Malta has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with hot and dry summers and mild and wet winters. Malta lies in southern Europe in the central Mediterranean Sea. The Sicilian island of Italy lies 50 miles to the north across the Malta Channel. Tunisia is 176 miles to the west, and Libya is 207 miles to the south. Malta's location is farther south than the cities of Tunisia, Tangier, Aleppo, and Mosul in North Africa or the Middle East. The Mediterranean Sea and the subtropical latitudes chiefly influence the climate.
Malta is an archipelago in the eastern basin of the central Mediterranean Sea, 35°N of the equator, and at a longitude of 14°E. The country has an area of 122 square miles and a coastline of more than 150 miles. The islands on the Malta Plateau derive from a shallow shelf that was once a land bridge between Sicily and North Africa. Gozo in the west, Comino in the center, and Malta in the east are the three largest and only inhabited islands of the archipelago. The topography is mainly flat, with terraced fields on low hills. The islands are low and rocky, with steep coastal cliffs. Comino is the home to the famous Blue Lagoon. No big rivers or permanent lakes exist on the islands, but small rivers form during the rainy season. Ta'Dmejrek is the highest point in Malta at only 253 meters above sea level.
Malta has hot summers from June to August, with typical daily highs in the range of 26.7°C (80.1°F) to 33.9°C (93°F). The interiors of the islands are hotter than the coasts. Nights are comfortable in the zone of 17.2°C (63°F) to 23.9°C (75°F). Winters are mild, with plenty of sunshine, along with rain and wind. Few days drop to 10°C (50°F), but snowfall is extremely rare, and temperatures never drop below freezing. Temperature differences between day and night remain less and across seasons are not extreme. Cold is rare as the average monthly temperature remains above 11.1°C (52°F) in the winter. Spring is wet in the early days but sunny later on, with average high temperatures between 17.2°C (63°F) to 22.8°C (73°F). Autumn has summer-like conditions in September but cools down by November. Cloudy skies become the norm, and thunderstorms are frequent. October sees a surge in rainfall. Spring and autumn many a time encounter the hot and dry Sirocco winds that blow from the Saharan desert. The wind brings dust and sand and raises the temperatures by a few degrees. Summer days cross 37.8°C (100°F) in the presence of the hot winds.
The annual average rainfall in Malta ranges between 533.4mm (21") in the interior to 635mm (25") on the coasts, with approximately 100 wet days. Precipitation mainly occurs in the winter, with moderate amounts in early spring and late autumn. October to January is the wettest period, with the highest monthly rainfall in December. June to August is the driest period, with hardly any measurable rainfall. The annual average relative humidity is 75%, with a low of 65% in July and a high of 80% in December. The annual sunshine registers an abundant 3054 hours, one of the highest in Europe. Malta receives twice the sunshine compared to cities in northern Europe. The daylight ranges from a little below 10 hours in December to more than 14 hours in July. The seawaters are the warmest between 23.9°C (75°F) to 26.1°C (79°F) from July to September in Valetta, the capital.
The highest temperature on record in Malta is 43.8°C (110.8°F), set on August 9, 1999. The lowest temperature on record is 1.4°C (34.5°F), set on January 29, 1981.
The best time to visit Malta
The best time to visit Malta is in the latter half of the spring season from April to May. Temperatures are in the comfortable zone of 15.6°C (60.1°F) to 21.1°C (70°F), with little rain. The long days have 9 to 10 hours of bright sunshine, and the skies are clear. Summer is hot, with plenty of sunlight, and is the best time for beach holidays when seawater temperatures are above 23.9°C (75°F). Precipitation is mostly absent in the summer, but high temperatures often cross 32.2°C (90°F). Spring vacations are budget-friendlier compared to the summer due to fewer crowds.
The worst time to visit Malta
The worst time to visit Malta, if there is any, is the winter from December to February. Much of the annual precipitation occurs in the winter. The skies are cloudy, and there is a rise in humidity. The humidity levels rise but are less compared to the autumn. Day temperatures occasionally register below 10°C (50°F), but night temperatures remain comfortably short of freezing. The seawater temperatures are cold between 15°C (59°F) and 16.1°C (61°F) and generally not suitable for swimming. Beach holidays are not popular during the cold season, and the crowds are fewer than the summer. December sees the shortest days of the year, with only 5 hours of sunshine in Malta.
Malta is listed as the second safest country to visit, with low weather hazards in the United Nations index for many years. However, the country faces threats such as droughts, storms, landslides, waterspouts, and surface collapse. Drought is a frequent hazard that can affect tourism in the future. Surface load changes, loss of vegetation, and water table depth contribute to surface collapse. Power stations and reverse osmosis plants on the coast face the threat of tsunamis. Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily, is just 125 miles away, and Malta's infrastructure faces severe repercussions from the plume of volcanic ash.
Weather in January
January is the coldest month of the year in Malta, but the winter is milder than mainland Europe. Valetta, the capital in the southeast coastal region, registers cold to mild temperatures in the average 8.9°C (48°F) to 15°C (59°F) zone. Temperatures rarely drop below 4.4°C (39.9°F), and frost and snow are extremely rare. The average precipitation is 88.9mm (3.5"), with 14 wet days in the month. The average seawater temperatures at 16.1°C (61°F) are cold for swimming, but other beach activities are possible. January receives up to 6 hours of daily sunshine, and the daylight increases above 10 hours by the end of the month. Days are comfortable, and nights are cold, with clear skies 66% of the time. Warm clothes, such as sweaters and jackets, are enough to withstand the cold and rain. The average daily wind speeds register at 24.8km/h (15.4mph), and the evenings are windy. The mild winter makes Malta the number one destination for European tourists in January.
Weather in February
February is cold in Malta, with average temperatures in the range of 8.9°C (48°F) to 16.1°C (61°F). The Mediterranean seawaters at 16.1°C (61°F) keep the islands away from severe cold. Temperatures in Luqa are usually in the range of 10°C (50°F) to 15.6°C (60.1°F), rarely fall below 7.2°C (45°F) or scale 18.3°C (64.9°F). Cold waves from northern Europe do not last for more than a few days. February registers an average of 61mm (2.4") of rainfall, as the skies remain overcast for 33% of the time. The sunlight increases to 7 hours as the daylight gradually reaches 11.5 hours by the end of the month. The interior regions are slightly colder than the coast, but temperatures never drop below freezing. Humidity levels remain in the comfortable range of 55% to 75%, and the conditions are generally agreeable. Wind speeds drop below 24.1km/h (15mph), but a warm jacket is useful, especially in the evenings. Budget travelers find February weather and offseason discounts in Malta to their advantage.
Weather in March
March brings mild temperatures to Malta in the average range of 10°C (50°F) to 17.2°C (63°F). The precipitation is to the tune of 40.6mm (1.6"), with 9 wet days in the month. The chance of a wet day in Luqa drops from 21% at the beginning to 12% by the end of March. A sweater and a light jacket are useful for occasional light showers, wind, and cold. March receives daily sunshine of 8 hours as the skies begin to clear quickly. The earliest sunrise is at 5.53 a.m., and the daylight increases rapidly to register over 12 hours by the month-end. Wind speeds are at moderate levels between 22.2km/h (13.8mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph), with pleasant evenings. The humidity levels are in the comfortable range of 50% to 75%, with highs in the mornings. The seawaters are at the coldest of the year at an average temperature of 15°C (59°F). March sees a gradual increase in warmth in Malta.
Weather in April
April is one of the best times to explore the interior of Malta, especially in the second half of the month. The landscape warms up to register in the average range of 12.2°C (54°F) to 18.9°C (66°F). The skies remain mostly clear, and the chance of rain is less than 12% every day. Valetta registers only 22.9mm (0.9") of precipitation in April, and the country sees the end of the wet season. The dry Sirocco wind occasionally sweeps the islands and raises the temperatures. However, the cold waters of the Mediterranean at 16.1°C (61°F) do not allow the effect to linger for long periods. Beach lovers may find it a little cold on the coast, but the 9-hours of sunshine warms up the interior. Easter sees a surge in tourist numbers with beautiful weather in Malta. A jacket is useful, but sunscreen is unnecessary in the moderate sunshine. The dry and warm weather in April makes it an excellent time to visit Malta.
Weather in May
May is dry and sunny in Malta, with average temperatures in the warm range of 15°C (59°F) to 22.8°C (73°F). Clear skies prevail, with relative humidity in the range of 60% to 80%. Visitors enjoy the islands amid abundant sunshine of 10 hours in the 14-hour days. The average daily wind speeds decrease in May from 20km/h (12.4mph) in the beginning to 16.6km/h (10.3mph) by the end. Sunset after 8 p.m. gives plenty of time in the evenings to explore the lovely surroundings. Seawater temperatures rise to 17.8°C (64°F), which is a little cold for swimming. The waters are usually calm, and it is an ideal time to enjoy one of the numerous cruises. The hot and dry winds from North Africa occasionally blow to bring brief periods of discomfort. A light jacket is useful in the windy evenings in spring, and a sweater brings warmth in the cold nights. Expect an increase in tourist footfalls as the conditions warm up by the end of May in Malta.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the hot and dry summer season in Malta. The average temperatures register in the warm to the hot range of 17.8°C (64°F) to 27.8°C (82°F) on the islands. The skies remain clear for 80% of the time, and the average relative humidity drops to 70%. June receives negligible rainfall in the form of an occasional light shower. The seawaters temper the heat, and the shores remain cooler than the interior lands. The average temperature of the ocean waters rises to 21.1°C (70°F), which is mild and draws large crowds. June 20 is the longest day of the year at 14 hours and 36 minutes with the sunset at 8.22 p.m. Sunscreen is necessary as the ultraviolet index of the sun is at 10, the highest of the year. Evenings see light to moderate breezes with wind speeds in the range of 14km/h (8.7mph) to 16.4km/h (10.2mph). June begins the peak tourist season and is the best time for beach holidays in Malta.
Weather in July
July is hot and sunny in the summer of Malta, with the lowest average monthly humidity of 65%. The average temperatures range from 21.1°C (70°F) to 31.1°C (88°F), and the skies remain clear 97% of the time. The country rarely receives any precipitation in July, which is perfect for tourists who visit Malta for beach holidays. With the sunrise before 5.50 a.m., early mornings are an excellent time to beat the crowds, although they are slightly humid. Afternoons are avoidable due to sultry conditions. Evenings see light breezes with average wind speeds at 13.8km/h (8.6mph). Nights are mild to warm, with temperatures between 18.3°C (64.9°F) to 23.9°C (75°F). July days receive 12 hours of brilliant sunshine that warm the seawaters up to 23.9°C (75°F), which are comfortable for swimming. The Blue Lagoon waters in Comino are at their best during the warm conditions of July. Wear light summer clothing during the day. Expect hot days and warm nights in July in Malta.
Weather in August
August is the sunniest and hottest month of the year in Malta. The average temperatures are in the range of 22.2°C (72°F) to 31.1°C (88°F), and the days are sweltering with 12 hours of torrid sunshine. Clear skies and blue waters are guaranteed 98% of the time, especially in the first week of August. The average seawater temperatures are at the highest of the year at 26.1°C (79°F). The waters are mild, and it is the best time for swimming, sailing, boating, and other water activities. The dry wind chases away the clouds and any chance of precipitation. The relative humidity is in the range of 50% to 85%, and breezes are light due to wind speeds below 14.5km/h (9mph). Nights are sultry at times, especially in the interior, and need air conditioners. The island of Gozo sees slightly lower temperatures than the rest of the country. Light summer clothing is usually suitable during day or night. Heatwaves frequently occur in the interior region. August sees holiday crowds in Malta.
Weather in September
September is warm and sunny in Malta as the autumn season knocks on its doors. The average temperatures are in the comfortable zone of 20°C (68°F) to 27.8°C (82°F). The days are occasionally hot, while the nights tend to be warm. Precipitation is to the tune of 40.6mm (1.6"), with 4 wet days in the month. Early autumn is sunny, with 12 hours of daylight and clear skies for 88% of the time. The 9-hour sunshine rarely sees interruptions in the form of passing showers. The seawaters provide ideal grounds for swimming and other water activities with average temperatures at 25°C (77°F). Thunderstorms are rare, and the waters in the sea and lagoon are calm. The relative humidity between 55% and 75% keeps the conditions comfortable along with light breezes between 14.5km/h (9mph) and 16.1km/h (10mph). Light summer clothing is usually sufficient for the days, and a jacket is useful in the evenings. September offers fair weather and fewer crowds during a trip to Malta.
Weather in October
October has mild conditions in Malta, with the average temperatures in the 17.2°C (63°F) to 23.9°C (75°F) zone. The cloud cover increases gradually, with overcast skies between 34% and 40%. The precipitation increases significantly to register 88.9mm (3.5") in October, with humidity levels between 55% and 75%. The 7-hour daily sunshine provides ample time to explore the islands, interior regions, and white sandy beaches. The sunshine is moderate, and the daylight decreases from 12 hours to less than 11 hours in October. The average daily wind speeds in Valetta range from 17.7km/h (11mph) to 20.1km/h (12.5mph) and provide light to moderate breezes in the evenings. The seawaters remain above 22.8°C (73°F), which is comfortable for swimming, and warmer than most of continental Europe. The dry and hot Sirocco wind occasionally blows in the autumn to raise the temperatures. Budget travelers take advantage of fewer crowds and fair weather. Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent in October in Malta.
Weather in November
November is mild in Malta but sees a rise in humidity and wetness. The average temperatures drop in the mild zone of 13.9°C (57°F) to 20°C (68°F) range, as the humidity climbs to 80%. Although the precipitation is a moderate 78.7mm (3.1"), there are at least 11 wet days, and the chance of daily rainfall increases to 30%. The skies are cloudy for 40% of the time, with the clearest day on November 26. The daily sunshine lasts for 6 hours, which is much higher than in London and Paris on the European mainland. Evening breezes are refreshing, as average daily wind speeds range from 20.4km/h (12.7mph) to 24.5km/h (15.2mph). Temperatures during the day occasionally cross 23.9°C (75°F), and nights are mild to cold, below 13.9°C (57°F). A warm jacket serves the dual purpose of protection from rain and wind and is useful during cold nights. The seawaters remain below 21.1°C (70°F), and the daylight lasts for 10 hours in November in Malta.
Weather in December
December is the beginning of the wet winter season in Malta. The average temperatures are in the mild zone of 11.1°C (52°F) to 17.2°C (63°F), with relative humidity between 55% and 70%. December brings the highest monthly rainfall of 109.2mm (4.3") in the year, with 14 wet days that mandate raincoats or umbrellas. The days have clear skies for 65% of the time, and the clear nights are perfect for stargazing. Wind speeds touch 25.4km/h (15.8mph), the highest of the year, with a prevailing direction from the west. December 22 is the shortest day of the year, with 9 hours and 43 minutes of daylight and only 5 hours of sunshine. A sweater and a jacket are useful for protection from cold and rain. The average seawater temperatures at 17.8°C (64°F) are cold for swimming but do not prevent tourists from enjoying the numerous holiday cruises. Christmas brings many visitors who seek winter warmth from the European mainland to Malta.