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The Truth About Winter in Malta

18 February, 2018 9 comments

So you think you’re moving to the Mediterranean for long, hot summers and short, mild winters? Think again. I’ve lived in Malta for over 7 years now and I think it’s time, to tell the truth about winter in Malta. As a nation, we’ve been holding a deep, dark secret for many years, one that shocks and disturbs people when they survive their first winter here…

Winters in Malta are f**king freezing.

The truth about winter in Malta

Average Temperature of Winter in Malta

Ok, so in a lot of Europe the temperatures fall way below zero every winter and in Malta, it rarely drops below 10 degrees. We don’t have frost, we don’t have snow. But we also don’t have central heating and humidity (you’ll get sick of that word after 6 months of living here) really does turn ‘mild’ temperatures into ‘freezing’. As a rule, anything below 15 degrees in Malta is pretty uncomfortable. If you’re outside, in the sunshine, it’ll be lovely. You’ll be sitting in the sun, drinking cocktails or enjoying a day with the family and believing that even winter in Malta is nicer than summer in your home country. But wait until the sky becomes overcast or the evening sets in.

A winter sunset in Malta

Heating your Home During Winter in Malta

Homes are generally built to lose heat, insulation is not something that Maltese developers believe in, despite the fact it’d make homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter. To survive a winter in Malta you will need to arrange some kind of home heating. My apartment is always very cold inside and keeping warm can be a real struggle.

  • Fluffy slippers,
  • Thermal socks,
  • Blankets

will become staples but along with layers, layers, layers I’d recommend a heater or two. Gas heaters, electric heaters, mobile radiators; look at all of the options and make sure to get at least one in time for winter.

Cat keeping warm in Malta winter

Gas Heaters in Malta

Many people swear by gas heaters in Malta. Both the heaters and the gas are pretty affordable but on really cold days you can end up using it so much that the gas costs will creep up. They probably have the best warming effect but quite a small radius and you’ll only really benefit if you remain right next to them. Due to the gas they can smell and can be the more dangerous option if you have pets or small children.

Electric Heaters in Malta

There are so many different kinds of electric heaters that it’s hard to recommend them, but this would be my choice. Make sure to find some that are low energy, as electricity prices (for most renting tenants) can be very high. We have a flat wall mounted heater that takes up no space in the apartment and whilst it takes a little while to heat up, it warms more of the room and is cheaper to run than gas.

Winter Clothing in Malta

Don’t be fooled by all our Instagram posts of sunbathing in winter. It does happen that some years we get a lovely warm winter, where we can spend most of the days in t-shirts or light cardigans but this is the exception, rather than the rule. If you’re in the sun, it’ll be lovely, warm even. But move into the shade for a second and the goosebumps will creep in. Be prepared and have a winter coat, preferably waterproof, as a short, sharp, but very heavy shower is not uncommon.

winter flooding in malta

My advice is to layer, so if the day ends up warm, you can strip down to your t-shirt but if it begins to cool you can pop on your jumper, your scarf or your Big Coat, depending on how chilly it gets.

Sensationalism aside, winter in Malta is much more bearable than the UK, Sweden and all other colder countries. You’re not going to get snowed in or fight with frosty windows in the morning. So long as you prepare your home and don’t throw away all your winter clothes from home, you’re going to get through it and you’re going to love how short this period is. Before you know it, you’ll be complaining that summer came around too quickly and wishing for those chilly winter nights!

Countryside winter in malta

9 comments

Pernille 18 February, 2018 - 12:00 pm

I have now lived in Malta for excatly 52 days – and I am freeeeeezing when I am inside. I come from the north (Denmark) and lyckily I brought some cardigans! I think I will be facing a huge electric bill as I use the heaters in the AC, but I really, really hate to freeze.
Outside is nice – and I look forward to experiencing spring and summer i Malta :)

Reply
Miuh 18 February, 2018 - 2:09 pm

Hey Rhi, first reading your headline I thought “come on…” I look out of the window here, see the grey sky and some snow… and I know, there are lots of T-shirt days also around this time of the year in Malta. But I have also spent a winter in Malta and I remember: the colder days (between 5 and 10 degrees) it was reeeeally cold inhouse too! No heating and I found out, our Bathroom had no window! Yes, there was a hole in the wall, but no glass in it… brrr. One day I felt so cold, I filled a bath tube of hot water and placed myself in it in a way only my nose was looking out to get warm. (I know, a sin with these water prices). Wishing you warmer (and less humid) spring days soon! Miuh

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Gemma 18 February, 2018 - 5:15 pm

Hi Rhi, so I’ve been obsessed with your blog the last week or so, as we’re thinking (hoping!) of moving to Malta next year – if Brexit doesn’t feck it up for us, that is! I’ve been reading all the expat forums and I’ve found the ‘Winter’ theme pretty popular. Everyone saying how awful they are, my husband and I were saying though, that surely if you get some sort of heater it can’t be that bad. We live in Wales so we are hopeful Winter in Malta will not be as bleak as it is here. Haha!

Quick question, which I’m not sure you can help with but I cannot seem to find a definitive answer on any forum – are free education schools taught in English or Maltese? No worries if you don’t know. xxx

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Rhi 19 February, 2018 - 9:23 am

Hey Gemma! Has been an especially cold winter this year I’d say so I guess that’s why we’re all complaining about it. Honestly, before I left England we had two of the worst winters in over 30 years and I didn’t have central heating then either, so nothing in Malta will ever be that bad! We moan and whine a lot about the cold, but I think it’s also because we get used to the warm weather, so a bit of cold affects us much more. Then, the houses not being built to retain heat in winter does make it harder but I promise you, get a few heaters and it’ll be so much more bearable than a Welsh winter! For sure it’ll be a lot sunnier here, and having the sunshine makes everything so much better.

I do actually know a little about the free education, yes, in general, they do teach in English. There may be a few classes they teach in Maltese and they let the expat kids sit those classes out. Some friends of mine sent their kids to the free schools and the only lesson they refused to teach in English was religious education. Good luck with the move!! xx

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Guen 5 September, 2018 - 4:40 pm

Hi Gemma, me husband and daughter are thinking to move there as well. Did you move to Malta already? We also would love some info on schools.

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Gwili 10 April, 2018 - 6:28 pm

Unlike the information, I have seen elsewhere, good to know before my big move thanks!

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Greg 24 May, 2018 - 10:52 pm

Malta is beautiful. I spent two weeks there and I was discovering something new all the time. I will be happy to go back there.

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Laura Vazquez 26 January, 2019 - 12:17 am

I am surprise that even new builds in Malta seem not to have central heating or at least there is no mention on the ads I found for properties online and I have looked at a few dozens recently. My question is …. Can one find properties that have central heating ? If not can that be requested when the build is sold in its so called shell state?

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Rhi 26 January, 2019 - 1:13 pm

Absolutely none have central heating. The insulation is probably slightly better on new builds but no chance of getting central heating. Really have to get by with various heaters. Its only for a few months at least :)

Reply

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