Valletta: What’s in store for the European Capital of Culture 2018
Malta is abuzz after its capital, Valletta, was crowned European Capital of Culture 2018. The island nation has rolled out an exciting year-long programme of events, with performances, festivals, visual arts projects, music, family-friendly activities and more bringing the city’s culture and history to life. We’ve selected some of our top picks, covering everything from fashion to flowers.
Opening Week (Valletta): 14 - 21 January 2018
Official Opening Ceremony (Valetta): 20 January 2018
A city-wide week of festivities kicks off the celebrations in Valletta. Music, entertainment, street artists and theatrical groups will fill Valletta’s four main squares
– St George’s Square, St John’s Square, Castille Square, and the Triton Fountain area – and the revelry will spill out onto the streets. Expect exhibitions around the city, travelling bands, digital projections and video art, all culminating in the official opening ceremony.
Malta Carnival (Valettta)
Takes place: 9 – 13 February 2018
Take to the streets with one of Malta’s oldest festivities, which dates back to the rule of the Knights of the Order of Saint John. There’s nothing archaic about these celebrations though – four days of marching bands, fancy dress competitions and costumed dancers in addition to the colourful and fantastical floats of the much-anticipated float parade.
Green Festival (Valletta)
Takes place: 4 – 6 May 2018
2018 sees the return of the annual floral installation that carpets St George’s Square as 80,000 potted plants transform the area. Last year’s Green Festival also offered visitors rare access to the secret gardens at the Archbishop’s Palace and the cloistered monastery of St. Catherine’s, closed to the public for over 400 years. The event will be complemented by workshops, information sessions, music and entertainment events, all seeking to promote environmental sustainability.
Malta Fashion Week (Valletta)
Takes place: 28 May – 2 June 2018
Taking in place in the atmospheric setting of Fort St. Elmo, the 8th edition of the Malta Fashion Week showcases the country’s best local designers and brings with it a slew of awards parties, fashion shows and exhibitions, design workshops and
Valletta Pageant of the Seas (Grand Harbour, Valletta)
Takes place: 7 June 2018
Valletta’s Grand Harbour provides the spectacular backdrop for a day-long programme of water acts and races. Competitive races across the water, held between swimmers and unique, handmade vessels, will provide lively daytime entertainment before sundown heralds a spectacular display of fireworks and light effects.
Valletta Film Festival
Takes place: 8 - 17 June 2018
Taking advantage of the Mediterranean summer, Valletta’s annual Film Festival offers indoor and open-air screenings around the city. Over 40 feature films and 25 short films will be screened and judged, while movie buffs may be interested in the film-related talks and workshops that will accompany the festival.
Malta International Arts Festival
Takes place: 29 June – 14 July 2018
Drawing upon Malta’s history and culture, the International Arts Festival promises a fantastic range of visual and performance arts, including music, theatre, dance, opera, installations, films and community projects. Taking place over a two-week period, festival goers can enjoy everything from cabarets to concertos.
Notte Bianca (Valletta)
Takes place: 6 October 2018
The special edition of this annual event, which celebrates arts and culture, will focus on new media and interactive installations. Valletta will also open its museums,
historical buildings and art galleries to the public free of charge and eateries and food stalls will stay open until late, allowing visitors a full night of dining and culture.