There’s no shortage of things to do on the Maltese islands. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find that there’s an overwhelming the wealth of attractions, sights, festivals and tourist activities in Malta – with an event to suit every taste! From late-night carnival parties to firework festivals, each annual event will make you fall in love with the glamour, romance and magic of the Maltese islands.
International Firework Festival
If you enjoy a spectacular firework display then you’ll be in for a treat during Malta’s famous International Firework Festival. While the Maltese love fireworks all year around and won’t hesitate to mark any celebration with the colourful explosions, it is in April that you’ll see the most incredible and elaborate firework shows. In fact, the record for the biggest ever firework show was broken right here in Malta! One of the most magical things about this festival is how you can enjoy the fireworks from so many different locations. Huddle up on the beach with some drinks, sail out on a night cruise or watch the show from one of Malta’s many rooftop terraces.
Isle of MTV
Do you like chart-topping music? Do you like big concerts? Do you like enjoying those to things for free? The Isle of MTV is the largest free music festival of its kind, boasting stars as big as Lady Gaga to Black Eyed Peas to Calvin Harris. Hosted in the the beautiful fortified town of Floriana, this music show draws crowds of thousands each year. Conveniently, Floriana is located right next to the capital city of Malta – Valletta. The festival is also held throughout the summer, meaning you can spend a sunny day in the capital and head over to the festival at night.
Traditional carnival festivals are celebrated in a number of countries, and Malta is one of such places that takes the cultural event particularly seriously. In fact, carnival celebrations have been an important part of Maltese culture for the past five centuries, having been introduced to the islands by Grand Master Piero de Ponto. Being in Malta during the carnival is a fantastic experience, as you’ll be surrounded by fun costumes, masked balls, extravagant fancy dress parties and incredible, colourful parades all throughout the island’s historical cities. The streets are filled with music, markets and marching bands, and the atmosphere is fantastic all around.
Battle of Malta
The Maltese love poker, and this is never more evident than during the internationally renowned Battle of Malta poker tournament. This five day event is the largest stand-alone poker tournament in all of Europe, attracting thousands of international amateur and pro players each year. The event takes place at Portomaso Casino in the glamorous Portomaso Bay, with plenty of famous restaurants and excellent nightclubs just a stone’s throw away. The poker event is also marked by a number of VIP parties and press events, making it a central part of Maltese nightlife in Autumn even for those who don’t play poker! Pop over to the casino to watch the suspenseful tournament, or just soak up the metropolitan atmosphere at the nearby cocktail bars and nightclubs.
One of the most romantic annual festivals in Malta is undoubtedly Birgufest, the Autumn event taking place in the historic, fortified town of Birgu each October. During this time, an array of candles and lanterns light up the streets at night, setting a magical ambience throughout the town. Museums and restaurants stay open extra late, and children can be treated to historical re-enactments of The Knight’s Order. Stroll along the cobble streets and discover market stalls and floral displays during the wonderfully quaint Birgufest.
This October event is characterised by its nocturnal celebrations of culture, art and people. The city of Valletta lights up spectacularly while museums open their doors to showcase art exhibitions and theatre performances until late into the night. You’ll also find local musicians and entertainers putting on shows in the capital square. Markets selling local produce will line the streets, and shops will remain open especially late. Notte Bianca is a festive event that will fill you with warmth even as the weather dips.
These are just six of many fun annual events the Maltese islands have to offer. Check the tourist board’s calendar for more information on what festivals are taking place at the time of your visit. As tourists will quickly notice, the Maltese are skilled in hosting exceptional parties and memorable celebrations.