing so!
So if you’re an offbeat explorer looking to travel without inhibition and more on impulse, the winter months are the perfect opportunity!
Better Photos for Unique Memories
Winter is the best time for capturing special photos to create unique memories of your stay in Malta. Not only do you have the island to yourself to create wonderful memories with photography, but also, and with the island of Malta being situated so far down south, you’re also treated to longer periods of daylight. Even in the winter months! So capturing that awe-inspiring shot on camera is even easier to achieve!
Daylight is Still Long Enough in Winter
The average sunrise time in December is around 7am and it sets shortly after 5pm. This gives you long days to capture picture-perfect moments on camera. Some of the greatest lightings come from the sun’s first morning rays.
A 7am wake-up call is certainly more manageable than the earlier summer months! So if you’re eager to capture the morning light as it dances endlessly reflecting on the Mediterranean waves- we can’t think of a better photographic moment!
Green Scenery Everywhere
The native fauna and flora truly come to life during the winter season, thanks to blissful breaks of rainfall to nourish the roots. The typically dry, desert-like landscape is replaced with wildflowers, aromatic herbs, and leafy luscious trees.
There truly is no better time to explore the countryside during this period, so don’t forget to pack a good pair of walking shoes alongside your camera!
Better Enjoying the Maltese Experience
With fewer tourist crowds taking over the streets of Valletta in the winter season you can better enjoy the Maltese experience! The locals come out to enjoy the lazy, unhurried Maltese lifestyle basking under the southern sun.
Maybe you will notice more locals socializing in the native language, Malti. Or, you will be able to spot the best local eateries by venturing to the corner cafes and restaurants occupied by locals, instead of the usual tourist hotspots.
It’s the perfect time to try living as the locals do, experiencing the rich local culture.
How to Adopt the Maltese Lifestyle
We suggest you spend one afternoon adopting the local Maltese approach to truly appreciate living like a local. Find a nice outdoor spot in a typical palazzo square (we suggest pairing the moment with a cup of gelato from the famous Sottozero – which has over 115 ice cream flavor varieties!) and watch the world go by.
Carefree and unrushed without the hustle of the usual summer tourist crowds, it’s one of our favorite ways to enjoy living the true Maltese experience.
Have the Beaches for Yourself!
Whilst most sun worshipers flock to the beaches in July and August to bask in the sun, it requires doing so with hundreds of others squeezing for space along the Mediterranean coastline. However, in winter, you’ll have the beach almost to yourself!
Traveling to the coastline in winter means there is a greater chance of it simply being you and the sea… and there truly is no feeling quite like it! With locals typically choosing not to venture to the beaches during this period (despite warm winter sun rays making it possible to do so) you can relax for hours without seeing a single soul.
The only interruption being the sound of frothy blue waves crashing gently against the seashore.
It’s the best time to visit St Paul’s Bay, a popular northern seaside hotspot for sunset cocktails and sumptuous seafood, where you’ll find most of Malta’s resort hotels.
If you’re looking for something even more off-beat, then we suggest venturing to the appropriately named Paradise Bay, a stunning seaside spot that overlooks Comino Island. Imagine having a view like that completely to yourself during sunset, in November, it’s possible!
Admire Valletta in Peace
Wandering through the labyrinth-like streets of Valletta is a unique experience.
The lanes have a more eerie charm when exploring them half-empty and it’s easy to find a seat at typical street bars and restaurants that decorate the corners. There is something unique and special about being able to admire Valletta in Peace.
Built by the Christian Knights of St John in the 16th century, Valletta has been identified as a World Heritage Site, and rightly so! Exploring the architectural heritage that marks Malta’s capital is certainly not one that should be missed.
The Medina streets that lie inside Valletta’s historic city walls open up to colorful gardens, monumental palazzo squares, and striking churches. The Baroque-inspired architecture is also reflective in its magnificent palaces, most of which are well maintained and even more stunning outside of the crowded summer periods.
Did you know that Valletta has some of the most beautiful viewpoints? Head to the Upper Barrakka Gardens and it’s possible to enjoy a panoramic view like no other. Can you think of anything better?
No Traffic Jams
If you’re a curious traveler who is eager to explore the off-beat, smaller villages on the island of Malta, then self-driving is the best way to explore the island.
Whilst the main island is small enough to cross in an hour, the land is rich in culture and panoramic scenery, renting a car will give you the freedom and flexibility to explore every nook and cranny!
Remember, Malta has left-hand traffic, so that might take some adjusting to! Most of the big car rental establishments are based out of the airport or in the capital, Valletta. You can check out an idea for car rental prices through Europcar here. It’s always much more affordable in the winter!
Drive Safely in the Narrow Roads
Most of the roads in Malta are quite narrow, so traffic jams are especially common in the peak season months and to be expected.
That being said, once the tourist crowds disperse the congestion is less intense and the well-connected bus route is less frequent (although still just busy enough to make it easy to hop around!)
There’s much more parking available in the city center too. Although the spaces are narrow, so can be quite problematic if you’re not a fan of parallel parking!
Is it Worth It to Travel Around in Malta by Public Transport?
Getting around the island with public transport is pretty easy if you’d prefer to travel without a rental car. With more affordable prices it’s a great way to explore the island whilst on a budget as the bus network is well connected.
The Malta Public Transport website has a great Journey Planner function to make it easy for you to navigate your way around.
However, cab fares are pretty expensive, even in the winter. So we’d suggest you plan your journey before you go especially if it’s an evening so you know how frequently the night buses are running.
Experience the Untouched Island of Gozo
Gozo, Malta’s richest Instagram spot, is the second-largest island in the archipelago that surrounds Malta with only 37,000 people inhabiting an area that covers 67 km2. To us, Gozo is the slower, more unhurried, and relaxed rural equivalent to Malta. The perfect place to escape to when you want to enjoy the natural scenery.
To get to Gozo, you need to take the ferry to make the crossing which departs from Ċirkewwa (at the Northernmost tip of main island Malta) fairly frequently, even in the winter periods. The queues are much shorter during this period too.
Our favorite moment about the ferry ride is enjoying the panoramic island views from the top-deck, catching a glimpse of the small island of Comino as you go. Comino is home to one of the most stunning swimming destinations of the archipelago, the Blue Lagoon.
More Authentic Ferry Time Between the Islands
Travelling off-season is perfect for experiencing this moment. The crowds are much fewer in the winter and it is mainly locals traveling from one island to the other. They are also happy to let travelers picking the off-peak season take the front row seat to enjoy the jaw-dropping natural scenery. It’s their everyday commute after all!
Most travelers venture to Gozo in the summer periods to experience a quieter, less urbanized, and more natural alternative to Malta. Traveling off-peak during winter, this relaxing sensation is even further maximized!
The beaches in Gozo have much clearer seawater, which makes it a hotspot for diving fanatics. But if you’re not sure you want to take a dip whilst the temperatures are a little cooler, it’s possible to enjoy a variety of countryside walks on the mainland.
Secret Tip for Gozo
One of our favorite hikes is across the Gebel Ben Gorg Cliffs to Dwejra Bay. It’s one of the best routes for enjoying typical Maltese countryside filled with an abundance of verdant greenery and beautiful coastal views out to the Mediterranean. You can read more about the Gebel Ben Gorg Cliff hike and what to expect here.
Malta is Amazing during Christmas
There is something atypically special about experiencing Malta during Christmas. Especially when pairing stunning street decorations and festive music with palm trees and cacti! Malta and the capital of Valletta in particular certainly know how to put on a festive light display.
This is often paired with various nativity scenes dotted around the city, each with its own unique charm! At night the streets come alive with festive music, local Maltese milling between the shops picking up last-minute gifts or celebrating with a mulled wine at a local cafe on the palazzo. Malta really is an amazing destination to visit during Christmas!
Christmas is Also Dreamy Outside Valletta!
Whilst the capital of Valletta has some of the most impressive decorations, we can’t help but also adore the efforts made by the smaller villages on the island.
The illuminated Christmas tree in Siggiewi is certainly one to marvel at, especially when it is almost as tall as the Church of St Nicholas of Myra. The Church in itself is a sight to marvel. But we can’t help but love it even further whilst illuminated with twinkling Christmas lights over the festive period.
The nativity scenes are a particularly special element of the festive displays and it is one of the most popular events shared amongst the Maltese people. Local residents put in hours of effort to create singular ornament displays that mark the boroughs of all the towns.
Each one is completely different from the other, you could wander for hours appreciating the variety and creative craft-work of the local Maltese!
Where to Stay in Malta during Christmas
Staying at a hotel? The Maltese love Christmas and this is even reflective in most of the hotel establishments which are fully decorated over the festive period to match the Christmas spirit felt around the island.
It’s safe to say with so much festive spirit felt around the island with typical Maltese charm, you won’t be missing the snow if you visit Malta for your Christmas vacation!
What Budget to Plan for Malta in Winter?
One of the beauties of traveling to Malta in the winter months is that you don’t have to pay the price premiums for peak-season travel. Even the flight tickets are already cheap starting from Autumn (particularly if you are taking a route from Spain through Barcelona).
Once on the island, you’ll find that things are noticeably cheaper in the off-season when compared to the busier summer months. If you prefer to explore the island by public transport traveling like a local Maltese then you’re in luck! Bus fares are set lower for November right through until May making it more affordable to get around.
Not sure what the average price of things is in Malta? You can check out some of our details below:
- Accommodation: In the low-season, prices drop dramatically. You can even find a hotel room at prices as low as €35. Expect the price to triple in summer.
- Food: If you want to travel savvy, the best way is by visiting the farmer’s markets, that way you’ll get the local prices for produce that supports small farms too! You can find out more detail on where and when the markets take place as well as the prices here.
- Inexpensive restaurant: €10-20 including drinks
- Mid-Range restaurant: €30-40 for two people (three-courses)
- Cappuccino: €2.00
- Water: €1.00
- Gasoline (1ltr): €1.3-1.4
With more affordable rates, and fewer crowds, we can’t think of a better time for you to experience Maltese culture whilst staying in some of the country’s top hotel accommodation, comfort all to yourself!
So have we helped you find a solution to avoiding those winter blues? Malta is the perfect answer! What are you waiting for, start planning and get a booking! Your perfect winter getaway is only a short plane ride away and the blissful winter warmth is ready to welcome you with open arms!