Diving in Malta © iStock/Wojciech-P
Those from the higher reaches of the northern hemisphere will be familiar with the presence of woollen jumpers and landscapes blanketed in snow come wintertime. However, elsewhere in the world, winter isn’t quite the same picture. Step in Malta, where Christmas is awash with all the usual feasts, sparkles and celebrations, and yet the temperature rarely drops below 10°C. Added to this, wintertime offers an endless portfolio of outdoor experiences and adventure sports. Here are our picks of the best activities to guarantee a memorable Christmas in Malta.
Explore the depths at Għar Lapsi
In Malta, where the water remains warm in winter and the visibility is high, diving is a hugely popular seasonal pursuit. There are many specialised dive centres accommodating first-timers and experienced divers alike. Of all the bucket list sights, the cave at Għar Lapsi might be the most spectacular. Its crystal-clear aquamarine waters and rocky shoreline are a favourite among locals and visitors.
Take to the hills of Gozo
It’s not quite warm enough to while away the days on Malta’s pristine beaches at Christmas. However, with the island’s cooler temperatures, mountain biking is a rewarding activity. The island of Gozo is hilly, wild and rocky – ideal for any keen mountain biker to head off road during the winter months.
Canter across Għajn Tuffieħa
The legacy of the Knights of the Order of St. John, who made Malta their home hundreds of years ago, is clear to see almost everywhere on the island. Follow in their footsteps and track Malta’s rich heritage on horseback. In Għajn Tuffieħa, Golden Bay offers a scenic opportunity for hour-long nature rides around the north of the island. There are also longer horse rides available, during which there’s an invitation to watch the sun set over the Mediterranean.
Scale the canyon at Wied Babu
Malta, with its rough and rocky terrain, is a popular spot for rock climbers, both those new to the sport and inveterate mountain conquerors. There are more than 1,300 individual climbing routes dispersed across the island, and the canyon at Wied Babu is highly recommended. At this spectacularly scenic valley, there are various challenges to suit all tastes, from bouldering to deep-water soloing.
Go hiking at Mellieħa
A visit to Mellieħa is sure to rack up the daily step count. This raw terrain is popular among hikers who want to snap photographs of some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Mellieħa is close to Comino and the famous blue lagoon, which may well be the most photogenic spot in the archipelago.
Alongside the wealth of outdoor activities offered over Christmas in Malta, there is also plenty for a more sedentary festive season. Hearty feasts are traditional here and are often enjoyed with local wine and toasted with something sparkling. It’s certainly a rewarding return after building up an appetite on a swashbuckling adventure.