With the closing of the first month of the year comes the festive anticipation of Carnival - a yearly festive tradition of merriment and jest that transforms the Maltese islands into a kaleidoscopic feast of the senses. This year’s Carnival dates are scheduled for the weekend starting 9th February and run until the 13th of the same month.
This week we bring you two locations and two itineraries to make the most out of the Carnival weekend: Valletta in Malta and Nadur in Gozo. Which one is the better of the two may be a hotly debated issue locally, but here, we invite you to experience the two for yourself and draw your own conclusions about the way in which the Maltese and Gozitans step it up for Carnival celebrations.
Image source: www.instagram.com
Carnival in Malta: Valletta
Valletta’s yearly Carnival events are iconic, to say the least. The centrepieces for the weekend are undoubtedly the grand, colourful floats. Constructed out of cardboard, often adorned with lights and accompanied with blasting music and dancers, the floats conduct their yearly pilgrimage throughout Valletta and suburbia roads of Floriana. The floats often draw inspiration from the fictional and real world alike with plenty of odd caricatural interpretations as well as some mild political satire tossed into the mix.
Image source: www.instagram.com
This year’s float parade is scheduled to depart from Castille in Valletta on Sunday, 11th of February at 12:30 pm. From there, join the crowd, participate in the music, dance and theatrical activities throughout the afternoon, indulge in some prinjolata and admire the plethora of costumes that children and adults alike put on for the day.
Prinjolata: A decadent cake served throughout Maltese Carnival celebrations
To make the most out of the weekend festivities, stay with Luxury Villa’s Valletta accommodation options to be centrally located and a mere walking distance away from all the merriment in the European Capital of Culture for the year.
Carnival in Gozo: Nadur
While the historical roots of the Valletta Carnival extend back to the 1400s and are rooted in tradition, the Gozitan celebrations were officially recognised as distinct in the 1950s and are truly Carnivalesque, autonomous, completely spontaneous and inherently people-led. Expect even more floats as well as a multitude of comical or grotesque costumes that try to out-do one another each year with some interesting results.
Make your way up to Gozo by taking the ferry from Ċirkewwa on any day between Friday to Sunday during Carnival weekend. Saturday tends to be by far the most popular date of attendance, and, with the events being highly popular with the Maltese and tourists alike, make sure to plan ahead and travel early. Once in Gozo, head over to Victoria, the capital of the island, and take part in the activities and events that dot the city. Once sunset comes round, head to Nadur and join the crowd in all its foolery.
Once you’ve taken your fill with all the quirkiness that the Nadur carnival brings, head back to Malta in the late hours with the Gozo Ferry which has scheduled departure times well into the night for the true night owls.
We suggest opting for accommodation in Mellieħa (Malta) where a cab ride back from the ferry port to your accommodation takes around 10 minutes. Luxury Villas offer a number of options here as well, all prominently located with stunning views of the surrounding rural scenery.
Have you attended Carnival celebrations in Malta, Gozo or both? Let us know about your personal experiences in the comments below.