Festivals and events
Festivals and events in Malta happen all year round and meet every taste of both tourists and the Maltese. Expect to find local and international events, entertainment, exhibitions, Carnival and Summer festivals, annual arts and music festivals. In other words, everything from religious festivities to world-famous music festivals and traditional village feasts or national holidays to food and wine festivals. In Malta there’s much more to do besides enjoying the beaches or discovering Maltese history in its monuments.
Alarme! is a one-hour event held at Valletta’s historic Fort St Elmo, re-enacting the day in 1798 when Napoleon’s revolutionary fleet was sighted on the Mediterranean Sea. Only two years later, the Maltese rebelled against the unpopular French. This is one more great event to get to know Malta’s history. The show starts at 11am on the third Sunday of the month and costs €5.
Carnival in Malta has been an important event for five centuries, since its introduction on the islands by the Order of St John. In the beginning, Carnival was officially celebrated in Birgu, Valletta, where some knights played in tournaments.
This festival held by the Malta Tourism Authority is a successful Maltese food and drink extravaganza. Local and foreign chefs serve you the best food the Mediterranean region has to offer during a four-day festival. Did you love the Maltese food you tasted so far? Go to this event and understand its origins and how it influenced the culinary of other countries.
Freedom Day is a Maltese holiday. The events take place at the War Memorial in Floriana and traditional regatta boat races are held in the Grand Harbour of Valletta.
As you can see in Malta’s history and the many churches in Malta and Gozo, the Maltese are very devoted Christians. So, Holy Week is an event they take seriously. This religious celebration takes a lot of Maltese to church to commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.
Holy Week starts on the Friday preceding Good Friday, with the life-size Statue of Our Lady of Sorrows being carried and followed in procession through the streets of many towns and villages in Malta by hundreds of parishioners dressed in costumes that mimic clothes from the Old Testament.
The Malta International Fireworks Festival is an amazing event celebrated every year to display Malta’s firework factories expertise. They do it so well because Malta has a long tradition of fireworks since the time of the Order of the Knights of St John, when explosives were used to celebrate special occasions. Fireworks then developed into a craft during the period of Malta’s history in which the British ruled.
If you like local festivities or festivals, Malta is the place for you. The Maltese have more than 75 local village feasts during the summer. These originally religious festivities are in honour of the town’s patron saint. All events like this in Malta have fireworks, religious processions and brass band music marches, which are all very fun to watch. These events are so popular among tourists that a few local tour operators even organise trips to some of the most popular “festas”. Catch a glimpse of what Malta is all about, specially in the main events of Saturdays and Sundays.
This international festival in Malta is organised every year since 1990. The three-day event always features top musicians that Jazz lovers will recognize. Expect to find a mix of Jazz styles performing under the beautiful Maltese night sky in the historical location of Ta’Liesse, in the Great Harbour of Valletta. Even if you are not a Jazz fan, the setting of this great festival in Malta is something not to be missed.
The Farsons Great Beer Festival claims to be the biggest and most diverse free outdoor festival in Malta. Of course it is sponsored by Farsons, a Maltese brand which sells the beer produced and imported by them. But this is an event for the whole family in a popular environment with around 40 live bands performing on two stages, kids’ Fantasyland and a lot of Maltese food and drink. The festival starts at 8pm everyday, in Ta’Qali park. Entrance and parking is free.
The first edition of Malta’s wine festival was in 2002. This Maltese event is the way the country celebrates the beginning of the wine harvest. It offers visitors a wide range of quality wines from Malta and Gozo in the beautiful setting of the Upper Barrakka Gardens, once again in the Grand Harbour of Valletta.
This event celebrates the lifting of the 1565 siege against the Turks, the capitulation of the French in 1800 and the end of the siege of the Axis powers in 1943, all part of Malta’s history. On the same day, Valletta’s Grand Harbour is the scenery to a traditional regatta of colourful boats.
Independence Day is celebrated every year since 1964, when Malta attained its independence from the UK. Several events take place in different settings.
The first edition of this Maltese Air Festival was back in 1993. Throughout the day (10.00-18.00h), on land, visitors have access to some of the Luqa Airfield ramps (south of Valletta), watch the many types of civil and military aircrafts on display or chat with the pilots in The Malta International Airshow. You even have aircrafts from World War II, in which Malta played a vital role.
The BirguFest Festival in Malta was created to celebrate the past of Citta Vittoriosa (Birgu’s old name) and show its history and beautiful architecture. But it soon became one of the biggest and best cultural events in Malta.
The festival lasts 3 days, in which activities held throughout the day consist of guided tours around the city, re-enactments, parades, traditional and modern musical concerts, exhibitions and food stalls offering not only Maltese food but also other tasty delicacies. Birgu’s museums are open late, entrances are cheaper and some usually closed venues open to to public.
Festival Mediterranea is an event that turns the Gozo island into a big party that glorifies its cultural and artistic life. There are music concerts, walks and talks in ancient and historic places, field trips, food and drink events and art exhibitions.
It celebrates the day, in 1974, when the constitution of Malta was substantially revised, changing its statute from Commonwealth Realm into a republic within the Commonwealth. This was when the Head of State ceased to be the Queen of England, giving way to the figure of the President of Malta. To commemorate the event, people have festivities on the streets and horse races are held at Marsa.
In Guardia Parades are colourful events in which actors show tourists in Malta how the inspection of the Fort St Elmo and its troops was actually made by the Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St John. Organised by Malta Tourism Authority, In Guardia Parades are performed by about 70 actors dressed in ceremony uniforms from that time of Malta’s history, demonstrating the military power of the Maltese.