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November escapes: unveiling the best of Malta’s autumn adventures

In November, Malta still offers plenty of activities and experiences despite the cooler weather. Overall, November is a great time to explore Malta’s cultural heritage, natural beauty, and culinary delights without the crowds typically found during the peak tourist season. Here are some things what to do in Malta in November:

Explore Valetta

Valletta is the smallest capital city in the European Union, both in terms of area and population. It covers less than one square kilometre and was planned on the drawing board. This means you can easily explore Valletta on foot. Getting lost is impossible. However, the streets and alleyways are all ups and downs. So a bit of fitness is required. Valletta has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. Before that, many townhouses and entire streets were left to decay. In connection with being awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2018, Valletta has spruced itself up once again. Everywhere has been and is being eagerly built and renovated. Life is coming back to life between the city walls. Maltese people are drawn to the capital for evening strolls and even tourist accommodation is being built.

With its historic buildings, typical wooden balconies and various remnants from the colonial era, Valletta exudes a very special charm. The skyline is characterised by the massive city wall, the huge domed Carmelite Church and the tower of St. Paul’s Pro-Cathedral. The density of sights in Valletta is enormous.

Most people enter the old town from the bus station. Located just outside the City Gate of Valletta, Triton’s Fountain is one of the first landmarks that tourists visiting the capital will stop to take a picture of. An absolute highlight is St John’s Co-Cathedral. From the outside, the 16th century baroque church looks quite inconspicuous. Its true splendour unfolds inside. Here it presents itself with detailed and elaborate paintings and lavish gilding. You could say that everything that is not painted is decorated with gold leaf. Caravaggio’s famous painting “The Beheading of St John the Baptist” can be seen in the oratory.

Very close to St John’s Co-Cathedral is the Teatru Manoel. The national theatre was designed in the style of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and is now one of the oldest theatres in Europe. Even if you don’t have time to attend a performance, it’s worth a visit during the day.

Valletta does not have much greenery to offer. Parks and gardens are a rarity. The Lower Barrakka Gardens and the Upper Barrakka Gardens are little oases of peace in the city. In both parks there are a few trees and plants, fountains, statues and monuments. The best part is undoubtedly the view over the Grand Harbour, Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua (Three Cities) or the waterfront. Below the Upper Barrakka Gardens is the Saluting Battery. Gun salutes are fired from the cannons twice a day.

Republic Street and Merchant Street are the place to go if you want to indulge your shopping desires. A visit to the Grand Master’s Palace on Republic Square will help you understand the history of Malta. Behind the rather inconspicuous façade, a beautiful inner courtyard and various state rooms await you.

Valletta does indeed have a strong British influence due to Malta’s history as a British colony. The British significantly influenced Malta’s politics, culture, and infrastructure. The British legacy is evident in various aspects of Maltese society, including language, education, legal system, and architecture. In Valletta, you can still see many remnants of British colonial architecture and institutions, which contribute to its unique character and charm. Red wooden balconies, a red telephone box, the venerable Grand Harbour Hotel and several jazz bars near the old bridge. Valletta is very British around Victoria Gate.

Discover Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk is a picturesque fishing village located in the southeastern part of Malta, not far from the capital city of Valletta. It’s known for its colorful traditional Maltese fishing boats called “luzzus,” which are adorned with painted eyes on their prows, believed to ward off evil spirits and ensure a safe journey for the fishermen. The village has a charming waterfront lined with seafood restaurants and cafes where visitors can enjoy fresh fish caught by local fishermen. Marsaxlokk is particularly famous for its Sunday fish market, where locals and tourists alike flock to buy freshly caught fish and seafood, as well as other local produce and crafts.

Aside from its fishing heritage, Marsaxlokk is also home to historical sites such as the medieval Chapel of Our Lady of Pompeii, which dates back to the 17th century. The village offers a glimpse into traditional Maltese life and is a popular destination for visitors looking to experience authentic Maltese culture and cuisine.

Visit Mdina

Discover the ancient city of Mdina, also known as the “Silent City,” and explore its narrow streets, historic buildings, and panoramic views of the island. Located in the northern region of the island, Mdina served as the island’s capital until the medieval period. Today, it stands as a beautifully preserved fortified city, offering visitors a glimpse into Malta’s rich history and heritage.

Key features of Mdina include its impressive fortifications, narrow winding streets, and medieval architecture. The town is enclosed within fortified walls, which provide stunning views of the surrounding countryside and sea. Walking through Mdina feels like stepping back in time, with its quiet streets, old stone buildings, and historic landmarks.

One of Mdina’s most prominent landmarks is St. Paul’s Cathedral, a magnificent Baroque-style cathedral that dates back to the 17th century. Other notable sites include the Palazzo Vilhena, which now houses the National Museum of Natural History, and the Mdina Dungeons, an underground attraction that explores the darker side of Malta’s history.

Mdina is also known for its role in popular culture, as it has served as a filming location for various movies and television shows, including “Game of Thrones.” Overall, Mdina is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, and the unique charm of Malta’s past.

Explore Gozo

Take a ferry to Malta’s sister island, Gozo, and explore its charming villages, historic sites, and scenic coastline. Don’t miss attractions like the Ġgantija Temples and the Azure Window (or its remains, the Blue Hole and Inland Sea). Gozo boasts beautiful landscapes, including dramatic cliffs, secluded beaches, and fertile valleys. The island is a haven for nature lovers, offering opportunities for hiking, swimming, and exploring its rugged terrain. Gozo is rich in history and culture, with numerous archaeological sites and historical landmarks to explore. The Ġgantija Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are among the oldest freestanding structures in the world, dating back to around 3600 BC. Other notable sites include the Citadel in Victoria (Rabat), which offers panoramic views of the island, and the Ta’ Pinu Basilica, a revered pilgrimage site. The iconic Azure Window collapsed into the sea in 2017, it remains a symbol of Gozo’s natural beauty. The limestone arch was a popular tourist attraction, and its remains continue to draw visitors to the area. Gozo is dotted with charming villages where you can experience traditional Maltese life. Places like Xlendi, Marsalforn, and Xewkija offer a glimpse into local culture, with their quaint streets, historic churches, and friendly atmosphere.

The crystal-clear waters surrounding Gozo make it a fantastic destination for diving and other watersports. The island is renowned for its underwater caves, reefs, and marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers.

Overall, Gozo is a gem waiting to be discovered, offering a blend of natural beauty, history, and relaxation that appeals to visitors seeking a tranquil escape.

Go hiking

Take advantage of the cooler temperatures and explore Malta’s beautiful countryside on foot. Popular hiking spots include Dingli Cliffs, Buskett Gardens, and the coastal trails around Gozo. While Malta may not have vast mountain ranges or extensive forests, it still offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploration, thanks to its rugged coastline, scenic cliffs, and picturesque countryside. Here are some popular hiking destinations in Malta. Dingli Cliffs are located on the western coast of Malta and offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. There are walking trails along the cliffs that provide opportunities for leisurely hikes while taking in the breathtaking scenery. Majjistral Nature and History Park situated on the northwest coast of Malta is the island’s largest protected natural area. It features a network of hiking trails that wind through rugged terrain, coastal cliffs, and scenic valleys, offering opportunities to explore diverse flora and fauna.

Victoria Lines is historic defensive wall stretched across the width of Malta, dividing the island into two halves. The Victoria Lines offer scenic walking routes with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay are sandy beaches on the northwest coast of Malta surrounded by beautiful countryside and cliffs. There are hiking trails that lead from one bay to the other, offering stunning views of the coastline and the sea. Buskett Gardens and Wied il-Luq Valley located in the central part of Malta is a peaceful woodland area with walking trails that lead to Wied il-Luq Valley. The valley is known for its lush vegetation, limestone cliffs, and scenic views. Comino is technically a separate island,but easily accessible from Malta and offers excellent hiking opportunities. The island is mostly uninhabited and features rugged coastline, hidden coves, and stunning viewpoints.

When hiking in Malta, always stay on marked trails and respect any protected areas or wildlife habitats you encounter.

Relax on beaches

While swimming might not be as popular in November due to cooler temperatures, you can still enjoy relaxing walks along the beach or sitting by the sea to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. November in Malta can still offer relatively mild weather, making it a pleasant time to visit the beaches if you’re looking for relaxation and tranquility. While it may not be peak beach season, you can still enjoy some leisure time by the sea. Here are a few beaches in Malta where you can relax in November. Golden Bay is a sandy beach on the northwest coast of Malta and popular for its golden sand and clear waters. In November, it may be less crowded than during the peak summer months, providing a serene environment for relaxation. Mellieha Bay, also known as Ghadira Bay is one of Malta’s largest sandy beaches. It offers shallow waters and a wide stretch of sand, perfect for lounging and soaking up the sun. November visitors can enjoy a quieter atmosphere compared to the summer crowds. Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, adjacent to Golden Bay is another beautiful sandy beach surrounded by cliffs and natural vegetation. It offers stunning sunset views and a more secluded atmosphere, ideal for unwinding in November.

Ramla Bay located on the island of Gozo is famous for its red sandy beach and crystal-clear waters. While November may not be suitable for swimming for everyone due to slightly cooler temperatures, you can still enjoy walks along the shore and appreciate the natural beauty of the area. St. George’s Bay situated in St. Julian’s is a smaller sandy beach with calm waters, making it suitable for relaxation and leisurely strolls. The area also offers various seaside cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal with a view.

Keep in mind that November weather in Malta can vary, with occasional rain showers and cooler temperatures compared to the summer months. However, if you’re lucky, you can still experience sunny days perfect for beach relaxation. Make sure to check the weather forecast before planning your beach day and pack accordingly.

Enjoy traditional cuisine

Maltese cuisine is the result of a long relationship between the Islanders and the many civilisations who occupied the Maltese Islands over the centuries. This marriage of tastes has given Malta an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. Although the restaurant scene is a mix of speciality restaurants, there are many eateries that offer or specialise in local fare, serving their own versions of specialities.

Traditional Maltese food is rustic and based on the seasons. Look out for Lampuki Pie (fish pie), Rabbit Stew, Bragioli (beef olives), Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouille), and widow’s soup, which includes a small round of Gbejniet (sheep or goat’s cheese). On most food shop counters, you’ll see Bigilla, a thick pate of broad beans with garlic. The snacks that must be tried are ‘hobz biz-zejt’ (round of bread dipped in olive oil, rubbed with ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, onion, garlic, tomatoes and capers) and pastizzi (flaky pastry parcel filled with ricotta or mushy peas).

A trip to the Marsaxlokk fish market on Sunday morning will show you just how varied the fish catch is in Maltese waters. When fish is in abundance, you’ll find Aljotta (fish soup). Depending on the season, you’ll see spnotta(bass), dott (stone fish), cerna (grouper),dentici (dentex), sargu (white bream) and trill(red mullet). swordfish and tuna follow later in the season, around early to late autumn, followed by the famed lampuka, or dolphin fish. Octopus and squid are very often used to make some rich stews and pasta sauces.

Favourite dessert delicacies are kannoli(tube of crispy, fried pastry filled with ricotta), Sicilian-style, semi-freddo desserts (mix of sponge, ice-cream, candied fruits and cream) and Helwa tat-Tork (sweet sugary mixture of crushed and whole almonds).

Malta may not be renowned like its larger Mediterranean neighbours for wine production, but Maltese vintages are more than holding their own at international competitions.The main wineries organise guided tours and tastings. Depending on the season, tours cover the entire production, from the initial fermentation through to the ageing process. They also include wine history museums and opportunities to taste and buy a variety of vintages.

Attend festivals end events

Check out any festivals or events happening during your visit to Malta in November. While there may be fewer events than during the peak tourist season, you might still find cultural celebrations, food festivals, or music concerts to enjoy.

November in Malta is much quieter than the other months, however, it’s preparing for the Christmas season ahead! Some events include the Three Palaces Festival, Black Friday and Malta Book Festival.

Immerse yourself in the tranquillity, cultural heritage, and unique charm that define Malta in November!

Take part in the colourful November celebrations in Malta, which provide a variety of annual events for your enjoyment. Look through the calendar to find a vibrant, organized list of events.

Black Friday. There will be a lot of sales at many shops in Malta and Gozo. Shoppers line up early to buy cheap items from the shelves. While Black Friday is traditionally the day of sales, shops tend to start with sales early in the week and continue until Cyber Monday. On the websites of department stores and well-known stores, special deals will be displayed. You can also purchase items from their websites where sales will also be offered.

The Three Palaces Festival. The Three Palaces Festival has established itself by incorporating the greatness of music equated with the beauty of the setting chosen for that specific performance. There are many matches for this attribute across Malta’s heritage and culture especially due to the four centuries of the Knights of St. John presence on the islands left behind them many historically important and magnificent buildings. This week-long festival has proudly succeeded in incorporating classical and contemporary musical performances to appeal to the varied audience wishing to participate in this festival doing recognition to Malta’s cultural calendar.

Bla Kondixin. A comic and satirical show performed by the best of local comedians in Maltese. They utilise everyday happenings especially political developments that are around us creating a show of laughter. These shows are very popular and are still looked for when a new show is launched. Music is a strong element within this show played by a versatile band with lyrics written purposely to entertain the public. It is a great show to attend, very entertaining, great laughter and it is in the Maltese language.

Valletta Christmas. The Valletta Christmas lights are switched on ceremonially by the minister of culture and the Valletta Cultural agency every year for the most prominent streets in the capital city namely Republic Street and Merchants Street. They attract large amounts of people for shopping and dining. The lights ornate the streets which make them more attractive and bring more people to the capital. They remain on till the beginning of January.

Malta Book Festival. Malta Book Festival is one of the most prominent book festivals on the national cultural calendar. This event attracts 40,000 visitors and more than 50 exhibitors each year, offering numerous networking opportunities.

Malta Village Feasts. Immerse yourself in the core of Maltese culture via annual village feasts, which serve as vivid tapestries intertwined with strands of custom, faith, and togetherness. These celebrations, which have their roots in deeply held beliefs, have developed into elaborate performances that highlight the island’s rich history.

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