While it may be tempting to spend your entire holiday at the beach – and with all the sparkling sea and breathtaking vistas at Golden Sands, who can blame you – the summer months in Malta and Gozo also offer a calendar brimming with festivals and eventsFrom pop spectacles and operatic extravaganzas to mouth-watering food and wine festivals, there’s something exciting to do and see whichever week you visitHere’s our guide to the best events and festivals happening over summer.

ISLE OF MTV MALTA

9 July

Malta’s biggest free live music concert will once again take place on the Granaries in Floriana with a stellar line-up of performers. However, you’ll have to wait to find out who is on the list, as MTV drip feeds the information to hungry music fans in the run up to the event. So far, artists Martin Garrix and Bebe Rehxa are confirmed. The full line-up will be posted on the official website. In addition to the concert, various club nights and sunset beach parties are held during what MTV has dubbed ‘Malta Music Week’, in the days leading up to the main event. Even if you don’t go, you might bump into a celebrity or two chilling out at the Blue Lagoon or on Golden Bay.

MALTA JAZZ FESTIVAL

15 – 20 July

Staged in the picturesque Grand Harbour, the Malta Jazz Festival must have one of the most spectacular backdrops in Europe’s jazz festival scene. Headlining acts from the eclectic world of jazz perform in this five day summer music festival between 15 – 20 July. It takes place mainly in Valletta but performances are also planned for venues in Mdina and Birgu (Vittoriosa). This year, some incredible performers have been announced, making this a truly international music festival. They include world renowned saxophonist Kenny Garrett, Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn and legendary jazz drummer Omar Hakim, who has collaborated with Dire Straits, Daft Punk and David Bowie. The main headliner is six-time Grammy Award Winner and Cuban jazz legend Chuco Valdes.

GLITCH FESTIVAL

14-16 August

No matter your taste, you’ll find a music festival in Malta for you. So, if you’re into electronic, house or techno music, then you’ll want to time your arrival for 14-16 August when the Glitch Festival takes place in Rabat. The line-up has been announced and includes performances from Ben Klock, Carl Cox, Bicep and Helena Hauff. While the festival is mainly held at Gianpula Village, near Malta’s fortified city, Mdina, there are six stages in all, including a rooftop pool party, a secret cave rave and a boat party.

MALTA’S INTERNATIONAL FOOD FESTIVAL

17 – 21 July

Indulge in four days of al fresco eating and drinking in the medieval city of Mdina between 17 – 21 July at Malta’s International Food Festival. Expect freshly-prepared dishes and the finest sweets. There’ll also be live cooking demonstrations and spectacles themed around international cuisines. If you’re not here that week, don’t worry, a smaller event takes place a short ferry-ride away in Gozo on 9 and 10 August. 

THE FARSONS BEER FESTIVAL

25 July – 3 August

This sprawling, free, outdoor festival is as much a music festival as it is a beer festival. It brings together the best local music, beer and entertainment at Ta’ Qali National Park. If you’ve ever been to Malta before, you’ll have heard of Cisk, and the festival is organised by its brewer, Farsons. But you can also expect a large range of local and international craft and speciality beer. Running over 10 nights, from 25 July to 3 August, the event draws thousands of people. They come not just for the beer but also for the three music stages, including a dedicated rock stage.

GOZO CERAMICS FESTIVAL

4 August

Ceramic artists from Malta, Gozo and beyond will come together to showcase their magnificent talents of sculpting, hand modelling and craftsmanship in this lovely arts festival. Kids will even have a chance to get their hands dirty in a dedicated hands-on area. The festival, on 4 August, is a chance to purchase a truly original souvenir from local artists. It’s also an opportunity to visit charming Xlendi Bay, a popular swimming and snorkelling spot on the island. 

DELICATA WINE FESTIVAL

8-11 August

This annual wine festival celebrates great local wines and delicious food with an evening of first-class entertainment. You couldn’t pair your wine with a better view as the Delicata Wine Festival overlooks the Grand Harbour, in Valletta.  The festival has been organised by Emmanual Delicata, since 2002 and you can try their indigenous grape varieties, Gellewza and Girgentina as well as other Maltese wines.

SUMMER CARNIVAL

16 – 18 August

Malta’s summer carnivals have become a big hit in recent years. Flamboyant dance performances and kooky, colourful papier-mache floats will parade through the streets in two of the island’s popular coastal towns from August 16 – 18. If you want to stay north, choose Bugibba or travel to the south of the island to the fishing village of Marsaskala.

JOSEPH CALLEJA & ANDREA BOCELLI IN CONCERT

24 August

It is one of the most hotly anticipated concerts on Malta’s arts calendar. World-famous Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja will be hosting his annual classical crossover concert in Floriana. If you watched his amazing performance at Wimbledon, you’ll know what all the fuss is about and will want to book your flights to Malta to be here on 24 August. This year, it promises to be an even more magical night, because the legendary Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli will co-headline.

MALTA’S INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL

28 June – 14 July

We’ve highlighted this before, in our list of events to look out for in Spring 2019. But the International Arts Festival lasts from 28 June – 14 July so you can still get involved if you are visiting in early summer. This year’s theme for art exhibitions and performances is water. Sticking to that theme, one of the most anticipated events is a sunset performance across the Grand Harbour, with musicians, acrobats and other artists performing on a Turkish gulet. Two of Malta’s heritage sites will also be showcased in three separate performances. Firstly the theatrical work ‘Pope Joan’ will take place in the Mdina ditch gardens, and secondly, Ħaġar Qim will become the backdrop for two festival productions: ‘Temple Percussion’, featuring Chinese percussionist Beibei, and a virtuoso recital of contemporary works called ‘Ancient Voices’.

THE GOSTRA AT ST JULIANS FESTIVAL 

25 August

 
You’ll be watching through your fingers for this one. In Malta’s traditional sport, the gostra, competitors run up a greasy pole with the aim of grabbing a flag before splashing into the sea below. This contest features in several festas in Malta and Gozo. The biggest and best known, however, is in St Julians on 25 August. There’ll also be all the other ingredients of a traditional Maltese festa – marching bands, a religious statue carried through the streets, fireworks and traditional food. We recommend you try freshly deep-fried Imqaret (delicious pastries filled with dates). You’ll never look at a fig roll the same way again.

VILLAGE FESTAS

As Malta and Gozo roll into summer, its boisterous festa season truly gets underway. Several religious village festivals happen every single weekend so you’ll probably encounter at least one during your stay.

The feast of Santa Marija on 15 August is the biggest of them all and is celebrated in seven different villages around the islands. We particularly recommend checking out the festivities in Mosta or Victoria, Gozo, both of which enjoy throngs of locals, beautifully decorated streets and masterful firework displays. In fact, each festa is like a mini fireworks festival (you’ll have to visit in Spring to see the biggest one on the island).

Here is a full list of all the festas happening in July and August. 

  • 7 July – Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Fleur-de-Lys; St Andrew; Hal Luqa; St Paul, Rabat; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Sliema; Immaculate Conception, Hamrun; The Visitation of Our Lady, Gharb.
  • 14 July – The Annunciation, Balzan; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Fgura and Gzira; Our Lady of Relief, Kercem; St Joseph, Kircop.
  • 16 July – Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta.
  • 21 July –  St George Martyr, Victoria Gozo; Our Lady of Holy Doctrine, Tarxien;  St Joseph, Kalkara; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Zurrieq; St Joseph, Msida; St Sebastian, Qormi.
  • 28 July – Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Balluta; St Margaret, Sannat, Gozo; St Anne, Marsaskala; Christ the King, Paola; Santa Venera, Santa Venera; Our Lady of Sorrows, St Paul’s Bay; St Joseph, Zebbug.
  • 4 August – St Peter in Chains, Birzebuggia; Our Lady of Pompei, Marsaxlokk; St Joseph, Qala Gozo; Our Lady of Lourdes, San Gwann.
  • 5 August – St Dominic, Valletta;
  • 6 August – Christ our Saviour, Hal Lija
  • 10 August – St Laurence, Birgu (Vittoriossa)
  • 11 August – St Laurence, San Lawrenze, Gozo
  • 15 August – The Assumption of our Lady in the following towns: Attard, Birkirkara, Ghaxaq, Gudja, Zebbug, Mosta, Mqabba, Qrendi, Rabat Gozo.
  • 18 August – The Assumption of Our Lady in Dingli and Mgarr; St Helen of Constantinople, Birkirkara; Our Lady of Lourdes, Paola; Our Lady Star of the Sea, Sliema.
  • 21 August – St Pius X, Santa Lucija
  • 25 August – The Assumption of Our Lady, Zebugg, Gozo; St Leonard, Kirkop; St Dominic, Birgu; St. Bartholomew, Gharghur; Maria Regina, Marsa; St Joseph, Manikata; Converstion of St Paul, Hal Safi; St Julian, St Julian