I have been brought up in Finland, and as you all know, the Nordic countries are known to have freezing cold, dark and long winters. In every single geography textbook, it said that winters in the Mediterranean are mild or even warm. A lie I would say. Little did I know what stood ahead of me when I moved to Malta one year ago. This post is all about the good and bad of the winter in Malta.
“Winter” in Malta means 15 degrees in December
For someone who is used to having winters with -25 degrees (easily, even up to -40 sometimes), 15 degrees feels like a luxury. After all, it is how summers are in Finland. No. It is not. When I moved to Malta, I quickly discovered that I would rather have – 15 degrees in Finland than + 15 degrees in Malta. Why is that? Well, my country and the whole society, from infrastructure to construction style, are made to survive our winters. Malta works the opposite. There are hardly any heating or insulation system. I only had an AC in my apartment and I could set it to blow + 30 degrees warm air. However, since the electricity is so freaking expensive in Malta, I mainly just covered myself with blankets. During January, I sometimes had + 12 degrees in my room. I tried to warm up my hands by keeping them close to a lit candle. Feels hilarious now but believe, it wasn’t then.
Mold becomes a serious issue
Winter in Malta is humid and “mild” which is a perfect combination for mold, a common (and often permanent) visitor in the Maltese homes. My whole ceiling was covered with black mold, and the situation became even worse during the winter. Luckily, it didn’t affect my health at all but I had to throw away some of my clothes.
Streets are flooding after 5 minutes of rain
During the winters you can get some heavy showers of rain in Malta. It seems that there is no system to make the rain flow away from the streets. Literally, after 5 minutes of rain, streets are flooding.
On the positive note: it is green(er)
Malta is a rocky, dry and a bit barren island. The winters, however, bring a little relief to the vegetation and animals. Take a bus to the countryside and do a half-day hike for example in Ghajn Tuffieha or visit a bird sanctuary in near Mellieha. On a sunny day, the temperature is ideal for a stroll or run.
If you ask me, the main reason to visit Malta during the winter is to avoid the crowds. Explore the local life, enjoy visiting attractions and take advantage of cheaper prices on food and accommodation. Even in Sliema, which stays a bit touristy throughout the year, some restaurants have 50 % off of their summer menus during the winter months. It’s a bargain. Also, the often-so-crowded public buses are usually slightly more tolerable from January to March.
When it’s the best time to visit Malta then? I would personally prefer April or May in the spring or September or October in the autumn depending if you like to swim in the sea. In autumns, the water temperature stays very pleasant until November, whereas in April it might still be too cold. The temperature in April and May is usually between 20–25 degrees but the busiest tourist season has not yet started. I have been planning to do a nostalgic trip to Sliema in late April or early May to refreshen my memories of Malta. Should I?