Winter in Malta: What You Can Expect
Malta has a fantastic Mediterranean climate that most people describe as characterised by a warm winter and hot summer. No one can dispute the heat in summer. However, personally, I would not describe our weather as being warm in winter. So what is winter like in Malta?
In general Malta is cold in winter, with January being the coldest month of the year, with an average high of 15°C and low of 10°C. Although not necessarily that cold, it feels colder because of the wind and high humidity on the island. There is also around 415 millimetres of rainfall on 10% of the days during winter months.
Monthly Average Temperature
The weather in winter time is variable even within one given year. For example, in 2022 we had a cold spell for around 2-3 weeks in November, after that the weather got warmer again. The weather just did not want to settle.
Some years are bitterly cold at winter time. On the other hand we get the odd winter here and there that – yes, is mild and most people would describe as warm. Here is a quick overview of Malta’s average temperature on a monthly basis to give you an idea of the climate.
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Malta officially recorded light to heavy snowfall 6 times in the last 200 years. The last time Malta experienced snowfall was on the 31st January 1962. Hence snowfall is a rare occurrence and generally unheard of for Malta.
Malta is just not in a geographical location on the planet where snow falls. Additionally the highest point in Malta is Ta’ Dmejrek in Dingli Cliffs at 253 meters above sea level. There aren’t any high mountainous areas where snow can fall and settle.
Hence, if you are after some winter sports, Malta is not for you. However here is a list of some of the best places in Europe for winter sports.
You can also consider another nearby island to Malta, which also has mild weather and is way cheaper than Malta – Sicily has fantastic slopes in 3 different ski resorts. Two of which are on top of Etna which is a UNESCO heritage site.
The Nicolosi ski resort in particular is fantastic with advanced slopes for anyone with a serious skiing game. However there are also skiing schools for beginners. Not everywhere you stay in Nicolosi will give you easy access to go skiing, so here is where to stays in Nicolosi to make the most of the slopes.
Although winter in Malta is cold most years there is still plenty to do around the island. Everything remains open throughout the winter months and the Christmas spirit in December time is very much alive and well on the island.
So even though Malta does not experience snow, Malta is great to visit during the winter season. It is cheaper than summer time, offering many things to do in Malta, but of course there are the highlights you just cannot miss.
The Baroque capital of Valletta is one of them. With Valletta mostly pedestrianised, the best way to explore the city is on foot. This inexpensive and well-rated guided walking tour of Valletta including St. John’s Co-Cathedral will give you a good overview. Plus it takes you to St. John’s Co-Cathedral which is the crown jewel of Valletta if not of Malta.
If you are travelling with family, especially younger children, you may want to check out the things to do in Malta with kids. There are plenty of free things, but also some paid activities you may want to consider to keep them entertained.
Moreover during Christmas time in Malta you get to celebrate the joy of Christmas. From Santa to the more religious focused aspect of the birth of Christ, Malta has a little bit of everything. Including lovely Christmas lights in many villages and cribs located in different parts of the island.
Additionally most modern buildings have good heating systems so they provide a nice refuge to shelter from the cold. However older buildings remain cold so while visiting you might want to keep your jacket on when visiting some attractions.
Average Sea Temperature
The sea in Malta does get cold during peak winter months. However it does take long for the sea to get cold after the summer months. In fact you will usually still find people swimming in the sea during the month of October. After that, people that go for a dip into the sea will wear a wet suit.
People that go swimming in the sea in winter say it is much better than summer. You can enjoy the beach and sea with very few people around, the water is cleaner and you can spot more wildlife.
For example in Ghadira Bay which is one of the best beaches in Malta you could potentially see some sting rays and octopus. They tend to move further towards the shores during winter, because they feel more secure when there are less people around.
Another option if you are really adamant to swim at this time of year, is picking a place to stay with an indoor pool. The climate of the water and indoor environment will be controlled so you can enjoy your dip.
On average Malta has 237 windy days throughout the year. Wind speeds vary from just under 2km per hour to 39kms per hour. The cooler 6 months of the year are more windy and gale force winds can occur from December through till March. January usually is the month with the most wind.
As a result whenever there it is wind it will feel colder. However most of the time the wind is not bad at all. There are only some days that are incredibly windy when you would consider staying home.
Whenever there is a force 4 (F4) or higher wind forecast, it is best not to travel by sea. Even from a distance of several kilometres you will notice numerous white swells in the sea. It is a tell tail sign that sea conditions are not great and if you can best avoided.
In fact as a family we tend to avoid travelling to Gozo when it is windy because the ferry will rock back and forth. The ferry service may even stop for a while until the conditions improve.
With F4 you can travel around on land with no problem whatsoever. However if the wind speed goes up to F7 or more, then you should be more cautious. This is because trees have fallen down before at these sorts of wind speeds. Usually that kind of wind speed happens in the evening or at night and only happens around once a year.
Malta has around 600mm of rainfall, that occurs on 15% of days throughout the year. Most rainfall happens during cooler months, from October through to February. Here is a chart of the average Yearly rainfall:
Instead of snow, Malta in general experiences a hail storm around once a year. For example in November 2022 Malta experienced some bad weather and a sudden temperature drop. However bad weather never really lasts that long here. In fact here is the rainbow right after a storm we had in November.
Unfortunately the rainbow did not last long. That evening we had a bad hail storm, here are the small hail stones in pots that eve.
The cold weather did not usher in a cold and bitter winter. The cold spell only lasted a few weeks, and although still a little cooler it allowed us to meet family over the weekend. In fact our Sunday consisted of horse riding and then out for lunch in a restaurant close to Golden Bay.
The weather was so nice that people were out on the beach, either playing beach volley or relaxing in the sun. One of the benefits of winter sun in Malta is that the UV level is low at this time of year with no risk of sun burn.
There was one brave person in the sea without a wet suit! Here is how the beach looked like: