Weather Averages for Malta in January
Averages for Malta in January
Malta is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, to the south of Italy, where the two main languages spoken are English and Maltese. Malta has become an increasingly popular holiday resort in recent years, boasting a wide range of attractions and reliably lovely weather and hot dry sunny summers.
Malta has a subtropical Mediterranean climate, with warm and moist winters, and hot dry sunny summers. Due to the moderation from the surrounding seas, large fluctuations in temperature are rare. Malta has a narrower range of daylight hours than over northern parts of Europe, with a mean of 10 hours of daylight during December and January, rising to just over 14 in June and July. It is a relatively windy location due to its position in the middle of the sea, and the sinoco wind occasionally delivers hot, dry and dusty conditions up from northern Africa, particularly during spring and autumn in association with depressions moving along the Mediterranean Sea.
Temperatures are mild during the winter months, while the summer months are generally hot. At Luqa Airport, the average maximum temperature ranges from 15°C in January to 31°C in July and August, while the average minimum ranges from 9°C in January to 21°C in July and August. Frosts are very rare, even in inland parts of the island, and the only widespread air frost (minimum temperature below 0°C) since instrumental records began was early on the 1st February 1962. The summer months occasionally become excessively hot, when the winds pull hot air up from mainland Africa, and the highest maximum temperature recorded is 43.8°C at Luqa Airport during August 1999.
Precipitation shows considerable seasonal variation in Malta. The period October to January is generally wettest, with December tending to be the wettest month of all, though there is considerable variation from one month to the next- if low pressure systems track further north than usual then there are often prolonged fine spells, whereas if lows track south, then it can be very wet at times.
In contrast the period May to September is usually very dry with a mean of less than 5mm of rain per month. The mean annual rainfall total is around 550mm, which is on a par with the driest parts of Greater London, Cambridgeshire and Essex, but when it rains the rain tends to be heavier and over with more quickly than in north-western Europe.
Sunshine is far more reliable in Malta than in northern parts of Europe, even in the wet winter months. The mean annual sunshine total at Lupa Airport is just short of 3,000 hours, compared with a mean near 1,500 hours over most parts of England. Sunshine totals average 155-160 hours during December and January (a mean of five hours per day) and rise to over 350 hours (between 11 and 12 hours per day) during July.
Malta has a moderately humid climate thanks to the surrounding seas, with average relative humidity of 79% during the winter months, falling to 69% in mid-summer, though the humidity is low compared with most tropical resorts. The rain of the winter months is sometimes thundery, with a mean of 5 or 6 days per month with thunder during winter, but thunder is very rare during the dry summer months.
The mean sea temperature varies between 16°C in late winter and early spring, with a minimum in February and March, and 26°C during August, which makes diving and snorkelling attractive during summer and early to mid autumn.
January is, on average, the coldest month of the year in Malta but the weather is usually mild and frost-free. At Lupa Airport the mean maximum temperature is a mild 15°C, while the temperature falls to a mean of 9°C overnight, although inland parts of the island are often a little cooler at night. The record low minimum temperature of 1.4°C highlights the rarity of frosts across the island.
The mean precipitation total is 89mm, spread over an average of 14 wet days per January, implying that rain is quite frequent, though it tends to be heavier and over with more quickly than in northern and central Europe. There can be considerable variation from one January to the next- if low pressure systems track further south than usual, the weather can end up very wet, but on the other hand some Januarys are dominated mainly by high pressure and end up generally dry.
The mean monthly sunshine total is 158 hours, an average of just over five hours per day, which is about three times the average total expected over much of north-western Europe. There is a mean relative humidity of 79%, which is quite high. The sea temperature averages 16°C during January, which is rather cool for swimming in.
Weather hazards are generally rare, but crop up occasionally. On the 15th January 2013, a damaging hailstorm affected much of northern and eastern Malta and caused damage to cars and solar heaters. Snow has been observed on rare occasions in January, most recently on the 31st January 1962, and previously in 1858 and 1905.
Dates for the diary
Malta hosts the Feast of St Anthony the Abbot in Rabat on the 13th January, at St. Mark’s Church. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own pets, and a procession heads into the church, where there is the traditional blessing of animals. The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul is celebrated on the 25th January each year and is held at the main Cathedral at Mdina, featuring special masses to celebrate the event.
Things to do
Malta boasts many attractive museums which cater for a wide range of tastes. The Malta Classic Car Collection museum at Tourists Street, Qawra is recommended for car enthusiasts, and may also appeal to some non-car enthusiasts too. It boasts exhibitions of numerous ancient cars and motorbikes, and the museum makes an effort to keep the cars in good condition, rather than allowing them to turn rusty and in poor repair. There are other old gadgets on display including radios and cameras. There is also a souvenir shop and snacks are also served on the premises.
Fort Rinella at St.Rocco Road, Kalkara was originally a war machine with a 100-tonne gun which could send a 1-tonne shell a distance of approximately eight miles, with the aim of taking down nearby ships. It was used as a defence against the threat of the likes of Britain and Italy taking control of the island. It is now a museum and there are many exhibits showing displays of how the site was previously used, together with guided explanations from operators. On a similar theme, the Lascaris War Rooms at Valletta are a complex of underground tunnels and chambers, which previously housed the War Headquarters, from which defence operations were organised in Malta during the Second World War. There are some insightful guides available. Malta 5D at Old Bakery Street provides cinematic run-throughs of historic events and landmarks in Malta, using 3D views of the city and the Malta area, and it is open from 9:30-16:00 on Mondays to Saturdays and 10:00 to 14:00 on Sundays and public holidays.
Where to eat & drink
Malta has numerous good pubs, bars and restaurants to choose from. The Cosy Corner at Triq it-Turisti, Qawra is a good Italian restaurant, which is especially highly-rated for its pizzas. For international cuisine, the Malet Restaurant at 84 St. Simon Street, Bugibba, is relatively inexpensive and has a wide range of good menu options.
For those who would like to catch up on sporting events and enjoy a few drinks, One38lounge at Triq It-Torri, Sliema is a good option, and it arranges frequent entertainment during evenings. Another good pub experience can be had at the Scotsman Pub at St. George's Road, Paceville, which features regular karaoke nights and serves good pub food, which can be combined with a quick game of pool or darts.
Hit the beach
Malta is a small island and does not have many beaches, but nonetheless there are some that are worth considering. The main problem is that the weather is often unreliable at this time of year. Paradise Bay in the far north of Malta, close to the Gozo Ferry, is a very high-rated family-friendly beach, which contains many good facilities and the smooth beaches are ideal for young children. For a secluded option, consider the Ghajin Tuffieha, situated within a 15 minute bus journey of St Paul’s Bay. It is bordered by plenty of greenery, although the downside is that to access it you must navigate down a series of steep steps, but it offers an excellent outlet for relaxation once you arrive.
Where to stay
There are many good accommodation options to choose from in Malta. Those after a luxury stay can consider the Hilton Malta at Portomaso, Saint Julian's, which has particularly good on-site restaurants and also serves good buffet breakfasts. The George Hotel offers 4-star accommodation and good spa facilities and is located at Triq Paceville Avenue, Saint Julian's, in the vibrant centre of Paceville, which makes it an ideal centre for those who fancy going clubbing or indulging in musical entertainment regularly in and around Paceville. The Mellieha Holiday Centre at Mellieha Bay is particularly suitable for families with young children, and the various facilities include a pool and a play park.
Those on a limited budget can consider the Soreda Hotel at Andrew Cunningham Street, Qawra, which is well-placed for access to the entertainment at Bugibba. Self-catering options are many and varied, and include Old Theatre Lane at Valletta, which has excellent views over the sea.