21st December marks the official shift to winter, and although we’re still more or less a month away from that date, it’s important to know what to expect if you’ll be spending at least some of your winter time in Malta.
We don’t hear much about Maltese winter, do we? All the magazines and blogs seem to advertise our unmatchable summers. It seems that our little island has taken the title of ‘sunny Malta’ for so long that visiting the island in any other kind of weather can be a bit of a let-down for some. However, the truth is that winter in Malta has its charm too, although it might not be obvious from the start if you were expecting summer vibes in December and January.
Plus, in the end, it kind of depends on what your definition of a charming winter is. If you’re dead set on getting metaphorically lost in mountains and mountains of snow during the winter time, you should probably pick another season to visit the island, where you can get acquainted with the typical ‘sunny Malta’.
For those of you ready to take the road less travelled and opt to experience winter in Malta, here’s a small list of what to expect.
How cold does it get?
Winter here can be fun for people who like guessing games. Malta’s weather tends to be pretty unpredictable as soon as summer says its final goodbyes and Autumn starts creeping in. Once winter arrives, the unpredictability continues.
The fact of the matter is that as far as coldness goes, Maltese winters are really mild, on the whole. There’s often quite a bit of sunniness to go around, and wearing short sleeves at the Christmas lunch table is not uncommon at all.
Don’t be too quick to only pack t-shirts, though, as it can also get really cold here, especially at night. Granted, it might not get as cold as it does in other parts of the world (no snow means we don’t really get to sub-zero temperatures), but you’ll usually be grateful you remembered to bring a jacket! Plus, we can get some pretty heavy winds here, which you’ll definitely need some armour for.
What is the rain like in winter?
Don’t expect it to rain every day in Malta, but when it does rain it tends to pour. The general pattern is one or two weeks of no rain, followed by a pretty heavy outpouring that can last the whole day (if not two days).
The reality is that sometimes the rain here seems worse than it actually is. Why? For two main reasons:
1) Flooding: In Malta, you don’t need to worry about water rising to the top floor of your home, but quite a few areas in Malta are prone to flooding, such as Msida and Birkirkara. It’s recommended that you avoid these areas, and similar areas, during heavy rains as much as possible. Although it’s unlikely that floods will reach dangerous levels, it’s best to always be cautious.
2) Traffic jams: For inexplicable reasons, the traffic situation in Malta tends to worsen as soon as rain occurs. To be fair, we reckon that fears of flooding might have something to do with it, but you will notice this to be case even during light drizzles. If you find yourself caught in traffic while exploring the island, have some patience. All the places you wanted to go to in Malta are still worth going to!
Is there anything you can’t do during winter here?
Our honest answer is no. Sure, when the weather is bad, you’ll want to stay away from cliffy areas, and maybe be more cautious overall. However, because such weather doesn’t happen too often here, you can usually do anything you would otherwise do in the warmer months. We do mean anything – plenty of people have been known to sneak off to the beach, too!
Plus, because children have school and the parents take less time off, Malta will be less crowded than it usually is in summer. The ungodly morning traffic usually subsides by 9 am, and then exploring the island is a real breeze!
There’s no other way to say it: Maltese winters are great! Sure, it can get cold, and you might be subjected to some heavy rain every few weeks. That’s no different to most areas around the world, and if you’re disappointed about those prospects, you might be looking at the wrong continent to spend your winter months!
Malta is a great choice for a winter holiday, though, because it is a lot milder than a lot of other countries, and as a result you are still likely to enjoy some warmth here. The rain isn’t too frequent, and the cold is usually very bearable.
We encourage you to pack for all types of weather. Have some t-shirts handy alongside your jackets, pullovers, and scarves, and you’ll be completely set to enjoy your winter holiday here!