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Events to Catch in Malta
The Mediterranean islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino may be small but they pack a serious cultural punch to add to their allure as a beach destination. This archipelago is drenched in history, and as well as its Roman ruins, medieval castles, walled cities and atmospheric forts you’ll find a whole array of festivals and other events to join in with – ones that will help you truly get under the skin of this compelling country.
Malta hosts one of Europe’s biggest free summer festivals: the annual Isle of MTV organised by MTV Europe. Now in its 14th year, it returns to the iconic Il-Fosos Square on 19 July and looks set to attract its pre-Covid crowds of more than 50,000 revellers. This year’s event features two Grammy-nominated artists, superstar producer and headliner DJ Marshmello and multi-platinum artist, entrepreneur and humanitarian French Montana.
Another prestigious annual event is April’s Mużika Mużika (Festival Kanzunetta Maltija), which brings together different genres of Maltese music. Meanwhile, the Malta Jazz Festival (11–16 July this year) is admired by the global jazz community for showing artistic integrity in blending the savant and more popular elements of jazz. There’s also the Malta International Music Festival (classical; 15 June–13 July 2022).
Feasts and Festas in the Three Cities and Elsewhere
Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua are seen as the cradle of Maltese history for having provided a refuge for almost all the settlers who came to these islands. A five-minute ferry ride from Valletta, they’re one of the best places to see authentic local life in action –especially on a holy day or festa, when they are at their most compelling. During the Easter processions, for instance, statues of the Risen Christ are carried briskly through the thronged streets.
The Three Cities were the first homes to the Knights of St John, meaning their palaces, churches, forts and bastions are much older than Valletta’s. There are also gorgeously restored Maltese townhouses, a glamorous marina filled with super-yachts, and superb waterside restaurants. The best way to see the Three Cities is by electric self-drive buggy known as a 'Rolling Geek' with a pre-programmed GPS and a dashboard-mounted iPad for taking selfies.
Religious feasts (festas) are integral to Maltese culture and tradition and you might happen upon one from May to September while exploring either Malta or Gozo (some are national holidays, including the Feast of Santa Marija in mid-August). As well as honouring parish’s patron saints with religious elements, they feature regional food sold from stalls and street carts and music from local bands. A big festa is the harvest festival of Mnarja at the end of June.
Other Annual Events in Malta
You might also want to time your holiday here with the Malta Fireworks Festival, which takes place each April – a glorious seven-night affair with changing displays of different colours, shapes and rhythms, including the Pyromusical competition with its fireworks designed to match a musical number.
Other highlights are the Malta International Arts Festival (18 June–3 July 2022) with its visual arts, dance, theatre and music by local artists, and October’s Notte Bianca, a nocturnal celebration of people, culture and arts, with all-night art exhibitions and theatrical performances and local and international musicians and dancers in streets and piazzas.
Lastly, on Gozo in mid-autumn, the Festival Mediterranea celebrates that island’s culture through walks and talks in historic places, gastronomic events and art exhibitions.
To find out more about Malta or to book your trip, call your Travel Counsellor today.
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