Malta Tourism: Winter dates for the travel diary
Malta Tourism: Winter dates for the travel diary
With prestigious accolades, new openings, new flight routes and an exciting new gastronomy trail, 2018 will be an exciting time for the Maltese archipelago. The country’s capital will be celebrating becoming the European Capital of Culture 2018, and the celebrations will extend across the islands, with plenty for visitors to see and do for visitors early next year and beyond.
2018 – WHAT’S HOT
Valletta’s tenure as the European Capital of Culture 2018 begins in style with an opening week of festivities being held January 14-21, 2018. Divided into six themes – festa, music and theatre, music, children and young people, sport and history – the city’s streets and diverse venues will be transformed by musicians, street artists and performers. The official launch will be on 20th January 2018 with Triton Square, St George’s Square, St John’s Square and Castille Square showcasing aerobatics, modern dance performances, live music and a 3D mapping projection.
Jet2 has announced the launch of a new summer 2018 flight route from Belfast International Airport to Malta commencing on April 5, 2018 with weekly flights. Ryanair started its own flight to Belfast this October, so Malta is now even more accessible to the Northern Ireland market and cements its status as one of 2018’s hottest destinations.
Starting from May 1, 2018, Air Malta will be reintroducing flights from Manchester to Malta on a weekly basis throughout the summer until October 16, 2017. Following the discontinuation of this route at the start of summer 2017, the decision has now been reversed in line with Air Malta’s growth strategy.
Annie Mac’s Lost & Found music festival is returning to Malta for the fourth year in May 2018 with sets from worldwide DJs, night-long castle raves and boat parties in the Mediterranean sunshine. Now a huge fixture on the dance music festival scene, Malta will host a stellar line up including Diplo, Jamie xx, Hot Since 82 and Patrick Topping among other hot acts. For more information on tickets, click here.
The Malta Tourism Authority has launched a new Gastro Trail of Malta and Gozo to highlight some of the best spots for travelers to discover the Maltese Island’s delicious culinary scene. A blend of Italian, Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine, the new Gastro Trail explores restaurants, bars and farms across both Malta and Gozo. Epicureans will also delight at the stunning wine offering from the small archipelago, with many producers gaining international recognition for both indigenous and blended vintages, the best of which are marked on the trail. The first in a series of themed ‘Trails’, this map has been designed to be taken in bitesize chunks. Visitors can download the Gastro Trail here and use it as their foodie guide for their entire stay on the islands and visit each one, or simply stop off at the ones that take their fancy.
Inbound tourism figures to Malta in October 2017 were estimated at 245,922, an increase of 12% year on year, according to the National Statistics Office. Of those, 209,832 visitors were for holiday purposes whilst 19,712 trips were for business. Inbound tourists from EU Member States were up by 11.3% and the total nights spent in Malta surpassed 1.6 million nights. Tourist expenditure has also increased by 10.2% compared to October 2016, estimated at €208.9 million.
A new Holiday Inn Express has opened in beachside St Julian’s, with free Wi-Fi and breakfast included. The hotel is located only an 18-minute drive from Malta International Airport. A two-minute walk from the hotel, guests can sunbathe next to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea at sandy St George’s Bay beach, while the nearby Bay Street Shopping Complex offers shops, restaurants and family entertainment, with a casino and a cinema next door.
Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour is a new boutique property in the Three Cities that offers style, luxury and unparalleled comfort. The building, dating back to 1554, features soaring ceilings and chalk-white walls, with elegant yet contemporary interiors to reflect its rich history. Suites boast flat screen TVs, king size beds and a relaxing lounge area whilst the rooftop pool offers breath-taking views of Valletta’s Grand Harbour.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES
Malta has recently been named as one of Lonely Planet’s destinations to visit in 2018 on its prestigious Best in Travel list. The highly anticipated yearbook features the top ten countries, cities, regions and best value destinations recommended by its team of experts. Peter Vella, director UK & Ireland, Malta Tourism Authority, said: “We are absolutely delighted to feature in Lonely Planet’s top 10. Next year, Valletta will take center stage as European Capital of Culture 2018, building on a strong cultural heritage that is the beating heart of our islands.”
Many other titles have named Malta as a must visit destination in 2018 including Rough Guides, DK Eyewitness Travel, United Nations World Tourism Organization and Travel + Leisure.
For the second consecutive year, the waters surrounding the Maltese archipelago have been voted the second-best diving destination in the world, with Egypt taking the top spot. Chosen by Diver Magazine readers and commemorated at the Dive Show in October 2017, the awards celebrate the very best in the diving industry from leading destinations to instructors and companies.
DATES FOR THE DIARY
Festivals and Events
See in the new year in style in Malta’s capital, Valletta. This year’s celebrations are extra special as the city welcomes its European Capital of Culture 2018 accolade. Visitors can expect performances from local musicians, street performers and the annual fireworks display at midnight.
The Valletta International Baroque Festival celebrates the city’s establishment at the height of the baroque period and honors its vital role in European history. Each day of the two-week-long festival features an ensemble of top international baroque musicians at different breath-taking venues across the city.
In commemoration of the St. Paul’s shipwreck in Malta in 60 AD, a celebration is held annually at the Parish Church of St. Paul, Valletta. Credited with establishing the first Christian community on the island, St. Paul is a huge figure for Maltese people who gather to feast on Maltese food, listen to festa band marches and watch religious processions in the streets.
The Malta and Gozo Carnival is a five-day celebration featuring colorful floats, extravagant costumes and parties into the early hours. The heart of the action takes place in Malta’s capital, Valletta, with a parade that includes adults and children in a variety of amazing costumes. The neighboring island of Gozo offers an alternative side to Carnival; the festivities are far more spontaneous with hundreds gathering on the island in masks and heavy make-up, creating a seriously eerie party atmosphere.
The largest in Malta, the annual Vodafone Malta Marathon sees 4,500 participants take part in an island-wide race from Mdina to Sliema. Attended by runners across the world, the route passes through Malta’s scenic towns and villages, with live bands entertaining participants along the way.
Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean. Comprising three main islands – Malta, Comino and Gozo – Malta is known for its history, culture and temples dating back over 7,000 years. In addition to its fortresses, megalithic temples and burial chambers, Malta is blessed with nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine every year. Capital city Valletta has been named European Capital of Culture 2018, which will see a huge program of cultural events rolled out. Malta is part of the EU and 100% English speaking. The archipelago is famous for its diving, which attracts aficionados from around the world, whilst the nightlife and music festival scene attract a younger demographic of traveler. Malta is a short three and a quarter hour flight from the UK, with daily departures from all major airports across the country. For more information, click here.