Are you still looking for a vacation destination during the Easter holidays? Find out why April is the perfect period to visit Malta.
We traveled to Malta during the Easter holidays last year. We left without too many expectations, but we were secretly hoping for some sun. When we arrived in Malta our low expectations were immediately rewarded by beautiful spring weather with a bright sun and lush, green landscapes. As icing on the cake, we could enjoy the spectacular Easter festivities!
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Why choose Malta as destination?
First things first, here’s some background information about Malta. Malta is located to the south of Europe in the Mediterranean Sea. Contrary to what many people think, Malta is not an island, but an archipelago consisting of several islands. The main island of Malta, with a few smaller islands including the most famous ones Gozo and Comino.
It’s difficult for me to compare Malta with other Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Greece or Spain. Malta has a completely unique character. I myself, always thought Malta had a mysterious vibe. It reminded me of the history lessons engraved in my distant memory, about the Templars and secret religious societies.
Malta only became independent in 1964. Before that, it was always under dominion of other nations such as the Phoenicians, the Arabs, the Knights of Saint John (which I wrongly classified under the name of Templars before) and the British. This melting pot of cultures ensured that Malta developed a unique culture with many characteristics from these different dominions. You can still hear the Arabic accent in the language and in the names of cities such as Mdina or Rabat. The knights of Saint John introduced the beautiful Baroque architecture in Valletta and the Catholic religion. Now still 98% of the Maltese population is Catholic. The Britisch imported the English language and it even became the second official national language.
Culture won’t be missing during a trip to Malta.
Besides the cultural heritage, Malta is also the place to be for nature lovers. Passionate hikers and landscape photographers will certainly find what they are looking for.
The main island of Malta and the other smaller, surrounding islands are hilly. The islands have a rugged, rocky coastline with steep cliffs and impressive rock formations such as the Dingli cliffs (Malta) and Wied il – Mielah (Gozo).
Between these cliffs and rock formations you can find beautiful beaches such as Ramla Bay (Gozo) and Ghajn Tuffieha Bay (Malta), but also smaller hidden bays such as Blue Lagoon (Comino) and Wied il-Ghasri (Gozo).
There are even dazzling sea caves such as the blue grotto (Malta) and the fantastic Qbajja salt pans in Gozo.
Why visit Malta in April?
The weather in Malta in April
After a long, cold and miserable winter in Belgium, I always look forward to a spring break where I can soak up the spring vibes. Since the weather in April is very unpredictable in Belgium, I usually look for a slightly sunnier vacation destination to escape the winter.
The weather in Malta is just perfect for traveling in April. Malta has, just like Italy, a Mediterranean climate with wet winters and hot summers. From April the chance of precipitation decreases and the chance of sun with mild temperatures increases. For me, this is the best weather for traveling, not too cold and not too hot. In short, perfect weather to have an aperitivo on an outdoor terrace.
Of course, I can’t say with 100% certainty that it’s ok to leave your jacket at home and only pack your summer outfits. Since Malta is an island, it can get pretty windy. And it remains April, so sudden showers here or there are always possible. Just be sure to take a raincoat.
April is still a little early for a beach holiday in Malta. But walking along the coast, experiencing culture in the cities or admiring landscapes works perfectly in that time of the year.
Another big advantage of traveling to Malta in April is that everything is in full bloom. During summer it can get hot and the landscape is very dry. April immerses you in a lush, colorful Malta with green fields, blooming citrus trees, and beautiful flowers.
Tourism in Malta in April
From April tourism in Malta increases, to peak during the summer months. April is therefore the perfect moment to see the tourist attractions without too many crowds.
During the Easter holidays it can get a bit busier, due to the festivities because of the Holy Week. These are public holidays in Malta. They draw a lot of local visitors as tourists. On the other hand, when everyone is attending the festival, you can perfectly visit other sights without crowds.
Festivals in Malta in April
Not only the mild climate and beautiful, lush landscape are excellent factors to convince you to visit Malta in April. The Easter festivities are also an unforgettable experience on the island.
Before our trip to Malta I didn’t realize that we were heading to Malta during Easter weekend. For us this is a weekend like any other, but with an extra day off. The perfect weekend to plan a trip.
In Malta, however, we were immediately reminded that Easter was coming up. I already said that the local population is predominantly Catholic. Besides Christmas, Easter is one of the most important religious festivals on the island. Not only on Easter Sunday but throughout the Holy Week, there are traditional Maltese festivals that are really worth to attend. If you are religious or not, you will still be amazed by all this spectacle.
Celebrate the holy week in Malta
Our Lady of Sorrows
The holy week officially starts on Palm Sunday, but in Malta the lady of Sorrows is honored on Friday before this week begins. On this evening there are processions in various parishes in Malta. The statue of the Lady of Sorrows is carried around and followed by Maltese Christians, some of them even barefoot. This as a sign of gratitude for a special grace. The most popular procession of the Lady of Sorrows takes place in the capital, Valletta.
The Holy Week officially starts on Palm Sunday. No major events are planned on that day. Palm Sunday is mainly celebrated within the church. Maltese Christians then receive palm twigs blessed with holy water. They take these home as a blessing.
During Holy Week in Malta, the churches and some houses are decorated with lights. You can also find food stalls with local delicacies on every corner of the street. Especially fried snacks with all kinds of fillings such as anchovies, etc. are richly offered. You should definitely try Imqaret. A deep-fried pastry with dates inside. These delicacies are super popular during Easter festivities.
Maundy Thursday better known as the day of the last supper, on which Jesus dines with his apostles for the last time. For Maltese Christians, this day is mainly dominated by the last supper representations and church visits.
You can find these last supper representations in many villages and cities on different locations. There you can completely immerse yourself in the story of Jesus’ last meal. The scenes of the last supper are displayed by paintings or even model representations, where you feel that you yourself are part of the story. This is all very impressive to witness.
Besides that, the Maltese Christians have to fulfill an age-old tradition that goes back to Roman times. They must visit 7 churches and give special prayers in each of these churches.
Since all Maltese Christians have to do this on Maundy Thursday, it can become quite busy in places where these last supper representations take place or at the different churches.
On the morning of Good Friday the Maltese continue their visits to the 7 churches. There is a sad atmosphere. The church bells aren’t ringing. It is remarkable to see how the locals are really absorbed in the mood of this event. Everyone is in deep mourning.
In the evening processions take place in different cities and villages. The most spectacular to attend are in Mosta and Zebbug. We attended the procession in Rabat near Mdina and to be honest this was one of the most beautiful processions I have ever experienced.
The processions display characters and scenes from the Bible played by locals. Immense statues with the scenes of Jesus’ crusade are carried through the city. It’s a great honor for the locals to walk in the procession.
During the procession itself, everyone, not just the people who were part of the procession, but also spectators and tourists, were completely absorbed in the moment. Jan and I were very impressed. Not only because of the festivities themselves, but to see how the Catholic faith and age-old traditions are kept alive and still bring people together.
At Easter Sunday there is a completely different atmosphere among the locals. Jesus has risen and everyone should know it. The bells of all churches are ringing and you only see happy faces.
Every effort is made to make Easter Sunday spectacular. There are resurrection processions in various villages and cities. Here, in contrast to Good Friday, large statues of Jesus Christ are carried up the hills to symbolize the resurrection. The best Easter Sunday processions in Malta take place in the 3 cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua.
This is followed by a delicious Easter lunch with the family. According to the tradition there is lamb with baked potatoes on the menu. As in other European countries Easter eggs are given to children. But the official Maltese Easter cake is Figolla, a beautiful glaze-decorated pastry made from almonds. The taste reminds me a bit of frangipane cake. On Easter Sunday Figolla can be found at any local bakery. It’s certainly worth tasting!
Visiting Malta in April, and even better during Holy Week is definitely recommended for everyone. You can experience the unique, traditional culture of Malta during the Easter festivities. Visit the beautiful, preserved cities. Enjoy the local cuisine with a delicious wine from upon a terrace. Admire the beautiful landscapes and fully unwind in the flourishing and lush countryside
Are you thinking about traveling to Malta soon? Then find the best hotel deals right here.
More about Malta? Be sure to check out 10 unmissable must-do’s in Valletta and the ultimate photo guide to the most photogenic locations in Gozo.
Would you like to experience the Easter festivities in Malta? Let me know in the comments.
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