Island Nation, Sporting Spirit: A Look at the Diverse Sports Scene in Malta

Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, boasts a long and distinguished history as well as breathtaking landscapes. But this Mediterranean nation holds more surprises in store: Maltese people possess an infectious sporting spirit that pervades every level of society—from traditional games to modern favourites. Let’s explore this country’s unparalleled sports scene, which makes Malta truly special!

Malta’s Sports History Dates Back Centuries

Malta boasts a long and distinguished history that dates back centuries, and sports are deeply embedded into society here. Their roots can be traced back to when Phoenicians and Romans lived here – when physical activities like athletic competitions and games were integral to everyday life on this island nation.

One of Malta’s earliest recorded sports was “Il-Gostra,” an early form of jousting that saw participants ride on horses while trying to hit each other off using long lances. This sport became immensely popular during medieval times.

As time passed, Malta’s sporting landscape gradually evolved under British colonial rule during the 19th and 20th centuries. British sports such as football, cricket, and rugby became immensely popular; these remain some of the major spectator sports today in Malta. Yet Maltese traditional sports still thrive today: “Birgu Regatta”, an annual rowing competition held annually since 19th century is just one such example.

Malta’s sporting culture has flourished and changed with the times, offering a diverse selection of sports and activities for both locals and visitors.

Traditional Sports Take the Spotlight

Valletta Residents Playing Bocci
Valletta Residents Playing Bocci (salajean / bigstock)

Malta has long been known for its tradition-rich sports, such as bowling. One such tradition-laden game, Bocci (similar to Italian Bocce or French Petanque), remains highly popular with Maltese of all ages – particularly village squares on warm evenings when Bocci can often be found being played out. Bocci requires only balls and an open patch of ground, and its accessibility and beloved status make it popular with all.

Il-Loghob tal-Glied, also known as The Games of Fights, has long been practiced on Malta as part of their rich sporting tradition and remains one of the country’s signature activities today. Although not as widespread, this unique wrestling practice still stands as an exemplar of Malta’s sporting legacy.

Football Is At the Core of Maltese Sports

Football is unquestionably the most beloved sport in Malta, with local teams enjoying tremendous support. Though lesser known than its European counterparts, the Malta Premier League showcases local talent while drawing crowds eager to cheer them on.

International matches are an invaluable source of national pride. Though Malta may not rank highly globally, its fans remain passionately supportive. For many Maltese people, football transcends just being a game; it’s a way of life!

Water Sports: Making an Impact

Water sports in Malta are immensely popular. Sailing, swimming, and water polo are among many activities enjoyed both as recreational pastimes and competitive sports; their clear blue waters serve as an idyllic setting.

Water polo enjoys widespread support among its supporters. Both national and local clubs train intensively, and matches frequently attract large audiences who come to watch the exciting action unfold on the water.

Athletics and More: A Growing Trend

Runners on Athletics Track

Athletics is another area in which Malta has made remarkable advances. Track and field events have grown increasingly popular among Maltese athletes competing both locally and abroad; Maltese marathon entrants from all around the globe come each year to run through Malta’s scenic streets and countryside.

Recent years have witnessed the rapid development of newer sports like rugby, basketball, and tennis—each benefiting from increased investment in facilities and coaching to raise the standard of play while engaging more people in sporting activities.

Accepting Sport as Part of Malta’s Culture

Malta’s sports scene stands out not only due to the wide selection of activities but also its inclusive nature of participation. From joining local clubs or cheering on teams in sporting competitions to simply enjoying a friendly game of Bocci with neighbours or strangers – sports in Malta are about community and enjoyment!

Government and various organizations promote sports as an essential way of improving health, teamwork, and national pride. Events like the European Week of Sport encourage everyone to get active while also emphasizing how sports foster lively and cohesive societies.


From traditional to contemporary, Malta’s sports scene reflects its vibrant island character–full of life, diversity, and passion. Despite being small in size, the Maltese nation continues to embrace and foster this vital aspect of its culture, regardless of whether you are local or a visitor. Everyone will surely admire or even join in!


Are There Major Sports Facilities in Malta?

Yes, Malta boasts several top sporting facilities. Ta’ Qali National Stadium is Malta’s main venue, hosting football matches and athletic competitions. Tal-Qroqq’s National Pool provides water polo and swimming competitions.

Is Maltese sports betting legal?

Absolutely—sports betting in Malta is completely legal and includes local sporting events. Various licensed bookmakers and online betting platforms allow you to bet on Maltese sports legally.

Does Malta take part in international sports competitions?

Malta participates in an array of international sporting competitions, such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, and European Championships across various sports.

Is Government Support Available for Sports in Malta?

The Maltese government offers sports support through the Malta Sports Council (Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport), which strives to improve sports infrastructure and increase participation at all levels.