Our guide to things to do in Malta when it rains should come in handy when you experience unfavourable weather during your holiday. While famous for its crystal-blue seas, nature reserves, formal gardens and glorious Mediterranean weather, even on this delightful island, it has to rain sometimes. The climate is generally cool and wet in Malta from November to February, though it’s still quite busy with travellers hoping for a bargain or trying to avoid the summer crowds.

    Luckily, Malta has plenty of stuff to keep you amused and entertained no matter what the weather is like. Historic palaces, fascinating museums and underground labyrinths can all be enjoyed even on the wettest days. There are also some amazing indoor shopping and entertainment options to choose from. Check out some of our favourite things to do in Malta when it rains, below.

    1

    St Paul's Catacombs

    Visit one of Malta's most intriguing ancient sites

    St Paul's Catacombs, built in the 3rd century AD, were used as a burial site for Maltese residents for around 500 years. They also served as a hidden place of worship for early Christians who were afraid of persecution. While there are some beautiful medieval frescoes, the labyrinth of tombs and passages which were carved from rocks has quite an eerie atmosphere.

    Self-guided audio tours of St Paul's Catacombs last around 45 minutes, explaining the significance of the rock-cut 'agape tables', which were used for commemorative meals. There's a small museum at the entrance with an eclectic display of objects, ranging from Roman coins to Egyptian artefacts. The ground is steep or uneven in some places, so watch your step as you explore the catacombs.

    Location: Hal-Bajjada, Ir-Rabat, Malta

    Open: Daily from 9am to 5pm

    Phone: +356 2145 4562

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    2

    Esplora Interactive Science Centre

    Be inspired by hands-on scientific displays and games

    Esplora Interactive Science Centre showcases the science behind everyday objects in Malta. There are more than 200 interactive exhibits on subjects as diverse as earthquakes, music, optical illusions, and the human body. Look out for the popular exhibits on the science behind fireworks and how to launch a hot air balloon.

    Weekend activities at Esplora Interactive Science Centre include films in the planetarium and an ever-changing schedule of food workshops, coding labs and lectures on the science behind superheroes. The historical Villa Bighi makes a picturesque setting for the museum, with magnificent views from the rooftop decks.

    Location: Villa Bighi Triq Marina Il-Kalkara, KKR 1320, Malta

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 9am to 3pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10am to 6pm

    Phone: +356 2360 2300

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    3

    Lascaris War Rooms

    An underground WWII command centre

    The Lascaris War Rooms are a vast complex of underground tunnels that made up the Allies' top-secret headquarters during WWII. Many defensive operations were planned here – it also served as Eisenhower's HQ during the invasion of Sicily. In later years, NATO used the war rooms as a communications centre to intercept Soviet submarines in the Mediterranean.

    There are some remarkable artefacts on display, including 2 original WWII tanks. History lovers will be fascinated by the painstakingly restored rooms, which can make you feel as though you've travelled back to the 1940s. There are hourly guided tours and a small shop selling themed clothing, jewellery, and souvenirs.

    Location: Lascaris Ditch, VLT 2000, Valletta, Malta

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10am to 5pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +356 2123 4717

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    4

    Malta Aviation Museum

    Discover another side of Malta's history

    The Malta Aviation Museum, spread across 3 enormous hangars, guides you through the surprising history of aviation in Malta. The site was once used as a Royal Air Force station, but now displays jet aircraft, helicopters, uniforms, ground equipment and other memorabilia. The restored WWII era aircraft are particularly impressive – must-sees include the British Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX and the famous de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane.

    The museum also does extensive conservation and restoration work in their onsite workshop. Their Hawker Hurricane Mk IIa has an interesting story, having been salvaged from the southwest coast by a diver after spending more than 50 years underwater.

    Location: Ta' Qali, Attard 4000, Malta

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9am to 5pm, Sunday from 9am to 1pm

    Phone: +356 2141 6095

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    5

    Malta National Aquarium

    Get close to Malta's underwater life

    Malta National Aquarium is a gleaming modern centre that lets you immerse yourself in nature. Highlights include a 12-metre-long tunnel under the main tank, filled with leopard and zebra sharks, rays, eels, and pompano fish. There are also replicas of artefacts found at dive sites all over Malta, including an anchor from St Paul’s shipwreck.

    It's not all sea life at Malta National Aquarium – there's also a reptile and amphibian section, where cute geckos, terrapins, lizards, and poison-dart frogs are displayed. The aquarium is serious about its conservation responsibilities and offers a daily program of informative lectures and feeding sessions. Stay for a drink or snack in La Nave restaurant and you'll be rewarded with lovely views over the Qawra headland.

    Location: Triq it-Trunciera, San Pawl il-Baħar SPB 1500, Malta

    Open: Daily from 10am to 6pm

    Phone: +356 2258 8100

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    photo by Frank Vincentz (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Bay Street Shopping Complex

    Shopping, dining, and entertainment all under one roof

    There's plenty of great shopping in Malta, but Bay Street is the best choice for rainy days on the island. It's the island's largest shopping complex, where you can explore around 65 retail outlets, cafes, bars, and restaurants without ever needing to go outside. Shops are a mix of big names you'll recognize like Armani and River Island, as well as independent stores selling local Maltese crafts.

    If the kids get bored of shopping, Bay Street’s entertainment options include an arcade, a shooting gallery, a virtual reality experience, and a laser tag arena at Multimaxx. Finish up your visit by having dinner at Italian trattoria Fornelli or grabbing a drink at Hard Rock Cafe.

    Location: Triq Sqaq Lourdes, San Ġiljan, Malta

    Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm

    Phone: +356 2138 4421

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    photo by Windsor Garage (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    The Grandmaster’s Palace

    Step back into Malta's opulent past

    The Grandmaster's Palace is the most prestigious address in Valletta, the capital of Malta. It’s an elaborate mansion that has housed Malta's rulers since the 16th century. The sumptuous staterooms are lined with magnificent paintings, as well as the only complete set of Gobelins tapestries in the world. Don't miss the Hall of Ambassadors, a stunning red-and-gold room decorated with frescoes depicting the early history of Malta.

    The Palace Armoury has a remarkable collection of more than 5,000 suits of armour, including crossbows, muskets and swords dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. It's worth taking an audio tour for detailed information about every object and corner.

    Location: President's Palace, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

    Open: Daily from 9am to 5pm

    Phone: +356 2124 9349

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    8

    Malta 5D

    Thrilling film tour through Malta's highlights

    Malta 5D is a fun cinematic experience covering Malta's history and culture in a gripping 20-minute ride. The incredible 3D images are enhanced with further special effects like water sprays, air blasts and seats that shake with the booming of the guns. It really feels as though you're flying over Malta's rooftops or exploring its underground passageways.

    Malta 5D also takes you to the island's superb prehistoric temples, witness the savage fighting of the Great Siege, and discover the role Malta played in WWII. Audio commentary is available in 17 different languages. It's a great way to get an overview of Malta when the weather stops you from wandering the streets.

    Location: 7, Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT 1450, Malta

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9.30am to 5pm, Sunday from 10am to 2pm (shows start every 30 minutes)

    Phone: +356 2735 5001

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    9

    Għar Dalam Cave

    Prehistoric cave with a small museum

    The 145-metre-long Għar Dalam Cave has an extraordinary collection of ancient fossils from prehistoric species, including giant dormice and dwarf elephants. It's also the earliest site of human habitation in Malta, with Neanderthal teeth found in 1 layer and pottery dating back to 5,200 BC.

    As you descend into the cave, check out the pillar of sediment left by archaeologists, which shows the cave's deep stratigraphy. Għar Dalam Cave is also a Special Area of Conservation, thanks to a population of lesser horseshoe bats that can be seen flying around at dusk.

    Location: Triq Ghar Dalam, Birżebbuġa, Malta

    Open: Daily from 9am to 5pm

    Phone: +356 2165 7419

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    photo by Frank Vincentz (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    10

    Manoel Theatre and Museum

    Historic theatre with a stunning interior

    Manoel Theatre has a long and storied history as Malta's foremost performing arts centre. It was first commissioned in 1731, making it one of the oldest active theatres in Europe. The theatre is elaborately decorated in gold leaf, with several magnificent Viennese chandeliers and a breathtaking blue trompe-l’oeil ceiling.

    The theatre stages numerous plays, varying from classics to modern Maltese drama, along with concerts and opera. It's also the home of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and plays a significant part in Valletta’s annual Baroque Festival. There’s a small museum displaying exhibits on the city's theatrical history.

    Location: Old Theatre Street, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10.30am to 4.30pm, Saturday from 10am to 1pm (performances times vary but typically start at 7pm or 8pm)

    Phone: +356 2124 6389

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    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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