Things to do in Malta in December
and dive deeper
Join the Festive Spirit with these Top Things to do in Malta in December.
If you are travelling to Malta in December, there is no way of escaping Christmas. The island is known for its religious celebrations all throughout the year, and no less at Christmas time. Indeed, the streets come to life with Christmas lights, cribs, and carollers, filling the air with that extra festive cheer. Indoors, families go all out with decorations in their houses with cribs and the family heirloom baby Jesus in a manger surrounded by the traditional ‘gulbiena’ – light-deprived vetches that grow tall as they search for light, much like a Christian metaphor.
So as Christmas fills the streets, you can expect to find lots of cultural, religious, and secular activities to join in the festive spirit. Here are the top things to do in December in Malta!
Visit Malta’s churches
What better time of the year to visit the beautiful churches around the Maltese Islands than in December? Every church, chapel and cathedral pulls out all the stops to decorate their interiors with the finest decorations for the most anticipated season of the canonical year. Enter St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, where you will be able to see Caravaggio’s famous masterpiece ‘The Beheading of St John,’ as well as the religious decorations that adorn the columns and walls. There are several other famous churches in Malta, including the Mosta Dome where, during WWII, a bomb that fell through the ceiling of the rotunda did not explode, saving over 300 people from death, and the marvellous Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary in Gozo that is a remarkable sight with its mosaic depictions on the church parvis and the larger-than-life welcoming feel.
See the traditional Maltese cribs
During Christmas time, many people display their ‘Presepji’ (cribs) outside their homes. The traditional Maltese Crib is a recreation of the nativity scene, often using handmade figurines and varied depictions of the Maltese landscape, and sometimes even local personalities such as ‘is-sajjied’ (the fisherman) or ‘tal-hobz’ (the baker). In Malta this December, you will find cribs inside every church, at the entrance to Valletta, as well as buildings hosting elaborate crib exhibitions.
Go to a festive performance
Throughout the festive season in Malta, there are a number of festivals and shows taking place all over the island. Notably, the Manoel Theatre in Valletta stages an annual pantomime that attracts crowds of all ages every year. This year, local theatre company Masquerade is putting up ‘Cikku and the Chocolate Panto, a pantomime rendition of the famed ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.’ There will also be the 4th edition of the Malta International Christmas Choir festival happening between the 22nd and 4th December, at various locations across the island.
See the Cirque du Soleil in Malta
The Cirque du Soleil will be performing their new show ‘Amora’ made exclusively for Malta. The show will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta between the 24th of November and 18th December. The group has stunned audiences worldwide and we are sure that they will continue to do so with the new performance!
See the lights
Malta goes all out in the decorations department and every town is lined with twinkly lights, decorations and more. The commercial areas of the island such as Sliema and Valletta are decked out with the absolute best decorations and even pop on a festive playlist that rings through the streets to get your festive feel flowing while you shop for Christmas gifts in good company.
Fairyland has become a staple in the island’s calendar of events. This December, Fairyland is back for another year filled with festive fun, transforming Pjazza Tritoni right outside Valletta’s City Gate into a winter wonderland for all the family to enjoy. You can ride Rudolph’s Wheel to get a bird’s eye view of the capital, make a pitstop at Santa’s City, browse through the Christmas Market for those stocking fillers and even enjoy a hot cup of cocoa. Fairyland will be open between 8th December and 6th January 2023.
Christmas at the Valletta Waterfront
The Valletta Waterfront takes on a magical Christmas feel throughout the month of December, with festive decorations, music, food, and activities filling the area. There will be lots of free activities for children to enjoy, including live entertainment, balloon modelling, face painting and games. A 35-foot tree, Santa’s house and workshop and handcrafted life-size characters including the Nutcracker Soldier will be displayed along the promenade. The Valletta Waterfront Christmas Wonderland will be welcoming guests between 26th November and 6th January, so be sure to pop by if you are coming to Malta in December!
It would not be Christmas without great food. If you are in Malta during December, you can spend the festive days feasting on various cuisines at one of the many restaurants around the island. Try the Cheeky Monkey Gastropub in Qawra or Valletta for great drinks and a fun-loving crowd or taste impressive cuisine at one of the MICHELIN-awarded Grain restaurants in Valletta – either One Star Under Grain, specialising in fine dining or Bib Gourmand Grain Street, offering an affordable dining experience with plates designed to share. You could also head to Qawra for Mediterranean food at the family friendly Luzzu or spend a day in Sliema and dine at the chic Talk of Town Café, buffet restaurants The Tabloid or Copperfield’s, the Penny Black pub or the award-winning TemptAsian, to name a few.