The islands’ most prominent religious and historical festivals include the feast of Santa Marija in August, and the Mnarja—which is steeped in folklore—at the end of June. Visitors will also encounter a large number of more contemporary events throughout the year.

July brings the annual Malta Jazz Festival and the Malta Arts Festival, both of which feature local and international artists. Late June caters to a rowdier set with the Isle of MTV festival, which has been taking over the area between Valletta and St. Julian’s since 2007. Carnival, in February, takes the form of a wild, raucous, and colorful festival in Valletta. In the town of Nadur on Gozo, however, it’s been nicknamed “Sobriquet”—the silent carnival—because people tend to dress and act more mysteriously.

June 2016 saw the second annual Valletta Film Festival, where Maltese and international filmmakers debuted films at various venues around town—including the incredible outdoor amphitheater near the harbor, Fort St. Elmo. The one-night-only Fjakkolata Festival of Lights on October 9 sees the Ghar Ilma hill on Gozo lit up by hundreds of flaming lanterns.