December in Malta mainly means one thing: Christmas! As a traditionally Roman Catholic country, Christmas is a big event on the Maltese calendar, with several people eagerly decorating their homes for the celebrations as early as an entire month before.
However, December is when it all comes together – with shops opening till late and offering special deals, families, friends, and even coworkers getting together for food and drinks, and decorations lighting up the front of houses, streets, and shops.
Students will also be getting off school thanks to the seasonal holidays, along with several workers also get a few days off around Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. This means that the island is busy with locals shopping, drinking, dining, and entertaining themselves, alongside many visitors who come to make the best of the warm Christmas.
In fact, by Northern European standards, December weather in Malta is rather warm, with sunny days and clear blue skies being common. Of course, there’s no guarantee for this, and some past December months have been the opposite.
December in Malta is not usually the coldest month of the year. In fact, sunshine and clear blue skies are a common occurrence around this time. Many choose to visit the island for an end-of-year holiday that gives them a break from the icy cold back home (particularly those coming from Northern countries).
Nonetheless, there’s no guarantee that this month will always be sunny. Occasionally, it has been known to be bitterly cold with strong winds, lots of rain, and sometimes even hail. In fact, the average rainfall for this month is around 96.2mm, while the average number of sunshine hours is about 5.2 hours a day.
Whatever the case, temperatures in December tend to average around 11-17o C (52-62o F). While this may not seem like it’s very cold, the strong humidity makes temperatures feel much lower than they are. This is also made worse by the porous building materials used that soak up moisture, the lack of insulation, and the lack of central heating. All in all, a Maltese winter is one that makes you feel cold to the core.
Furthermore, swimming is not recommended as the sea temperature is a chilly 19o C (66o F).
For the most part, yes. When compared to other countries, especially Northern European ones, Malta is much warmer come December. Of course, this is no guarantee that it won’t be cold. In fact, low temperatures tend to feel much chillier than they actually are due to the harsh winds and high humidity.
However, blue skies and warm sunshine are the norm. Apart from some days that can bring rain or hail storms, December weather is rather mild.
Yes, usually. For the most part, December in Malta is relatively mild, with warm sunny days being common. Of course, this is no guarantee and rain and hail can hit unexpectedly. However, apart from some windy days, the weather during the month tends to be quite stable.
Nonetheless, this is not to say that it won’t be cold. Since the high levels of humidity make the temperatures feel much lower than they actually are, particularly indoors.
December is a lovely time in Malta. The streets start getting decorated early on (sometimes as early as the end of November), so that every roundabout and the main junction is filled with colourful lights and nativity scenes. Maltese locals also do their part in dressing up their homes with Santas, Christmas trees, window-side cribs, and flashing lights. All in all, looking at the decorations is a fun activity on its own and a way to experience the true Maltese Christmas spirit.
Apart from this, shops start to open till late, with many playing Christmas carols that can be heard in the street. In fact, the main Republic street in Valletta often includes Christmas carols on loudspeakers, fake snow falling overhead, and beautiful displays of dazzling lights and a blown-glass Christmas tree.
It’s safe to say that the general atmosphere in the air is one of merriment. Schools close down for the Christmas holidays and many people take time off work to enjoy the festive period with families and friends. Restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues fill up with people holding reunions or end-of-year celebrations – including most (if not all) places of work.
Keep this in mind when planning your trip to Malta around this time, as you’re likely to face large crowds and busy locations.
As can be expected, the December social calendar is a busy month on the Maltese islands. However, if you want a break from festivities and celebrations, you can always opt for some quieter activities, guided tours, or exciting adventures.
If you’re considering going on sightseeing tours while you’re visiting, there are a couple that are well suited for this time of year:
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While unusual to be swimming this late in the year, that’s not to say it is completely impossible. On the occasion that you get lucky and experience a particularly warm, sunny December day, it’s definitely nice to spend some time at the beach. Of course, the sea is quite chilly at this time and it really depends on how brave you are feeling!
However, do beware that locals tend to not venture into the water in December and you won’t find the usual commodities of deckchairs, umbrellas, kiosks/vans, watersports, or even lifeguards. You’ll also have to be extra careful about strong winds and powerful undercurrents, as well as any sudden changes in weather. You do not want to be caught near the sea if the elements pick up!
That being said, a gentle walk along the promenade can be a much better alternative to your relaxing holiday if the day turns out to be nice.
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If you’re looking for a change in activities from guided tours and organised events, you can always look into having some quiet fun on your own. Here’s a shortlist with some ideas:
Yes, December is a good time to visit Malta, particularly if you’re looking for a warm winter break from the cold season back home. You won’t miss out on festive celebrations either, but rather, get to enjoy doing them in warmer, and possibly sunny, weather.
December is a busy month in Malta due to the Christmas season. Many expats living abroad return to the island to spend time with family or friends, while many choose to take a festive break in a warm country. This means that places of accommodation fill up quickly.
It’s best to think ahead if you’re planning to travel to Malta around this time and book a hotel, Bed and Breakfast, or AirBnB with time to spare.
If you want to spend your time in Malta buying presents, benefitting from end-of-year sales, and eating and drinking good food, then I suggest staying somewhere like Sliema, St Julian’s, Gżira, Msida, or Ta’ Xbiex. These spots are all close to the most commercially popular areas which overflow with life at any time of day. Paceville is also great for those wanting to enjoy the nightlife on their holiday.
Alternatively, Valletta is another place that offers great choices for restaurants, bars, and high street shops. However, it comes with the added benefit of being the capital city, full of historical sites and museums, and also home to the main bus terminus.
If, on the other hand, you want a quiet break from your busy life back home, then a smaller village at either far end of the island is best. Mellieħa, Xemxija, Qawra, St Paul’s Bay, and Buġibba are towards the North. Marsascala, Marsaxlokk, Birżebbuġa, and Xgħajra are towards the South. Keep in mind that these seaside villages cater more for summertime tourists, but are nonetheless available and beautiful in the wintertime.
Gozo is also a great option for a quiet winter retreat, offering several boutique hotels and farmhouses for a Christmas getaway.
Read more here: Where to Stay in Malta.
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