The trees have lost their leaves, it’s raining, the rare winter sunshine has to fight through grey skies and you’ve well and truly got the winter blues. Life doesn’t have to be dreary I’ve found – not when I can take winter holidays in Malta.

Malta is a small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, close to Sicily and only 15 miles in length. Small in size but big in character, the Maltese Islands of Malta and Gozo are great places to visit all year round.

The climate in winter is one of the best in the Mediterranean, mild with some rain but a decent amount of sunshine and during the summer the island is hot and dry. So dry that Malta has an almost desert like appearance but visit in the winter and you will find a contrasting beautiful greener island with wild flowers in full bloom. It’s warm enough in the winter to be able to wear summer clothing during the day but don’t forget to pack some woollens and a coat for the cooler evenings. Sun tan lotion will also be needed but you don’t have to worry about mosquitoes in the winter.

Malta isn’t an expensive holiday destination and prices are very comparable with other Mediterranean destinations. As with other resorts if you take a vacation in Malta over Christmas and the New Year expect to pay premium rates for that 2 week period and off season rates throughout the rest of the winter. The cost of living is reasonable, I’ve gone there many a time on a scarily small budget and returned home happy and with money to spare.

What I love about Malta most are the welcoming Maltese people. Ever so friendly and helpful, I’ve been treated like an old friend almost from the first. I haven’t found it unusual to be befriended and taken about the island or invited into Maltese homes. I’ve even been offered free accommodation for my next visit from friendly islanders. Be careful though ladies – the hot Maltese men do like to flirt!!

During the winter the best places to stay are the towns of Sliema and St Julians because they are busier and livelier out of season. I like St Julians because of the nightlife, but Sliema is better for shopping and you can get the ferry to the capital Valetta from there. As they are not far from each other and it’s a nice refreshing walk along the coastline it doesn’t matter that much to me where I locate myself.

You will find accommodation suitable for all pockets – 5 star hotels, villas, guest houses, self catering apartments and even an all inclusive in Sliema. I’ve mostly stayed in self catering apartments because I like to do my own thing. Wherever I’ve stayed the accommodation has been clean, comfortable and problem free.

Although Maltese is the first language, English is so widely spoken that communication is no problem. I was astonished on my first visit 20 years ago to regularly hear phrases from popular UK TV programmes being bandied about. Imagine paying for a drink and the bartender saying ‘Lovely Jubbly’ when they hand you your change – that just seemed so surreal.

As Malta is now a member of the European Union the currency has altered from the Maltese Lira to the Euro. I’d best get myself some Euros now that I’ve written about my favourite winter destination and look online for a deal for another of my holidays in Malta. All I have to decide is when to go – off peak and save some brass or pay the full price for Christmas when it’s truly beautiful with glorious window paintings for decorations.

Viajes Fin de Carrera by Viajes Universitarios

Viajes Fin de Curso by Interrail Europa

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