The Maltese people love to celebrate. There is always something going on in Malta, from traditional village festivals to major cultural events. We’ve come up with a list of our top 10 festivals and events in Malta, but you’ll find plenty more to see and do whenever you visit these beautiful Mediterranean islands. Christmas and Easter are celebrated with church services and religious processions, along with plenty of traditional foods, street parties and more. Every village celebrates its patron saint with gusto, and the festivities often climax with a dazzling firework display.
- Malta Fireworks Festival (end of April)
The Malta Fireworks Festival is a fabulous, explosive affair held over three days at the end of April. On the first night, the firework display takes place in Xagħra in Gozo, and on the second night it is held in the pretty seaside town of Marsaxlokk in the south of Malta. The grand finale is held on the third night in the island capital of Valletta, with the Grand Harbour providing a stunning backdrop.
- Malta International Arts Festival (late June to mid-July)
Malta’s biggest cultural festival showcases internationally celebrated artists and performers from all areas of the arts, including music, theatre, dance and opera. There are scores of performances held at venues across the islands, although most take place in Valletta. There’s plenty to suit everyone, from family-friendly events to outdoor DJ sessions, and from contemporary circuses to opera performances.
- Malta Jazz Festival (July)
Jazz fans shouldn’t miss this 3-day festival dedicated to jazz and blues. Performances are held in venues across Valletta, and feature internationally acclaimed artists. Some events are free.
- Mediterranea (mid-October to mid-November)
The beautiful island of Gozo hosts this annual cultural festival in October. Expect a wide-ranging programme of events from theatre, opera and classical music performances, to traditional food festivals, workshops and talks. Many events are free.
- Malta World Music Festival (late May)
One of the newest events on the Maltese calendar, this was first celebrated in 2017. A two-day event featuring the best world music performers, it is held in the beautiful surroundings of the Fort St Elmo in Valletta. Maltese artists are joined by musicians from as far afield as Finland and Gambia in a fantastically upbeat celebration of the best of world music.
- L-Imnarja harvest festival (end of June)
For a taste of traditional life in Malta, don’t miss the exuberant L-Imnarja harvest festival which is held around the 29th of June every year. The festivities kick off in Buskett Gardens, a small wood located near Rabat. There is traditional Maltese singing and dancing, lots of local foods (including fried rabbit), and the following day you can watch people ride bareback on horses and donkeys to win the coveted ‘Palju’. The ‘Palju’ is a banner that was originally presented to the winners by the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St John, and the tradition has endured.
- Feast of Santa Marija, 15 August
Santa Marija (Our Lady of the Assumption) is the patron saint of Malta, and her feast day on the 15th of August is celebrated as a national holiday. The towns and villages are gaily decorated, there are parades and processions, traditional street parties, music, and dancing. The festivities climax with a fireworks show. There are seven towns and villages that celebrate the event with particular panache: Għaxaq, Gudja, Ħ’Attard, Mosta, Mqabba and Qrendi in Malta, and Victoria in Gozo. Of these, those in Mosta on Malta and Victoria in Gozo are the biggest.
- Carnival (late Feb/early March)
Carnival is celebrated across Malta with costumed parades and colourful floats. Most of the action is centred on the capital of Valletta, where you’ll see locals in elaborate costumes, and can join in the street parties and special events. In Paceville, the main nightlife hub, the bars and clubs have special costumed party nights.
- Għanafest (mid-June)
This wonderful three-day festival takes place in Buskett Gardens, a small forest near Rabat. There are also fringe events in towns and villages across the island. It’s a fantastic opportunity to hear traditional and contemporary Maltese folk singing (Għana in Maltese), and the beautiful location adds to the atmosphere.
- Isle of MTV (end of June)
Concerts, pool parties, internationally renowned DJs and more are on the line-up for this massive MTV party held at the end of June. It’s one of the biggest music festivals in Europe (previous headliners have included Lady Gaga, Dizzee Rascal, and will.i.am), entrance is free and there are no age limits. The festival is held in Floriana, which is just outside the capital of Valletta, and free buses are laid on for visitors.