Rabat, Malta

Discovering the Magic of the Holidays at Rabat Christmas Market

Introduction to Rabat and the Christmas Market

Step into the enchanting world of Rabat, Malta, where the magic of Christmas comes alive at the Natalis Notabilis Christmas Market! Explore centuries-old traditions against a backdrop of historic architecture and festive cheer. Join us on a journey through this charming town and its iconic Christmas market in 2024 for an unforgettable holiday experience.

History of Rabat and its Festive Traditions

Nestled in the heart of Malta, Rabat is a town steeped in history and rich festive traditions. Its name means ‘suburb’ in Arabic, reflecting its origins as a suburb of the ancient Roman city of Mdina. Over the centuries, Rabat has evolved into a vibrant community known for its strong sense of community spirit.

During the Christmas season, Rabat comes alive with Natalis Notabilis – a magical Christmas market that captivates locals and visitors alike. The market showcases traditional Maltese crafts, delicious food stalls serving up local delicacies like pastizzi and honey rings, and festive entertainment to keep everyone in high spirits.

The festive traditions in Rabat are deeply rooted in Maltese culture, with religious processions honoring Saint Paul – the patron saint of Malta – taking place throughout December. These processions are accompanied by music, fireworks displays, and lively celebrations that bring people together to rejoice in the holiday spirit.

Location and Opening Times in 2024

rabat christmas market
rabat christmas market

Nestled in the heart of Malta, Rabat comes alive during the festive season with its enchanting Christmas Market known as Natalis Notabilis. The market is typically held in the historic town square, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates visitors of all ages.

In 2024, the Rabat Christmas Market is set to open its doors from late November until early January, giving locals and tourists ample time to experience the holiday cheer. Visitors can expect cozy stalls adorned with twinkling lights offering an array of seasonal treats, handmade crafts, and unique gifts perfect for stocking stuffers or souvenirs.

From aromatic mulled wine to traditional Maltese pastries like qaghaq tal-ghasel (honey rings), there’s no shortage of delicious foods and drinks to indulge in while wandering through the market. Make sure to try local specialties like imbuljuta tal-qastan (chestnut soup) for a taste of authentic Maltese cuisine.

As you explore this charming Christmas Market in Rabat, take your time soaking up the festive ambiance and mingling with friendly locals who are eager to share their traditions with you. Don’t forget to capture memorable moments at the picturesque nativity scene or enjoy live music performances that add an extra layer of magic to your visit.

With convenient opening times throughout December, including weekends and evenings, there’s plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit at Natalis Notabilis. So mark your calendars and get ready for a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in Malta’s quaint town of Rabat!

Must-Try Foods and Drinks at the Market

Indulge your taste buds at the Rabat Christmas Market with an array of must-try foods and drinks that will surely delight your senses. Treat yourself to traditional Maltese pastries like Qaghaq tal-Ghasel, a sweet honey ring filled with nuts and citrus zest. Savor the warmth of a cup of hot Mulled Wine infused with spices, perfect for warding off the winter chill.

For those craving something savory, try Hobz biz-Zejt u Tadam – a delicious sandwich made with crusty Maltese bread, olive oil, tomatoes, capers, olives, and tuna. Wash it down with some Kinnie – Malta’s iconic non-alcoholic beverage made from bitter oranges and aromatic herbs.

Don’t miss out on sampling Imqaret – deep-fried date pastries dusted with icing sugar for a delightful sweet treat. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try Bragioli – beef olives stuffed with bacon or sausage in tomato sauce?

small fried doughnuts
small fried doughnuts

The market is a foodie paradise offering an unforgettable gastronomic experience that blends Maltese traditions with festive cheer.

Tips for Visiting the Christmas Market

As you plan your visit to the Natalis Notabilis Christmas Market in Rabat, Malta, here are some tips to make the most of your experience. Dress warmly as winter nights can get chilly in Malta. Layer up and don’t forget a cozy hat and gloves.

Arrive early to avoid crowds and have more time to explore the market stalls filled with unique gifts and decorations. Be prepared for potential rain showers by bringing along an umbrella or raincoat.

Sample local festive treats like qagħaq tal-għasel (honey rings) or imqaret (date pastries) while sipping on traditional mulled wine or hot chocolate. Keep cash handy as not all vendors may accept card payments.

Take your time wandering through the charming streets of Rabat adorned with twinkling lights and holiday decorations. Don’t rush – soak in the festive atmosphere and enjoy every moment of this magical experience!

The Christmas Market Experience

Walking through the Rabat Christmas Market during Natalis Notabilis is truly a magical experience. The air is filled with the scent of mulled wine and freshly baked pastries, while twinkling lights create a festive ambiance all around you. Stalls adorned with handmade crafts and gifts offer unique treasures to bring home or gift to loved ones.

Live music performances add to the joyful atmosphere, creating a soundtrack for your exploration of the market. Children’s laughter can be heard as they marvel at the holiday decorations and visit Santa’s Grotto.

Sampling traditional Maltese treats like honey rings (Qaghaq tal-Ghasel) and hot chestnuts is a must-do at the market. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or try some local delicacies like Imqaret (date pastries).

Don’t forget to take in the beautiful nativity scenes that are often displayed, showcasing Malta’s rich cultural heritage and traditions surrounding Christmas celebrations. Whether you’re shopping for gifts or simply soaking in the festive spirit, the Christmas Market in Rabat promises an enchanting experience for visitors of all ages.

What is Rabat Famous for?

Rabat, a charming town in Malta, is famous for its rich historical heritage and picturesque landscapes. One of the key attractions that Rabat is known for is the ancient Roman city of Melite, which dates back to the 4th century BC and offers visitors a glimpse into Malta’s past.

Moreover, Rabat boasts stunning architecture with intricate baroque churches like St. Paul’s Church and impressive palaces such as the Magisterial Palace. These architectural marvels showcase the town’s cultural significance and attract history enthusiasts from around the world.

In addition to its historical sites, Rabat is renowned for its vibrant local market culture where visitors can immerse themselves in traditional Maltese crafts, artisanal products, and delicious street food. This bustling market scene adds to Rabat’s charm and provides a unique shopping experience for tourists looking to bring home souvenirs from their trip.

Rabat stands out as a must-visit destination in Malta due to its blend of history, architecture, and lively markets that offer a true taste of Maltese culture.

How to Get to Rabat and Around During Winter

Getting to Rabat during winter is easy and convenient, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the festive spirit of Natalis Notabilis. If you’re arriving in Malta by plane, the nearest airport is Malta International Airport, located just a short drive away from Rabat. From the airport, you can easily reach Rabat by taxi or rental car.

For those already in Malta, public transportation options like buses are available to take you to Rabat. The bus system in Malta is efficient and affordable, making it a great way to explore the island during the winter season. Once you arrive in Rabat, getting around on foot is ideal due to its compact size and charming streets perfect for strolling.

If you prefer more flexibility in your travels, renting a car gives you the freedom to explore not only Rabat but also other nearby attractions at your own pace. Additionally, taxis are readily available for shorter trips within and around Rabat itself.

Accommodation Options near Rabat Christmas Market

rabat hotels
rabat hotels

When planning a visit to the enchanting Rabat Christmas Market, finding accommodation nearby is key to fully immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere. Luckily, there are various options available to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget.

For those seeking a cozy stay with traditional Maltese charm, boutique guesthouses and bed-and-breakfasts in the heart of Rabat offer a quaint and intimate experience. You can wake up to the sound of church bells ringing and stroll through cobblestone streets adorned with twinkling lights.

Alternatively, if you prefer more modern amenities and luxury comforts, there are hotels just a short drive away from Rabat that provide upscale accommodations with easy access to the market festivities. Some even offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside or coastline for a truly picturesque setting during your stay.

No matter where you choose to rest your head after a day of exploring Natalis Notabilis, you’re sure to find accommodation options near Rabat Christmas Market that will make your holiday season in Malta unforgettable.

Day Tours from Rabat

Embark on exciting day tours from Rabat to discover more of Malta’s charm beyond the Christmas market.

Explore the picturesque Mdina, known as the Silent City, with its narrow alleys and stunning architecture that will transport you back in time. Visit St. Paul’s Catacombs to delve into Malta’s ancient history and mysterious underground world.

Head to Dingli Cliffs for breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and rugged coastline, perfect for nature lovers and hikers seeking awe-inspiring landscapes. Don’t miss a visit to Mosta Dome, one of the largest church domes in Europe with a fascinating history tied to World War II.

Venture to the enchanting Blue Grotto sea caves for a boat tour or simply admire the crystal-clear waters from above. End your day tour by savoring fresh seafood at Marsaxlokk fishing village while soaking in the laid-back Maltese atmosphere.

Other Christmas Markets in Malta

Malta is not only home to the vibrant Christmas market in Rabat but also hosts other enchanting markets during the holiday season. In Valletta, the capital city, visitors can explore a bustling market offering an array of handcrafted gifts and traditional Maltese treats.

The picturesque village of Mdina also boasts a charming Christmas market set against its medieval backdrop, creating a magical atmosphere for all to enjoy.

For those looking to experience a different side of Malta’s festive spirit, head to Marsaxlokk where you’ll find a unique market by the sea featuring local artisans and fresh seafood delights. Gozo, Malta’s sister island, is another wonderful destination with its own charming Christmas markets filled with handmade crafts and delicious seasonal treats.

Each Christmas market in Malta offers its own distinct character and charm, providing visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich holiday traditions of this beautiful Mediterranean country.


As the festive season approaches, visiting Rabat for the Natalis Notabilis Christmas Market is an enchanting experience that should not be missed. With its rich history, delicious food and drink offerings, and vibrant atmosphere, Rabat truly comes alive during this magical time of year.

From exploring the market stalls to indulging in traditional Maltese treats, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Christmas Market. The festive spirit in Rabat is infectious, making it the perfect destination to get into the holiday mood.

So pack your winter essentials and head to Rabat for a memorable Christmas market experience that will leave you feeling merry and bright. Embrace the holiday cheer in this charming Maltese town and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Merry Christmas!

by Sorin

Sorin is a freelance travel writer. He is an experienced travel writer and traveller. Since 2012 he explored more than 60 countries on 4 continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Currently is based in Romania after spending the last 7 years in Myanmar.