Transforming a whole part of a town into a Christmas Wonderland is no mean feat, especially if you’re doing it in a country where it’s probably going to be sunny and hot come the 25th of December. But that hasn’t stopped Rabat, a town that’s planning to go bigger, better and more Christmassy than ever for the return of its annual festive village.
Natalis Notabilis, dubbed Malta’s Christmas Village, has gradually become one of the most popular and the largest on the island. The seven-day event transforms Rabat’s historic core into a Christmas Wonderland, and this year sees the organisers upping the ante.
Between the 7th and 13th December, around 100 stalls will be set up in the narrow, winding streets just outside Mdina and up the road from Serkin, offering up something a little bit more festive than pastizzi.
Food will always be a very big part of every Maltese holiday, so you’d best believe that the Christmas Market will be bringing its delicious A-game for the weeklong festival
From warm cups of Gluhwein to a German food hut, attendees will be able to try out bratwurst, gulasch, chicken schnitzels and pretzels among many more. And to wash it all down, of course, Natalis Notabilis’ own mulled wine will be up on offer throughout the week.
A slew of artisans will be selling local products and crafts, along with a variety of Maltese and international Christmas delicacies, like qagħaq tal-għasel (honey rings), qastan tal-imbuljata (hot chocolate with chestnuts) and kafe tal-istanjata (Maltese traditional coffee).
Multiple buildings in the area will also be taking part, such as the Fransiscan Frairy with their own kitchen, and the Notarial Archives Resource Council, who will be reproducing long-forgotten Christmas recipes. At Palazzo Xara’s terrace, on the other hand, people can just relax at the Christmas Cafeteria, the perfect place to admire Natalini, a revamped outdoor space where Santa Claus will be hosting children at his own abode.
Beyond the Christmas market, however, Natalis Notabilis will also be hosting theatrical performances at some of Rabat’s gorgeous historical buildings
The ever-so-popular Nativity Trail will be returning to the Franciscan Friary’s large “secret garden”, while another theatrical performance will also be “roaming around” Palazzo Xara. The 500-year-old Ta’ Gieżu Church will see the return of the Malta Christmas Carol Festival and the Gospel Choir Concert’s Christmas Special, while the National Sanctuary Dedicated to Saint Joseph will be hosting a newly-restored copy of a 150-year-old choir book unique for its large size.
Throughout the week, a Park & Ride Service will be operating at Triq it-Tiġrija and Triq l-Infetti, two locations which will both be accessible from Saqqajja Hill.
For more information on the popular Christmas Market, we would definitely recommend checking out the official Facebook event page and staying tuned for more updates as we get closer to the date!