Imagine sitting at a cafe in the sun, watching the waves roll gently toward the shore. The weather is perfect–about 77 degrees F., (about 25 degrees C). Is it spring in Malta? Or a cool day in the summer? No, this is Malta on December 5th, as I write this.
As I look around I see all the preparations that every country does for Christmas. But here the holiday lights are strung across olive trees.
While it’s true that the months of November through March make up the rainy and windy season in Malta, the island is a great place to visit during this time. Even when it’s chilly in January and February, the Mediterranean sun is so warm that you can sit outside and feel very comfortable.
Here’s why you should come to Malta during the winter and how to prepare for your trip:
Why Come in the Winter
1. Prices for hotels are a lot cheaper. In the summer, not only is it hard to find a free room, but it will cost you anywhere from 80 to 150 Euros for a four-star hotel. From November to March, however, the prices for a decent hotel drop dramatically, so you may end up only paying 50 to 120 Euros per night.
2. In general, Malta is a lot less crowded in the winter. You don’t need reservations for many things that you do in the summer, such as the Hypogeum (a major archeological attraction). There isn’t any waiting for restaurants as there is in the summer.
3. One of the best things about the winter: It never snows in Malta. It just doesn’t get cold enough. In Malta, the average daytime temperature in the coldest winter months is 16 degrees C., which is 60 degrees F. However, as good as that sounds, there are days of rain and a strong wind off the sea. The weather in Malta’s winter can change quickly in one day. It can rain heavily for 15 minutes early in the morning and then clear up and actually get quite warm by midday.
Therefore, remember to do the following when coming to Malta in the winter:
1. Bring some warm clothes. This includes a warm jacket with a hood (but not as heavy as you need in a snowy climate). If you don’t wear a hood, then bring a pullover cap to wear with your jacket. A scarf is also a good idea. Dress in layers and prepare to remove your outer layers as the day warms up or when you walk or sit in the sun.
2. Bring rain gear–rain jacket, umbrella and even waterproof shoes or boots. When it rains in Malta, flooding is common in the streets because of the poor drainage. If you want to avoid wet socks and feet, pack those rain boots.
3. Most Maltese homes and flats have no central heating. So if you rent a flat in the winter, make sure yours comes equipped with a gas heater and warm blankets.
4. Don’t forget to bring sunblock and sunglasses. The warm winter Mediterranean sun can still cause sunburn even in lower temperatures.
If you want a relaxing holiday in a warmer-then usual-winter climate–and you come prepared for some chilly and wet weather–you’ll enjoy Malta when others are shivering in the cold.
Ilene Springer lives and teaches EFL in Malta. She is author of An-American-in-Malta.