One of the most highly-anticipated events in Malta’s cultural history is finally upon us – European Capital of Culture 2018. As a result, January kick-starts a series of unforgettable events that will be part of a year-long celebration throughout Malta and Gozo. Here we take a look at the events you can choose to be part of this January.

Valletta 2018 Opening Week

14th January – 21st January

The European Capital of Culture year begins with a week of cultural celebrations in the capital. Valletta will be alive with music and entertainment, street artists and performers, exhibitions and community storytellers, in a host of activities leading up to the grand opening of Valletta as European Capital of Culture, 2018.

The Opening Week events are divided into six different themes, as follows.

Opening Week: Festa

A grand celebration in the heart of the capital, with dance, music, food and revelry reminiscent of a traditional Maltese Festa, kick-starts the opening week.

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Don’t miss ‘Erba’ Pjazez’ (or ‘Four Squares’) which will host shows every hour in each of Valletta’s main squares. Catalan theatrical group, La Fura dels Baus, will also delight audiences with outdoor acrobatics by the Triton Fountain, whilst ŻfinMalta give contemporary dance performances, and digital projections, video art and choral symphony take over the capital.

Opening Week: Music and Theatre

Diversity blended with tradition are the themes explored by a huge variety of musicians, performers and comedians throughout V18 Opening Week.

Highlights include the Sala San Duminku Community Theatre, which will bring three nights of alternative music, theatre and comedy to the city. Meanwhile, the Società Filarmonica Nazionale La Valette will perform brass band concerts and showcase in-house exhibitions.

Opening Week: Pop-up / Music

Malta’s popular ferry from Sliema to Valletta is not forgotten in the Opening Week celebrations, with hip-hop, dance and rap musicians playing live onboard at regular intervals. With this in mind? Why not hop aboard next time you need to whiz into the capital? It’s a great alternative to road transport, and certainly beats the traffic!

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Human jukebox Ozzy Lino will be extending the fun to other forms of public transport, by bus-hopping and performing his unique musical style.

Opening Week: Children & Young People

Make sure to check out the Museum of Invented Cultures at Valletta Primary School during Opening Week. This intergalactic museum takes cultural objects from children’s stories and turns them into artefacts.

Meanwhile, there will be a larger Festa-style celebration taking place in the capital – a children’s version of the local feast of St Paul gets the V18 treatment, with the children walking through Valletta with a small statue of the saint.

Opening Week: Sport

Valletta’s rich football history is explored during Opening Week, with workshops, talks and tours focusing on the sport’s artefacts, trophies and newsworthy events.

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Members of the Marsamxett Regatta will also be joining local rowers in guiding visitors through the vast culture of regatta. An exhibition and a 400m race in Marsamxett round out the week.

Opening Week: History

Valletta’s residents become storytellers, taking visitors through the capital and giving them a glance into living there, past and present.

Meanwhile, tours and exhibitions are held in each of the many historic sites that call this UNESCO World Heritage Site home – don’t miss those in the 500-year-old Agostinian convent and the spectacular St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral.

The Valletta International Baroque Festival

13th – 27th January

The 2018 edition of the Valletta International Baroque Festival happens to coincide with V18 Opening Week in the capital. This unique event celebrates the baroque splendour found throughout Valletta, in a two-week classical and contemporary music extravaganza hosted in some of the city’s most breath-taking baroque locations.

A Hero’s Life – Ein Heldenleben

27th January – Mediterranean Conference Centre

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will, for the first time, take on the epic and technically difficult work of Richard Strauss, in this ultimate test for the national orchestra. Directed by internationally-acclaimed Dutch-Maltese conductor Lawrence Renes, and joined by the London Symphony Orchestra’s co-leader Carmine Lauri, the concert will also feature musicians from the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia.

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Love the idea of what’s happening at V18? Why not head along to experience the events for yourself? To learn more, visit