CNN Travel has ranked Malta as the top destination to visit during the Christmas holidays, citing the Maltese islands’ cribs, lights and even the annual pantomime as major attractions.
Malta beat out 14 other famously festive destinations, including New York (which came in at second place), Nuremberg in Germany (sixth place) and Reykjavik in Iceland (ninth place).
The article gushed about presepji (nativity scenes), saying they were “an integral part of Christmas in Malta.” “Every year, residents proudly open their shutters, and sometimes even their garage doors, to display their holy crib confections to the public.”
The article also spoke with awe about Bethlehem f'Ghajnsielem, “a life-size nativity spread over 20,0000 square meters of formerly abandoned fields. Inhabited and animated by more than 150 actors, including entire families, the village takes visitors back in time to Judea of 2,000 years ago.”
The article ended by recommending a visit to the Manoel Theater, for its annual Christmas pantomime, as well as the Malta Toy Museum in Valletta, “a heart-warming homage to childhood.”
More than 1.76 million tourists have visited Malta between January and September 2017. The number is set to go up to 1.84 million by the end of the year, according to Trading Economics’ global macro models.