This Christmas, why not do something a bit different and experience the festive season in magical Malta?

Famous as a sun-kissed island where several civilisations have fused into a memorable melting pot, Christmas is also a must-see time to visit.

Just a short three-and-a-half-hour direct flight from Dublin with Ryanair, the Mediterranean island of Malta offers an ideal short-haul destination for those who wish to spend Christmas in the sun but not too far away from home.

The Christmas season is celebrated to its fullest on the Maltese Islands with many Nativity scenes, crib displays, carol services and other events organised throughout the islands.

As just one example of a great deal, with Budget Travel, you can depart on December 22 and stay at the 4* Gillieru Harbour, St Paul’s Bay (room only) for €389pp; prices include flights, accommodation, taxes and transfer.

In fact, with Malta and Valletta’s popularity at this time of year, many tour operators have a range of offers to whisk you there for an unforgettable Christmas break – not to mention some early New Year deals too, of course.

From the start of December, Valletta’s waterfront has been transformed into a Christmas village with a mix of festive decor, music and food.

Free activities underneath the 35-foot Christmas tree will delights any visitor, with bands, choirs and cribs along the promenade.

Balloon modelling, face painting, crafts, games, colouring-ins, meet and greets with Santa Claus, puppet shows and bouncy castles are all on offer as the islanders and guests celebrate.

Visitors to Malta this month have already been treated to all kinds of Christmas treats, from parades to choirs – but the Christmas celebrations aren’t the only reason to visit Malta as soon as you can.

This December see Malta’s capital city Valletta celebrating its successful year as the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

If you’re lucky enough to get a last-minute deal, the Valletta 2018 Closing Spectacular will take place this weekend, December 15, and will feature a spectacular line-up of live shows and music.

You can join guests, visitors, artists, curators, residents, Tal-Kultura volunteers and the Valletta 2018 team as they celebrate a fantastic year with a closing event that pays tribute to the creative diversity that exists on Malta, Europe and beyond.

Visit Malta Ireland’s website for further information and details of events that taking place in Malta this December.