Photo: © viewingmalta.com
Over the last few years, New Year’s Eve celebrations in Malta have been taken to new levels with bustling street parties and firework displays that rival the best in Europe. Whether you plan to indulge in some traditional cuisine, catch the harbour-side fireworks, or hit the clubs, here’s how to welcome 2018 with a bang.
Sample Some Traditional Festive Food
Let’s face it, you’re probably going to need a decent meal to set you up for celebrating New Year in Malta. Fortunately, Maltese festive dishes – with their blend of Moorish, Sicilian and British influences – tend towards the hearty. Head to one of the restaurants along the Valletta Waterfront for a long and leisurely dinner before the festivities kick off. Local staples include rich baked macaroni (imqarrun il-forn) and roast chicken with potatoes (tiġieġa bil-patata il-forn). Those wanting to start their night at the Marina Hotel will be treated to live music and various festive menus. For dessert, try a traditional treacle-filled honey ring (qagħaq tal-għasel) and, of course, a cup of strong coffee to keep you going well into the early hours.
Try a Mug of Imbuljuta Tal-Qastan
This warming concoction is traditionally sipped after Midnight Mass and on New Year’s Eve in Malta. Think of it as a super luxe hot chocolate; a perfectly spiced, creamy blend of chestnuts, cocoa, tangerine rind and cloves, it tastes like the festive season in a mug. It’s just the drink to fortify you for the evening’s celebrations ahead, as the usually mild daytime temperatures take a turn for the chilly.
Join the Street Party in Floriana
The pretty town of Floriana, just outside of Valletta, has been holding its famous New Year’s Eve celebrations since 2010. In fact, it’s so popular that it often brings the town to a standstill, and has become a highly anticipated part of the festivities all over Malta. St Anne’s, one of Malta’s busiest streets, is entirely closed off for the night for what is essentially one giant street party. Our tip? Head down early to soak up the atmosphere.
Watch the Fireworks Show in Valletta
The spectacular fireworks display in the capital is definitely the highlight of the country’s end of year celebrations. St George’s Square and the Valletta Waterfront draw huge crowds and are great places to get into the Maltese party spirit as locals, expats and tourists come together for the countdown. Live bands and street performers set the mood before the fireworks light up the old city. Watch from the Waterfront promenade to get caught under the big confetti shower at midnight.
Party into New Year’s Day in St. Julian’s
The fireworks are spent, the street parties are winding down, and people are filing home to sleep off their hangovers. Now’s the time for the truly dedicated to step up – this is New Year’s Eve after all. If you want to dance your way into 2018, your best bet is to head back towards the Marina Hotel to the island’s nightlife hub of Paceville, St Julian’s. It’s generally agreed that those with stamina hop their way through the district, although on New Year’s Eve this might prove a little difficult. Many of the events are ticketed and prone to selling out in advance, so be sure to do your research first.